Every network administrator with any experience at all has developed his or her own little bag of tools. These tools are often small software utility programs that perform some handy function that was mysteriously missing from their primary network management software. In the world of IP Telephony, these tools are also common and practically indispensable.
If you're using Cisco's Call Manager and/or Cisco gateways, you're probably familiar with the detailed debugs and other information available to you. However, some individuals were unsatisfied and wrote a couple handy programs to fill the gaps:
CDR Time Converter: this utility converts from UNIX epoch time to a standard date and time format. This is useful for reading call-detail records.
Dick Tracy: this is actually a pair of utilities (one that runs on Windows, and one that is embedded in the Catalyst OS) for troubleshooting voice gateways. It works on the WS-X6608 and 6624 blades that fit in the 6500 series switching platform, and also on the DT-24+ and DE-30+, which are PCI form-factor cards that put a voice gateway in a host PC.
Q.931 Translator: if the cryptic codes in CCM trace files are annoying you, you can translate these H.225 and Q.931 signaling message codes into something a little more useful. This tool actually does quite a bit more and is an enhanced version of the one that ships with Call Manager.
CCEmail: this tool is useful for a lot more than just IP Telephony. It lets you email or page yourself with alerts based on Windows' PerfMon counters.
To download these utilities, go to ciscopress.com and search on 1587050757. Click the link to the book, then click downloads.
NOTE: NONE of these are officially supported, so use at your own risk. They don't come with any documentation or instructions. If you want more info, buy the book Troubleshooting Cisco IP Telephony by CiscoPress.
Thomas Alexander Lancaster IV is a consultant and author with over ten years experience in the networking industry, focused on Internet infrastructure.