Invalid Information Element Contents Error Message

Problems with no apparent cause really drive me up the wall.  A customer called me with an issue that had no rhyme or reason for existing.  A group of phones at one site were not able to make outbound calls.  They were receiving calls from the PRI and were able to call other extensions with no problems.  Other phones that were using the same route patterns and gateways were able to call with no issues.  Troubleshooting the route pattern at the phone showed the digits landing on the gateway but a fast busy right after that.  It wasn’t until I drilled into things with my new favorite command debug isdn q931 that I found the real problem.  It looked something like this (numbers obscured):

Calling Party Number i = 0x0081, 'XXXX'
Plan:Unknown, Type:Unknown
Called Party Number i = 0x80, 'XXXXXXXXXXX'
Plan:Unknown, Type:Unknown
Sending Complete
ISDN Se0/0/0:23 Q931: RX <- RELEASE_COMP pd = 8 callref = 0x9F
Cause i = 0x82E404 - Invalid information element contents

Hmmm.  Guess it’s off to Google.  Then I found this post from the Cisco VOIP Mailing list.   And after implementing a quick fix, everything turned out fine.  So what happened?

This particular site was the first time I used this excellent guide on rewriting outbound caller ID with Calling Party Transform Masks as opposed to doing it on the Route Lists or the Route Patterns.  In my haste to import all the phones, I missed a critical group of phones in my transform mask set.  As such, they weren’t sending a full 10-digit number to the PRI and the provider was rejecting the call.  I’ve never had this happen before, as I see customers that only send 4 digits to the PSTN sometimes.  I can see the allure of not allowing less than 10 digits on the PRI as a final check to ensure your station ID is correct for things like emergency services and I like that idea a lot better than the provider just overwriting your station ID without warning.

In the end, all is well and I now know where to track the issue down again.  Hopefully others might find this post enlightening.

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