CME - Command Line

Examine the Router's CME Configuration

On your router, examine your running config to see the telephony changes added. They are located in the telephony-service section. It is important that you familiarize yourself with the command line configuration as CME lives half in the GUI and the other half in the command line.


The IP phone configuration starts in the telephony-service section of the running configuration. The actual telephony commands are scattered through-out the running configuration and are not limited to the telephony-service section. The following configuration is a bare bones example of the telephony-service section:

 load 7960-7940 P00308000500
 max-ephones 2
 max-dn 2
 ip source-address port 2000
 auto assign 1 to 2

load 7960-7940 P00308000500

This command identifies the firmware to load for specific phone models. In this case, its for the 7960 and 7940 series of phones. It works for 7961 and 7941 phones also. This way you can specify specific firmware for different models if needed.

max-ephones 2

This command sets the maximum number of physical phones that are allowed to connect to CME. During the initial setup, only 2 were indicated. If more phones were required, you could manually issue the command with however many phones you need.

max-dn 2

This command sets the maximum number of dialing numbers (extensions) that CME will allow. In this case, only 2 extensions. If you want to add another phone then you will need to increase the number of dialing numbers too.

ip source-address port 2000

This command specifies which IP address that CME will use for voice communications - it should be on the Voice VLAN. All phones will register to this IP address. The port indicates the UDP port that is used by the SCCP protocol which is port 2000.

auto assign 1 to 2

This command allows CME to auto configure the phones as they are physically connected. The ephone and ephone-dn commands will be auto populated with information. If there were more phones, you could change it to "auto assign 1 to 10".

I have mixed feelings about this command as I've had instances where I've had to take the whole system down and then when CME and the phones rebooted, all of the phone's dialing numbers changed! So it was like all of the extensions were randomly assigned depending on which phone booted first. After the initial setup, I prefer to assign any new extensions through the CME GUI and remove this command.


The command ephone-dn stands for "electronic phone dialing number" or as it is commonly known as the "extension" number. The first extension is "ephone-dn 1", the next "ephone-dn 2", etc.. Here's an example of the first extension configuration:

ephone-dn  1  dual-line 	; this indicates the first (1) extension
 number 2201			; assigns the extension or dialing number
 call-forward busy 2200		; when busy forward to the voicemail pilot number
 call-forward noan 2200 timeout 10 ; on no answer go to voicemail pilot number

  • ephone-dn 1 dual-line

    The dual-line option allows call transfers, paging, call waiting and a host of other services.

  • number 2201

    This assigns the actual number that would be dialed to reach the phone.

  • call-forward busy 2200

    What happens if the extension is busy? You call forward the caller to another extension or in this case to the voicemail pilot number. The voicemail pilot number will bring up the voicemail service.

  • call-forward noan 2200 timeout 10

    On no answer (noan) after 10 seconds call forward to the voicemail pilot number.

ephone x

Examine the physical phone configuration under the command "ephone x". The first physical phone is "ephone 1", the next is "ephone 2", etc.. This is an example of a bare bones ephone configuration:

ephone  1         ; indicates the first phone to configure
 multicast-moh	  ; allow music on hold
 mac-address 001B.535C.FC66	; mac address of phone
 type 7960        ; model of phone for firmware loading
 button  1:1      ; Line 1 uses dialing number 1

  • multicast-moh

    By default, Music on Hold (MoH) is disabled for some stupid reason for each phone. When you first run this setup, there will be a line "no multicast-moh" present. Enter in "multicast-moh" and the line disappears and nothing replaces it. Very strange! Just a note, there is still more configuration to make MoH work.

  • mac-address

    Only phones that are identified here by their MAC address are allowed to use the phone system. Normally MAC addresses are formated: 00:1B:53:5C:FC:66 or 00-1B-53-5C-FC-66 but Cisco breaks the MAC address into this format 001B.535C.FC66. The MAC address is part of the security. If you are connecting a softphone to the system, you would use your PC's MAC address.

  • type 7960

    The "type" command is used to indicate the type of ephone that is being configured. In this example, it is a Cisco 7960 IP phone. If it was a 7941, the command would be "type 7941" and if it was a Cisco IP Communicator softphone, it would be "type CIPC".

  • button 1:1

    The button 1:1 command indicates that button 1 on the phone will be assigned to extension 1 (dn - dialing number). The buttons are located on the right hand side of the phone. A Cisco 7960 has six (6) buttons that you can play with. A 7941 only has two (2).

    This is an important command as it assigns the extension to the phone. Without it, the phone will not work. Using this command you can assign multiple extensions to the phone. For example, button 2:2 would assign button 2 to dialing number 2 on the phone. Typically, you would assign the buttons to other functions like speed dial or paging besides just extensions.

Distinctive Rings

Cisco Unified IP Phones have two default ring types: Chirp1 and Chirp2. Unique rings can be configured and the user can configure their phone with a distinctive ring through the phone's Settings - Ring Type. This is a very nice feature for users who work in a cubicle style or an area where there are a lot of phones. The users recognize when it is their phone ringing and not their neighbour's. It gives immediate positive feedback and users really appreciate this feature.

Note: files on the router are case sensitive! You will have to share each ring tone and the XML files that list the ring tones: DistinctiveRingList.xml and RingList.xml. The format fo the two files is quite simple and you will have to format the files to list the ring tones that you have shared via tftp on your system.

I've found that Cisco does not have a standard case convection for the RingList.xml file that the phones look for. The default file name is RingList.xml, but I've found that some 7960 phones require a file called RINGLIST.XML. Solution is to copy RingList.xml as RINGLIST.XML on the router. Then the phones are happy. You can check the phone's Status Messages to see if it is failing to download the files from the tftpserver.

Enable distinctive ring tones by adding the following files to the router's tftp-server list. In my system, I shared each of the following files:

  • DistinctiveRingList.xml
  • RingList.xml
  • Analog1.raw
  • AreYouThere.raw
  • Bass.raw
  • Chime.raw
  • Classic1.raw
  • ClockShop.raw
  • Jamaica.raw
  • Pop.raw
Here's an example of how to share one file. You will have to add a similar line for each of the above files.

Router(config)#  tftp-server flash:DistinctiveRingList.xml

When the phone boots up, it requests from the tftp server the RingList.xml file and the DistinctiveRingList.xml file. This gives the phone a list of ring tones that will appear in the phone's Settings - Ring Type menu. When you select a ring tone, the phone makes a request to the tftp server to download the file exactly as indicated by the xml files. The file names have to match case and must be shared by the tftp server for this to work.

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Copyright July 2013 Eugene Blanchard