Cisco PGW 2200 Softswitch Release 9 Operations, Maintenance, and Troubleshooting Guide
Chapter 4 - Maintenance and Troubleshooting Overview
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Maintenance and Troubleshooting Overview

Table Of Contents

Maintenance and Troubleshooting Overview

Maintenance Strategy Overview

Troubleshooting Strategy Overview

Symptoms, Problems, and Solutions

General Problem-Solving Model

System Troubleshooting Tools


Call Traces

System Logs

MML Queries

Cisco Internetwork Management Tools

Cisco SS7 Interface Diagnostic Commands

Third-Party Troubleshooting Tools

Volt-Ohm Meters, Digital Multimeters, and Cable Testers

Breakout Boxes, Fox Boxes, and BERTs/BLERTs

Network Monitors and Analyzers

TDRs and OTDRs

Maintenance and Troubleshooting Overview

Revised: December 3, 2009, OL-0800-12

This chapter contains an overview of maintenance and troubleshooting concepts for the elements of the Cisco PGW 2200 Softswitch platform. It includes overall maintenance and system troubleshooting strategies, and reviews available troubleshooting tools.

Although maintenance and troubleshooting are described separately in this chapter, they are associated activities. Hence, several of the maintenance and troubleshooting chapters in this guide frequently refer to each other.

This chapter includes the following sections:

Maintenance Strategy Overview

Troubleshooting Strategy Overview

Maintenance Strategy Overview

Maintenance usually consists of the following tasks for each element of the Cisco PGW 2200 Softswitch platform, performed in the order listed:

Checking equipment status. Determining the current status involves three basic activities:

Reading LEDs—Most Cisco products include light-emitting diode (LED) indicators on the front or rear panels and, in some cases, on both panels. These LEDs indicate the status of the equipment. The specific meaning of each LED on each product is described in the maintenance sections for the individual elements of the Cisco PGW 2200 Softswitch platform.

Issuing Status Queries—You can query the status of the system using various commands. The commands that can be used to determine the status of the devices in your system are described in the maintenance sections for the individual elements of the Cisco PGW 2200 Softswitch platform.

Using a GUI NMS—Using a network management system (NMS) with a graphical user interface (GUI), such as CiscoWorks2000, Cisco WAN Manager, and Cisco MGC Node Manager (CMNM), to determine the operational status of system devices is described in detail in the maintenance sections for the individual elements of the Cisco PGW 2200 Softswitch platform.

Removing the device from the system—Procedures for removing defective devices from the system with as little impact on the system as possible are described in the maintenance sections for the individual elements of the Cisco PGW 2200 Softswitch platform.

Replacing the complete device—Reinstating a device into the system using a new or repaired model, again with as little impact on the system as possible, is described in the maintenance sections for the individual elements of the Cisco PGW 2200 Softswitch platform.

Replacing hardware components—Swapping out components of a device is a maintenance task used for replacing defective components and for upgrading hardware. The maintenance chapters for each element of the Cisco PGW 2200 Softswitch platform include sections describing how to replace the field-replaceable components of that device.

Troubleshooting Strategy Overview

The Cisco PGW 2200 Softswitch platform supports connections to external switches and to internal components, such as media gateway controllers, signal processors, and trunking gateways. Because the Cisco PGW 2200 Softswitch platform functions in a complex environment involving numerous connections, links, and signaling protocols, when connectivity and performance problems occur, they can be difficult to resolve.

Troubleshooting usually consists of determining the nature of a problem and then isolating the problem to a particular device or component. When a problem has been isolated and identified, troubleshooting also consists of fixing the problem, usually by replacing the device or some component of the device. The goal of this is to provide you with a general troubleshooting strategy, as well as information about the tools available for isolating and resolving connectivity and performance problems.

Symptoms, Problems, and Solutions

Problems in a system are characterized by certain symptoms. These symptoms can be general (such as a Cisco SS7 interface being unable to access the SS7 network) or specific (routes not appearing in a routing table).

You can determine the cause of a symptom by using specific troubleshooting tools and techniques. After identifying the cause, you can correct the problem by implementing a solution consisting of a series of actions.

General Problem-Solving Model

A systematic approach works best for troubleshooting. Define the specific symptoms, identify all potential problems that could be causing the symptoms, then systematically eliminate each potential problem (from the most likely to the least likely) until the symptoms are no longer present.

Figure 4-1 illustrates the process flow for this general approach to problem-solving. This process is not a rigid outline for troubleshooting. It is a guide you can use to troubleshoot a problem successfully.

The following steps describe the problem-solving process outlined in Figure 4-1 in more detail:

Note You need to understand and/or determine the message flow for certain actions. You may have to use different tools for situations where messages are exchanged within the Cisco PGW 2200 Softswitch software or the operating system (UNIX), and situations where messages flow between the Cisco PGW 2200 Softswitch(es) and the external nodes over IP.

Step 1 When analyzing a problem, draft a clear problem statement. Define the problem in terms of a set of symptoms and the potential causes behind those symptoms.

For example, the symptom might be that the EQPT FAIL alarm has become active. Possible causes might be physical problems, a bad interface card, or the failure of some supporting entity (for example,
layer 1 framing).

Figure 4-1 General Problem-Solving Model

Step 2 Gather the facts you need to help isolate the symptoms and their possible causes.

Ask questions of affected users, network administrators, managers, and other key people. Collect information from sources such as network management systems, protocol analyzer traces, output from router diagnostic commands, or software release notes.

Step 3 Consider possible causes based on the facts you have gathered. You can also use these facts to eliminate potential causes from your list.

For example, depending on the data, you might be able to eliminate hardware as a cause, allowing you to focus on software. At every opportunity, try to narrow the number of potential causes so that you can create an efficient plan of action.

Step 4 Create an action plan based on the remaining potential causes. Begin with the most likely cause, and devise a plan in which only one variable at a time is manipulated.

This approach allows you to reproduce the solution to a specific problem. If you alter more than one variable simultaneously, identifying the change that eliminated the symptom becomes more difficult.

Step 5 Perform each step of the action plan carefully, and test to see if the symptom disappears.

Step 6 Whenever you change a variable, gather the results. You should use the same method of gathering facts that you used in Step 2.

Analyze the results to determine if the problem has been resolved. If it has, then the process is complete.

Step 7 If the problem has not been resolved, you must create an action plan based on the next most likely problem in your list. Return to Step 2 and continue the process until the problem is solved.

Before trying out a new cure, make sure to undo any "fixes" you made in implementing your previous action plan. Remember that you want to change only one variable at a time.

Note If you exhaust all of the common causes and actions (those outlined in this chapter and those that you have identified for your environment), your last recourse is to contact the Cisco Technical Assistance Center (TAC). See the "Obtaining Documentation and Submitting a Service Request" section on page xx for more information about contacting the Cisco TAC.

System Troubleshooting Tools

This section presents information about the wide variety of tools you can use to troubleshoot the system.


The Cisco PGW 2200 Softswitch software generates alarms to indicate problems with processes, routes, linksets, signaling links, and bearer channels. For more information on troubleshooting using alarms, see "Alarm Troubleshooting Procedures" section on page 8-4. See the Cisco PGW 2200 Softswitch Release 9 Messages Reference for detailed information on the system alarms.

Call Traces

The Cisco PGW 2200 Softswitch generates call traces that capture call-processing activity by following the call from a specified destination through the Cisco PGW 2200 Softswitch software engine to see where it fails. Call failure location is determined using the following information provided in the call trace:

The protocol data units (PDUs) that the Cisco PGW 2200 Softswitch receives

How the Cisco PGW 2200 Softswitch decodes the PDU

The PDUs that the Cisco PGW 2200 Softswitch sends out

The results of call traces are signal flow diagrams that you can use for troubleshooting. Call traces are typically used to capture system activity as part of a procedure to clear an alarm. For more information on using call traces, see "Tracing" section on page 8-150.

System Logs

The Cisco PGW 2200 Softswitch software continuously generates log files of various system information, including operational measurements (OMs) and alarm records. You can use these logs to obtain statistical information about the calls processed by the system and network events such as delays or service-affecting conditions. The Cisco PGW 2200 Softswitch generates the following types of logs:

Platform logs containing information useful for tracking configuration errors and signaling link and call instantiation problems.

Command/response logs containing Man-machine language (MML) command history.

Alarm logs containing alarm information.

Measurement logs containing system measurements data.

Call record logs containing call-processing data.

System logs can be read using the various viewers within the Cisco MGC viewer toolkit. For more information on the viewers that comprise the Cisco MGC toolkit, see "Using the Cisco MGC Viewer Toolkit" section on page 3-119.

See Appendix A, "Configuring Cisco PGW 2200 Softswitch Log Files," for more information on system log files.

MML Queries

MML is the command line interface method for configuring and managing the Cisco PGW 2200 Softswitch. You can use it to retrieve information about system components, and to perform logging and tracing. See the Cisco PGW 2200 Softswitch Release 9 MML Command Reference for more information.

Cisco Internetwork Management Tools

The following Cisco internetwork management products provide design, monitoring, and troubleshooting tools to help you manage your Cisco PGW 2200 Softswitch platform:


Cisco WAN Manager

Cisco MGC Node Manager (CMNM)


CiscoWorks2000 is a series of SNMP-based internetwork management software applications. CiscoWorks applications are integrated on several popular network management platforms. The applications build on industry-standard platforms to provide tools for monitoring device status, maintaining configurations, and troubleshooting problems.

Some of the applications included in CiscoWorks2000 that are useful for troubleshooting are:

Device Monitor—Monitors specific devices for environmental and interface information.

Health Monitor—Displays information about the status of a device, including buffers, CPU load, memory available, and protocols and interfaces being used.

Show Commands—Enables you to view data similar to output from router show EXEC commands.

Path Tool—Collects path utilization and error data by displaying and analyzing the path between devices.

Device Polling—Extracts data about the condition of network devices.

CiscoView—Provides dynamic monitoring and troubleshooting functions, including a graphical display of Cisco devices, statistics, and comprehensive configuration information.

Offline Network Analysis—Collects historical network data for offline analysis of performance trends and traffic patterns.

CiscoConnect—Allows you to provide Cisco with debugging information, configurations, and topology information to speed resolution of network problems.

CiscoWorks2000 can be used to manage a variety of Cisco products. Within the Cisco PGW 2200 Softswitch platform, CiscoWorks2000 can be used for management of the Cisco SS7 interfaces and switches. See the CiscoWorks2000 documentation for more information.

Cisco WAN Manager

Cisco WAN Manager is part of the Cisco Service Management System of provisioning and management tools for service provider and large enterprise networks. Working at the network and element management level, WAN Manager provides fault-management capabilities handled through the Event Browser, CiscoView, and Configuration Save and Restore features.

You can use Cisco WAN Manager to perform search, sort, and filter operations and to tie events to extensible actions. For instance, Cisco WAN Manager can page someone upon receiving a certain type of SNMP trap. It supports alarm hierarchies that report the root cause of problems to operators and higher-level systems.

Configuration Save and Restore saves a snapshot of the entire network configuration. For disaster recovery, operators can selectively restore configurations of any element, from a single node up to the entire network. This restoration ability significantly reduces recovery time when a catastrophic failure occurs.

The Cisco WAN Manager Trivial File Transfer Protocol (TFTP) statistics collection facility offers the ability to obtain extensive usage and error data across machines and platforms.

A wide range of statistics are available at the port and virtual channel level including:

Connection statistics

Circuit line statistics

Packet line statistics

Frame Relay port statistics

Network statistics

Physical layer statistics

Protocol layer statistics

The Cisco WAN Manager application can be used to manage a variety of Cisco products. Within the Cisco PGW 2200 Softswitch platform, the Cisco WAN Manager can be used for management of the Cisco SS7 interfaces and switches. See the Cisco WAN Manager documentation for more information.

Cisco MGC Node Manager

The Cisco MGC Node Manager (CMNM) is an element management system based on the Cisco Element Management Framework (CEMF). It is responsible for managing the Cisco PGW 2200 Softswitch platform, including Cisco PGW 2200 Softswitch(es), switch(es), and Cisco SS7 interfaces.

NMS design divides network management into five discrete areas: fault, configuration, accounting, performance, and security. The Cisco MNM provides fault and performance management of the Cisco PGW 2200 Softswitch, as well as flow-through provisioning of the Cisco PGW 2200 Softswitch and its subcomponents. In addition, MNM also provides fault and performance management of the Cisco SS7 interfaces and switches. MNM uses the Cisco Voice Services Provisioning Tool (VSPT) to provide configuration of the Cisco PGW 2200 Softswitch and uses CiscoView for configuration of the Cisco SS7 interfaces and switches.

Security and some accounting features are provided directly by the CEMF platform. MNM does not provide any security or accounting features beyond what is natively supported by the CEMF. MNM is designed to be used on a standalone basis with a customer operations support system or a Cisco-based NMS such as the Voice Network Manager (VNM).

For more information on MNM, see the Cisco Media Gateway Controller Node Manager User Guide.

Cisco SS7 Interface Diagnostic Commands

Cisco SS7 interfaces provide the following integrated IOS command types to assist you in monitoring and troubleshooting systems:





Show Commands

The show commands are powerful monitoring and troubleshooting tools. You can use the show commands to perform a variety of functions:

Monitoring router behavior during initial installation

Monitoring normal network operation

Isolating problem interfaces, nodes, media, or applications

Determining when a network is congested

Determining the status of servers, clients, or other neighbors

Some of the most commonly used status commands include:

show interfaces—Displays statistics for network interfaces using the following commands:

show interfaces ethernet

show interfaces fddi

show interfaces atm

show interfaces serial

show controller t1—Displays statistics for T1 interface card controllers

show running-config—Displays the router configuration currently running

show startup-config—Displays the router configuration stored in nonvolatile RAM (NVRAM)

show flash—Displays the layout and contents of Flash memory

show buffers—Displays statistics for the buffer pools on the router

show memory—Shows statistics about the router's memory, including free pool statistics

show processes—Displays information about the active processes on the router

show stacks—Displays information about the stack utilization of processes and interrupt routines, as well as the reason for the last system reboot

show version—Displays the configuration of the system hardware, the software version, the names and sources of configuration files, and the boot images

For details on using and interpreting the output of specific show commands, see the Cisco IOS command reference for the release you are using.

Using Debug Commands

The debug privileged EXEC commands can provide a wealth of information about the traffic being seen (or not seen) on an interface, error messages generated by nodes on the network, protocol-specific diagnostic packets, and other useful troubleshooting data.

Caution Exercise care when using debug commands. These commands are processor-intensive and can cause serious network problems (degraded performance or loss of connectivity) if they are enabled on an already heavily loaded router. When you finish using a debug command, remember to disable it with its specific no debug command, or use the no debug all command to turn off all debugging.

Note Output formats vary among debug commands. Some generate a single line of output per packet, and others generate multiple lines of output per packet. Some generate large amounts of output, and others generate only occasional output. Some generate lines of text, and others generate information in field format.

To minimize the negative impact of using debug commands, follow this procedure:

Step 1 Enter the no logging console global configuration command on your router. This command disables all logging to the console terminal.

Step 2 Telnet to a router port and enter the enable EXEC command.

Step 3 Enter the terminal monitor command on your router to copy debug command output and system error messages to your current terminal display.

This permits you to view debug command output remotely, without being connected through the console port. Following this procedure minimizes the load created by using debug commands because the console port no longer has to generate character-by-character processor interrupts.

If you intend to keep the output of the debug command, spool the output to a file. The procedure for setting up such a debug output file, as well as complete details regarding the function and output of debug commands is provided in the Cisco IOS Debug Command Reference.

Note In many situations, third-party diagnostic tools can be more useful and less intrusive than the use of debug commands. For more information, see the "Third-Party Troubleshooting Tools" section.

Using the Ping Command

To check host accessibility and network connectivity, use the ping EXEC (user) or privileged EXEC command.

For IP, the ping command sends ICMP Echo messages. If a station receives an ICMP Echo message, it sends an ICMP Echo Reply message back to the source. The extended command mode of the ping command permits you to specify the supported IP header options. This allows the router to perform a more extensive range of test options.

It is a good idea to use the ping command when the network is functioning properly under normal conditions so that you have something to compare against when you are troubleshooting.

For detailed information on using the ping and extended ping commands, see the Cisco IOS Configuration Fundamentals Command Reference.

Using the Trace Command

The trace user EXEC command discovers the routes a router's packets follow when traveling to their destinations. The trace privileged EXEC command permits the supported IP header options to be specified, allowing the router to perform a more extensive range of test options. The trace command uses the error message generated by routers when a datagram exceeds its time-to-live (TTL) value. First, probe datagrams are sent with a TTL value of 1. This causes the first router to discard the probe datagrams and send back "time exceeded" error messages. The trace command then sends several probes and displays the round-trip time for each. After every third probe, the TTL is increased by 1.

Each outgoing packet can result in one of two error messages. A "time exceeded" error message indicates that an intermediate router has seen and discarded the probe. A "port unreachable" error message indicates that the destination node has received the probe and discarded it, because it could not deliver the packet to an application. If the timer goes off before a response comes in, the trace command prints an asterisk (*).

The trace command terminates when the destination responds, when the maximum TTL is exceeded, or when the user interrupts the trace with the escape sequence. It is a good idea to use the trace command when the network is functioning properly under normal conditions so that you have something to compare against when troubleshooting.

For detailed information on using the trace and extended trace commands, see the Cisco IOS Configuration Fundamentals Command Reference.

Third-Party Troubleshooting Tools

In many situations, third-party diagnostic tools can be more useful than system commands that are integrated into the router. For example, the enabling of a processor-intensive debug command can contribute to the overloading of an environment that is already experiencing excessively high traffic levels. Attaching a network analyzer to the suspect network is less intrusive and is more likely to yield useful information without interrupting the operation of the router.

Some useful third-party tools for troubleshooting internetworks include:

Volt-ohm meters, digital multimeters, and cable testers

Breakout boxes, fox boxes, bit error rate testers (BERTs), and block error rate testers (BLERTs)

Network analyzers and network monitors

Time domain reflectometers (TDRs) and optical time domain reflectometers (ODTRs)

Volt-Ohm Meters, Digital Multimeters, and Cable Testers

Volt-ohm meters and digital multimeters are at the lower end of the spectrum of cable testing tools. These devices can measure basic parameters such as AC and DC voltage, current, resistance, capacitance, and cable continuity. They are used primarily to check physical connectivity.

Cable testers (scanners) can also be used to check physical connectivity. Cable testers are available for shielded twisted-pair, unshielded twisted-pair, 10BASE-T, and coaxial and twinax cables.

A given cable tester might be also able to perform any of the following functions:

Test and report on cable conditions, including near-end crosstalk, attenuation, and noise

Perform TDR, traffic monitoring, and wire map functions

Display media access control (MAC) layer information about network traffic, provide statistics such as network utilization and packet error rates, and perform limited protocol testing (for example, TCP/IP tests such as ping)

Similar testing equipment is available for fiber-optic cable. Due to the relatively high cost of fiber-optic cable and its installation, the cable should be tested both before installation (on-the-reel testing) and after installation. Continuity testing of fiber-optic cable requires either a visible light source or a reflectometer. Light sources capable of providing light at the three predominant wavelengths, 850 nanometers (nm), 1300 nm, and 1550 nm, are used with power meters that can measure the same wavelengths and test attenuation and return loss in the fiber-optic cable.

Breakout Boxes, Fox Boxes, and BERTs/BLERTs

Breakout boxes, fox boxes, and BERTs/BLERTs are digital interface testing tools used to measure the digital signals present at the interfaces of PCs, CSU/DSUs, and other devices. These testing tools can monitor data line conditions, analyze and trap data, and diagnose problems common to communications systems. Traffic from data terminal equipment (DTE) through data communications equipment (DCE) can be examined so that you can isolate problems, identify bit patterns, and ensure that the proper cabling has been installed. These devices cannot test media signals such as those for Ethernet, Token Ring, or FDDI.

Network Monitors and Analyzers

You can use network monitors to continuously track packets crossing a network, thus obtaining an accurate picture of network activity at any moment, or a historical record of network activity over a period of time. Network monitors do not decode the contents of frames. Monitors are useful for baselining, in which the activity on a network is sampled over a period of time to establish a normal performance profile or baseline.

Monitors collect information such as packet sizes, numbers of packets, error packets, overall usage of a connection, the number of hosts and their MAC addresses, and details about communications between hosts and other devices. You can use the data to create profiles of network traffic as well locate traffic overloads, plan for network expansion, detect intruders, establish baseline performance, and distribute traffic more efficiently.

A network analyzer (also called a protocol analyzer) decodes the various protocol layers in a recorded frame and presents them as readable abbreviations or summaries, detailing which layer is involved (physical, data link, and so forth) and what function each byte or byte content serves.

Most network analyzers can perform many of the following functions:

Filtering traffic that meets certain criteria so that, for example, all traffic to and from a particular device can be captured

Time-stamping captured data

Presenting protocol layers in an easily readable form

Generating frames and transmitting them onto the network

Incorporating an "expert" system in which the analyzer uses a set of rules, combined with information about the network configuration and operation, to diagnose and solve, or offer potential solutions to, network problems

TDRs and OTDRs

TDRs are at the top end of the cable testing spectrum. These devices can quickly locate open and short circuits, crimps, kinks, sharp bends, impedance mismatches, and other defects in metallic cables.

A TDR works by "bouncing" a signal off the end of the cable. Opens, shorts, and other problems reflect the signal back at different amplitudes, depending on the problem. A TDR measures how much time it takes for the signal to reflect and calculates the distance to a fault in the cable. TDRs can also be used to measure the length of a cable or calculate the propagation rate based on a configured cable length.

Fiber-optic measurement is performed by an OTDR. OTDRs can accurately measure the length of the fiber, locate cable breaks, measure the fiber attenuation, and measure splice or connector losses. An OTDR can be used to ascertain the "signature" of a particular installation, noting attenuation and splice losses. This baseline measurement can then be compared with future signatures when a problem in the system is suspected.