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Author Topic: OBi + GV + Inbound Private Callers = Dead air  (Read 8327 times)
AClab
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Posts: 8


« on: July 25, 2015, 08:30:27 pm »

Hello OBi Friends!  Long time reader, infrequent commenter.

We just recently started experiencing a sporadic issue with our OBi202 in conjunction with Google Voice, and I'm hoping some here could steer us down the right path.  We've been troubleshooting this issue on our own for almost 3 weeks now.

We've traced the origin of the issue to around the same time of a known Google issue that SteveInWA mentioned.

We don't know if our issue is related to that or not.  But the timing has us thinking it isn't coincidental.  But it could be.

Here's the issue:

We receive regular calls from a "Private Caller" a few times a month.  I suppose I would characterize the calls as from an anonymous number?  There's no Caller ID.  The OBi reports no name or number inside the Caller ID parenthetical info.  These are all calls from one "caller" who we know and WANT to receive calls from, but that has no control over how their outbound calls or Caller ID are handled.

Until July 5 or July 6, we didn't have an issue receiving this calls using OBi202 + GV.  Hardware version 1.4, currently running 3.0.1.4738 Firmware.

Now, the calls ring through to our device, but we are never connected.  If we answer (even on the first ring) it's simply dead air.

Prior to the issue, the OBi call status and history would normally show these calls listed as:

From GT2()

Or the like, depending on the SP slot.  Now, they are labeled:

From GT2(a)

I assume this is somehow being flagged as anonymous call.  The only settings I know of in the OBi Service Provider configuration for inbound calling is the AnonymousCallBlockEnable feature, and it is presently set to "unchecked".

If we remove the OBi202 from the equation, and instead use Hangouts on an Android device to receive these calls, the calls do seem to work.  Though, the way the calls come in are slightly odd.  The inbound calls will ring, we'll answer, and dead air again.  Sometimes even without hanging up, another inbound call will come through, and THAT call seems to work.

All other calls to and from the OBi using GV in these SP slots work fine.  

I have combed through all the GV settings on the Google side to ensure that the Ring Schedule is set to Always for both Weekdays and Weekends, Call Screening is off, Global Spam Filtering is set to UNCHECKED, and the Anonymous Callers Group/Circle is set to ring Google Talk, with the Call Screening set manually to Off.

Help?  

Any advice?  Something obvious we are missing?  Or maybe even something advanced configuration wise we can change or augment?

We would really appreciate any help.  Thanks!

« Last Edit: July 25, 2015, 09:51:28 pm by AClab » Logged
SteveInWA
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« Reply #1 on: July 25, 2015, 08:44:48 pm »

Hi:

The issue in the post you referenced was resolved.

What makes you think these are legitimate telephone calls at all?  Is this someone you actually want to talk to, and their calls don't work?  It could just be some malformed or corrupted caller ID from a spam caller.  Furthermore, if you've shown that you get the same dead-air and blank caller ID symptom when using Hangouts, this has nothing to do with your OBi.

Google does try to squash the large majority of junk calls, but sometimes, crud like this gets through.
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AClab
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Posts: 8


« Reply #2 on: July 25, 2015, 09:40:31 pm »

Hi Steve!  Thanks for the reply.

The issue in the post you referenced was resolved.

Yes, I read the thread.  

And many others over the GV Support Group.  I haven't seen any one else really describing our particular problem.

What makes you think these are legitimate telephone calls at all?  Is this someone you actually want to talk to, and their calls don't work?

I should have made that more clear. These are calls from ONE particular "caller".

Yes.  We do want to receive the calls.  If we didn't, hell, why would we worry about someone we don't even know that's can't get through?   Cheesy

But I should have made that more clear.  My apologies!

Also, that caller has absolutely no control over how their outgoing calls or Caller ID are handled.

It could just be some malformed or corrupted caller ID from a spam caller.  Furthermore, if you've shown that you get the same dead-air and blank caller ID symptom when using Hangouts, this has nothing to do with your OBi.

Actually, no.  It DOES work with Hangouts.  It just works in a very odd and particular way.  It rings through, tries to connect, dead air, and sometimes while we are still on the line, it rings again, and we CAN connect.

We don't ever get that same experience with the OBi.

I edited the OP to reflect that we want to receive these calls, and that they are originated from an entity known to us.

It's also completely possible this is an intended feature by Google.  I fully understand that.

But we do want to receive these calls.  And I'm hoping someone can shed some light on what setting may be wrong, or how we might go about this differently.  As I mentioned, this has worked for us in the past with this same caller all the way up until July 5 or 6.  The 6th was the first day we actually saw a "live" call with this issue.

Our only other option would be to move to something like Anveo, which has worked for us in the past for this particular caller.  Which we may in fact have to do, and that's okay.  But this isn't just an issue for us in particular.  There's another family member who also receives calls from this caller, and they are having the same issue.  If we can keep using Google Voice, that would work best for them.  I hate to see them have to pay out of pocket for this, so we are trying our best to figure this out on our own.

We just need a little help doing so.  We've exhausted all our ideas and are looking for new ones.
« Last Edit: July 25, 2015, 09:52:25 pm by AClab » Logged
RFC3261
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« Reply #3 on: July 26, 2015, 08:54:51 am »

Also, that caller has absolutely no control over how their outgoing calls or Caller ID are handled.
Unless they are incarcerated (or live in particular suppressible regimes), or residing in places like Antarctica, they likely have some control, although their control could be limited by what they wish to pay, or the technologies they wish to use.  The fact that they come in strangely suggests that the source is "special" in some way.  You are likely going to have to provide more details regarding the specific source(s), and other limitations, to see if others in similar situations can provide better suggestions.
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AClab
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Posts: 8


« Reply #4 on: July 26, 2015, 10:50:17 am »

Also, that caller has absolutely no control over how their outgoing calls or Caller ID are handled.
Unless they are incarcerated (or live in particular suppressible regimes), or residing in places like Antarctica, they likely have some control, although their control could be limited by what they wish to pay, or the technologies they wish to use.  The fact that they come in strangely suggests that the source is "special" in some way.  You are likely going to have to provide more details regarding the specific source(s), and other limitations, to see if others in similar situations can provide better suggestions.

Thanks for the reply!  Sent you a PM with more details.

The "come in strangely" is a totally new development, FYI.  They never did that prior.

And this (again) all started exactly around the time of the GV issue that appears to have been resolved that I mentioned in the OP.

Prior to that date, everything worked swimmingly.
« Last Edit: July 26, 2015, 10:52:53 am by AClab » Logged
SteveInWA
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« Reply #5 on: July 26, 2015, 12:57:05 pm »

Let's get this out of the way:  this has nothing to do with your OBi device.  If you want to pursue it further, I recommend starting a new discussion over on the Google Voice Help Forum.

Regarding Hangouts:  Hangouts uses some different technology than the old Chat/XMPP protocol used by OBi devices, so it's not unusual that the symptoms would be different.

If this is the only inbound calling party that exhibits this symptom, then the best course of action would be for that party to troubleshoot it as a failed outbound call with their carrier.  That carrier should be able to see where, in the convoluted call path, the call fails.
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AClab
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Posts: 8


« Reply #6 on: July 26, 2015, 03:08:55 pm »

First, huge thank you to RFC3261!  I really appreciated your PM.

Let's get this out of the way:  this has nothing to do with your OBi device.

Thanks for the reply, Steve!

But it certainly IS a possibility it's connected to the OBi in some fashion.  Ruling that out definitively and absolutely is a bit foolhardy IMNSHO.

If you want to pursue it further, I recommend starting a new discussion over on the Google Voice Help Forum.

That's probably the next stop, at least that was our plan.  Thank you for that.

We figured I would try here first because many of the members are quite helpful and knowledgeable.  Yourself included! (even if you don't acknowledge the possibility this could be a conjunction of issues between GV and the OBi)

Regarding Hangouts:  Hangouts uses some different technology than the old Chat/XMPP protocol used by OBi devices, so it's not unusual that the symptoms would be different.

Yes.  We're familiar with this.  We're original GrandCentral users, so we've been using this technology and the newer variants for a long time now!

We still disagree that that item alone in and of itself clearly distinguishes itself and dictates it must be a GV problem alone.  

If this is the only inbound calling party that exhibits this symptom, then the best course of action would be for that party to troubleshoot it as a failed outbound call with their carrier.  That carrier should be able to see where, in the convoluted call path, the call fails.

I wish that were an option.  Believe me.  Unfortunately, it isn't.  Sad
« Last Edit: July 26, 2015, 03:11:00 pm by AClab » Logged
SteveInWA
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« Reply #7 on: July 26, 2015, 03:33:50 pm »

I don't want to get into a pissing match with you, over you assessment of me being "foolhardy", but I will say, with confidence, that I am the leading expert here on Google Voice, having worked directly with Google engineering for several years diagnosing and solving issues.

All the evidence you have posted so far (after edits) indicates that this has absolutely, positively nothing whatsoever to do with any setting or other issue with your OBi device.  The fact that it behaves somewhat differently when you attempt to answer the call on Hangouts vs. OBi doesn't change anything.  It's simply a different manifestation of the same root cause of the failure.

There is something unique about this caller's telephone service, which you have hinted at, but have been unwilling to disclose, that is causing the symptom with regard to GV's ability to correctly answer the inbound call.  For example, if this is from a correctional institution (prison, jail, halfway house), or some other non-standard telephone service provider, that could easily account for the problem.

As long as you don't have multiple examples of callers who cannot reach your inbound GV number, or whose calls result in some abnormal behavior, then there is nothing to fix or no setting to change, on the OBi or GV side, to change the behavior of this one caller's number.
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AClab
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Posts: 8


« Reply #8 on: July 26, 2015, 04:10:08 pm »

Steve, again.  Thank you for your reply!  I meant to ask a while ago, but where in WA?

We've lived in parts of the PNW before.  Have a family member up there right now in WA selling a house a matter of fact!

I don't want to get into a pissing match with you, over you assessment of me being "foolhardy", but I will say, with confidence, that I am the leading expert here on Google Voice, having worked directly with Google engineering for several years diagnosing and solving issues.

So, you can't possibly be incorrect about this?  Right?

That's one the major reasons I don't post here.  I post on many, many, many other support forums, not looking to solve our issues (because we generally do that on our own), but to help others.  I don't really come here because there is, among a rare few, a real case of hyper-elitism.  I'm not singling you out here - it's among a few users, and you aren't nearly as bad as some.

If this were a medical diagnostic, using the rule out method with the one very small fact you have would be extremely foolhardy.  There's no corroboration.  And I've seen plenty of cases where the Google Voice forum regulars have maintained, "This is a GV issue and/or feature.  Nothing you can do.  Live with it." and it turned out tweaking a setting here or there solved the issue.

I'm not saying your opinion here is wrong.  It's valid.  But to say it is the ONLY valid one - and then to use the hyper-elitist mantra of, "I've been doing this for XX years, I can't be wrong" excuse - absolutely IS foolhardy.  And I won't mince words over that. Sorry.

If we want to compare experience levels, DH and I have been working in IT since the 70's.  Collectively, we have far more knowledge than many combined on this forum.  Than many combined on a lot of forums, honestly.  Including quite a bit of VoIP and PBX experience.  But that doesn't address the problem or its solution, so to me, it's pretty useless.  I don't see the need to bring it up except as a comparative measurement in the urination department?  Cheesy

All the evidence you have posted so far (after edits)

I've edited to ADD things and clarify things, not take things away.  I wrote the OP pretty late and wasn't as focused as I should have been.

Uhhh.... sorry?   I try to fix the mistakes or oversights when I catch them.

...indicates that this has absolutely, positively nothing whatsoever to do with any setting or other issue with your OBi device.  The fact that it behaves somewhat differently when you attempt to answer the call on Hangouts vs. OBi doesn't change anything.  It's simply a different manifestation of the same root cause of the failure.

It very well may be a GV issue.  It very well may be a caller provider issue from the other end.  

But it ALSO could very well be something can be tweaked in the OBi to solve/fix it (not a problem with the OBi per se, but one that it can address. Savvy?).  

We don't know.  That's why we're here.  To get more ideas on what it could be, and other things to check.  

Not to be in a pissing contest, as you so eloquently put it.

There is something unique about this caller's telephone service, which you have hinted at, but have been unwilling to disclose, that is causing the symptom with regard to GV's ability to correctly answer the inbound call.

That absolutely is a possibility.  There's no ruling that out for now.

As long as you don't have multiple examples of callers who cannot reach your inbound GV number, or whose calls result in some abnormal behavior, then there is nothing to fix or no setting to change, on the OBi or GV side, to change the behavior of this one caller's number.

We don't use this inbound number or number(s) for many other calls.  From the limited tests we've done (from our own phones, services, test services, etc), these numbers appear to function the way they are intended.  But again, that doesn't rule out something we could have possibly overlooked.
« Last Edit: July 26, 2015, 04:12:18 pm by AClab » Logged
LTN1
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Posts: 478


« Reply #9 on: July 26, 2015, 06:10:18 pm »

Alcab...you write like you have graduate level education and are in a profession where details and word parsing are important. If I'm incorrect, let me know...for all I know, you could also be a mechanic with a Mensa level IQ. You give praise with one phrase as a prelude to criticizing with another. I recognize that type of writing because I am guilty of that on more occasions than I would like; and when I read myself in others, I find that to be quite annoying. So thanks for reminding me of what I should and shouldn't do on a non-academic forum.

But besides thanking you for pointing out my own issues, I would have to confirm that Steve, though not perfect, is the leading GV expert, not only on this forum, but also on the GV forum.
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Taoman
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Posts: 945


« Reply #10 on: July 26, 2015, 06:30:23 pm »


If we want to compare experience levels, DH and I have been working in IT since the 70's.  Collectively, we have far more knowledge than many combined on this forum.  Than many combined on a lot of forums, honestly.  Including quite a bit of VoIP and PBX experience.

If you have that much experience have you done an XMPP trace with Wireshark yet? That should tell you something.

How does this "one" caller get listed in Google Voice history? Anonymous?

What happens when this caller calls a regular landline or cell phone? Does the call go through successfully?

If you have a spare SP slot get a free DID from Callcentric, IPComms, or IPKall. You can then either register with Callcentric or IPComms or forward any of them via SIP URI to a free Anveo account. Then route your Contact for that one caller (or anonymous callers if necessary) to the free DID. Assuming an open SP slot there would be no "out of pocket" expense to go this route.
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