Friday, July 27, 2007

Using multiple IPBlue Phones on one PC

The IPBlue phones are very handy for the vmware/dynamips simulated voice lab. However, the problem is that when you start up a second instance, it defaults to the first MAC address available and the first and second instances start flapping trying to re-register to the call manager using the same MAC address. Here is a quick and 'not so dirty' solution:

The phone basically reads its configuration from the windows registry when started. The trick is to make sure the appropriate MAC address is in the registry (assuming you have 2 or 3 NICs or Virtual vmnet interfaces in case of VMware) before you start the application each time. The settings are stored under HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\IPblue\ in the registry. Follow the procedure below to create multiple phone 'profiles' first
  1. Launch the IPblue phone
  2. Choose one of the available MAC addresses.
  3. Make sure settings on CCM / CCME is set correctly and verify that the phone registers.
  4. I usually also select the Cisco skin for the phone and select 'Mini View Mode' from the File menu, so that the compact view is used, allowing 3 or 4 phones to be displayed simultaneously on my desktop.
  5. Run the regedit tool ('Start', 'Run', regedit.exe)
  6. Browse to HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software and select IPblue'
  7. From the 'Registry' menu, choose 'Export Registry File' - Make sure you have the'Selected Branch' option selected - you DON'T even want to think about exporting the whole darn thing - it's humongous.
  8. Give it an appropriate name - I usually choose the primary extension - example 1001.reg
  9. Go back to the phone configuration and choose another MAC address.
  10. Repeat steps 3 to 8 and create the next registry file (example 2001.reg, 3001,reg etc..)
A little bit of theory again.. Now you have a bunch of registry files that has the full configuration for a phone in the way you want it. If these entries are in the right place when the phone starts up, it will appropriately launch the right phone/extension. Double clicking on the registry file from explorer will give you a warning, and will import the content to registry when you accept the warning, and again shows up another annoying message about how it updated the registry. All settings under 'IPBlue' will now be updated from the registry file that you imported.

I usually keep all my phone registry files in the same directory and do the following steps to activate the phones (assuming the CCM configuration is completed for the phones).

  • Double click the first registry file to import phone configuration.
  • Run IPblue phone and wait until it registers. (Tip: Starting ipblue phone with a '/d' option lets you launch multiple phones - otherwise it will throw an error and bring the active one to the front)
  • Double click the second registry file to import second phone configuration.
  • Run IPblue phone again from the shortcut and it will launch a second instance, now with the configuration for second phone. Verify registration of the phone..
  • and so on.. limited by the number of MAC address/CCM pair.
That's brings another interesting discussion. You CAN re-use the MAC addresses, assuming they are registering to different CCM clusters. For instance, with 2 MAC addresses you can have 4 phones, two registered to CCM and two registered to CCME. Just follow the same procedure as above with the tftp server address pointing to CCME router, and reuse the MAC addresses for your CME phones.

The sound quality is not the greatest at all times, but it does work - I still have my virtual lab on my laptop.

Have fun.. :-)

29 comments:

Anonymous said...

Hi jayanm,
Mind asking which ipblue version you use?
I downloaded the ipblue 2.10. However, I am unable to start multiple ipblue with the "-d" option.

Kindly advice. Thanks and best regards,

jayanm said...

2.10.1 is the version I was using, '-d' does work with this version - The download from their site that says '2.10' is 2.10.1. Did you try creating a shortcut on with this option or try running from a command prompt?

Anonymous said...

Hi jayanm,
I tried both method.

Just to reconfirm, http://www.ipblue.com/ is the website and VTGO-Lite is the correct version, am I correct?

Thanks.

jayanm said...

Yes.. both are right - The file that you download from their product page should be able to do this - Unless they disabled the feature in the latest release or something.

tibnee said...

Hi jayanm,
I am using version vtgo-pc-advanced 2.10.1.105 , however, the registry hack that you suggested didnot seem to work.I cannot run two instances of this software.
Can you tell me which minor release you used ? for instance, mine is 2.10.1.105 . what is yours ?

Secondly, i tried to use cisco ip communicator as alternative but it doesnot work.pitty though. Can you suggest how to work around with it ?

jayanm said...

I am using the same version 2.10.1.105

One other thing, you _will not_ be able to start two instances by clicking on the Start menu item or double-clicking the executable in explorer. You will have to create a shortcut that has the command line as below.

"C:\Program Files\IP blue\VTGO\VTGO-PC.exe" /d

Again, I guess I made a small mistake in my earlier comment, the switch is '/d' not '-d'. sorry about that..

Anonymous said...

Hi Jayanm
I am new to the VMworld and to dynamips.. mange to bring up the cm, unity and ipcc vms. need your help to know few things in detail like how to setup the vmnets .. bit of details if possible.

Cheers
Chan

jayanm said...

Chan,

You have to run the vmware-config.pl script to configure vmnets. Choose host only networking if you don't plan to connect to outside (except via a dynamips router, connected to a bridged interface) and assign a subnet to each of them. You may need at least one bridged interface if you need to be able to get to your 'virtual environment' from machines other than where it is running. In that case, create a bridged interface and use one of your existing NICs, for example eth0 to be the bridged physical interface, which vmware will automatically map to a virtual NIC vmnetX..

Anonymous said...

Hi,

Thanks so much for sharing. How did you get a VM with both CCM & IPCC running together.

Thanks,
Adam

jayanm said...

IPCC install on a VM is very straightforward. I think it needs to see 2GB of RAM while installing if it sees the CCM is co-resident on same server. With VMware that is not an issue. Once the install is done, you can bring the memory back to whatever is reasonable for your setup.

And remember to use the username Administrator/ciscocisco to configure IPCC the first time. That stumped me for some time until I actually read the documentation (yeah, I know.. :-)

Anonymous said...

Hi jaynam,

I am still having problems running multiple instances of IP Blue!
For a while, the configuration of different profiles for HQ, BR1, and BR2 seemed to be stable.

Yesterday, after launching IP communicator, I started getting weird symptoms: IP blue won't launch until I disable a couple of the Microsoft loopback interfaces!

This is limiting me to three instances ( I am not sure if it is going to be less in the next lab session!).

If I am going to use both IP Blue and Cisco IP Communicator, what mac/ interface should I use on Cisco IP communicator to avoid conflicts?

What is the best practice when having both softphones? Which to use Where??

Any ideas for alternative soft phones?

I have a Vista business laptop and am using IP blue vtgo lite v.2.10.1 for xp and 2000.. Are there any compatibility issues?

Appreciate your advice.

AH

jayanm said...

Hmmm, this is the first time I have heard of an application compatibility issue with Vista.. I wonder why that is :-)

That said, you would know that this is not a really supported configuration by any of the vendors involved, and is only an experiment. For me all of this has worked in Windows 2000 Pro and XP, and I usually stick with what works.

Sorry I could not be of more help.

Anonymous said...

Hi Jayanm,

It is AH again.

First of all, I would like to tell you that I managed to get a Windows XP laptop and throw away my Vista Business!!!

Regarding your procedure, do I need to have a Registered IP blue "VTGO-PC Lite" to carry out the steps, or I can apply with the demo version of VTGO?

I will be using VTGO for accessing virtual lab through Cisco VPN client.

Can you please elaborate more on the Settings part?

e.g. for the Mac Address Part, I am going to use several Mircrosoft Loopback interface Mac addresses created specifically for this profiling purpose, what about the "Network Interface" part ?.... should be the VPN interface, or my wireless interface or again.. the loopback interface?

(knowing that I am connected thru wireless to my home LAN and Internet DSL)


Appreciate your advice,

AH

jayanm said...

AH,

I think you have made a 'great improvement' since your last post - the only thing you could have done better to your intel laptop is install Ubuntu Linux :-)

That aside, the MAC address is only for identifying the instance of the IP phone, and to decode the RTP streams that comes to the machine, and divert them to the right phone. You can use any MAC address, as long as they are actively showing on the machine that the IP blue phone is running. The phone uses that MAC address to register itself to call manager, and call manager uses the publically reachable ip address of that computer to communicate back to the phone.

As far as using the registered version of phone, it will work with the unregistered version also, but it is limited to the 20 minute phone use (then you have to restart the phone) or the 2 minute call duration.

John said...

Hi Jayman,
Firstly can I say great post ... exactly what I was looking for. Thanks.
I have one question though. I have everything working in so far as I have 2 instances of IP Blue registering with the call Manager and ringing one another. However, as they are working off of the same network adapter they appear in the call manager with the same IP address. Is it possible to associate each different instance with a different virual adapter? Everytime I try, it just defaults back to the newest loopback adapter.

Thanks,
John

jayanm said...

I have never bothered with the IP address that shows up in Call manager.. Not sure how it can be changed either.

As far as the phone is concerned (as well as call manager) the requests from the phone is identified by the MAC address or device address that it sends as part of the request, and not the IP address. So calling between them should not be an issue. The only thing you probably can't do correctly is click on the IP address to see the phone web page for the correct phone.

John said...

Thanks Jayanm. Yeah it works fine when all the phones are on the same LAN and only the MAC-address is required. The problm only comes when I connect another phone on a different network.

I have a work around in so far as I have an IP communicator acting as a phone on another network using a differnt network adapter. I was just interested to see if you had another way around it.

Either way, thanks again for the original post.

John

sakal-woman said...

hi jayan,

thanks for this guide. Abt the ip blue phone, i can run two instances of the ip phone & did the registry hack but i cannot register it to my call manager. It just keep on not responding. Appreciate if you could suggest something regarding this. Thanks.

sakal-woman said...

hi jayanm,
you can ignore my previous post. i installed the previous version and it worked. I was able to register the blue phones to the call manager. thanks. :)

Sapphire said...

You write very well.

Anonymous said...

Nice post. I am using tiny xp. However it can give only the ip communicator. it takes less than 100 mb ram which is can create a real environment with different ip registration in the call manager

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the post, its really helpful.

I watched the video, and save 3 registary files (BR1 PH2, BR2 PH3 & PSTN), but even if i load registary file before opening phone instance, it doesn't load proper config and I still have to manually configured 2nd and 3rd instinct of the IP Blue Phone.

Really appreciate your comments on this.

Thanks

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pithogoil@yahoo.com said...

i need help please i cant modify my target on the properties of the ip blue phone, i will like to know what i did wrong.

mail pithogoil@yahoo.com

Maxim said...

Hi jayanm,
I'm trying to get two IPBlue phone running, but no luck yet.
I suspect that maybe version 2.15.51.182 is "multiple phones" proof.
If it's not too much trouble, could you please send your working version to maxim-jp-psn@mail.ru?
Thanks!

jayanm said...

Wow, I have not seen a comment on this site for years.. I have not use those phones in a while either. Not sure if I have a copy somewhere. Please search the net for 2.10 - you should be able to find it somewhere.

Anonymous said...

Hi:

Can anyone help me to install a VTGO-PC Lite in a spanish windows 7. I have an error and I think is because my windows doesn´t have a User group in English. Can I install VTGO-PC Lite in a spanish windows 7?

Regards