ISC DHCP Server (Nortel VoIP)

I’ve received quite few messages from folks trying to setup and configure the ISC DHCP server that often comes bundled with all the major Linux distributions for Nortel Internet Telephony. Nortel has several “Technical Configuration Guides” that outline how to configure Microsoft’s DHCP Server but I don’t believe they ever discuss the ISC DHCP server.

I will admit that I really don’t use the ISC DHCP server these days. We’ve been using Lucent’s VitalQIP IP Management software to manage our internal BOOTP/DHCP/DNS/DDNS needs for the past 10 years.

However, since there was so much interest I decided to setup a lab (at home) with a i2002 phone and a server running CentOS v5.0. I installed dhcp-3.0.5-7.el5 via YUM and came up with a sample dhcpd.conf file that anyone should be able to modify to meet their specific needs.

# DHCP Server Configuration file.
#   see /usr/share/doc/dhcp*/dhcpd.conf.sample
# Sample dhcpd.conf file for Nortel Internet Telephony
# Notes: example dhcpd.conf file to illustrate how to configure Nortel
# Internet Telephone specific DHCP options for i2002/i2004 Internet
# Telephones and 2210/2211 Wireless Phones.
# This is just an sample file with specific IP information. You'll
# need to customize this file to your specific IP address scheme
# before you can use it in your environment.

ddns-update-style none;
not authoritative;

option nortel-callserver code 128 = string;
option nortel-2245 code 151 = ip-address;

# Vendor Class for i2002/i2004/1120e/1140e/1150e Internet Telephones
class "Nortel-i2004-A" {
match if substring (option vendor-class-identifier, 0, 14) = "Nortel-i2004-A";
option nortel-callserver "Nortel-i2004-A,,1,5;,1,5.";
option vendor-class-identifier "Nortel-i2004-A";

# Vendor Class for 2210/2211 Wireless Phones
class "Nortel-221x-A" {
match if substring(option vendor-class-identifier, 0, 13) = "Nortel-221x-A";
option nortel-callserver "Nortel-i2004-A,,1,5:,1,5.";
option nortel-2245;
option vendor-class-identifier "Nortel-221x-A";

# Network Definition
shared-network "mynetwork" {
 subnet netmask {
 option subnet-mask;
 option routers;
 option domain-name "";
 option domain-name-servers;
 default-lease-time 28800;
 max-lease-time 86400;

   # IP Address Pool for generic devices
   pool {
      deny members of "Nortel-i2004-A";
      deny members of "Nortel-221x-A";

   # IP Address Pool for i2002/i2004/1120e/1140e/1150e
   pool {
      allow members of "Nortel-i2004-A";
      deny members of "Nortel-221x-A";

   # IP Address Pool for 2210/2211
   pool {
      deny members of "Nortel-i2004-A";
      allow members of "Nortel-221x-A";

In the example above I setup two DHCP scopes; one for the standard hardwired Nortel Internet Telephones (Nortel-i2004-A) and another for the Nortel Wireless Phones (Nortel-221x-A). Hopefully this example should be fairly easy to follow just remember to edit all the site specific IP information.


Comments on this entry are closed.

  • Anonymous February 4, 2008, 5:51 pm

    Thanks! I’m having to setup ISC dhcp for a nortel deployment. Is there a way to pass voice or data vlan id numbers to the phone via dhcp?


  • Michael McNamara February 4, 2008, 10:41 pm

    You can definitely pass the voice VLAN ID over DHCP. I covered the necessary DHCP option and how it works in a previous post;

    DHCP Options (VoIP) Part 2

    Prior to Nortel supporting ADAC/LLDP (802.1ab) I used DHCP option 191 and while it worked I would strongly advise folks to use ADAC/LLDP (802.1ab) if at all possible.

    I do NOT have a dhcpd.conf file for that scenario but I don’t imagine it would be that complicated. If I find the time over the next week I’ll try to draw one up.


  • PBX admin April 10, 2008, 3:26 pm

    This is great info. Thanks so much for taking the time to put it out there. I’d love to see some more info on ISC DHCP with LLDP-MED.

  • Michael McNamara May 5, 2008, 11:21 am


    Hopefully you won’t be surprised to know that you should already have everything you need. There is no direct tie in between ADAC/LLDP and DHCP. If I wasn’t using ADAC/LLDP I would still use the same DHCP configuration. I would just need to manually configure the Voice VLAN on the phones and manually configure the VLAN and QoS settings on the network switches.

    The phone will always use a DHCP vendor class of “Nortel-i2004-A” so you can setup specific DHCP scopes/ranges within your IP address pools regardless if you are using ADAC/LLDP or not.

    If you are trying to use DHCP option 191 to assign the Voice VLAN then you’ll need some additional DHCP configuration beyond what we’ve already discussed.


    Please let me know if I’m not being clear.


  • Jim Hennigan April 23, 2009, 11:27 am

    Do you happen to have an example of the options settings and strings you used for vitalqip for the Nortel phones both wired and wireless? I can not seem to find a good example anywhere.

  • Michael McNamara April 23, 2009, 8:05 pm

    Hi Jim,

    The information you need is contained in this post and a number of other posts along it’s not laid out in a “follow this” type of document.

    You need to create a DHCP template within VitalQIP for the two types of phones. I’ve used “Nortel-i200x” and “Nortel-221x” as the two DHCP templates.

    Policies -> DHCP/BOOTP Templates -> Class/Option Setup

    Create a class called “Nortel” and then create the two DHCP options, “Nortel Call Server” (text type, code 128) and “Nortel 2245 Gateway” (ip_address type, code 158).

    Once you’ve created the DHCP Options you can now create the DHCP template;

    Policies -> DHCP/BOOTP Templates -> Option Template

    You’ll need to create two templates. One for the Nortel i200x phones, include the “Nortel Call Server” option and one for the Nortel 221x phones, include both the “Nortel Call Server” option and the “Nortel 2245 Gateway” option. Don’t forget to include the basic DHCP options (netmask, gateway, DNS servers, etc).

    Once your templates are all setup you can create some dynamic objects with those templates you created above assigned to them.

    Good Luck!

  • Arch May 4, 2009, 10:08 am

    This, sir, is quite possibly the single greatest post I’ve come across within the past year. I’ve been looking to set up a linux dhcp server in our deployment area for testing and staging for some time now. Since it’s a bit beyond my normal base of knowledge, this filled in the gaps I needed and I now have an Ubuntu 9.04 box sitting here doling out all necessary information. You, sir, are a king among men.

    Many thanks.

    • Michael McNamara May 7, 2009, 2:30 pm

      Thanks for the compliment Arch! I certainly hope you’ll find the information useful and helpful!


  • Akhil September 28, 2009, 12:55 pm


    I have Nortel 2245 Wirless IP telephony manager , two 2210 wirless phones and trapeeze mxr-2 wirless controller.

    My data network its working perfectly

    My data network ip range -

    My voice network ip range-

    I would like to know how to put my wirless phone ip manually.

    what are the changes i have to configured in wirless 2245 telephony manager.and Wirless controller side .

    Please help me

    • Michael McNamara October 3, 2009, 11:42 am

      Hi Akhil,

      Your post really isn’t on topic… there is a fair amount of configuration involved if you are looking to deploy IP telephony over WLAN. You can configure the IP address of the phone manually through the keypad or through the configuration cradle.

      Please feel free to post your questions on the forums;


  • Shady August 31, 2010, 9:37 am

    Hi Michael,

    Let me explain first the structure of my IP telephony as it is complicated a little bit, we have our offices in Cairo are scattered over 4 buildings in Total in City stars area (building2, building3, building5, building6) and we have 2 PBXs so as a result we have a mix of configurations:

    building 2 PBX:

    It serves all the phones physically located in building 2 which uses VLAN 20 and 2 Floors located in building5 which uses VLAN 35 and 45 depending on which floor the phone is physically located.

    building 3 PBX:

    It serves all the phones physically located in building 3 which uses VLAN 25 and 2 Floors located in building5 which uses VLAN 35 and 45 depending on which floor the phone is physically located and this signaling server serves building6 site as well that uses VLAN ID 52.

    We may have some problems because some times we have the phones connecting to different signaling servers while they are on the same floor. Also I have some phones (around 100) that needs to be configured with and S1 and S2 as they are connecting to the other signaling server in case of disaster recovery.

    also we have many types of phones like 2002, 2004, 2007, 2033, 1140


    • Michael McNamara August 31, 2010, 4:49 pm

      Hi Shady,

      Well it seems you have quite a complex setup and configuration. You might want to investigate ADAC/LLDP-MED as a means of automating the voice VLAN assignment to the IP phones, and then look at the Nortel-i2004-B DHCP option along with the info-block TFTP (system.prv) node and TN assignment.

      Good Luck!

  • Shady September 1, 2010, 8:52 am

    HI Michael,

    thanks for the reply.

    on a side issue while having a call and if you put it on hold and you pick it back up the access code and the route member appears on the Nortel phone screen is there any way to hide it as we have users who easily use it to bypass the routing rules we configured.

    Thanks in advance.

    • Michael McNamara September 1, 2010, 5:09 pm

      Hi Shady,

      Yes, that’s a very hand troubleshooting feature.

      I’m shocked that you have users that are so sophisticated that they know how to enter a trunk/access code to seize a specific trunk. I don’t know of any way to restrict that display information other than turning the display off.

      Interesting problem though…

  • Harry Fischer October 6, 2010, 8:01 am

    I have a new 1230, I manually configured the phone and enabled DHCP.

    I end up getting the DHCP PARSE error, I alternated DHCP Servers (from an Edgewater Networks EM4500 to MS Small Business Server 2003) but it did not help!

    I then tried to get in to the configuration page of the 1230 but its asking me for a PASSWORD.

    if anyone can help me with either the PASSWORD or any other information, I would be greatful.

    PS, when I booted the phone for the first time, the phone DID obtain DHCP and connected to the server and then downloaded a new FIRMWARE, only after the firmware download the DHCP PARSE ERROR surfaced.

  • gwebster October 6, 2010, 7:34 pm

    Default password is 26567*738.

    Also check that you are using latest firmware which is 062AC7M.