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Old 10-31-2006, 04:31 PM   #1 (permalink)
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I have been having issues with a temporary outaes of the BES service.

How we are set up:
Hosted Exchange with BES. Exchange is version 2003 with SP2, BES is 4.1.25.

No problems whatsoever with Outlook/Exchange functionality and DirectPush to Windows Mobile devices always works.

Blackberry devices used are Cingular's 8700's, a 7250 with Sprint and a 8100 unlocked used on the Cingular network.

The 7250 never has a problem. Most 8700s don't have issues. I have two that are giving problems from time to time.

The 8100 is having the most issues.

The issue:
BB all of a sudden stops receiving emails. It's on the EDGE network, can receive phone calls and send PINs and BIS messages.

At first I thought it was Cingular's network since I never saw these type ofproblems with other carriers. But then I used the @mycingular.blackberry.net email address and emails do arrive and can be answered. Meanwhile nothing on the BES side of things.

Now emails can also no longer be sent through the BES. They just don't go out - for that particular user. Everyone else is doing just fine.

The solution I keep being given is to wipe the handheld and re-activate. But this is ridiculous. You can't expect to keep wiping handhelds and then have everything sync over and over again.

Recently I have just waited and after 3-4 hours (sometimes overnight) the problem would resolve automagically and emails would be coming in again. So it's sporadic.

I figured it was a problem with the 8100 but it was already happening prior to switching to the new phone when we used the 8700.

Here are my questions:

1) Having BIS and BES co-exist, does that cause problems?

2) Since a message sent through BIS arrives but BES does not, does that rule out the carrier?

3) Is the T-Mo 8100 un-reliable because it is being used on the Cingular network though it is properly registered in the Cingular database - verified with the Cingular provisioning tool (yes I spent 5 hours on the phone with Cingular).

4) What else could be the problem here?

I am still a little uncertain on how the emails/messages get from the BES to the phone via the carrier. Does the BES hand the messages off to a server belonging to RIM which then forwards the emails to a distribution system at the wirelss provider? Or does the BES directly communicate to the phone via TCP/IP? Could it be that the BES is handing the messages off to RIM and then they never get forwarded from there?

I'm just trying to understand this so I can understand what the problem is/could be.

Any help is greatly appreciated.

Alex
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Old 11-01-2006, 11:35 AM   #2 (permalink)
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That is seriously messed up. If the Handheld has uppercase EDGE and it can send a PIN message then it should work. If the email has worked in the past it is highly unlikely that it is on the network side.

However I can't think of a reason why this would only affect the 8100s.

Your questions:
1)BIS and BES work fine together
2)No you can be provisioned for BIS and not for BES.
3)Highly unlikely
4)see above
other question) Message flow works like this: your BES sends to the mail to the handheld (based on PIN) over the srp connection. It's very unlikely there is an issue.

I'd suggest looking at the BES to see what else is common with these users.
Also, can you send when you have these issues?
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Old 11-01-2006, 12:29 PM   #3 (permalink)
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First of, thank you for your reply.

Service went out at around 10am yesterday and came back on for that device at around 7pm. Nothing was done to the device besides the reboot and wireless off/on earlier in the day. It just turned itself back on.

While the BES is not sync'ing, it is still possible to use the BIS function to send and receive with no delay whatsoever.

The way I understand the BES system is that the BES detects a new message and forwards it to RIM using the SRP and RIM then delivers the message to the device.

RIM reports that the BB device is connecting to the server. The last connect time is never more than 20 minutes. Even the forwarding time states that messages were recently forwarded but still no messages arrive till much later (I'm talking hours later). Also the amount of pending messages is 0 or a real low number but there should be a lot more pending messages since nothing has been forwarded. This user receives easily a 100 or more messages a day.

The main thing I need to determine is whether the problem is from the BES to RIM or from RIM to the BB device. Since the BIS works from RIM to the BB device I figured it must be from the BES to RIM. But maybe the BIS doesn't use encryption keys and BES does and the problem is there. Establishing a secure connection to RIM...

I'm just throwing out a bunch of guesses.

Alex
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Old 11-01-2006, 12:36 PM   #4 (permalink)
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The BES sends messages to the wireless network for delivery to the device. If a response is not received from the device for 5 msgs in a row it will stop sending to the wireless network and queue on the server. The 5 messages out on the network are just in the ether in limbo looking for the device to deliver to in the meantime.

Your device is probably losing the association with the wireless network even though you have a good signal, it cant route msgs to the device. Thus the BES gives up and goes into a retry state. The retry just happens to be every 4 hours, so if you see msgs coming in after 3-4 hours then you know the association was lost for a time, the BES started queueing, and the device then picked up again during the 3-4 hour interval and got the messages on the 4 hour retry.

We used to have this issue w/ T-mobile and sometimes they had to reset the "tower status" or something on their network however I haven't had this issue too much lately. It mostly happens with people with a poor signal, those who go in and out of coverage, or those who go home at night who don't have a good signal at home and then have to wait a few hours for msgs to retry delivery in the morning while in good coverage. Hope this info helps.
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Old 11-01-2006, 12:47 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Wow!!! I had no idea!

This makes complete sense!

But, how come RIM reports frequent contact times? That's what I see at the BES, the phone is making contact. Last contact time is never more than 30 minutes. Would that contact time not indicate that the phone is associated?

Does a reboot, i.e. removing the battery, not re-establish that connection? How about updating the routing table, would that recreate the association?

Alex
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Old 11-01-2006, 12:56 PM   #6 (permalink)
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The BES server will frequently run a "Synchronizing device capabilities" process against the user account, which sends a msg to the Dispatcher, which then returns as successful, however I don't think any msg is actually sent to the device for this.

So in short, the "last contact time" is a bogus statistic that really doesn't reflect when the handheld was last spoken to. I use the "Last Sent Time" as it actually reports what you think it to mean.

This is a problem with the wireless device & carrier interaction IMHO. Keep the device "always on, always connected" with a good signal and if it still happens then resort to escalating with the carrier. Or get a new device!
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Old 11-01-2006, 01:03 PM   #7 (permalink)
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What you say makes sense.

One question though, how come I can still send and receive messages with BIS and PIN? Is that disrelated from the BES interaction and not subject to the association problem?

Alex
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Old 11-01-2006, 01:16 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Good questions! Wish I had the answer. Best guess is that the device loses it's "association" with whatever it needs for BES stuff. B/C the user gets alot of mail, it doesn't take long for 5 msgs (say 10 mins) to pile up and put the BES in a retry. Then you feel the hurt for 4 hours.

Meanwhile, at minute 11 the "association" fixes itself and BIS and PIN's work fine. BES would too, if it wasn't in a retry queuing state, and the 5 msgs in the ether could make it to the device, but for some reason they don't.

They will only get to the device earlier than 4 hours if you do one of 2 things:

1) Restart the BES server (not an option IMO)
2) Purge Pending Messages for that user (will this kill all his 120 queued msgs? Not from my experience. Again this is misleading b/c the BES logs show that ONLY the 5 outstanding msgs on the wireless network are killed, and msgs 6-infinity are retried. If the "association" is back msgs 6-infinity will start being received by the device.)

Again,l hope this helps & please post your experience with this and any other findings you come up with to add to the stew here.
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Old 11-01-2006, 03:52 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Thank you. This has definitely answered many questions.

I will be adding anything else I might discover here.

Alex
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Old 11-05-2006, 08:55 AM   #10 (permalink)
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In my experiance you should also check with Cingular.. They are changing all kinds of things and the latest is the "teired" pricing of BIS and BES features.. They are also locking out tethering in many markets so they can charge for that too.. I know they don't support non-cingular phones, but a re-provision of the service from the carrier may resolve the issue.
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