SSH and power settings on a ShoreTel 480g

Ever since deploying our new ShoreTel 480g phones I have been noticing that the 480g screens both dim after some time and go blank during certain times of day.

Our company has certain departments that are open from 08:00 to 21:00 which was interfering with this “sleep schedule” so I turned to the ShoreTel 14.2 Maintenance Guide because I had previously read somewhere that you could change the screen dimming on the phones. It turns out that there are default hours where the phone does go to sleep (outside the hours of 06:00 to 19:00 as long as the phone has been idle).

I wanted to check the current settings on the phones so I attempted to SSH into my phone. Connecting successfully was somewhat challenging but I was able to log in after a few minutes of searching the Internet and some help from our ShoreTel partner.

Whenever I typed in anonymous (the default ShoreTel user name for most things) to log in to the phone’s IP address I would get an error:

The fatal error from PuTTY
The fatal error from PuTTY

So I found that I should use the private key from my ShoreTel Director server in order to authenticate with the phone.

This private key is located in Shoreline Data\keystore\ssh and the file name is hq_rsa – you will also see the public key there I tried this key but it did not work.

I made a copy of the private key and used PuTTYgen to convert the key to something PuTTY could use, then browsed to that key in PuTTY Configuration | Connection | SSH | Auth | Authentication parameters. After connecting again, I could log in but this time as “admin” instead of anonymous.

Once logged in I ran the command getcfg power:

Default power values for the ShoreTel 480g
Default power values for the ShoreTel 480g

This gave me the current (default) power values on the 480g. My phones go idle after 5 minutes and sleep after 60 (as long as it is not 06:00-19:00 Mon-Fri).

I ended up creating a custom phone config file which only my phone would download in order to test some new settings. The template for the custom phone config file is C:\inetpub\ftproot\phoneconfig\custom_MAC.txt

My file name was custom_00104936d06c.txt

The text file was initially blank but I added the following parameters which I pulled from the Maintenance Guide:

idleBrightness (the intensity of the phone backlight when the phone is idle)
idleTimeout (the number of minutes without key presses or calls before the backlight dims)
sleepTimeout (the number of minutes without key presses or calls before the phone goes to sleep – screen turns off)
sleepInhibitStartTime (the beginning time of day when sleep is prevented)
sleepInhibitStopTime (the end time of day when sleep is prevented)

The contents of custom_00104936d06c.txt after editing (for testing purposes):

# Please consult Shoreline support before editing or deleting this file

So outside the hours of 18:00 to 21:15 this would cause the backlight to dim 50% after 1 minute and cause the screen to turn off after 5 minutes.

In order to apply this, I saved the file and rebooted the phone. Then I connected with a new PuTTY session and ran getcfg power again to see the new values:

My test power settings
My test power settings

Now my phone’s screen will dim after 1 minute of being idle, and it will sleep after 5 minutes of being idle.

After doing this testing I changed the parameters to match what the organization would need to use. After verifying that the settings applied successfully, I then changed the custom_IP480g.txt file to match. The only thing left was to reboot all phones for the settings to take effect.

The final config:

# Please consult Shoreline support before editing or deleting this file

Final custom power settings for 480g
Final custom power settings for 480g

9 thoughts on “SSH and power settings on a ShoreTel 480g”

  1. Here is a larger set of commands that I found on a forum…

    setcfg # sets the parameter in group to the value
    getcfg # gets parameter in group
    reset # resets parameters to factory default value
    log # log control settings
    netstats # dumps values in the netstats datamodel
    netstatus # dumps values in the netstatus datamodel
    time # dumps the current time to nanosecond resolution
    setclock # sets the hw clock.
    getdm # dumps entire DM tree structure
    settimezone # sets a timezone
    events # dump event log
    system # show system CPU/memory/storage
    ping # ping a host over the network
    traceroute # trace the network route to a host
    capture # network packet capture utility
    rebootwhenidle # reboot the phone when no active sessions
    reboot # reboot the phone
    firmwarestatusevent # propagate firmware status to TMS via SIP to switch

  2. I found your blog. Thanks for the great info.
    Our Ethernet switches do not currently support LLDP PoE power negotiation. Every time one of our S6 phones boots the following log messages are generated in our Ethernet switches…

    %LLDP-3-EXT_POW_MDI: Configuration mismatch with neighbor on interface Gi 6/10

    Is there a way to tell the phone to *not* do LLDP PoE power negotiation?

    Hopefully this is not too off topic. Thank you in advanced. Your help is greatly appreciated!

  3. Hey, all.

    I was scratching my head on this and finally figured most of it out.

    Use Putty to access these phones. It will make your life so much easier.

    In Putty, go to the Window tab and edit “line of scrollback” so that it exceeds the default 200. I put in 10000 and it worked like a charm. This allowed me to pull a getcfg, left click on the putty icon in the upper left of the session window, select “copy all to clipboard” and then paste in your pad of choice (notepad++ makes it super easy to read).

    Once pasted into notepad++, control-F to search and search for GROUP. The results will show you all of the group categories that will be in single quotes. There are quite a lot but the most important ones are ‘net’ and ‘system’ as these will provide the config server, vlan id’s, vpngateway and the info we were used to with the printSysInfo command on the older phones.

    If you want to retrieve specific category info without the data dump, type in “getcfg net” (without quotes) or “getcfg system” (again, without the quotes).

    There is also a setcfg command but I haven’t messed around with it yet. This would seem mostly useful for when a phone connects, finds dhcp, gets an IP and its ftpServer but can’t find a managing switch (no MGC or no service error). In theory, you would putty into the phone, set the mgc, reboot it and it should find the rest.

    Once I figure out how to setcfg for system and properly configure the mgc, I’ll come back with the results.

  4. neither admin nor anonymous work for me. Any ideas what will? I get that same PuTTY fatal error that you show at the top of the page.

  5. Eric,

    I’d love to know where you found the group name “power”

    When I do a getcfg, the list is so long I cannot see the group name for the phone IP configuration. If you have a list of command groups that would be awesome.

    1. Thanks for the comment! I got the “getcfg power” command from my ShoreTel partner. I think the tech just knew the command. I’m not sure where the “getcfg” command is documented but I’d love to find an authoritative source other than a shoretelforums post.

      At any rate the “power” group name comes right from the ShoreTel 14.2 Maintenance Guide in Table 23: Configuration Parameters.

      Good luck!

      1. Hi,

        Once logged into the phone session, you can enter the command “help” if you want to see the list of command available.

        For sample:


        setcfg # sets the parameter in group to the value
        getcfg # gets parameter in group
        reset # resets parameters to factory default value
        log # log control settings
        netstats # dumps values in the netstats datamodel
        netstatus # dumps values in the netstatus datamodel

        And for more information about the getcfg command you can also enter “help getcfg”.

        You have to think like a linux machine :p

        Hope it will help and thanks for the Post,

  6. Awesome writeup. Particularly the steps used to ssh into the new 480’s. I was stumped at first, but it’s a whole lot easier to login to phones now as oppsed to telnetting in (and the extra phonectl.exe step).


Leave a Reply to eric Cancel reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *