Hi, All. Just a heads-up.
2 days ago, one of my Clients lost their ability to send a PDF file of a Scan on their Standalone Multi-Function Network Printer (Magicolor 2490MF) to their Shaw Email account.
All had worked fine for over 6 months previous - no changes were made to the Client's system-configuration at the time the problem showed up.
After much thrashing about, including finger-pointing between Shaw, D-Link (router manufacturer) and Konica-Minolta (printer manufacturer) - the problem was finally localized to the IP address for the target SMTP Server in the hardware configuration for the Printer - which had worked flawlessly up to that point for years and years and years.
Now, the thing that made this particularly annoying was I had suspected a change in the Shaw operating-configuration from the very beginning of the incident. However, when I called Shaw Technical Support - there was absolutely nothing they could tell me about the problem. According to the Shaw Technical Support guy I was dealing with, Shaw were "fully functional, all Systems operating normally".
Furthermore, to add insult to injury, Shaw has not downed
the particular SMTP Server at the IP address originally configured by Minolta when the MFP was commissioned. The Server responds quite readily to a ping. It just won't handshake and allow SMTP data transfer.
The Printer has built-in verification which checks to see whether the target IP address for the SMTP Server in the Printer Configuration is active or not. The target IP address passed
that test. However, there was still no data transfer - just an eventual timeout with a cryptic error code in the transfer report from the Printer with an error saying "SMTP Disconnect". Thanks Konica-Minolta - that's extremely helpful.
Note: Yes there was
a rather sardonic tone to that last sentence... Don't you think so too?
Despite a reasonably thorough investigation, I could not find any record in amongst Shaw's technical information on the Shaw website (or in the Shaw FAQ on BBR) - as to the IP addresses of Shaw's SMTP Servers. So, I ended up doing an NSLookup on the FQDN for the SMTP Server closest to my client. That returned two authoritive IP addresses.
The second IP address was dead as a doornail - so much for the sanctity and accuracy of Shaw's DNS results - and the 2490MF quite properly said there was no SMTP Server at that address.
The first IP address on the NSLookup list worked fine - and my Client now has their Scan-to-Email working properly again.
The annoying thing about this rather-typical-for-Shaw clusterfark is the usual complaint - there was absolutely no
information forthcoming from Shaw about the fact they downed that particular SMTP App - but left the Server itself still active - nor were Shaw Technical Support informed about the status and/or current-and-active IP addresses for their SMTP Server Farm.
Furthermore, the Tech Support Rep I dealt with fobbed me off to D-Link (usual finger-pointing nonsense) with some bafflegab about "Port Forwarding" - which the D-Link Support Rep firmly countermanded (and quite correctly so) since this was a standalone device
with absolutely no "executable" to name on a PC at all! (note standalone
- I can't tell you how many times I had to repeat that - and they still
didn't get it...)
All in all, a thoroughly annoying trip through incompetenceville - which my Client suffered through no fault of his own. To say I'm less than impressed with Shaw Support's technical competence is a rather massive understatement. :-(
Note to Shaw: Get this sorted. Get the info made readily available. If you're really smart
- you'll have a Status Page available which shows which SMTP Servers are active and which are "broken". This will save all of us who thrash about trying to get your mail-service working properly - an immense amount of time and energy trying to do the Vulcan-mind-meld with your NOC operators - in order to find out what's actually
going on. Forcing your users to stumble around in the dark and feeding us BS is not
the way to run a "supposedly competent" Communications Company.
Results please. You know, those things that aren't
hype and actually work in the real world...