Section: User Manuals (1)
Updated: JULY 2002 - SEPTEMBER 2005
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sipsak - a utility for various tests on sip servers and user agents  


sipsak [-dFGhiILnNMRSTUVvwz] [-a PASSWORD ] [-b NUMBER ] [-c SIPURI ] [-C SIPURI ] [-D NUMBER ] [-e NUMBER ] [-E STRING ] [-f FILE ] [-g STRING ] [-H HOSTNAME ] [-j STRING ] [-J STRING ] [-l PORT ] [-m NUMBER ] [-o NUMBER ] [-p HOSTNAME ] [-P NUMBER ] [-q REGEXP ] [-r PORT ] [-t NUMBER ] [-u STRING ] [-W NUMBER ] [-x NUMBER ] -s SIPURI



sipsak is a SIP stress and diagnostics utility. It sends SIP requests to the server within the sip-uri and examines received responses. It runs in one of the following modes:
- default mode
A SIP message is sent to destination in sip-uri and reply status is displayed. The request is either taken from filename or generated as a new OPTIONS message.
- traceroute mode (-T)
This mode is useful for learning request's path. It operates similarly to IP-layer utility traceroute(8).
- message mode (-M)
Sends a short message (similar to SMS from the mobile phones) to a given target. With the option -B the content of the MESSAGE can be set. Useful might be the options -c and -O in this mode.
- usrloc mode (-U)
Stress mode for SIP registrar. sipsak keeps registering to a SIP server at high pace. Additionally the registrar can be stressed with the -I or the -M option. If -I and -M are omitted sipsak can be used to register any given contact (with the -C option) for an account at a registrar and to query the current bindings for an account at a registrar.
- randtrash mode (-R)
Parser torture mode. sipsak keeps sending randomly corrupted messages to torture a SIP server's parser.
- flood mode (-F)
Stress mode for SIP servers. sipsak keeps sending requests to a SIP server at high pace.

If c-ares ( support is compiled into the sipsak binary, then first a SRV lookup for _sip._tcp.hostname is made. If that fails a SRV lookup for _sip._udp.hostname is made. And if this lookup fails a normal A lookup is made. If a port was given in the target URI the SRV lookup is omitted. Failover, load distribution and other transports are not supported yet.



-a, --password PASSWORD
With the given PASSWORD an authentication will be tried on received '401 Unauthorized'. Authorization will be tried on time. If this option is omitted an authorization with an empty password ("") will be tried. If the password is equal to - the password will be read from the standard input (e.g. the keyboard). This prevents other users on the same host from seeing the password in the process list. NOTE: the password still can be read from the memory if other users have access to it.

-A, --timing
prints only the timing values of the test run if verbosity is zero because no -v was given. If one or more -v were given this option will be ignored.

-b, --appendix-begin NUMBER
The starting number which is appended to the user name in the usrloc mode. This NUMBER is increased until it reaches the value given by the -e parameter. If omitted the starting number will be one.

-B, --message-body STRING
The given STRING will be used as the body for outgoing MESSAGE requests.

-c, --from SIPURI
The given SIPURI will be used in the From header if sipsak runs in the message mode (initiated with the -M option). This is helpful to present the receiver of a MESSAGE a meaningful and usable address to where maybe even responses can be sent.

-C, --contact SIPURI
This is the content of the Contact header in the usrloc mode. This allows to insert forwards like for mail. For example you can insert the uri of your first SIP account at a second account, thus all calls to the second account will be forwarded to the first account. As the argument to this option will not be enclosed in brackets you can give also multiple contacts in the raw format as comma separated list. The special words empty or none will result in no contact header in the REGISTER request and thus the server should answer with the current bindings for the account at the registrar. The special words * or star will result in Contact header containing just a star, e.g. to remove all bindings by using expires value 0 together with this Contact.

-d, --ignore-redirects
If this option is set all redirects will be ignored. By default without this option received redirects will be respected. This option is automatically activated in the randtrash mode and in the flood mode.

-D, --timeout-factor NUMBER
The SIP_T1 timer is getting multiplied with the given NUMBER. After receiving a provisional response for an INVITE request, or when a reliable transport like TCP or TLS is used sipsak waits for the resulting amount of time for a final response until it gives up.

-e, --appendix-end NUMBER
The ending number which is appended to the user name in the usrloc mode. This number is increased until it reaches this ending number. In the flood mode this is the maximum number of messages which will be sent. If omitted the default value is 2^31 (2147483647) in the flood mode.

-E, --transport STRING
The value of STRING will be used as IP transport for sending and receiving requests and responses. This option overwrites any result from the URI evaluation and SRV lookup. Currently only 'udp' and 'tcp' are accepted as value for STRING.

-f, --filename FILE
The content of FILE will be read in in binary mode and will be used as replacement for the alternatively created sip message. This can used in the default mode to make other requests than OPTIONS requests (e.g. INVITE). By default missing carriage returns in front of line feeds will be inserted (use -L to de-activate this function). If the filename is equal to - the file is read from standard input, e.g. from the keyboard or a pipe. Please note that the manipulation functions (e.g. inserting Via header) are only tested with RFC conform requests. Additionally special strings within the file can be replaced with some local or given values (see -g and -G for details).

-F, --flood-mode
This option activates the flood mode. In this mode OPTIONS requests with increasing CSeq numbers are sent to the server. Replies are ignored -- source port 9 (discard) of localhost is advertised in topmost Via.

-h, --help
Prints out a simple usage help message. If the long option --help is available it will print out a help message with the available long options.

-g, --replace-string STRING
Activates the replacement of $replace$ within the request (usually read in from a file) with the STRING. Alternatively you can also specify a list of attributes and values. This list has to start and end with a non alpha-numeric character. The same character has to be used also as separator between the attribute and the value and between new further attribute value pairs. The string "$attribute$" will be replaced with the value string in the message.

-G, --replace
Activates the automatic replacement of the following variables in the request (usually read in from a file): $dsthost$ will be replaced with the host or domainname which is given by the -s parameter. $srchost$ will be replaced by the hostname of the local machine. $port$ will be replaced by the local listening port of sipsak. $user$ will be replaced by the username which is given by the -s parameter.

-H, --hostname HOSTNAME
Overwrites the automatic detection of the hostname with the given parameter. Warning: use this with caution (preferable only if the automatic detection fails).

-i, --no-via
Deactivates the insertion of the Via line of the localhost. Warning: this probably disables the receiving of the responses from the server.

-I, --invite-mode
Activates the Invites cycles within the usrloc mode. It should be combined with -U. In this combination sipsak first registers a user, and then simulates an invitation to this user. First an Invite is sent, this is replied with 200 OK and finally an ACK is sent. This option can also be used without -U , but you should be sure to NOT invite real UAs with this option. In the case of a missing -U the -l PORT is required because only if you made a -U run with a fixed local port before, a run with -I and the same fixed local port can be successful. Warning: sipsak is no real UA and invitations to real UAs can result in unexpected behaviour.

-j, --headers STRING
The string will be added as one or more additional headers to the request. The string "\n" (note: two characters) will be replaced with CRLF and thus result in two separate headers. That way more then one header can be added.

-J, --autohash STRING
The string will be used as the H(A1) input to the digest authentication response calculation. Thus no password from the -a option is required if this option is provided. The given string is expected to be a hex string with the length of the used hash function.

-k, --local-ip STRING
The local ip address to be used

-l, --local-port PORT
The receiving UDP socket will use the local network port. Useful if a file is given by -f which contains a correct Via line. Check the -S option for details how sipsak sends and receives messages.

-L, --no-crlf
De-activates the insertion of carriage returns (\r) before all line feeds (\n) (which is not already proceeded by carriage return) if the input is coming from a file ( -f ). Without this option also an empty line will be appended to the request if required.

-m, --max-forwards NUMBER
This sets the value of the Max-Forward header field. If omitted no Max-Forward field will be inserted. If omitted in the traceroute mode number will be 255.

-M, --message-mode
This activates the Messages cycles within the usrloc mode (known from sipsak versions pre 0.8.0 within the normal usrloc test). This option should be combined with -U so that a successful registration will be tested with a test message to the user and replied with 200 OK. But this option can also be used without the -U option. Warning: using without -U can cause unexpected behavior.

-n, --numeric
Instead of the full qualified domain name in the Via line the IP of the local host will be used. This option is now on by default.

-N, --nagios-code
Use Nagios compliant return codes instead of the normal sipsak ones. This means sipsak will return 0 if everything was ok and 2 in case of any error (local or remote).

-o, --sleep NUMBER
sipsak will sleep for NUMBER ms before it starts the next cycle in the usrloc mode. This will slow down the whole test process to be more realistic. Each cycle will be still completed as fast as possible, but the whole test will be slowed down.

-O, --disposition STRING
The given STRING will be used as the content for the Content-Disposition header. Without this option there will be no Content-Disposition header in the request.

-p, --outbound-proxy HOSTNAME[:PORT]
the address of the hostname is the target where the request will be sent to (outgoing proxy). Use this if the destination host is different from the host part of the request uri. The hostname is resolved via DNS SRV if supported (see description for SRV resolving) and no port is given.

-P, --processes NUMBER
Start NUMBER of processes in parallel to do the send and reply checking. Only makes sense if a higher number for -e is given in the usrloc, message or invite mode.

-q, --search REGEXP
match replies against REGEXP and return false if no match occurred. Useful for example to detect server name in Server header field.

-r, --remote-port PORT
Instead of the default sip port 5060 the PORT will be used. Alternatively the remote port can be given within the sip uri of the -s parameter.

-R, --random-mode
This activates the randtrash mode. In this mode OPTIONS requests will be sent to server with increasing numbers of randomly crashed characters within this request. The position within the request and the replacing character are randomly chosen. Any other response than Bad request (4xx) will stop this mode. Also three unresponded sends will stop this mode. With the -t parameter the maximum of trashed characters can be given.

-s, --sip-uri SIPURI
This mandatory option sets the destination of the request. It depends on the mode if only the server name or also a user name is mandatory. Example for a full SIPURI : See the note in the description part about SRV lookups for details how the hostname of this URI is converted into an IP and port.

-S, --symmetric
With this option sipsak will use only one port for sending and receiving messages. With this option the local port for sending will be the value from the -l option. In the default mode sipsak sends from a random port and listens on the given port from the -l option. Note: With this option sipsak will not be able to receive replies from servers with asymmetric signaling (and broken rport implementation) like the Cisco proxy. If you run sipsak as root and with raw socket support (check the output from the -V option) then this option is not required because in this case sipsak already uses only one port for sending and receiving messages.

-t, --trash-chars NUMBER
This parameter specifies the maximum of trashed characters in the randtrash mode. If omitted NUMBER will be set to the length of the request.

-T, --traceroute-mode
This activates the traceroute mode. This mode works like the well known traceroute(8) command expect that not the number of network hops is counted rather the number of servers on the way to the destination user. Also the round trip time of each request is printed out, but due to a limitation within the sip protocol the identity (IP or name) can only be determined and printed out if the response from the server contains a warning header field. In this mode on each outgoing request the value of the Max-Forwards header field is increased, starting with one. The maximum of the Max-Forwards header will be 255 if no other value is given by the -m parameter. Any other response than 483 or 1xx is treated as a final response and will terminate this mode.

-u, --auth-username STRING
Use the given STRING as username value for the authentication (different account and authentication username).

-U, --usrloc-mode
This activates the usrloc mode. Without the -I or the -M option, this only registers users at a registrar. With one of the above options the previous registered user will also be probed, wether with a simulated call flow (invite, 200, ack) or with an instant message (message, 200). One password for all users accounts within the usrloc test can be given with the -a option. A user name is mandatory for this mode in the -s parameter. The number starting from the -b parameter to the -e parameter is appended the user name. If the -b and the -e parameter are omitted, only one run with the given username, but without append number to the usernames is done.

-v, --verbose
This parameter increases the output verbosity. No -v means nearly no output except in traceroute and error messages. The maximum of three v's prints out the content of all packets received and sent.

-V, --version
Prints out the name and version number of sipsak and the options which were compiled into the binary.

-w, --extract-ip
Activates the extraction of the IP or hostname from the Warning header field.

-W, --nagios-warn NUMBER
Return Nagios warn exit code (1) if the number of retransmissions before success was above the given number.

-x, --expires NUMBER
Sets the value of the Expires header to the given number.

-z, --remove-bindings
Activates the randomly removing of old bindings in the usrloc mode. How many percent of the bindings will be removed, is determined by the USRLOC_REMOVE_PERCENT define within the code (set it before compilation). Multiple removing of bindings is possible, and cannot be prevented.

-Z, --timer-t1
Sets the amount of milliseconds for the SIP timer T1. It determines the length of the gaps between two retransmissions of a request on a unreliable transport. Default value is 500 if not changed via the configure option --enable-timeout.



The return value 0 means that a 200 was received. 1 means something else than 1xx or 2xx was received. 2 will be returned on local errors like non resolvable names or wrong options combination. 3 will be returned on remote errors like socket errors (e.g. icmp error), redirects without a contact header or simply no answer (timeout).

If the -N option was given the return code will be 2 in case of any (local or remote) error. 1 in case there have been retransmissions from sipsak to the server. And 0 if there was no error at all.  


Use sipsak responsibly. Running it in any of the stress modes puts substantial burden on network and server under test.



sipsak -vv -s
displays received replies.
sipsak -T -s
traces SIP path to nobody.
sipsak -U -C sip:me@home -x 3600 -a password -s sip:myself@company
inserts forwarding from work to home for one hour.
sipsak -f bye.sip -g '!FTAG!345.af23!TTAG!1208.12!' -s sip:myproxy
reads the file bye.sip, replaces $FTAG$ with 345.af23 and $TTAG$ with 1208.12 and finally send this message to myproxy



Many servers may decide NOT to include SIP "Warning" header fields. Unfortunately, this makes displaying IP addresses of SIP servers in traceroute mode impossible.

IPv6 is not supported.

Missing support for the Record-Route and Route header.



sipsak is only tested against the SIP Express Router (ser) though their could be various bugs. Please feel free to mail them to the author.



Nils Ohlmeier <nils at sipsak dot org>