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Troubleshooting Tempurity™ E-mail Delivery Problems

                                                                                                 

Introduction

This primary purpose of this document is to describe some specific technical approaches to follow when Tempurity System test alarm notifications are not received as expected.  The following applies mostly to the use of Version 1 of Tempurity and the Tempurity Monitor.  Version 2 takes a different approach designed to work in spam-protective environments. This is described in a little more detail below. 

To test the ability of Tempurity to send alarm notifications, you can either use the "Test" button in the  Alarm Notification Wizard(Tempurity Monitor Version 1.6), or just walk through the Alarm Notification Wizard leaving everything constant (version 1.2) to send test alarm notification messages. 

Tempurity Monitor versions 1 send text messages through e-mail to text message gateways  from the Tempurity Monitor computer.  The below applies to both e-mail sends and text message sends.  Voice alarm notifications are sent through a non-email-based mechanism and the below information is not relevant.

A general paradigm is that the administrators of mail servers are continually changing their security schemes - usually in order to increase spam protection, or as a means of circumventing hackers.  These changes are occurring on both your own, internal, corporate mail server, and the mail servers of recipient domains like Gmail, Cingular, or IBM.  As a result an alarm notification group that works perfectly when tested may have partial or nonexistent notification a few months later, EVEN IF YOU ARE SENDING MESSAGES THROUGH YOUR OWN CORPORATE E-MAIL SERVER.  That would be the case if the mail administrators at Google(Gmail), Cingular, or IBM, or your own company had decided, in the mean time, to implement more restrictive security measures that no longer "trust" your Tempurity Monitor or even your company or its ISP in general.  The decision of which email senders to trust is up to each administrator, but can be based on IP address, the type of mail software, the name of the sending domain and many other factors.

We recommending testing Tempurity Alarm Notification Groups a minimum of once per month.

Tempurity Version 2

Tempurity Version 2 uses a different method of e-mail sends that is designed to work well in spam-protective environments.  In Tempurity Version 2,  Monitors still are responsible for e-mail sends, but it is implemented through the Tempurity Server. Mail is forwarded, always, from the Tempurity Server computer.  The Tempurity Server logs in to an SMTP mail server, which can include remote mail providers such as Gmail, Verio, or other large providers, or a local corporate mail server.  Mail is sent via an authenticated account.  This minimizes the possibility that security changes will affect alarm notifications dramatically, but does not eliminate this possibility.  Even when using Tempurity Version 2, alarm notifications should be tested at least once per month. 

Cellular Text Messages

  1. Look in the Tempurity User Manual, Appendix H, and find your cellular provider.  Note the email gateway for your carrier.  For instance, the Cingular gateway is “cingularme.com”
  2. Open a command shell prompt on the client computer, and run the “nslookup” utility.  Issue the “set type=mx” command to tell nslookup to look for mail exchanger records, then type in the name of your carriers gateway.  In the example below, we looked up the mail exchanger for cingular.com, and found that it is “atlsmtp.cingularme.net”
  3.  How to find your mail server
  4. Exit out of nslookup with the exit command.
  5. Next, open a telnet session to port 25 of the mail exchanger.  For example: telnet atlsmtp.cingularme.net 25
  6. From my home Comcast cable modem, the connection opens, but then I immediately get an message saying service not available:
  7. Blocking of alarm notification sends by mail servers 
  8. This isn’t too unusual.  In an attempt to limit spam, Cingular has decided they don’t want to accept mail from just anyone—particularly home cable modem connections.  If I try to send a test text message from the Tempurity Monitor, it never shows up on my phone.
  9. Ok, so what do we do?  Send the mail to Comcast’s SMTP server, which will then relay it to Cingular for us.  To do this, go to “Alarm Notification” dropdown, then select “SMTP Settings”.  Uncheck the “internal” box, and put the name of your company’s or ISP’s outgoing SMTP server:   Setting the SMTP Server in Tempurity Version 1
  10. If you don’t know the name your outgoing SMTP server, ask your network administrator.
  11. Lets continue by testing the Comcast SMTP server manually.  This will require careful typing.  First, open a telnet session to the SMTP server on port 25.  When I do this, I get a popup message from my McAfee software asking me if I want to allow a suspicious outgoing connection.  In this case I do!
  12. Next issue the hello command: HELO MYCOMPUTER
  13. SMTP server should respond with msg #250 “OK”
  14. Next issue: MAIL FROM:<alarm@networkedrobotics.com>
  15.  SMTP server should respond with msg #250 “OK”
  16. Next issue: RCTP TO:<9186405699@cingularme.com>
  17. SMTP server should respond with #250 “OK”
  18. Next issue the DATA command
  19. SMTP server should respond with #354
  20. Next, send the body of the email with a DATE, FROM, SUBJECT , TO, and then a few lines of text.
  21. Finish with a period on a line by itself.
  22. The server should respond with #250.
  23. Finally issue a QUIT command…
  24. Example: Manually sending email through an SMTP session with Telnet
  25. Another thing to watch out for is your windows firewall, or security software which will sometimes try to block incoming or outgoing SMTP connections.

 

Conclusion

This document describes a method of evaluating potential problems in the reception of Tempurity System alarm notifications.

 

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