Diagnosing a troubled SIP call has a tendency to be a real pain. Whether it’s running wireshark, tcpdump, or collecting debugs, having to sort through duplicate packets and attempting to merge different pcap files together does not provide a simple way to troubleshoot a single call while looking at both sides of the call in a single ladder diagram.
Fortunately the Acme Packet SBC now includes a free tool embedded in the code that once enabled, allows it turns the SBC into a SIP capture device. The distinct advantage here is seeing both sides of a call in a single ladder diagram. Even better, extra (and very useful) information is included in between each step of the ladder diagram referencing internal “logic decisions” as they occur as traffic passes through the SBC. Finding a particular capture is easy using Search Filters which allow you to specify just about any criteria.
Pop-up context provides tool tips and additional information about a call depending on what area you are hovering over. It is also possible to export a capture locally so it may be emailed and viewed by others rather than having a variety of users logging into the SBC’s web interface. Alternatively, captures may be exported as ASCII text files with proper and readable formatting of the call information.
There are three main parts to viewing a captured call. The first is the Session Summary view which contains information such as source and destination IP addresses, URI’s, Realms, etc..
The second viewing pane is SIP Message Details. This is the actual ladder diagram and SBC events.
The third pane is for viewing QoS statistics such as jitter, packet loss, delay, and MOS scores for the specified call.
In order to enable web browser viewing of SIP Monitoring and Tracing the web server must be set to the enabled state.
ATL# configure terminal
ATL(web-server-config)# state enabled
The next step is to create one or more filters. In the following example there is a filter called hostedIpPbx and in the user portion of the filter any SIP messages containing the phone number digits 781801 will be captured.
The next step is to enable sip-monitoring and identify which monitoring filter should be used. Applying the filter here enabled the filter globally on the system. Usually filters are best applied to specific realms or session agents (under monitoring-filters) to capture only interesting traffic.
In this particular network there are IP phones behind a Cisco ASA firewall which NAT to the public internet and need to register to a SIP softswitch which is being “hidden” behind the SBC in a Service Provider core network.
<–Customer_Prem->NAT> <–SIP Monitoring and Tracing–>
192.168.1.198 126.96.36.199 188.8.131.52 10.12.135.250 10.12.135.140
Click on the image below to see a full screenshot from the SBC’s SIP Monitoring and Tracing tool showing a SIP phone behind the ASA registering to a SIP Registrar server. As you can see SM&T captures both the ingress and the egress side and displays into one simple ladder diagram. The Session Summary provides additional useful information specific to the SBC that would normally not be seen in 3rd party capture tools.