Trying to provision Cisco 9971

Hi all!

I’m brand new to the PBX/phone world and I bought pair of Cisco 9971’s to setup in my homelab. I’ve got FreePBX installed and DHCP configured to point TFTP to the FreePBX box, but after that I’m not sure how to actually setup these phones.

Could someone point me towards a good guide to follow? I don’t want to pay for Endpoint Manager as I’m just using these two phones at home for fun.

I also tried going to the phones IP address to see if I could configure it through its webpage, but it only shows statistics and debug info - no settings area.


A search shows many tutorials and sample configs.

looks like a good one for beginners.

I agree with his philosophy of getting FreePBX working first, using softphones or mobile SIP apps. After you can make and receive calls, then work on the 9971. He’s in the UK, so you’ll need to modify his dial plans for North American formats (assuming that’s where you are). Since you are starting from scratch, choose extension numbers that don’t conflict with the numbering plan for your country, e.g. 101-109 if you are indeed in US or Canada.

Thanks for the reply! Shortly after I posted the thread, I found a bunch of tutorials on how to create the SEP[MAC].cnf.xml file and stick it in the TFTP server in FreePBX. I thought I had it correct, but the phone still reads “Phone Not Registered”.

In the /var/log/messages I can see a lot of requests for SEP[MAC].cnf.xml.sgn so I copied my .xml file and called it .xml.sgn, but that’s probably not the right way to do it. What’s the difference between those two files?

The .sgn are signed configuration files, which you won’t be able to create (you don’t have the private key to sign them). If those are the only files being requested, you’ll need to reset the phone to a less secure state. Perhaps the factory reset function will work, or you’ll need to somehow load other firmware. Sorry for the vague description but I know almost nothing about Cisco phones.

With Cisco phones, this is always a good first step. After that, make sure you set up your DHCP to use Option 150 instead of the usual option 66 for your “next-server” information (firmware loads, etc.)

In spite of these being a “more recent” phone from Cisco, they are still the single toughest manufacturer of phones to set up. We’ve been discussing the 9971 in the forum for a couple of weeks, and there are many challenges to getting it working, with a myriad of “kinda” correct solutions to many of the problems.

Thanks for the tip about Option 150. I’ve added that to my DHCP server and restarted the phone, but I’m still stuck at “Phone Not Registered”.

Is there an easy way to diagnose what the issue in the chain is? Here are the possible problems I’ve come up with:

  • Phone is not grabbing the .conf.xml file
  • Phone is grabbing the file, but there’s something wrong in the config

For anyone reading this in the future, I got it working. You can follow the steps I took in this Reddit thread:

(Basically, don’t manually edit the asterisk .conf files to add TCP stuff and make sure to actually factory reset the phones - Administrator Settings > Reset Settings > All Settings)

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