- Our client was having issues with their new VOIP phones dropping calls and disconnecting from the Internet.
- We contacted our client's phone solution provider and Internet service provider to see if the issue was on either of their ends -- it wasn't.
- Upon analyzing their internal network, it was found that the issue was not isolated to phones - they were losing Internet connection on all devices, but did not notice due to primarily using internal resources on a shared server.
- Troubleshooting this led to isolating the firewall as the problem-causer: After replacing it, the Internet and phone drops stopped immediately!
Phase 1: The Problem
Our client had recently made a switch from having typical landline phones to VOIP phones (phones that utilize an internet connection over the network). Making the move over to VOIP and away from standard landline was the obvious choice for the client as they were growing and VOIP systems allow for much greater flexibility and management of messaging and call handling systems. Making the move over to VOIP is always the right decision in regards to managing your businesses phones; but like all new technology, there will inevitably be a period of learning and ironing out problems.
The problem this particular client encountered was a hard one to troubleshoot. Intermittently and almost seemingly at random, their new phones would drop calls and disconnect from the internet. The phone systems would be down for about 5 minutes before coming back up again. They didn’t report any other internet outages during this time and it was seemingly isolated to just the phone systems.
“Intermittently and almost seemingly at random, their new phones would drop calls and disconnect from the internet."
Phase 2: Analyzing the Problem
We began our investigation by reaching out to the client’s phone solution provider. The phone provider ran some remote tests to see if they could identify a problem with the phone handsets themselves. Their testing came back negative and they were not able to identify any hardware or networking error from their end. We then contacted the internet service provider, because again, the phones operated over the internet and not standard landlines. The internet service provider was unable to locate any issues on their end, and to nobody’s surprise were extremely unhelpful. Finally we had to turn to look at the internal network to see if there was anything happening on the clients physical network.
When initially reported, the client stated that the only service that was affected was the phones. They specifically said it had no effect on the internet itself. However, after we began to dig deeper, we found that this was not the case. The client utilizes mostly internal resources on a shared server and are rarely using the actual internet for their day to day jobs. As such, when we asked if the internet was going down at the same time as the phones, they were only utilizing the network within their building between computers and the server and not reaching out into the web.
Phase 3: Solving the Issue
We were able to trace the problem back to the firewall through a series of PING tests (network tests to see if devices are currently talking or not) and began to troubleshoot the firewall itself. The firewall itself had no errors within its event logs that would show any kind of network failure, which was incredibly strange as we had eliminated all other possibilities. We decided that we would replace the firewall and see if the problem went away.
After replacing the firewall, all the internet and phone drops immediately stopped and the client was able to resume work without any interruptions.