Cisco ATA 180 Series Analog Phone Adapters

A Practical Know-How that Will Take You Far

The Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) has caused a major technology shift in the field of voice communications as it offers substantial cost savings over traditional Plain Old Telephone Service (POTS). Many companies still have substantial investments in traditional telephony hardware and the ability to integrate this hardware into the Internet Protocol (IP) voice system is a valuable asset for any technician as demand for this type of service is very strong and expected to grow even further in the near future.

Cisco’s ATA 180 series analog phone adapters allow IP integration of analog phone equipment including telephones, fax machines, analog conference speaker telephones and other analog devices. The 180 series adapters support 2 analog phone connections into a standard ethernet port. This “how to” tackles the installation and initial configuration procedures for the ATA 186 and 188 models.

Step by Step Installation

Installation of the adapters is fairly straightforward. The rear panel connections include two analog phone jacks, a power connection, one ethernet port in the 186 model, and an additional ethernet port in the 188 model (see picture below). The unit is powered via a five volt DC power adapter. The two phone jacks must be used in order, if you are connecting a single phone for instance the number one jack must be used.

Any telephony equipment should be set to tone (digital) not pulse (analog) for the phone adapter to operate properly. Older analog dialing telephony equipment is not supported. Also note that the jacks should never be connected to a telephone wall jack as the unit can be damaged by power present on these outlets.

The ethernet network connection is made using the RJ45 jack closest to the power connector. In the 188 model the second ethernet jack is provided as an extension to other network equipment or to a PC. Insert the power connector once all the other connections are completed. When moving or servicing the unit first unplug the ethernet connections, wait twenty seconds then unplug the power connector. When the unit is properly connected the ACT/LINK LED will flash indicating network activity to the unit.

188 ATA

Three Methods of Configuration

The 186 and 188 models support the MGCP, SCCP and SIP protocols. There are three methods of performing the initial configuration. The TFTP automated method uses a hosted configuration file that automatically downloads to the unit whenever it is powered up, reset or by a preset TFTP qwery interval. The TFTP method is useful when multiple units are being installed and managed. The units can be configured manually by either a web interface or by the voice interface using a connected analog phone set.

Before a unit is configured it loads the default boot settings. The unit also comes loaded with a default signaling image which must be upgraded to one of the supported signaling protocols listed above. The boot process includes VPN discovery using CDP, DHCP and finally TFTP qwery and download.

The boot process first executes VPN discovery using the Cisco Discovery Protocol. If a valid VLAN ID is received the unit enters the VLAN, if no ID is present the unit continues to the next step of the boot process. DHCP is enabled by default which allows the unit to obtain IP addressing information via the network DHCP server including IP address, default gateway and subnet mask. The unit will also request the TFTP server address and if present will continue into the TFTP boot section. The unit will query the TFTP server for a valid configuration file designated by the units MAC address in the configuration file name and if found will download and install. If all the above boot configuration processes fail (there is no network connectivity) the unit will finish the boot process and must be manually configured via the voice interface.

1. Manual Voice Configuration

Manual configuration via the voice interface is performed using an analog telephone set plugged into the #1 phone jack on the back of the unit. The interface is initialized by first hooking the connection then pressing the function button located on the top of the unit. The various feature settings are accessed by entering voice menu number codes. You will then receive voice prompts to enter keypad combinations to set the value of the various features.

The voice interface can be used to completely configure the unit or just to gain network connectivity to enable further configuration by the other interfaces. In a situation where the unit has lost connectivity, is not responding, or a password has been lost the unit can be reset to factory defaults using the voice interface. Simply hook the connection, press the function button then enter 322873738 (FACTRESET) from the keypad followed by the # and 3 to confirm the reset.

2. Web Interface Configuration

Once network connectivity has been established either by the voice interface or network DHCP the unit can be configured using any compliant web browser from any computer on the local network. The web interface may also be used to view the current configuration file distributed by the TFTP server method.

To connect via the web interface first confirm IP connectivity by using the ping command to the units’ IP address. Open a browser and enter http://ipaddress/dev for the configuration screen or http://ipaddress/refresh for the TFTP config file. You will receive an auth challenge before the configuration web page is displayed. The adapter unit functions much like a router where changes in configuration are only applied after a save/apply/restart.

3. TFTP Automated Method

In environments where many ATA units are installed using a served configuration file method is preferred, simply due to the ease of deployment and maintenance. Configuring the files on the TFTP server is explained in the Cisco documentation. It involves downloading the proper configuration package then building both common and individual configuration files which will be hosted on the server and accessible to the units. You must then either configure the local DHCP server to supply TFTP server IP information or directly configure the ATA units with the TFTP server information.

Once configured the ATA 180 series analog phone adapters need little if any maintenance other than occasional firmware release updates or signaling protocol updates.

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