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Joined: Feb 2008
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Good Day All -

I'm and _end user_ although I can't tell ya'll how much help the forums are. Generally I don't post as I rely on my Toshiba partner for all of our phone system work. I'm having problems with a phone system that I'm having trouble getting solved and looking for options.

The location having trouble (I'm the headquarters IT systems manager) has a CTX-100, IVP8 voicemail, 5 POTS lines, 8 Toshiba phones - 3 of which are portable handsets.

Going on for about 4 months now, there is a sporatic problem where the personnel in the store can talk to the person at the other end but cannot hear anything that person says. We have had our POTS provider out many times and every time they come out, the levels and numbers on all their test equipment show fine, they have changed cable pairs in the mall communication closet coming to our store's demark and the trouble persists. Our provider put a new line card in the system and changed the wires going from the line card to the demark and the problem continues.

The "one sided" conversation happens from all phones, on all lines, not all at the same time and the parties can hang up, call right back, use the same desket or cordless and even be on the same POTS line and everythign is fine....15 seconds later.

The problem never occurs during a call, it always happens at the START of a call and happens both on inbound and outbound directions.

I need to get the problem resolved but frankly don't have the money to just buy a whole new phone system, new desksets at several hundred dollars a piece and/or just start changing every card in the system.

Our Toshiba partner sends me to the telco, the telco sends me to the PBX vendor and I (and our store personnel) are stuck in the middle of what turns an ugly situation.

I'm therefore looking for some advice on what the next troubleshooting step should be, guesses, hints, etc are all appreciated. I'm not a phone system technican but I can find my way around a wiring closet when I need to, if theres a specific piece of test equipment I need which would let me try and investigate, I'm open to any suggestions.

Thanks for your time.

Mark L., MCSE, CCNA

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Next time you have the trouble, put the caller on hold and pick the call up again.

If the trouble clears, it's the equipment. Do you know what software version your CTX is?
release 1.X, 2.x, 3.x and so on.

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Troubleshooting problems that cannot be readily duplicated is a very frustrating job. You can always hook up an analog phone in between the dmarc and the PBX and make calls from there to see if you have the same problem but thats gonna be a crap shoot.

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Both questions and suggestions above (by mj and RR) are great.

In accordance with RRino's analog phone suggestion is another troubleshooting device that I haven't used in a while, but may be useful in your situation : a TK-6 switch. It works like an A/B monitor switch (in your terms wink ).

So when the problem appears on CO line X you can hit the corresponding TK-6 switch, in-turn making that line ring on an analog phone ahead of the system (direct from bell), until the problem occurs again. If the problem occurs on the analog phone, then it's a bell problem.

Another question : what is the regularity of the problem (once an hour/week/month/etc.)?


- Tony
Ohio Data LLC
Phone systems, data networks, firewalls and servers in Central Ohio.
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Have you powered the system down and back up after one of these calls?

It is possible that you are getting spikes in your electrical power that while not putting the system into "oh my gosh the phone system is on fire" you are getting glitches that cause erratic operation.

EFI in Salt Lake makes rather inexpensive surge protectors that operate in one nano second as compared to miliseconds on most surge protectors. I would highly suggest one of their extremely fast surge protectors as an easy and cheap possible remedy. At worst, you have a great surge protector for not much money.


THE Bracha, old blond specialist in Rube Goldberg solutions.
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mj_wild: I do not know the software version of the system. Is there an easy way to figure this out? I have one DKT phone with a display on it and a pretty good on site GM if this is something she can lookup with a code being punched into the system.

RRIno and MacOSX - the analog plug in is something I've thought about and I'm trying to see if I can manage to sit in the store for 2 days and wait for this to happen, I don't think my provider is going to do this for me cheaply. I'm glad i'm not off base in my thinking though.
I will look up the TK-6 switch (if anything another toy for my toolbag).

MacOSX: The problem is very sporatic, it can happen every call, it can not happen for an entire day. I've had the store measuring instances and recording times for me, there is no logical grouping i can find but its happening 10 or 11 times per day, different lines, different stations. Thats what makes it very hard to t-shoot.

Blod hippity bunnie (nice handle BTW): The system is on a surge protector but not one with nano-second operation and is on an APC ups battery backup. The phone box IS in the same room and probably on the same breaker circuit as the ballasts that drive our floor lights which I think they've had some problems with - excellent suggestion. Power spikes didn't occur to me but depending on the type of spike, its possible the UPS would not even catch it.

Also - no, I have not had them power cycle the system after one of these calls but it HAS been power cycled several times since it started. I will have them try this today and see what happens.

I will post back with findings soon, if anybody has anything further, I'd appreciate it.

Mark @ LMFJ

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1. Get a 100 ft extension cord and run the Toshiba from some room outlet with very little else around it using electricity. DO NOT use the APC.

or

2. Cut the APC out of the loop, use just wall power with or without a new surge protector.

It is within the realm of possibility that the APC is screwing up, they do die more often than Toshiba cards.


THE Bracha, old blond specialist in Rube Goldberg solutions.
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If This is happing on all pots lines the posablity of it being a phone co. problem is nill.
Votage spikes is an excelent possability.
I think removing the apc for a week would be a good test. also changing the wall outlet is a good test but doing both at the same time won't tell you witch one is your culpert.
Recycling the switch can cure thees intermittin
problems. Because it refreshes the cpu.I would choose this as my first choise.


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