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Intermittent Pop3 email issue on ipad/ iphone  - does not make sense.

Posted on 2011-09-14
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Last Modified: 2012-06-04
We have a problem with BT  email account on an ipad and iphone.

The issue is that the user has severe intermittent problems with regard to sending and receiving emails.
We have been puzzled by this on-going problem.
When the ipad was brought to our office, we found that email worked fine, however when back with user in different location issues occur.

The error message that occurs is that the ipad / iphone is similar to:

Unable to communicate with mailserver username password incorrect.

(This is not the exact message as the user does not get enough time to fully explain it before it disappears but it basically says user name and password is wrong - sometimes SMTP is at the front of message so I assume an error for incoming and for outgoing)

We have checked the settings talking the user over the phone many times. The strange thing is we can be looking at the settings and say, "well lets re-enter the password again -just in case". And then it starts working again and it might work OK for a little while.

However, it will then start generating the error message again for seemingly no reason

We have gone through a painful process with BT and confirmed all the settings are OK and even set up Windows Live mail on a computer on the same network to ensure all settings are correct (and the email client on PC works fine on the same network)

The settings we basically use are:

POP3

user@btinernet.com
mail.btinternet.com

Port incoming: 110
Outgoing: 25 / 587 (played with having both)

What could be causing this. Days of investigation are starting to point to the devices, but the fact that it occurs on both iphone and ipad is strange.

What on earth could be causing this. The really strange thing is sometimes it will just start working. but at present mostly not.
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Question by:afflik1923
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by:Jason C. Levine
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Hi afflik1923,

Does BT support secure login? 110 and 25/587 are the normal ports.  Switching to SSL encryption might help.
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by:afflik1923
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No SSL.
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Jason C. Levine earned 400 total points
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Okay.  Where is the user when the mails fail?  Home? Public WiFi networks?
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Author Comment

by:afflik1923
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A home/office network. As the grounds are large they actually have two broadband connections.

But they both come from the same non BT provider.
During one bout of testing, they were having issues, I got them to walk over to the other network and it started working. At this point we thoguht it was defeintely the particular network. However later the same issue occured in the other network.
Although not a network maintained by use, we have loged in and although not familar with Zyxel equipment I cannot see any firewall rules or Nat rules setup.

Basically I've very confused. It's quite far for me to visit and already a lot of time has been invested in simply "Getting email to work on an ipad".

Any ideas I'm greatful. It's an ipad 1. Is there any such issues with the ipad. As far as I remember we updated firmware with the last 3 or 4 months.



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by:Jason C. Levine
Jason C. Levine earned 400 total points
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I have the iPad 1 and occasionally I run into email issues over Wifi because ports are being blocked or traffic is really heavy.  Less often, I get failure messages from the mail server and I think it has to do with poor quality connections and the credentials getting messed up due to packet corruption.  

Can't really prove it.  Check signal strength when the issue crops up?
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Author Comment

by:afflik1923
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OK that's an interesting theory. Could be related. I will ask the user to go close to the wireelss access point to see if things work better than.

Still open to any other suggestions.
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Assisted Solution

by:maximus5328
maximus5328 earned 100 total points
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you mail server may only allow one connection at a time to the mailbox. so while the iPhone is checking for new messages the iPad is denied access, and vice versa. is there any other device (computer) set up to check the same mailbox?
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by:afflik1923
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I would not have thoguht that a BT mailbox would have had that type of restriction in place. But the frequency of the errors also makes me think it can't be that. But is there any way one can tell for certain. Asking BT will probably not help as they only know the basics.
I would have thoguht many more woudl have reported the problem if this was teh case.
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by:Jason C. Levine
Jason C. Levine earned 400 total points
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Yes, I would assume that to be the case too.  If the device always throws the intermittent error on the same networks then it's something about those networks.  If the device just plain fails randomly it might be the radio...
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by:afflik1923
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OK we run some tests from site today. Bizaree, even intermitent webmail log in fails.
however we do recall occasional errors that OUtlook reports.

So we conlcude it's the account, but how the hell do we convince BT of this. Conclusion, looks like we are going to have to move but I would be interested to hear opinions or if anyone else has ever had such issues.
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by:Jason C. Levine
Jason C. Levine earned 400 total points
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>> even intermitent webmail log in fails.

It has to be on the BT side then...I don't know what else to tell you.
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Author Comment

by:afflik1923
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We have decided to move away from BT. The entire case is just too strange. A headache but necessary
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Author Closing Comment

by:afflik1923
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We moved them over to a hosted exchange account. Thanks for input.
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