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Voice problems with Comdial & Spectrum
#635939 03/18/20 04:10 PM
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I'm in need of some insight from everyone.

I've posted to the forum in the past, but nothing in recent years (because everything was working well).

I've been with the same company since 1999 (I'm in computer IT & networking, not telephony)....but have been looking at the same phone equipment since it was new in 1999.

We have a Comdial Debut voicemail, Comdial Impact 8324S (seven handsets), and a Comdial DSU-II (J0816) with an additional 2 modules (JM408). We have 7 phone lines through Spectrum (voice & internet).

Recently (approximately 3 weeks ago) we began experiencing call (voice) quality issues...specifically, not being able to hear the person we were speaking with. This is happening for incoming AND outgoing calls. The recipient can ALWAYS hear us, but what we hear is very broken up (like you would hear on a poor cell phone call) OR we can't hear them at all. It's also not on every call...this only happens sporadically....sometimes in the AM, sometimes PM...sometimes all day and on every call.

I've done the basics....rebooted our phone equipment...and the Spectrum equipment I have access to. We've called Spectrum several times and haven't received a clear answer...other than the "signal" to our equipment is good. They did send out a Spectrum technician, who installed a new coax distribution block and a device that looks like an amplifier (power brick attached to the coax distribution block.

I realize our phone equipment is old, but is it time to give up on it? My gut feeling says now, but I would be pleased to have others add their opinion.

I hope I've given you enough information to give us (me) your insights, opinions and assistance.
Thanks!

Comdial Telephones & Systems
Re: Voice problems with Comdial & Spectrum
GBullard #635940 03/18/20 04:21 PM
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We have a couple of DSU and DSU-II left in service and they are on spectrum with no real call quality issues. I assume that you have done the simple stuff like replace handset cords. Also if there is one or two people who are the major issues, you might try swapping phones around see if the problem moves (Problem with phone not system or spectrum). If they installed a power supply then the signal to their equipment was not good, it was low.


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Re: Voice problems with Comdial & Spectrum
Daniel #635943 03/18/20 05:11 PM
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Hi Daniel....and thanks for your reply.

The problem is happening to everyone (all phones, all lines, sporadic times)....however the common issue seems to be "hearing" the person you're speaking to (the person your speaking with continues to hear us).

I've not replaced the phone wiring (yet) as it was happening on all handsets (even mine when I was speaking with Spectrum). That is a good suggestion....I'll change that out on a couple of extensions to see if that resolves the problem for them.

I have several handsets (Comdial Impact) too....and will change out them with the same stations for the wiring. I'll just change a couple to see if the problem improves or stays the same.

Our entire phone system is on a battery backup (APC SmartUPS 1500 with a fresh APC OEM battery).....and the Spectrum equipment is on a battery backup they provided (small Tripp-Lite device).

Yes (power supply / low signal)....however, after speaking with them again today, they say the signal is good. They also changed out SOME of the cabling (and a cable distribution block)....but nothing "upstream" from our suite.

Thanks again for your assistance....I'll switch out a couple of the handsets, cords and stations per your recommendation.

Re: Voice problems with Comdial & Spectrum
GBullard #635948 03/18/20 09:05 PM
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You need to find a service company who will be able to send out a tech on short notice. When your employees notice a drop in voice quality call in the tech, he or she will monitor and test the lines with their butt set. They should test the lines with them disconnected from the Comdial system.


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Re: Voice problems with Comdial & Spectrum
GBullard #635952 03/18/20 10:37 PM
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When I have these type of line issues I will put regular old POTS analog sets in line before the KSU. When issue shows up I disconnect the modular CO line cord to the KSU while off hook on the 2500 set. Problem still there it's a carrier issue- problem clears up it's the customer premise equipment.


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Re: Voice problems with Comdial & Spectrum
GBullard #636083 03/25/20 03:19 PM
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@dans...
Thanks for your suggestion. We have (had?) a local technician (company), but unfortunately the technician we utilized has "moved on to greener pastures" (ie, retired)....and locating one that works on older equipment has been difficult. Everyone wants to sell us new equipment, but that doesn't necessarily "fix the problem". We're still actively seeking a new technician....and will request they try your suggestion. I appreciate your input....thanks!

@Rather_Be_Fishing
Thank you also for your reply / suggestion. I might be able to try that myself (old POTS analog handset). I don't have a butt set (as @dans suggested), but I do have an old analog phone and will try that....and the wiring isn't too far removed from my abilities. I appreciate your insight.

Thank you both (again) for your suggestions.
With the recent coronavirus "shelter in place" ordinances in my area (DFW), our business has slowed and employees are now working off-site. I'm still engaged with daily activities at the office (in person), but haven't been able to reproduce the reported problem.

I'm going to use this quiet time to dig out an old POTS phone and prepare for when this issue resurfaces again.....and will report back to let the forum know (just for future reference).

Stay safe, stay connected....

Re: Voice problems with Comdial & Spectrum
GBullard #636104 03/26/20 08:05 AM
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You mention 'handsets' several times and that you've changed some of them. What about the telephone sets themselves to see if the problem follows the phone? I know it's a stretch, but worth a shot if you have the equipment at your disposal.

Still, I'm not buying the fact that your 30+ year old equipment just stopped working properly. Keep in mind that this system was designed and sold back when REAL phone companies were the only option for dial tone and they provided REAL specifications on those lines. I'd get a volt meter and measure the voltage of each line, both on-hook and off-hook. You should measure something in the 48 volts DC range on idle lines and around 12 when off-hook. Anything lower than these and you'll have issues (especially the off-hook voltage). There are line boosters/conditioners available that will help to compensate for errant voltages and you might want to consider purchasing some. Before that, especially if your voltages are out of range, I'd make Spectrum tighten up. If they want to sell phone lines, then they need to be real phone lines. Their modems (EMTAs) made by Arris are fairly reliable, but the newer ones made by Ubee have a mind of their own.


Ed Vaughn, MBSWWYPBX
Re: Voice problems with Comdial & Spectrum
GBullard #636120 03/27/20 06:42 PM
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You'd have a tough time convincing me that your Comdial phone system works part time when it's the closed end of the phone network, especially one way transmission problems. Analog Terminal Adapters have settings and the system has SMDR. I'd be matching volume problems with call logs and then suggest Spectrum send a tech with access to the settings in the boxes. It's not going to be voltage or any other phone related issues. It sounds like TRUNK(line) problems.

Carl


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Re: Voice problems with Comdial & Spectrum
GBullard #636197 04/01/20 02:53 PM
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Hi everyone...
I hope everyone is healthy (physically & financially) and surviving the current situation.

A general update to my situation.
With the new city ordinances and other health related requirements that our local governmental officials have imposed, we have not only furloughed several employees, but have had to alter our daily operations. Thankfully, with my position, I've not received any notification (yet)...and remain to be sure our infrastructure for remote desktop and other services are functioning. That said, our office phones have been silenced since those not furloughed have been working from home....which is good & bad. Good in that I don't hear the complaints when the problem arises (I'm joking) and bad in that I have no way to test the problem in a persistent way. But I do thank EVERYONE for their input and suggestions!

@EV60797...
Thanks for your suggestion. Yes, originally I did just exchange the handset...but also exchanged the telephone sets also on a couple of employees desks. We have several NOS (New Old Stock) stashed away when our company downsized in 2014. So far (before the situation we're current in) the problem has persisted....so I don't believe it is in our handsets and telephone sets. Not definitively discounting that it could still be, but I'm leaning toward it's not.

Measuring voltages and other testing on the phone system is a bit beyond my scope. I've had very limited experience in that (other than the basics). Might be time I invested in a few devices (they might have them discounted in our current economic situation). I'm just not sure that a novice (myself) should be handling things that might require a more experienced (and efficient) technician....but I'll do a little reading (and YouTube?) and see what I can do. You've given me the specifications that each line should be, so I'll report back when I have results. I appreciate your help.

However, you are correct that it was designed in a time before all the new technical innovations that are currently offered. I also checked and the devices (Spectrum EMTAs) are Arris TM804G (we have 2 of them)...although we have had them exchanged out several times since we began with then several years ago. I've often wondered about their (Arris) reliability, but only from a curiosity standpoint (because they were so readily changed out when a Spectrum technician came to address previous situations).

@Carl Navarro
That was my question to Spectrum (call logs). Although they do have call logs for billing purposes, they don't match up for technical diagnosis purposes (at least according to the Spectrum representative I spoke with). They wanted me (and our employees) to notate when they had problems. Date, time, phone number, land line or cellular number, incoming or outgoing...etc. I created a spreadsheet for the employees to note (before the ordinance closures began)....some did, some didn't (which is par for the course where I work). I did get several good data points....and submitted them to Spectrum (along with the matching times on the billing statement). Unfortunately I've not heard back from them (as of this writing).

Thank you both for your valued input.
I appreciate the time you spent replying to my question...and will do my best to test our equipment (to be sure it's not the problem).....but my gut feeling is that it is something upstream (ie, Spectrum related) from our offices. I'll report back to the forum....maybe this will be beneficial to someone with similar problems in the future.

Stay safe, stay connected....

Re: Voice problems with Comdial & Spectrum
GBullard #636200 04/01/20 05:56 PM
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On the side of your 816 cabinet, you have modular jacks. Probably 4 below the amp connector for lines and 4 or so above for paging, com 1&2, etc. By default, com1 is used to program the box and com2 is for SMDR. The phone system will give you a printout of all calls incoming and outgoing and I remember it's very forgiving if you turn it on and don't connect anything to it.

You might reach out to a Comdial tech and get a cable and use an old PC to capture the call records.

Carl


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