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Topic # 175422 29-Jun-2015 11:51
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We have Vodafone DSL at work but use Openhost as our email (and website) server. 

Randomly, each and every day, we have periods where every machine in the office cannot connect to the email server and our email system stays dead for 5min or so. Web traffic seems completely unaffected.

Openhost have us on an old grandfathered POP3 only subscription but I have spoken with them a lot over the last few weeks and they swear black and blue it has nothing to do with them. We can switch to an IMAP subscription but we’ll have to delete all our current email addresses and re-do them on the new server, then copy the website over... but would that even fix the (potentially) underlying issue?

We have tried hot spotting a machine over wifi to a Vodafone mobile and the server stayed down. We then tried hot spotting the machine to my Spark mobile and it came back to life. Coincidence? The email issues persist for wifi and ethernet connected machines.

Using MXToolbox and checking the server typically returns only a warning that the server doesn’t support TLS. When we have email issues we also get warnings about the connection time being somewhere over 20 seconds and transaction time something similar. 

Is it something DNS/Port related on the Vodafone side that we can fix simply enough? Or is it likely something else entirely? 

I’d rather post here and get an idea of whether I should bother being stuck on hold for 45min with Vodafone, before I actually do it… 

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  Reply # 1333280 29-Jun-2015 12:11
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If you are using standard ports for email then I can't see it been an issue on the Vodafone side, When it's failing have you done a Telnet port check?



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  Reply # 1333288 29-Jun-2015 12:25
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Yeah, just the standard 110 and 587 (because we are using POP). What am I looking for with Telnet? Just to see if the port is open?

 
 
 
 


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  Reply # 1333293 29-Jun-2015 12:33
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Yes that is it when the issue is happening, Do you have your own firewall?



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  Reply # 1333297 29-Jun-2015 12:37
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Nothing other than the Vodafone station firewall (set to Low, but was set to standard just to see if it might have any effect). We also have firewall's set up on each machine (default Mac/Win settings) but i've disabled mine for testing to no effect. 

I'll update with port info when it goes down again (probably never now that i've asked about it).

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  Reply # 1333349 29-Jun-2015 13:10
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I do a fair bit of work with small business email. You've helped me out in the past and I'm happy to help if I can.

My approach would be to find some kind of email server monitoring tool that you can run locally, say it polls the email server every minute. I'd run that at work, at home, and probably in a couple more places if you could get someone to do it - eg on a UFB connection, a cable connection, etc. That would tell you for sure what the problem is. If it's the server then you switch to their IMAP hosting, or just switch away to another email provider - I do that quite often for people, it's relatively simple.




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  Reply # 1333359 29-Jun-2015 13:12
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If it was on the Vodafone side and issue with ports then this would be a major heahache for a most of our customers



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  Reply # 1333400 29-Jun-2015 13:45
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johnr: If it was on the Vodafone side and issue with ports then this would be a major heahache for a most of our customers
Yeah, that's why I don't think it's a port issue. But I have no idea how it all works, really, so threw it out as an option. The downtime has seemingly increased when we got the Vodafone Station, but who knows if that's psychosomatic.



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  Reply # 1333414 29-Jun-2015 13:53
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timmmay: I do a fair bit of work with small business email. You've helped me out in the past and I'm happy to help if I can.

My approach would be to find some kind of email server monitoring tool that you can run locally, say it polls the email server every minute. I'd run that at work, at home, and probably in a couple more places if you could get someone to do it - eg on a UFB connection, a cable connection, etc. That would tell you for sure what the problem is. If it's the server then you switch to their IMAP hosting, or just switch away to another email provider - I do that quite often for people, it's relatively simple.
Cheers for that, much appreciated. Any tips on a decent app I should look at?

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  Reply # 1333447 29-Jun-2015 14:19
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You could probably do it with a linux machine (or Cygwin) and a simple script. Script contents would be similar to what's on this page

Alternately during an outage, given you still have web testing, just use one of these tool - one, two.

Even better, sign up for a free trial at Alertra, they'll test your pop server every 5 minutes (or more often if you pay them) from different locations around the world. Pingdom is similar, and I think they do one test free no charge indefinitely, but not as often as you might want.




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  Reply # 1333448 29-Jun-2015 14:21
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It appears the ports aren't an issue from doing a few telnet tests around the office. I'll keep an eye on it in any case to see if something changes. 

I'll get one of the guys to take his laptop home and do some similar tests to see if anything happens while he's not on our network. 

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  Reply # 1333450 29-Jun-2015 14:21
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I do suggest signing up for the free month of Alertra - it's a great service.




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  Reply # 1336435 3-Jul-2015 13:52
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After a few days of Alertra checking things and no major issues being reported the situation got unbearable today. 

We are now back to using an ancient modem which we were using a couple of years ago and things are back to 'normal'. The reason we got rid of it was that the connection speeds on it were painfully slow. Vodafone offered us a new Home Hub so we figured 'why not?'. We now seem to be paying for it. 

Is it likely that it is actually a problem with the Home Hub like we think? If so, what's the easiest way to get a replacement? 

I had tried everything other than turning the firewall off completely. All with no effect. Should I have tried to static IP every device in the office and open specific email ports on the Home Hub? That seemed absurd to me so I didn't bother. 

Either way, the old slow modem is working much better with our emails, but with painful internet speeds... 

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  Reply # 1336443 3-Jul-2015 14:01
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If Alertra is reporting things are fine then it's like to be your access, either the connection (unlikely) your equipment (likely). Get in a network or infrastructure consultant to help. Techtonics is good, maybe a bit more than you need though. First thing to try is a new router.






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  Reply # 1337854 6-Jul-2015 13:49
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Yep, definitely a modem issue. 

It's a Station unit (SHG1500) running Firmware 5.4.8.1.160.6.42.

When using a very old Telecom supplied modem we have no issues at all. We used that model fine for the last week, but it's internet speed is terrible over wifi so we have switched back to the Voda supplied unit and have had no email for the last 2 hours... 

Anyone care to weigh in on whether a replacement is going to help or if we should try a more modern alternative?

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  Reply # 1337861 6-Jul-2015 13:53
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Modem or router?

Given how cheap they are and how much a persons time is worth I suggest just replacing it with a good quality commercial unit.




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