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147 posts

Master Geek
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# 19351 13-Feb-2008 17:35
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Ok - Is ANYONE else having problems with Xtra ADSL connections with an Exchange server?

These are the issues I'm finding (and they are inconsistent!)

Customer A has two domains-

domainA.co.nz is hosted by Xtra with hosted pop accounts.
No one from domainA.co.nz can send using smtp.xtra.co.nz, they get the following error

553 Authentication is required to send mail as user@domainA.co.nz

If I use smtp.officemail.co.nz and authenticate as bob's mailbox for domainA.co.nz then bob can send email but no-one else can - they get the error

553 You are not authorized to send mail as peter@domainA.co.nz

For a while I set Exchange to send via SEND.XTRA.CO.NZ using their ADSL account to authenticate - but as of this-morning Yahoo are blocking this - ie only adslaccount@xtra.co.nz is allowed to send mail authenticating using adslaccount@xtra.co.nz -Before today you could relay this way!

Now they are using DNS to direct deliver - the problem here is that some servers won't accept mail from anyone on a standard ADSL account (considered to be non-static even with a static IP).

domainB.co.nz is hosted by Discount Domains with an MX pointed directly at the clients static ip

Anyone from domainB.co.nz can happily relay mail via smtp.xtra.co.nz with no problems!


Then just to make things completely inconsistent Customer B has a domain also hosted by Xtra with hosted pop accounts and they can still happily relay mail via smtp.xtra.co.nz with no problems.

In Xtra's eye's I have no idea which end users domain they consider to be setup correctly! I have tried to talk to the Complex Technical Support team at Xtra only to be told its an Exchange server issue and I need to talk to an Exchange Server technician (I am one!!! Been installing Exchange server for the past 10 years starting with version 5.5).

I'm already at the point that if I'm involved in the decision process I will recommend Telstra as ADSL provider (even more so if Cable is available in their Christchurch Suburb), I'm not getting to the point of writing to all my customers recommending they move their existing connections away from Telecom/XTRA alltogether! Possibly refusing to work with a Telecom ADSL connection with a Microsoft Small Business Server. Over the years Telecom have changed the rules SOOOOOOO many times - usually without warning.

1st  -  2 weeks out from Xmas they suddenly stopped clients being able to connect to pop3.xtra.co.nz unless they were on Xtra - I had clients using Xtra to host their sites, using Xtra to manage their mail, Xtra dialups on laptops but using another provider for broadband who suddenly couldn't get their email!! It was a while later that they introduced secure remote mail!

2nd - They bought in SMTP blocking  -  This one I could live with except they did give warning, nothing happened for months after the notified switchover date - there was no revised roll out untill it suddenly started happening. But at least you can easily enough opt-out - And the opt out works quickly and easily (except with one client it took 5 days to take effect??)

3rd - They outsourced all @xtra.co.nz email to yahoo and completely dropped the ball on the switch - if they'd simply aliases the new servers names (send.xtra.co.nz) etc to the current servers and notified customers to change the settings in advance it could have happened MUCH MUCH MUCH smoother.

4th - As a result of the above the new servers for business clients are a complete balls up for many businesses running their own server!

5th - Yahoo have now stopped you being able to send mail via send.xtra.co.nz as anyone but the account you authenticate as - Fine for yahoo.com email addresses etc offered free - uncool for paying xtra customers who now can't send mail from a normal email client with a sender address thats different to their Xtra email address!

I don't know whether they aren't actually aware of the problems or don't care but I can't seem to even make them understand the issues that are occuring - The inconsistency is annoying as hell - If I knew that customer 2's scenario was correct and there was a configuration issue with customer 1's xtra hosted domain I would ring and get it corrected, but I suspect its actually customer 2's domain that isn't setup "right" in telecom's system somewhere.

Please - ANYONE having similar problems please let me know.... I want to know how widespread these inconsistencies with Telecom hosted domains are with sending via SMTP.XTRA.CO.NZ and see if anyone has other workarounds...... I would love to simply let them all authenticate to my server which in turn relays to smtp.paradise.net.nz (I'm already doing this for a couple of clients) but this will choke my limited upstream connection speed.

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157 posts

Master Geek


  # 110789 15-Feb-2008 11:35
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Hi Matt, I've done few projects for my customers where Exchange2003/2007 at the end of ADSL line, No complains from them so far, I have also have very similar scenarios like one customer having their domain name with Xtra and few others with Free Parking and discount domains.

However this is something I can comment...

Have you checked your port 25 is blocked? or apply for an exemption not to block your port 25, alternatively open some other port for SMTP ie 2527 and try this.  please post your out come or comments here.
Cheers
Shash


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Master Geek


  # 110791 15-Feb-2008 11:50
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mobiusnz: Now they are using DNS to direct deliver - the problem here is that some servers won't accept mail from anyone on a standard ADSL account (considered to be non-static even with a static IP).


This should go through as long as your Reverse PTR is set correctly with the static IP. 
 
mobiusnz: Then just to make things completely inconsistent Customer B has a domain also hosted by Xtra with hosted pop accounts and they can still happily relay mail via smtp.xtra.co.nz with no problems.
 

Your customer has an Exchange server, then why another hosted POP account with Xtra? May be if they want redundancy can make use of the xtra’S SMTP queuing services for $30 a month. This will give them redundancy if the exchange server or the ADSL line goes off-line



 
 
 
 


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Master Geek
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  # 116655 14-Mar-2008 17:43
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Have you tried using smtp.xtra.co.nz??? instead of send.xtra.co.nz???


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  # 116662 14-Mar-2008 18:00
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Some things to note:

If you are using the Xtra smtp server as a "smarthost" then you will be affected by this change.

If your server is on a dynamic IP address then your email may be blocked by spam lists. I would consider using a third party SMTP server for outgoing and incoming relay messages to guarantee uptime. I recommend DynDNS Mail Hop.




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  # 116672 14-Mar-2008 18:29
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I believe you do need to look at how you are interacting with the Xtra SMTP service.

The best way, in my opinion is to set up a single mailbox with a wildcard for the domain. Then you use a POP3 connector to get all the mail and sort it out.
Then you shouldn't have too many issues trying to mail.
 
Ideally the best way is to use SMTP direct and recieve mail direct too, but the above method should work.


I've set up many servers without any issues using the methods in my post, reading the communications that they send to you (about the officemail settings) helps too.

PS. If you want to send non xtra domain email, you'll need to validate your email through the webmail.




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  # 116709 14-Mar-2008 21:33
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POP3 was never meant for a multiuser delivery protocol, it's a e-mail endpoint so we don't use it with exchange server for mail delivery from the internet.

We used to on our clients Exchange servers do direct delivery via DNS lookup. (instead of smart host.)

We then found a few months ago, Xtra drop as spam ALL e-mail from private/small mail servers even if these mail servers have domain keys or SenderID, and correct reverse DNS lookup if the server is not on the Xtra network.

So, we have to then relay mail via the ISP's e-mail server (if we use non-Xtra connections, which we do because of Xtra's pricing ($20/GB and poor speed issues. The helpdesk is OK.)

I feel your pain my friend!




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  # 116713 14-Mar-2008 22:42
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exportgoldman:
We then found a few months ago, Xtra drop as spam ALL e-mail from private/small mail servers even if these mail servers have domain keys or SenderID, and correct reverse DNS lookup if the server is not on the Xtra network.


Your milage will vary but I've never had any issues with mail from my DSL connection (free static on pro plan). I've found that contacting YahooXtra (by email, by form (best way), or by phone) helps a lot (and can often help resolve the issue).

An interesting page can be found here discussing some of the things, even though this is for bulk mail, it will help address some of the common things.




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147 posts

Master Geek
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  # 116767 15-Mar-2008 10:51
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Ok - I finally got a sensible reply from someone at Telecom and this is what he told me:

1) - If you have an Xtra hosted domain with pop mailboxes you can no-longer send via smtp.xtra.co.nz

2) - If your domain is setup with an MX record to your own server you CAN relay via smtp.xtra.co.nz - BUT - you won't be able to send to @xtra.co.nz email addresses! How stupid is that - I've confirmed this with a client who CAN relay via smtp.xtra.co.nz, their email is delivered fine to everyone else - But is not arriving at their board members who have @xtra.co.nz email addresses - They aren't getting bounced, I assume Yahoo's servers are putting them in the spam folder and most traditional @xtra.co.nz users use a mail client not webmail so NEVER look in their spam folder.

To me this is still FAR from acceptable, as others have mentioned using direct delivery is unreliable, I have a client who has a fibre connection to the global gateway (DEFINATELY STATIC), they valid SenderID/SPF records, reverse DNS is correct for their server and yet still they get blocked as spam when they email their members who use @xtra.co.nz email addresses! I think the only way to be trusted by Yahoo is with domainkeys but I haven't found a solution for this with exchange server without writing my own! (Which I don't have the skillset for!).

Any other ISP in New Zealand offers a good relay server to help your outbound email look trusted but Xtra are REALLY screwing things up for businesses - Their hosted pop accounts with authentication work fantastically for businesses without their own mailserver solution, they roam well etc but for anyone that wants exchange they are screwed for a good solution on Telecom.

I'm at the point of one by one switching clients COMPLETELY away from Telecom but even this is hard, you pull a domain away from most ISP's and they delete any DNS entries etc. With Xtra you have to ring and hound them to clean things up at their end or mail continues to be delivered to old hosted accounts etc when the sender is on Xtra as they haven't cleaned up old entries.

It took numerous emails to their Complex Technical Support helpdesk to get someone who actually understood both my questions AND how their system was designed to work.

The kicked for me is that someone legitimately using SMTP.XTRA.CO.NZ couldn't send emails to @XTRA.CO.NZ addresses. I wonder how many home users (and small businesses too) with @XTRA.CO.NZ addresses are missing numerous valid emails because of yahoo's over zealous spam filters.

Long gone are the days you could say "If you didn't get a bounce then the email was delivered" - Email was once a reliable communication medium, these days its very hard to rely on completely. I know people who send an email and then 5 minutes later ring the person to see if they received it ok!

I could rant on this for hours, freitasm's last post concerns me more and this is my other bugbear with Xtra - Just when you find a way to make things work well with Telecom, they move the goalpost with little or no warning. I say move people away, Telstraclear ADSL gives better plan structures, better bandwidth and a good old reliable Relay server (although it has occaisionally suffered from VERY slow delivery and the occaisional blacklist!).

Matt

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  # 116772 15-Mar-2008 11:04
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mobiusnz:
The kicked for me is that someone legitimately using SMTP.XTRA.CO.NZ couldn't send emails to @XTRA.CO.NZ addresses. I wonder how many home users (and small businesses too) with @XTRA.CO.NZ addresses are missing numerous valid emails because of yahoo's over zealous spam filters.


Sending to an Xtra account worked fine here.

As for the board members, not getting mail - why not disable the spam filter, or add the addresses to their addressbook, or mark them as not spam.

Example provided below:

Trying 210.54.141.2...
Connected to smtp.xtra.co.nz.
Escape character is '^]'.
220 fep04.xtra.co.nz ESMTP server ready Sat, 15 Mar 2008 10:56:09 +1300
HELO xtra.co.nz
250 fep04.xtra.co.nz
MAIL FROM: yyyyyyyyyyyyy@xxxxxxxxxx.com
250 Sender Ok
RCPT TO: aaaaaaaaaaaa@xtra.co.nz
250 Recipient Ok
DATA
354 Ok Send data ending with .
SUBJECT: THIS IS A TEST EMAIL

Hello world

.
250 Message received: 20080314215658.LBSL17371.fep04.xtra.co.nz@xtra.co.nz






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  # 116779 15-Mar-2008 11:16
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cokemaster:
Your milage will vary but I've never had any issues with mail from my DSL connection (free static on pro plan). I've found that contacting YahooXtra (by email, by form (best way), or by phone) helps a lot (and can often help resolve the issue).


Sorry my original post was unclear, and servers we have on Xtra DSL connections work fine with e-mail delivery to Xtra.

Any servers we have on non-Xtra DSL connections have their mail dumped into the spam folder when sending to Xtra customers.

This is despite making sure the RDNS records as the same as the MX records, and setting up SenderID for the domain.

We have this problem on XNET connections, YNET (Waiheke Wireless ISP) and IHUG connections so far, but I have a feeling its all non-Xtra connections.

When we relay e-mail via the ISP's SMTP server (eg XNET or YNET/IHUG) we have better delivery results, but now are subject to the poor performance of ISP SMTP Servers. Rock, meet hard place.




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  # 116791 15-Mar-2008 11:35
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In cases like that, its been my experience that you still contact them as they are often able to resolve or identify the issue.

You shouldn't be discriminated based on which ISP you are with.




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  # 116872 16-Mar-2008 03:07
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cokemaster: In cases like that, its been my experience that you still contact them as they are often able to resolve or identify the issue.

You shouldn't be discriminated based on which ISP you are with.

Looking at some of the posts on NZNOG where people have had problems getting Xtra to accept their email or whitelist it, I'm not sure I'd agree that Xtra or Yahoo! are particularly approachable about the matter.

Obviously you need to try; but from the experiences reported since the Bubble migration there is nothing but pain being experienced.



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  # 117080 17-Mar-2008 09:18
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cokemaster:
Sending to an Xtra account worked fine here.

As for the board members, not getting mail - why not disable the spam filter, or add the addresses to their addressbook, or mark them as not spam.

Example provided below:


Great, don't blame to ISP who doesn't accept mail from their own clients, make the end recipients learn how to logon to webmail! If clients could easily whitelist from the email client they've been using since long before the yahoo migration - GREAT - but for non-technical people they shouldn't have to do this to receive mail from people they have been for years!

Heres a list of gripes with Telecom in recent months.

1) - I have 3 clients for whom we filled in the static IP request form online and got absolutely NO contact/action at all.

2) - I have a client for whom I filled in the port 25 block opt out form but it wouldn't action. On calling Xtra I was told it couldn't be done without a static IP (which we had filled in a form for but not been given) even though I had clients without static IP addresses for whom this worked - And it eventually worked for this client - It just took 36 hours to start for some reason.

3) - I have a client for whom the online tool to add/remove alias's from a hosted pop account wouldn't work - It removed alias's happily but then wouldn't add any! I was told that it could be done by the Xtra tech team so I'd have to call to have it done by them. They didn't seem to care why it didn't work for her!

4) - I had a client whose internet connection was CRAWLING - Most websites more complex than google wouldn't load at all - I rang and told her we'd tried another router, I'd connected a laptop direct with the network disconnected from the router and it was still slow. She asked me to run an Xtra speed test site, it timed out and wouldn't load at all at which point she informed me she couldn't elevate the fault without having a result from the speedtest site!!! The next day when the heavy rain stopped the problem went away - since then its been ok but I'm waiting for the next rain storm to bang my head against the reciever again!

5) - I have a client who got Gen-I (asked for Telecom, got Gen-I) to quote for installation of a Fibre connection to the NZ Gateway, the rep informed my client "We'll include indicitive pricing to take over all of your IT needs" - To which she got a short sharp "No you won't" but that also doesn't motivate me to include Telecom in any plans when they try to steal your clients out from under you. I once had a client I did lose to Gen-I, the new rep arrogantly asked me to provide a network overview report and then complained it wasn't detailed enough for her to quote based on - She didn't have an answer when asked who I should charge my time to.

6) - It took numerous phone call's and emails to their CTS team to FINALLY have someone who both understood my position and their mail system to make contact and explain the "rules" of mail delivery under various configurations - Granted a client with an Exchange server wouldn't normally be configured with hosted pop accounts but they were there before the server went in and under any other NZ ISP I have worked with this wouldn't proclude them of being able to send emails from the server via a smarthost. My best solution is to pull the domain to an independent, save a fortune as Xtra gouge on Domain name charges:

Xtra

Domain name setup fee       $70
Monthly domain name hosting and registration change (DNS hosting only, not website)      $14 (thats $168 per year)


Discount Domains

Domain name setup fee       $FREE
YEARLY domain name DNS hosting/administration and registration fee                             $27.95 (thats per YEAR!)



Hmmmmmm if a client asked you who to register your domain with.... would you recommend Xtra or Discount Domains/Free Parking or similar???????

Anyway - I could go on ALL DAY about the reasons working with Xtra is too hard but I must do some work!

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  # 117168 17-Mar-2008 16:08
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Good to hear that you are up and running.

I'm fairly sure that the issue could have been resolved earlier if the emotion and background noise was removed, but nevertheless its good to hear that its working. I'm not trying to shift the blame or point fingers but as the exchange administrator, you are responsible for the set up, not the ISP. Systems change, so do settings over time... I'm saying this after years of running my own mail system and others (1 exchange, the rest linux based).

There are managed solutions out there which allows for a most of the set up and management to be taken care of by people specialized in email. Perhaps you'd like to look at that?




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Ultimate Geek
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  # 117190 17-Mar-2008 17:53
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I see that Computerworld has picked up on the issue.

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