Testing the AudioCodes 7.2 release

AudioCodes recently released a new firmware version for the SBC line of products. Unlike previous upgrades, release 7.2 is a major change from a user experience standpoint. Things have not been simply re-arranged; this is a complete overhaul.

This post is not about the changes in 7.2. Instead it’s a ‘quick’ and dirty guide to getting up and running with 7.2 purely in a sandbox fashion. Many people will likely wait for some additional releases before upgrading their production SBCs to 7.2 but would like to start learning the new interface now. This is a guide on how to do that.

First off, I’ll show how to upgrade an existing dev instance to 7.2 by performing a basic firmware upgrade. This is not going to follow the proper procedures for a production upgrade (such as backing up configs, change management procedures, etc) and does not cover an HA pair upgrade. It is simply how to upgrade a dev instance to 7.2.

Second, I’ll show how to spin up a dev instance of AudioCodes SBC in a virtual environment. This is helpful for testing major changes to an SBC configuration in a non-destructive manner, testing out new releases, etc…

The method I use for creating the fresh dev instance is simply for testing out the new release — it is not a viable method for standing up a persistent integrated test SBC environment.

Upgrading an Existing Dev/QA Instance

Upgrading the firmware of a single AudioCodes device is fairly trivial task.

Prerequisites:

  • An account with AudioCodes that is associated with your support account and has access to software downloads
  • An existing SBC (virtual or physical)
  • An user account with the appropriate permissions (Master, Administrator, or Security Administrator)

Download the new firmware

Login to the AudioCodes website with the appropriate account. Mouse over ‘Products’ and click the Downloads button near the bottom-right.

site

From here select Software->SBC and Media Gateways->Mediant Virtual Edition (SE) Session Border Controller (SBC)->7.2 Latest Maintenance Release

downloads

Click to download the “Mediant VE/SE SIP 7.2 Latest Maintenance Release” file. It may ask you for some information; fill it out and agree to the terms to download. It will begin downloading the .cmp file.

Upgrade the Firmware

Login to the SBC which is being upgraded. In the following example, the SBC is running version 7.0. Go to the ‘Software Upgrade Wizard’ under ‘Device Actions’

post-login

Click ‘Start Software Upgrade’

wizard-1

The wizard starts you off at the CMP file selection options — this is the only part you need to complete. Click ‘Browse’ to select the newly downloaded 7.2 firmware and then click ‘Load File’.

wizard-2

It should display a message stating that it completed loading the file

wizard-3

You can either click ‘Reset’ now, or hit ‘Next’ to continue through the wizard (if you want to upload an auxiliary files). Either way, the configuration needs to be burned to flash and the device reset in order for the upgrade to complete.

wizard-4

Click the ‘Reset’ button to perform the burn/reset.

wizard-5

After a few minutes, the wizard will display the firmware version and a button to “End Process”. Click this button.

wizard-6

And that’s it! You should now be sitting at the newly designed login screen.

post-upgrade-login

Deploying a Fresh 7.2 Virtual SBC

If you would like to simply spin up a test instance of 7.2 to play with, this is the section to follow.

AudioCodes SBCs can be deployed to certain types of bare metal, ESX, or even Hyper-V. But in this example, since the purpose is simply to test drive 7.2 prior to upgrading, I thought it would be fun to test it out on the VirtualBox platform (which is unsupported). The exact same process can be done on any other platform, but I’ll just be using VirtualBox in this guide.

Pre-requisites:

  • An account with AudioCodes that is associated with your support account and has access to software downloads
  • A hypervisor of some sort (this guide uses VirtualBox)

Download the Appropriate 7.2 Image

Follow the same instructions as above — but rather than downloading the firmware, download the ‘Mediant VE(Virtual Edition) VMware 7.2 OVF File’.

Import the OVF

This step is dependent on the chosen hypervisor platform. In VirtualBox, go to File->Import Appliance

import

Choose the OVF file

choose-file

It will show a summary (leave everything at the default values). Click ‘Import’

importing-prog

At this point you have a virtual SBC ready to go.

Configure Virtual Network(s)

Since this SBC is just for testing, the network configuration isn’t terribly important. However, you want to make sure that one of the network adapters (the OVF adds 2 adapters by default) is setup so that the host can reach the web interface of the VM.

You can do this by adding putting the virtual adapter in Host-Only, bridged, or NAT mode.For this example, I did Host-only. With this mode, I do not have to worry about doing any port forwarding (like you do with NAT) and I didn’t want it in bridged mode either because I wanted it isolated from the other resources on the network for security purposes.

But ultimately, do whatever you want to do. Just be aware of putting the test VM on public IP space when it is listening on well-known ports and has default credentials.

To do Host-only mode in VirtualBox, you first need to create the HO networks. Go to File->Preferences->Network, and click on the ‘Host-only Networks’ tab.

ho-net.png

Click the icon with the plus sign on it to bring up the HO network creator. This will add the HO adapter. I created 2 adapters for the LAN and WAN. Once created, you will want to edit them to set the private IP space which you want to use. I did LAN as 10.0.2.0/24 and WAN as 10.0.3.0/24 . This is an example of the LAN adapter:

host-only1

It doesn’t matter if you enable DHCP or not on the network as Mediants have DHCP requests disabled by default.

Next, assign the adapter(s) to the VM. Right-click on the VM and go to ‘Settings’ and then ‘Network’. There will be 2 adapters enabled by default (this is because of the OVF template you imported) — assign one of the HO adapters to each of the adapters on the VM

assign-adapter

Now you are ready to start the VM.

Mediant Configuration

Start the VM (normal start, not headless). You should see the following

grub

If you don’t hit anything it will automatically boot — hit enter and it will immediately boot. It will then display an error saying that the platform is unsupported (because it’s VirtualBox). Again, either wait or hit enter.

unsupported

It will take a little while to initialize the interfaces. Once it does, you should be seeing this

cli

Now onto the last step!

Set IP Address

Now that we have a working Mediant VE, it’s time to re-IP the VM so that we can get into the web interface.

Login with the default credentials (username Admin, password Admin). Enable privileged commands by typing ‘enable’ and entering the same credentials.

We need to configure an interface with an IP address on the HO network we created. By default, the O+M+C interface is index 0, which is given a default IP of 192.168.0.1, so we’ll use that. Since I used the 10.0.2.0/24 IP space, I’ll set the IP to 10.0.2.5 (just needs to be an IP on the network that you created).

configure voip
interface network-if 0
ip-address 10.0.2.5
prefix-length 24
activate

commands

And that’s it!

You should now be able to reach the web interface of the SBC (from your host machine only). Open a browser and go to the IP address which you set earlier (use https).

You should see the new login interface (notice the blue bar at the bottom of the banner)

post-upgrade-login

If you are not able to reach it, try pinging the SBC first to make sure the networking is setup properly. If it is but you are still receiving errors, it’s likely due to the browser you are using not liking the Cipher suite the SBC defaults to. Try Internet Explorer or Firefox.

On a side note, while don’t remember how it was in previous versions, SSH is disabled by default in 7.2.If you want to enable SSH, go to Administration->Web&CLI->CLI Settings, and set ‘Enable SSH Server’ to ‘Enabled’.

enable-ssh

Summary

And that’s it! Go wild and play around with the new interface. This is not a particularly useful method for testing actual calls, but it’s just meant as a guide to begin testing out 7.2.

If you would like to actually test configurations, call flows, etc with 7.2 and create more of a persistent virtual lab, you would want this to be hosted on ESX or Hyper-V and on a network which your UC infrastructure can find.

In the near future I will be posting a more useful article on how to integrate a persistent dev SBC environment  with a UC platform (either CUCM of SfB, haven’t decided yet). It may even take advantage of some neat things like Ansible and Git. But more on that later 😉

 

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