Cisco 7970

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LinuxMCE allows to use many devices as Orbiters. One of them is the Cisco 7970. You can use it to make calls and control your home as well. To add a new Cisco 7970 phone and Orbiter you should follow these simple instructions. Basically I got the information in the LinuxMCE support forum. But I think it's good to accumulate odd posts in one place. If you have some suggestions send me email - stepanov.michael [at] gmail [dot] com or leave a comment.

These instructions were adapted from How to setup CISCO 7970 in Plutohome. There is also some discussion of upgrading Cisco 7970 firmware for using SIP instead of SCCP. Complete info should be included in this wiki page.


Cisco 7970 phone is plug-in-play device and LinuxMCE adds it automatically when it'll be plugged in the network. But to do it we have to make some preparations. Since the server must be prepared when the phone checks into it, the phone must be disconnected from the server until the server preparation is complete. But some info for the server must be copied from the phone first.

In short, you'll check that the phone is configured to use DHCP, and get its MAC address. Then you'll create a new LMCE device and set that device to recognize the phone's IP#, and restart the DCERouter.

  1. Get phone configs.
    1. Ensure the 7970 is unplugged from the network.
    2. Power up the phone but don't let it connect to a network server. If your phone is powered by PoE, you will have to ensure that no server cable is connected to the PoE source (eg. a PoE switch), or (harder) that no servers (ie. DHCPd) are up and responding to to queries from the phone.
    3. Wait for the phone to boot (Cisco splashscreen changes to a background image, then probably goes dark for a few seconds while the "doubled-square" button at the right end of the row of buttons below the screen lights, then the background image returns with a "Configuring IP" time wheel across the bottom).
    4. Press the settings button (checked box at lower right of round "?" button) to get a "7970(G) SETTINGS" menu ("G" depends on specific 7970/7970G model#).
    5. Use the down arrow side of the circular navigation button below the screen to select a submenu.
      1. Check DHCP setting on your phone.
        1. From the "7970(G) SETTINGS" main menu, select "Network Congfiguration" or enter with the phone's keypad the item's number (probably "2") next to that menu item to get the "Network Congfiguration" menu.
        2. Down the list is "DHCP Enabled" (probably item 22), which should say "Yes".
      2. Get the MAC address of your phone.
        1. Also in the "7970(G) SETTINGS" > "Network Congfiguration" menu, find the "MAC Address" item (probably item 3).
        2. The "MAC Address" item is the MAC address, though it lacks the conventional ":" field separators among its six pairs of (zero-padded) hexadecimal digits.
          1. Insert the ":" separators (eg. 1234567890AB becomes 12:34:56:78:90:AB)
          2. You will use those numbers to define the range of MAC addresses LMCE will recognize as Cisco 7970 phones in the LMCE device you are about to create in the LMCE Adminsite.
  2. Run an Orbiter (on an existing LMCE device, not the 7970).
    1. Click Orbiter Home -> LinuxMCE:More -> Advanced Options -> Pending Tasks for list.
    2. Be sure that no others task are pending.
    3. Go to Admin website, menu Home -> Advanced -> Configuration -> Devices.
      1. Click "Add a top level device" in either the device tree in the minor side panel, or in the main panel.
      2. For "Device Template", click the button "Pick Device Template", which will popup a new window.
        1. From "manufacturer" choose "Cisco". You can filter the Device Template list by using a Device Category like "Hard Phones < Phones < Peripherals" (or a subset of that compound category). You should see in the Device Template list at least two models: 7960 and 7970.
        2. From "Device Template" pick "7970".
        3. Press the button "Pick device template". The Orbiter will display "Configuring Cisco 7970". The popup window will close. Several seconds might pass while LMCE generates the new device configs, then the device tree will show under "CORE > Asterisk" a new "Cisco 7970" device (with a "Cisco 7970 Orbiter" subdevice collapsed/viewable through it), and reload the main panel with a details page titled "Device #<n>: Cisco 7970" (<n> is some device ID number previously unused by your LMCE).
      3. In the Device details panel insert the two decimal MAC addresses defining a range as "LO-HI" (eg. 29902132740096-29902149517311) into the "MAC Address" field
      4. Click the "Save" button.
      5. Reload the DCERouter
        1. Webadmin Home > Wizard > Restart
        2. Click "Quick Reload Router" button.

You can create the phone device in LMCE first, and then check the phone's DHCP config and MAC address, returning to the device to configure its MAC address range, just as long as you don't connect the phone to the nework with the LMCE DHCP server until after LMCE is prepared.

There is a possibility to have some problems with the phone installation related with its firmware. The firmware version should be the latest. I didn't have any problem with existing firmware on my Cisco 7970. But you should bear in mind, as some more recent SIP firmware has failed to register with LinuxMCE's Asterisk subsystem. See Asterisk's own documentation (separate project) for details.


  1. Power up the phone with it connected to the network. Note if you have two network cards in your core's machine you should plug network cable in the "inside" ethernet segment, with the LMCE DHCP server running on that inside interface.
  2. During boot of the phone it will after 2-3 minutes you register with the LMCE to download its Orbiter. You should see on the LMCE Orbiter a message about new device with your phone MAC address was detected.
  3. After that the phone should be registered with LinuxMCE's Asterisk subsystem and you can see a normal Cisco screen.
  4. However, it'll take another 2-3 minutes to generate a new Orbiter for the Cisco 7970.
  5. When this operation finishes you'll see a message on the LMCE Orbiter (not the 7970) screen. Run a quick reload of router (Adminsite Home > Wizard > Restart; Click "Quick Reload Router").
  6. Now go to the Services menu on the Cisco 7970 and chose "Orbiter".
  7. If the Cisco 7970 Services menu doesn't contain "Orbiter", reboot the phone (power cycle) and look again in the Services menu.


  • Problem: Phone boots successfully in installation, but there isn't any message on the LMCE Orbiter's screen that it's registering.

Solution:Check the MAC address to ensure the phone's correct MAC address is in the specified range (Adminsite Home > Wizard > Devices; Phones; Cisco 790; Advanced; MAC Address)

Useful tips

  1. To reset a LMCE Network configuration of Cisco 7970 go to Admin website menu "Home -> Advanced -> Network Settings" (where you can change LMCE network settings) and press the following sequence of buttons on the phone: **#** (which will reset and reboot the phone).
  2. To check network communications between Cisco 7970 and CORE run tcpdump on the CORE: tcpdump -i eth1 <Cisco 7970 IP Address>
  3. To see detailed packets information: tcpdump -i -vv eth1 <Cisco 7970 IP Address>

See also