The Corelatus Blog
E1/T1 and SDH/SONET telecommunications

Retroactive debugging: recording signalling for later analysis

Posted December 6th 2012

This post is about saving signalling data for later analysis.

Problem: a subscriber reports that it wasn't possible to call a particular handset two hours ago. Connecting a signalling analyzer now won't help, so the best you can try to do is to reproduce the problem with test calls.

An alternative approach is to save all signalling data for a few days. Then, when you get a trouble report, examine the signalling affecting the subscriber's handset around the time the problem actually happened.

Disk space

Signalling on a single timeslot of an E1 cannot possibly be more than 8 kByte per second in each direction. There are 86400 seconds in a day and you usually save both directions of the link, so there's never going to be more than 140 MByte of data per day per ordinary link, uncompressed.

Real-world links aren't going to be anywhere near that busy. It's more likely that they're only carrying a few megabytes of signalling per day.

Even on high-speed-signalling-links at 1980 kbit/s, it's never going to be more than 5 GByte per day.

Sample code

The C sample code has an example which saves signalling from as many links as you want to a file in PCAP format.

 ./save_to_pcap -m -n 1000 172.16.1.10 1A 2A 16 captured_packets.pcap

'-m' tells the GTH that the incoming signal is attenuated by 20dB
'-n 1000' means that you want a new '.pcap' file after every 1000 packets; the files automatically get a .1, .2, .3, ... suffix.
'1A 2A' tells the GTH that you want packets captured on the E1/T1 interfaces called 1A and 2A. '16' tells the GTH that you want timeslot 16

The PCAP files can then be opened by wireshark, here's an example of doing that.

Permalink | Tags: GTH, telecom-signalling