As previoulsy blogged, we completed our migration in full to open source over Xmas, and have been running everyting possible on open source for 5 weeks now.Â Without doubt the biggest problem, and source of legitimate continual complaints from our staff, our customers, and anyone who used the system, was our trixbox phone instalation.Â Negative symptoms included:
- very poor call quality, so bad we were often told to “get out of the dustbin” and we sounded like daleks
- Calls cut of in the middle of a conversation
- Calls to a group were notifying to the SNOM hard phones in the group upto 10 seconds before the softphones, making it very difficult to identify calls
- SNOM M3 DECT SIP phones didnt work, but SNOM 300 hard phones did. Sometimes.
- Call handling using Hudlite was not integrated with Ekiga (or anything), and so it was very hard for users to forward calls around the office, and many, many calls were missed as there is no way to notify users of an incoming call if the ekiga box is minimised.
- the system often had network problems, such that we replaced the ADSL router and moved the DHCP function several times in a month to get some sort of stability.Â Last week alone, we lost about 6 working hours of the working week with no phone system (yes, no phones at all).
By the end of the 4th week, morale was pretty poor, and after a crisis meeting we decide to do 2 significant changes.
1) bring in Matt and Dave, both sys admin type people from our open source support consultancy Senokian on a “do not leave until you have fixed it” mission to find out what was wrong with our setup.
2) abandon the softphone system – hudlite and a SIP client (like ekiga) it is just not good enough for a business environment; we bought a new batch to SNOM 300 hard phones for all the previous softphone users.
Very satisfactorily, a major trixbox/network fault was found by the superb Senokian chaps, and fixed, and after that all the new hard phones worked perfectly.Â That was friday.Â After a very frustrating period, we should have a much more stable week this week, but have leant some lessons that others may wish to heed in due course.
- The Hudlite system built into trixbox is difficult to work, and we do not recommend it for busienss use.Â It desperately needs an inbulit SIP client, and is almost unusable without such aÂ development.Â We know this, becuase we used a SWYX VOIP phone system that was so integrated for 4 years before trixbox.
- If you have the same symptoms as us, then check your trixbox setup, so that it has the right local network subnet mask, or else, as we found, if you use an incorrect one (probaly the default), all the network traffic tries to go via yourÂ network router (ADSL in our case), and it dies with the repeat NAT and repeat boucing of packets.Â In our case, it was set as (i think) 127.0.0.1, and it should have been 192.x.x.x etc.
I hope this post helps someone.Â I will report back after a few days on what we experienced this week, but it looks good.Â Just dont make our mistake, and try to use Hudlite softphones for a business critical operation ie a working phone system.
It may be a conincidence with the snow and bad weather this week, but the disruption to our operations has been very significant, resulting in the one of the lowest level of sales against target in my memory.
This is a profit warning to businesses – unreliable phone systems hurt.