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Troubleshooting Sending Emails from a Xenta Server

Issue

Troubleshooting sending email alarms from a Xenta Server.

Environment

  • Xenta Server
  • Xenta 511, 511:B, 527, 701, 711, 721 and 731
  • XBuilder
  • SMTP Server

Cause

There are many reasons why an emailed alarm from a Xenta Server wouldn't reach the desired destination inbox.  This document walks through the most common settings and networking issues and how to overcome them.

Resolution

Click here to download a copy of this document in PDF format

Troubleshooting Sending Emails from a Xenta Server

Some Xenta Servers can be configured to send out alarms via email – 511, 511:B, 527, 701, 711, 721 and 731. Typically, following the instructions found in the TAC Vista Xenta Server – Web Server Technical Manual will result in successful delivery of email alarms. However, there are some factors that can hinder these email messages. This document is intended to address a few of the most common troubleshooting techniques to resolve these problems.

The Basics

The first step to getting Xenta alarms to email out is to properly configure the XBuilder project. Reference Chapter 5.2 Configuring the TAC Xenta Server for Email Forwarding in the TAC Vista Xenta Server – Web Server Technical Manual. Enter the address of the Simple Mail Transfer Protocol (SMTP) server as well as the authentication information (if any). If no SMTP server or login information has been provided, contact an IT professional at the customer’s site to obtain this information. Alternately, for testing and demo purposes, Schneider Electric’s SMTP server can be used – smtpservice.buildings.schneider-electric.com (port 25 or port 2525). If using Schneider Electric’s SMTP server, set the Authentication to “TAC.”

Once the Xenta Server is correctly configured, set up Alarm Receivers in the XBuilder project. The steps for this can be found in Chapter 4.3 Configuring Receiver Groups in the TAC Vista Xenta Server – Web Server Technical Manual.

Consider configuring the Alarm Receiver to email a distribution list as opposed to individual email addresses. Then the distribution list can be edited and maintained by the IT staff without ever having to access XBuilder projects or Xenta Servers.

If everything is set up correctly, test the email capability by logging into the web interface of the Xenta Server and navigating to Utilities > Tools > Communication Tests. Enter a test email destination and hit “Test” as shown in Figure 1.

Figure 1. Test Send E-mail Message

If the email arrives as expected, then the SMTP settings are all correct. A final test of the alarm receivers and alarm properties can be accomplished by forcing an alarm condition.

If the email does not arrive as expected, check the following possible errors, or proceed directly to the next section of this document titled “Check SMTP Connectivity.”

Could not send the e-mail, error in mail configuration

If this error results from sending a test email, then the settings in XBuilder need to be revisited and verified.

Failed deliver e-mail, connection couldn't be established, check e-mail address

If the test results in this error, proceed to the next section of this document titled “Check SMTP Server Connectivity.”

Check SMTP Server Connectivity

In order to use an SMTP server, a connection must be established. In this example, the provided SMTP server is “smtp.ACME.com.”

Xenta Servers have a built in test function for determining the status of some of the defined devices. Log into the web interface and navigate to Utilities > Tools > Communication Tests.

Figure 2. Communication Tests

From this screen, the connection between the Xenta Server and any of the defined gateways and servers can be verified. Select the radio button for Mail server 1 (SMTP) and hit test. Some possible results of the test are:

‘Mail server 1 (SMTP)’ is on-line

If the mail server is online, but the test email still is not delivered, then the cause is most likely the authentication credentials of the Xenta Server. Check with an IT professional to verify the login account name and password that have been provided. Check that it has been correctly entered as described in the section of this document titled “Check SMTP Server Settings.”

If all of this is set up correctly and verified, proceed to the section of the document titled “Xenta Server Indicates No Errors.”

‘Mail server 1 (SMTP)’ is off-line

If the mail server is offline, then no communication exists. Make sure the SMTP server settings are correct. Refer to the section of this document titled “Check SMTP Server Settings.” Also check the TCP/IP settings as described in the section of this document titled “Check TCP/IP Settings.” If the SMTP server is outside the network, ensure that the default gateway is defined and test its availability with a communication test as shown in Figure 2. Lastly, connect to the network using a laptop and attempt to ping the SMTP server. If it is unavailable, contact an IT professional for assistance.

C:\>ping smtp.ACME.com

Pinging smtp.ACME.com [10.10.10.10] with 32 bytes of data:

Request timed out.
Request timed out.
Request timed out.
Request timed out.

Ping statistics for 10.10.10.10:
Packets: Sent = 4, Received = 0, Lost = 4 (100% loss),

 

Figure 3. Failed Ping Example

C:\>ping smtp.ACME.com

Pinging smtp.ACME.com [10.10.10.10] with 32 bytes of data:

Reply from 10.10.10.10: bytes=32 time=1ms TTL=64
Reply from 10.10.10.10: bytes=32 time=1ms TTL=64
Reply from 10.10.10.10: bytes=32 time=1ms TTL=64
Reply from 10.10.10.10: bytes=32 time=1ms TTL=64

Ping statistics for 10.10.10.10:
Packets: Sent = 4, Received = 4, Lost = 0 (0% loss),
Approximate round trip times in milli-seconds:
Minimum = 1ms, Maximum = 1ms, Average = 1ms
Figure 4. Successful Ping Example

In Figure 4, the ping has returned four successful results. This will confirm that cables are connected properly, IP addresses are set, and any necessary gateway routers are communicating. It does not indicate ultimate success in connecting to the SMTP server.

To check connectivity with the SMTP server, use a simple telnet command on port 25 (or the specified port) from a command prompt.

C:\>telnet smtp.ACME.com 25
Connecting To smtp.ACME.com...
Figure 5. Telnet command.

If there is an error connecting, you will see this:

C:\>telnet smtp.ACME.com 25
Connecting To smtp.ACME.com...Could not open connection to the host, on port 25: Connect failed
Figure 6. Failed Telnet Command.

If the connection succeeds, the command prompt will clear and show a new line beginning with 220. Type the word “helo” and press enter. The SMTP server should again respond but this time with a line starting with 250. Exit the telnet session by typing “quit” and pressing enter.

220 smtp.ACME.com ESMTP
helo
250 smtp.ACME.com
quit
221 smtp.ACME.com

Connection to the host lost.
C:\>
Figure 7. Successful Telnet Session.

If a connection can successfully be established through telnet, then the ports are open and SMTP messages should be successfully received from the Xenta Server. That does not guarantee they will be relayed by the SMTP server, so if emails are still not being delivered, continue troubleshooting with the next section titled “Xenta Server Indicates No Errors.”

Command not found

If a telnet attempt results in the command prompt error "command not found" it is most likely because telnet is not enabled. In newer operating systems (Windows Vista/Windows 7) this feature is not enabled by default. To enable telnet:

  1. Go to Start > Control Panel > Programs and Features
  2. On the left side, select Turn Windows features on or off
  3. Scroll down to Telnet Client and check the box (see Figure 8 below)


Figure 8. Enable Telnet Client.

Failed convert dns-name into ip-number

If using DNS names for the SMTP server instead of IP addresses, a DNS server must be defined. A DNS server is responsible for resolving DNS names to IP addresses. Make sure the DNS server is online with a communication test as shown in Figure 2. To bypass any problems with DNS, enter the SMTP server IP address instead. This can be obtained by pinging the server as shown in Figure 3.

Check SMTP Server Settings

The SMTP settings can be viewed and changed either in the XBuilder project, or live via the server’s web interface. If you are troubleshooting live on a site, it is probably faster and easier to use the web interface. If settings are changed live, be sure to update the XBuilder project at some point to avoid the settings being erased by a download. Navigate in the web interface to Configuration > Network > SMTP.

Figure 9. SMTP Settings

The fields shown in Figure 9 for “Outgoing mail server port” are not available in XBuilder/System Program versions prior to 5.1.3. In versions 5.1.2 and below, it is not possible to alter the default SMTP port. It is hard-coded at 25.

The Primary SMTP will be provided by the site’s IT staff. If authentication is required, then an account name and password must be provided by the IT staff. If the SMTP server is available, but no emails are being sent out, the authentication parameters need to be checked. Any further investigation at that point will require contacting an IT professional for assistance. Refer to the section of this document titled “Xenta Server Indicates No Errors” for some troubleshooting questions to pose. Also refer to “Contacting an IT Professional” for documents to use to facilitate these conversations.

If no SMTP server has been provided, then Schneider Electric’s SMTP server can be used. To use Schneider Electric’s SMTP server for testing or temporary purposes, enter “smtpservice.buildings.schneider-electric.com” into the outgoing mail server. Mail server ports 25 and 2525 are available. Authentication is set to “TAC.” This does not require an account name or password.

This method is only recommended for testing purposes. Schneider Electric makes no guarantees as to the availability of the SMTP server. To ensure the email alarms are being delivered as promised, use an SMTP server with some guarantee of up time.

Even if an SMTP server has been provided, consider defining Schneider Electric’s SMTP server as a secondary server. It is not always a viable solution due to some network security settings and availability, but may increase the overall success rate of your email delivery by providing some redundancy.

Check TCP/IP Settings

The TCP/IP settings can be viewed and changed either in the XBuilder project, or live via the server’s web interface. If you are troubleshooting live on a site, it is probably faster and easier to use the web interface. If settings are changed live, be sure to update the XBuilder project at some point to avoid the settings being erased by a download. Navigate in the web interface to Configuration > Network > TCP/IP.

Figure 10. TCP/IP Settings

The most important items to check on this screen are Default gateway and DNS server. If the default gateway is not properly defined, then external SMTP servers will be unavailable. If the DNS server is not properly defined, then SMTP servers defined by DNS names will be unresolved. Either enter a valid DNS server, or manually resolve the IP address by pinging the server as shown in Figure 3. If using Schneider Electric’s SMTP server, DNS must be defined.

Xenta Server Indicates No Errors

If the test email was sent, but not received, and no errors were recorded, the focus should now shift to troubleshooting the SMTP server itself. Assistance from an IT professional will be helpful at this stage. Things to check include:

  • Check the incoming/outgoing messages from the SMTP server. See if the messages from the Xenta Server are arriving but not being sent out. Many companies will set up an “allowed” list that will only pass emails from recognized IP addresses, and all else is filtered as spam. Make sure the Xenta Server’s IP address is listed on the acceptable list.
  • Ask what port the SMTP communication is using. Port 25 is typically used for SMTP communication, but some companies will change this for security purposes. Request that port 25 be opened for SMTP communication from the Vista Server. If this is not an option, the port can be changed in XBuilder/System Program versions 5.1.3 and later. See the section of this document titled “Changing the default SMTP Port” for instructions.
  • Xenta Servers are hard-coded to use UTF-7 encoding.  They require this encoding to support Swedish characters.  UTF-8 is the most common encoding in America and Europe.  Some networks may filter UTF-7 messages as spam.  While this is not readily configurable, it can be manually changed by editing some files.

    Use an FTP program (Internet Explorer) to connect to the Xenta you are trying to change and download the \sys\langstring.cfg file.

    Edit the file and modify the following lines to replace all instances of 7 with an 8:
    ALARM_CODE_1= =?utf-7?Q?
    ALARM_CODE_3=charset=UNICODE-1-1-UTF-7

    Upload the edited file back to the Xenta device and then cycle the power.  The device will now use UTF-8 character encoding which is more commonly used in the United States.  Remember that reloading the system program will erase these changes.

     

  • Some companies will block all POP messages on the network. This will disable the ability to use external SMTP servers. Make sure POP messages are allowed or that the SMTP server is internal to the network.
  • If you are trying to use an SMTP server of a different ISP than the one Vista Server is connected to, this will most likely be blocked by the SMTP server. This is known as mail relaying – something spammers can and will abuse.

Changing the default SMTP Port

Changing the default SMTP port is not available in XBuilder/System Program versions prior to 5.1.3. In versions 5.1.2 and before, the only options are to request for the IT department to allow use of port 25, or upgrade to version 5.1.3 or later.

If you are using XBuilder/System Program version 5.1.3 or later, adjusting the default SMTP Port can be done through the web interface as shown in Figure 9. It can also be adjusted in XBuilder as shown in Figure 6.

Figure 11. Changing the SMTP Port in XBuilder

Contacting an IT Professional

If you need help contacting the customer’s IT department to gather and share the correct data, use the document attached in Appendix A: IT Request for Information. A completed example is shown in Appendix B: Sample IT Request for Information.

Disclaimer

The information contained in this document is subject to change without notice. It is also subject to change with versions of TAC Xenta Servers. If further assistance is required, please

  • Call or email Schneider Electric Product Support

Appendix A: IT Request for Information

The TAC building automation system installed on your site has the capability to email facilities personnel in certain situations. Typically, this is used to alert the proper channels of equipment failure or security breaches detected by the automation system.

TAC Xenta Servers use standard Simple Mail Transfer Protocol (SMTP) for these messages. An SMTP server must be provided in order for these messages to be delivered. The following document was created to facilitate the sharing/gathering of necessary information between IT and the installation contractor.

Information for the Installation Contractor from IT

SMTP messages must be sent with the following details:

SMTP server address (DNS or IP):

 

Authentication required (choose one):

Yes

No

Account name (if applicable):

 

Password (if applicable):

 

To distribution list (if any):

 

Required UDP Port:

 

Information for IT from the Installation Contractor

SMTP messages will be sent with the following details:

To distribution list (or email addresses):

 

Unit e-mail address:

 

From IP address:

 

Desired UDP port:

 




Appendix B: Sample IT Request for Information

The TAC building automation system installed on your site has the capability to email facilities personnel in certain situations. Typically, this is used to alert the proper channels of equipment failure or security breaches detected by the automation system.

TAC Xenta Servers use standard Simple Mail Transfer Protocol (SMTP) for these messages. An SMTP server must be provided in order for these messages to be delivered. The following document was created to facilitate the sharing/gathering of necessary information between IT and the installation contractor.

Information for the Installation Contractor from IT

SMTP messages must be sent with the following details:

SMTP server address (DNS or IP):

smtp.ACME.com

Authentication required (choose one):

Yes

No

Account name (if applicable):

emailuser

Password (if applicable):

password123

To distribution list (if any):

facilities_staff@thebuilding.com

Required UDP Port:

25

Information for IT from the Installation Contractor

SMTP messages will be sent with the following details:

To distribution list (or email addresses):

facilities_staff@thebuilding.com

Unit e-mail address:

xenta@server.com

From IP address:

10.10.10.20

Desired UDP port:

25

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Last update:
‎2018-09-07 02:38 AM
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