Cisco ATA 186 and Cisco ATA 188 Analog Telephone Adaptor Administrator's Guide (MGCP)(
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Table Of Contents


General Troubleshooting Tips

Symptoms and Actions

Installation and Upgrade Issues


Frequently Asked Questions

Contacting TAC


This section describes troubleshooting procedures for the Cisco ATA:

General Troubleshooting Tips

Symptoms and Actions

Installation and Upgrade Issues


Frequently Asked Questions

Contacting TAC

Note The term Cisco ATA is used throughout this manual to refer to both the Cisco ATA 186 and the Cisco ATA 188, unless differences between the Cisco ATA 186 and Cisco ATA 188 are explicitly stated.

General Troubleshooting Tips

The suggestions in this section are general troubleshooting tips.

Make sure that the DHCP server is operating correctly. Note that the function button blinks slowly when the Cisco ATA attempts to acquire the DHCP configuration.

If the green activity LED is not flashing after you connect the Ethernet cable, make sure that both the power cord and the Ethernet connection are secure.

If there is no dial tone, make sure that the telephone line cord from the telephone is plugged into the appropriate port on the Cisco ATA. Make sure that your Cisco ATA is properly registered on your Call Control system. Test another phone; if this phone does not work either, there may be a problem with the current configuration or with the Cisco ATA.

A busy tone indicates that the party you called is not available. Try your call again later. A fast-busy tone indicates that you dialed an invalid number.

After power up, if the function button continues to blink slowly, the Cisco ATA cannot locate the DHCP server. Check the Ethernet connection and the availability of the DHCP server.

The DHCP server should show an incoming request from the MAC address listed on the product label or given by the voice prompt.

If you place a call to another IP telephone, detect ringing, and the called party answers but you cannot detect the speaker's voice, verify that the Cisco ATA and the other IP telephone support at least one common audio codec: G.711A-law, G.711µ-law, G.723.1, or G.729A.

Symptoms and Actions

Symptom    Parameters with values set using the web server interface or voice configuration menu revert to their original settings.

Possible Cause    You are using TFTP for configuration (the UseTFTP parameter is set to 1). The Cisco ATA has a cached version of its configuration file stored in its flash memory; this is what displayed or played through the web server interface or voice configuration menu. If UseTFTP is set to 1, then the cached value of the Cisco ATA configuration file is synchronized with its configuration file located at the TFTP server. This synchronization update of the cached value occurs at approximate intervals determined by the CFGInterval parameter value as well as when the Cisco ATA powers up or resets.

Recommended Action    If you are using TFTP for configuration, do not use the web server interface or voice configuration menu to modify the value of the Cisco ATA configuration file. Use the web server interface or voice configuration menu only to initially configure the Cisco ATA to contact the TFTP server for the Cisco ATA configuration file.

Symptom    Unable to access the web configuration page.

Possible Cause    Software versions earlier than 2.0 require the web configuration page to be enabled using option 80# on the voice configuration menu.

Recommended Action    Upgrade the software.

Symptom    The Cisco ATA does not seem to be configured using the TFTP server.

Possible Cause    The TFTP server address is not properly set.

Recommended Action    Ensure that the TftpURL is correctly set to the URL or IP address of the TFTP server that is hosting the configuration file for the Cisco ATA. If you are using DHCP to supply the TFTP server IP address, make sure that the TftpURL is set to 0. Also, unless the TftpURL is an IP address, be sure that the DNS1IP and DNS2IP values are properly set to resolve the TftpURL supplied by DHCP.

Symptom    The Cisco ATA contacts the TFTP server more often than specified in the CfgInterval parameter.

Possible Cause    The ToConfig parameter is not set to 0.

Recommended Action    After the Cisco ATA has a valid configuration file, the ToConfig parameter must be set to 0. If it is not set to 0, the Cisco ATA will attempt to contact the TFTP server too frequently.

Symptom    Cannot place call.

Possible Cause    Equipment failure on the network.

Recommended Action    Replace defective network equipment.

Possible Cause    Recipient has not registered the IP phone.

Recommended Action    Register the IP phone.

Possible Cause    Ethernet cable is not connected.

Recommended Action    Make sure that all cables are connected.

Symptom    Fast busy tone.

Possible Cause    Authentication credential is incorrect.

Recommended Action    Verify authentication credential, and revise if necessary.

Possible Cause    Recipient has not registered the IP phone.

Recommended Action    Register the IP phone.

Possible Cause    No common codec between the Cisco ATA and remote end.

Recommended Action    Change codec to one that is common with the Cisco ATA and the remote end.

Possible Cause    Recipient is in a call with call waiting disabled.

Recommended Action    Attempt to place the call at a later time.

Installation and Upgrade Issues

Note The following issues apply to the manual image-upgrade process only. Image upgrades must be performed separately.

Symptom    The red LED is flashing slowly on the function button.

Possible Cause    The Cisco ATA is trying to obtain the DHCP address or the software image is being upgraded.

Possible Cause    The Ethernet cable is unplugged.

Recommended Action    Plug in the Ethernet cable.

Symptom    Voice prompt returns Upgrade not available message. This can only occur if you are using the executable-file upgrade method.

Possible Cause    You are attempting to upgrade to the existing version.

Recommended Action    You do not need to upgrade.

Symptom    Voice prompt returns Upgrade failed message. This can only occur if you are using the executable-file upgrade method.

Possible Cause    You have entered an incorrect IP address.

Recommended Action    Enter the correct IP address.

Possible Cause    Software image is corrupted.

Recommended Action    Upgrade software image.

Symptom    No dial tone.

Possible Cause    No user ID was entered.

Recommended Action    Enter the correct user ID.

Symptom    Incorrect dial tone.

Possible Cause    Check the web interface for your DialTone setting. The default is U.S.

Recommended Action    Set the correct country DialTone value.


The MS-DOS Windows-based debugging program tool, prserv.exe, is included in every software upgrade package. The tool is also available from Cisco TAC. The prserv program is used in conjunction with the NPrintf configuration parameter. This file serves as an upgrade server that captures debug information sent by the Cisco ATA software to your PC's IP address and port number. This debug file (prserv.exe) compiles the information from the Cisco ATA into a readable log file. To capture this "NPRINTF" information, you must know the IP address of the PC using the prserv program, illustrated as follows:

IP address.port 

where IP address is the IP address of your PC, and port is 9001. If another process on your PC already uses port 9001, you may use some other value (legal values are from 1024 to 65535). If no port value is entered, the default value is 9001.

To enter the IP address and port number, use voice menu option 81#. You must enter the IP address and port number in alphanumeric format, which requires entering the * key after every character entered. To enter the "." character, you must enter the sequence 1 1#.

For example, for a computer with the IP address and port number 9001 (, you would enter the following on your telephone handset:

1* 7* 2* 1 1* 2* 8* 1 1* 7* 8* 1 1* 9* 0* 1 1* 9* 0* 0* 1* *

To operate the debug capture program prserv.exe, place the prserv program in a folder on your PC; then at the DOS prompt of the folder where you have placed it, enter:

C:> prserv port.log 

where port is the port number you have selected. If you do not enter port.log, debug information still appears on your screen, but it is not saved to a log file.

After you finish capturing debug information, you can stop the log program by entering Ctrl-C at the DOS prompt. The log file created is named port.log. If you restart the process without changing the name of the log file, any new debug information is appended to the end of the original file.

Contact Cisco TAC for more information. See the "Obtaining Technical Assistance" section for instructions.

You should also have access to a sniffer or LAN analyzer.

Caution For security reasons, Cisco recommends that you do not use the web interface over the public network. Disable the web interface, using the UIPassword parameter, before the Cisco ATA is moved from the service provider site.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q. How can I recover the box if I forgot the password?

A. There are two important passwords. One is the UIPassword, which protects access to the Cisco ATA Web Server interface; the other is the EncryptKey, which protects access to the TFTP configuration file. If you forget the value for the UIPassword but still have access to TFTP-stored configuration file, you can modify the UIPassword via TFTP. However, if you are not configuring the Cisco ATA via TFTP, or if you forget both passwords, the only way you can recover the box is to have physical access to the box and do a factory reset on the box via the box voice configuration menu interface (Access Code: FACTRESET#).

Q. What is the maximum distance from which I can drive an analog device with a Cisco ATA?

A. Table 8-1 provides maximum distances for this question.

Table 8-1

Ring Load (per RJ-11 FXS Port)
Maximum Distance


200 feet (61 m)


1000 feet (305 m)


1700 feet (518 m)


2500 feet (762 m)


3200 feet (975 m)

Ring Loads and Distances

The Cisco ATA, however, is not designed for long distance. The simple test is to determine if the phone or phones that are connected to the Cisco ATA work properly in their environment.

Pay attention to the following questions:

1. Can the Cisco ATA detect on/off hook from the analog phone?

2. Can the Cisco ATA detect the DTMF signal?

3. Can you dial the remote side?

4. Can the Cisco ATA ring the phone?

5. Is voice quality satisfactory?

If you answer no to any of the above questions, you may have a loop impedance greater than 400 ohm. In this case, perform the following procedure.


Step 1 Increase the wire gauge to reduce the impedance until the Cisco ATA can detect on/off hook and DTMF signal.

Step 2 If the Cisco ATA cannot ring the phone, find a phone that can ring at a lower ringing voltage. Also, try to use only one phone instead of multiple phones in parallel.

Contacting TAC

Qualified customers who need to contact the Cisco Technical Assistance Center (TAC) must provide the following information:

Product codes.

Software version number—To identify the software revision number, use the configuration menu number 123.

Hardware version number—To identify the hardware revision number, use the serial number and MAC address found on the label on the bottom of the Cisco ATA. The MAC address can also be obtained using voice menu option 24.

Software build information—To identify the software build information, use the voice menu option 123123.

Cisco ATA serial number.

See the "Obtaining Technical Assistance" section for instructions on contacting TAC.

Note Customers who obtained their equipment through service providers, independent dealers and other third parties must contact their equipment provider for technical assistance.