Troubleshooting bfax brooktrout (TR114, Old Trufax) boards



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Troubleshooting BFAX Brooktrout (TR114, Old Trufax) boards

Last Revised: May 28 2009

Applies to


Esker Platforms (Esker DeliveryWare, Esker Fax, Esker Fax for Notes) version 4.0, 4.0 SP/FP1, 5.0 with old Bfax boards. Those boards are still supported on upgrade from previous versions these boards are no longer supported in case of a fresh installation of Esker Platform.


Summary


The aim of this document is to give you clues to understand and identify the different components of Brooktrout fax hardware installation and configuration. You can find in this document an overview of all elements implicated in the installation and use of fax boards that you may have to check when problems occur: "before” the fax board (telephony line/PABX…), related to the board itself (settings/type of board) and  “after” the board (drivers/fax service)". Finally, we give you processes to follow in order to generate traces files to find errors.


Topics


Applies to 1

Summary 1

Topics 1

0.1 Fax boards presentation 1

0.2 Fax board hardware configuration 3

0.3 Bfax Architecture 6

0.4 Tips and Tricks 14

0.5 Important Patch to install 15






0.1Fax boards presentation

0.1.1Analogic/Numeric faxboard differences


Phone connection and routing:

  • ANALOGIC: classical phone line required. Routing can be done by DTMF but not by DID, except in US where you can have ANALOG DID lines.

  • NUMERIC or ISDN (Integrated Services Delivery Network): specific phone line to be connected by a phone provider. DID routing is possible with such lines. 

Note1: Possibility to do routing on incoming phone numbers: set the PABX to route several different numbers to the same channel (for example number a,b,c on channel 1 and number d,e,f on channel 2)
Note 2: Possibility to configure the Esker Platform to route depending on the incoming number (PABX does not route; it only sends to the Esker server and its routing engine). 
- These possibilities imply configuration on both sides (Esker Platform/PABX).

For NUMERIC lines, 2 classes exist:  



  • Basic Rate Interface (BRI), low bandwidth, working with S0 connector and 2 channels per connector  

  • Primary Rate Interface (PRI), high bandwidth, up to 30 channels depending on countries.

  • See the ISDN Overview BRI and PRI, published in the May 1999 ITS News bulletin.

NUMERIC lines need a coherent configuration with PABX/Provider:

  • Protocol (Euro ISDN/ DASS/DMS…) and settings (datalink: point to point or point to multipoint, clock (board slave/PABX master),

  • For Euro ISDN PRI board: i.e. CRC4 setting (better if activated on the PABX/provider side).

You have to be aware that most of the problems appear during installation.

0.1.2Brooktrout boards and drivers


The Brooktrout boards’ types are: Trufax, TR114 and TR1034.

There are 2 different types of drivers for the Brooktrout boards:



  • Bfax driver: this driver exists in 2 main versions

    • Legacy driver for NT and ISA boards

    • Plug and Play driver

  • Boston driver: new driver for Brooktrout boards

Boards following Bfax Architecture: All TR114 boards, Old Analog Trufax boards

Boards following Boston Architecture: All TR1034 boards, Trufax BRI boards, New Trufax Analog boards (RoHS)


0.1.3Setting up a fax server with multiple fax boards


You cannot use Brooktrout boards from different categories on the same server because they do not follow the same Brooktrout architecture : TR114 and Trufax Analog use the bfax architecture whereas Trufax BRI and TR1034 use the boston architecture. However, you can use many different boards on a given server as long as they use the same architecture. For example:

* One TR114 analog and one Old (bfax)Analog Trufax boards (only in case of an upgrade on the same server with the same operating system; these boards are no longer supported in case of a fresh installation of Esker Platform)

* or One TR1034 analog and one TR1034 E1

* or One TR1034 Analog and the SR140


0.1.4Sample Brooktrout board and Rotary switch


A Bfax brooktrout board usually has a universal PCI connector, and on the side that will be visible once the board is mounted in the server, you can see:

  • The connectors for the line: They can either be RJ45 connectors (Analog line, BRI or PRI line) or Ethernet connectors if using a board capable of faxing over IP.

  • The Status LED’s: usually, there is one Board status LED to report the state of the board and many Channel LEDs that will report the status of the channels. You can refer to the Brooktrout’s Hardware Manual corresponding to your board for more detailed information on the meaning of the LED colors.

Rotary switch: The other important thing on a Brooktrout board is the rotary switch that is used to set the board module. The default module number is 2 (0 and 1 are reserved and cannot be used).

You should set each board to a unique module number in order to identify the resources associated with a specific board in a multi-board system. For instance, if you are putting 2 boards in a server, you need to set the module to 2 on the first board and to 3 on the second one.



Multi-boards: You can put many boards on one Esker Platform server as long as they use the same architecture (bfax or boston). Then, you can for instance have a TR1034 Analog and a TR1034 PRI board on the same machine. But you can not have a TR1034 BRI and a TR114 BRI because the components are not compatible.

0.2Fax board hardware configuration

0.2.1Telephony, cabling and connectors


First and foremost, you need a provider (phone line) with or without PABX.

You have to check that the cable is plugged from the PABX to the fax board connector. Cabling is important: depending of jack and protocol used, you have to set pins 1,2,4,5 for boards PRI, E1, T1 and 3,4,5,6 for BRI. Cabling has to be done « by hand » for the PABX. It is supposed to be integrated.







Then, you have the fax boards. They must be plugged directly to the mother board (PCI or ISA).

The mother board needs the following settings to access the fax board: IRQ, I/O, DMA (Direct Memory Access. Many DMA channels are available depending on the machine. It allows connecting devices with memory without going through the processor).

For ISA boards only: Check the availability (PCI boards don’t have this type of problem): My Computer icon/manage/System Information (Win2000/2003). In case of problem for fax boards, see below for troubleshooting and workaround.

0.2.2Differences ISA/PCI


ISA Slot. It's the old reference, appearing like a black big slot. Depending of the fax board model, you have to set IRQ, IO and DMA.

PCI Slot. It's the new reference, appearing like a white little slot. Normally, nothing has to be set. When installing the fax boards, the system doesn't need IRQ, IO or DMA to be configured.

There are different PCI slots as shown on the figure. The uPCI Brooktrout boards have a Universal PCI connector that can be inserted in any of the PCI slots.

If you change the slot of a board or if you move/add a board you may encounter some conflicts:


  • For ISA, go and have a look at NT Diagnostic/Resources to try to find some available resources for IRQ, IO and DMA. It's not always complete. 

  • For PCI, first, remove the device from the Device Manager. Then, move the board to another slot and restart the server. If you are using a non plug and play driver, modify the BIOS if it's possible to find an IRQ, IO available (you can refer to tip Procedure to change IRQ of a PCI board in this guide, or find info from Brooktrout web site

For NetAccess board (PRI) make sure PCI slot is a bus master (BIOS).

0.3Bfax Architecture

0.3.1Applies to


This section applies to all TR114 boards and to old Analog Trufax boards (non-RoHS) because those boards use the bfax driver. If you do not have one of those boards, please refer to the Troubleshooting Brooktrout boston boards guide.

Brooktrout already dropping support for those boards using the bfax architecture. The new installations should be done with boston-architecture boards and you should only have to deal with bfax-architecture boards with upgrades installations.


0.3.2Installation


Install and configure the Brooktrout TR114/TruFax Analog drivers package provided with Esker Platform. You should install the drivers provided with Esker Platform and NOT the drivers that are included with the boards (if received directly from the manufacturer).

When installing a TR114 or TruFax Analog fax board, you must not use a Plug and Play driver. When upgrading a TR114 board, drivers are updated; however you have the possibility to keep your existing configuration.

For details, refer to Configuring the Brooktrout driver for TR114, TruFax Analog boards.

0.3.2.1Legacy drivers


The non plug and play drivers are not supported anymore with PCI boards. The only supported configuration using non plug and play drivers with TR114 boards is a Windows 2000 Server Operating System with an ISA board. With such boards, the installation is performed during the Esker setup program when selecting the ISA board setting.

0.3.2.2Plug and play drivers


The TR114 PCI boards following the Bfax architecture have to be installed using a plug and play driver.

The PCI-1 boards will not be supported for a long time, that’s why it is recommended to use uPCI boards that can be plugged in any PCI slot.

There are 2 possibilities to install the board:


  • Installation done by the Esker Setup: shut down the server, plug the board, restart the server, cancel the “Found new hardware” wizard and use the Esker setup to install the Brooktrout board

  • Recommended: Shut down the server, plug the board and leave the Operating System detect the board when restarting the server: the “Found new hardware wizard” is displayed. Then, follow the wizard installation instructions. Once the board is installed properly on the system, run the Esker setup.

Note: If you are running Windows 2003 Server, you do not need to perform any installation steps when plugging the TR114 board: it is automatically recognized by the operating system (Windows 2003 includes the bfax driver: bfax.sys)

Important issue: There is a know issue with the Brooktrout's Plug and Play (PnP) driver that freezes the DELL Poweredge Server series running Windows 2000 Server when installing TR114 Analog uPCI boards. To avoid this problem, you need to upgrade the Brooktrout driver: a correct driver is available on the FP1 CD under FP1\Support Files\Brooktrout\TR114. Please read the “Updating Esker software with the 4.3.2.85 PNP driver.pdf” file available at the same location for the installation instructions.

0.3.3Drivers, service and firmwares

0.3.3.1Brooktrout driver


A driver is provided by Brooktrout. It can be integrated in the Esker setup program depending on the installation type. The installation is performed in the \BoardDrivers\Brooktrout folder.

It is possible to "completely" uninstall the Brooktrout driver launching, from the CD-rom, the following command: \BoardDrivers\Brooktrout\setup.exe –u

For those boards, the Brooktrout registry is located under HKLM\Software\Esker\BTFaxBoard. This is useful in order to know some configuration information such as board model (BoardsInfo), command line to initialize the board (InitCmdLine), etc.

0.3.3.2Esker drivers 


The Esker drivers are interfacing with the Esker Fax Connector service (faxgate.exe) and the constructor's drivers. They are installed under \Program\Apps folder and are named BTDriver.dll and BTSupp.dll.

Those drivers can generate some traces in Esker Trace Analyzer (to display it from the MMC, right-click on the server name and select Diagnostic).


0.3.3.3Esker Fax Connector service


The Esker Fax Connector service (faxgate.exe) sends and receives faxes. To do so, it uses the installed driver. To identify this driver, the Esker Platform uses information set in the registry: HKLM\Software\SSTAI\Faxgate\BTDriver

0.3.3.4Registry keys


The registry keys containing the information about the fax board driver are the following:

  • HKLM\Software\Esker\BTFaxBoard

  • HKLM\Software\SSTAI\Faxgate\

    • BTDriver keys

    • keys for the fax lines: usually Fax line x (x representing the line number) but they might have different names. If the fax line keys have custom names, you can identify them with the following keys:

      • Type = “Fax line”

      • UniqueID (Fax line number)


0.3.3.5Firmwares


There are 2 different types of firmwares:

  • The Boot Rom firmware that is always on the board (.s file). You need to flash the board to re-apply or change this firmware

  • The .pex firmware that is loaded on the board when the fax application starts. This firmware is referenced in the btcall.cfg.

For further information on how to update the firmwares for a TR114 BRI board, please refer to section 3.4.3 below.

0.3.4Troubleshooting problems

0.3.4.1Without Esker services running, test the board


First and foremost, save the screenshot of displayed errors and stop the Fax Connector service.

Then, you can test the board using faxtest utility:



  • Stop the Esker Fax Connector service.

  • Open a Command Prompt window.

  • Go into the '\BoardDrivers\Brooktrout' folder.

  • If you are not using a Plug and Play driver, Type: net start bfax to start the bfax service

  • Type: Faxinit –n (or faxinit -n btdriver.cnf for PRI boards) -> the board should be detected OK and its channels should be initialized as shown below



  • Then send a test fax using faxtest utility by typing:
    faxtest -u fax_line_number -s dest_number send.fil
    (i.e. faxtest -u 0 -s 0472834640 send.fil)

  • Then receive a fax using faxtest by typing:
    faxtest -u fax_line_number -r
    (i.e. faxtest -u 0 -r)

Please, redirect the tests results to text files as following:

 faxtest -u fax_line_number -s dest_number send.fil > trace_file_send.txt 

 faxtest -u fax_line_number -r > trace_file_receive.txt

Note: This test allows you to check that the line is responding ok, but is not similar to what is done when using the Esker Application. Actually, with this test, a connection is opened and closed between each fax sending attempt. When this test works, the problem is often linked to the Fax Connector, otherwise it is a hardware/configuration problem.

You can also use the FaxDiag utility to test more thoroughly the board. You can download the FaxDiag version corresponding to your board and driver on the Brooktrout web site: http://www.dialogic.com/support/helpweb/brooktrout/test.htm

FaxVoiceDiag: Allows to test the board by sending and receiving faxes. Make sure you do not use the FaxVoiceDiag for driver v 4.9 and higher that correspond to boston boards. You may download this utility in the version corresponding to your board from the Brooktrout Web Site: http://www.dialogic.com/support/helpweb/brooktrout/test.htm


  • Installation

  • Launching the utility

    • Go to the FaxVoiceDiag installation directory

    • Run FaxDiagVoice.exe

    • It will open the following window:

  • You now need to download the firmware on the board to be able to test it. You should configure the telephony parameters (type of line, Datalink type…) from this interface




  • You can then test the lines when sending and receiving faxes as shown below




  • You can activate many traces to see where the problem is through the Logging menu.

Usually, for the legacy Bfax driver, problems are IRQ (if the board reset fails) or IO conflicts.  Check NT diagnostics, try other IRQs and IOs with board switches (refer to hardware guide).

If you are using the bfax plug and play driver, you can modify the board configuration settings such as the line type, the datalink… from the Esker Administator: right-click on the Fax Connector and select Launch Brooktrout Wizard…

If you are using a BRI board, you can also test BRI lines and generate a BRI trace with the briconf utility. It uses a limited buffer to capture RNIS events on the lines. To do so:


  • Stop Fax Connector service.

  • Open a Command Prompt window.

  • Go into the '\BoardDrivers\Brooktrout' folder.

  • Type: net start bfax  

  • Type: Faxinit -n 

  • Then type briconf -d c (enables the ISDN circular buffer)

  • Do you fax sending tests (with faxtest)

  • Type briconf -d e (options: briconf -d e a : display information for port A only, briconf -d e b: display information for port B only, briconf -d e w: includes firmware warnings). This generates a britrace.txt file.

0.3.4.2Test the Esker server


You can activate the traces on the Esker side and also on the Brooktrout side.

To activate the Esker traces, launch the Esker Administrator MMC and then the trace configuration as following:



  • Right click on your Server name.

  • Select Diagnostic, Activate Traces... as below:

This will open the trace configuration window:



  • Activate the Fax Hardware traces by checking the corresponding XML as following

  • Click on OK twice

Then, you can launch the trace analyzer:



  • Right click on your Server name.

  • Select Diagnostic, Launch the trace analyzer...

  • Once you have the done some tests, you can save the trace file (File – Save Current Traces in a new file) or retrieve the current trace file from \EskLog\LogFiles

To activate the Brooktrout traces:

  • Right click on Fax Connector and select Properties.

  • Select the Brooktrout - Advanced tab.

  • Check the Hardware troubleshooting box and verify the path where to find the btdebug.log file as following:



  • Stop/Restart Fax Connector service (it consequently generates traces in Trace Analyzer).

  • Make several send/reception tests from the Esker Platform (Quick Send on Fax Connector service, send fax from another fax machine, etc.).



  • Verify faxes are sent/received with or without errors appearing in the Trace Analyzer.

=> IMPORTANT: If the problem happens now and then, save the first initialization trace file, then save the trace in another file when problem happens, to allow comparisons. Make several send/reception tests from the Esker Platform (QuickSend in Fax Connector service, send fax from another fax machine, etc...). Please generate two trace files, one when everything is all right and another one when problems occur.

Note: the trace analyzer file is often clear: have a look to its content!

Check the event log to try to find constructors errors (in System and Application part of the event log).

Then close the utilities and deactivate the traces to free the driver. 

All these tests should allow you to find information about the problem cause. 


0.3.4.3Problem with a TR114 BRI board


In case of trouble with BRI TR114 fax boards, you should configure the board to use a new line firmware and also flash the board with a more recent TR114 ISDN BRI board firmware. The latest Bri firmware is located on the 3.5 FP1 CD, under BoardDrivers\Brooktrout\bin\tr114\Bri276.

Here is how to proceed to update the firmwares:



  • On the DeliveryWare first CD, you'll find the files Briconf.exe, brifw276.s and v216_2m.pex in the folder "BoardDrivers\Brooktrout\bin\tr114\Bri276"; Copy theses 3 files in /Program/Apps/Brooktrout (be sure to backup the existing files first)

  • Backup and edit the btcall.cfg file

  • Look for the "firmware_2m" line and change it to "v216_2m.pex"

  • Do the same for the file firmware.ini: change the "firmware_2m" line to "v216_2m.pex"

  • Stop the Fax Connector service

  • Open a Command Prompt window.

  • Go in the \BoardDrivers\Brooktrout folder.

  • Type: net stop bfax

  • Type: net start bfax

  • Type: faxinit -n

  • Flash the board by typing: briconf -f brifw276.s. Answer 'y' when being asked to load the firmware for all boards if all are BRI boards.

  • Wait for the load to be 100% complete.

  • Stop the board service by typing: net stop bfax.

  • Restart the Fax connector service

Note: you can verify that the Board firmware has been updated by doing a faxinit –n command and checking its output.

0.3.5Needed Information to send to ITS in case of problem


  • Configuration description (board model, System OS, Processor, Use of PABX and description...)

  • All the configuration files from the \Program\BoardDrivers\Brooktrout folder (all cfg, e1, t1 files)

  • Trace analyzer files (esklog.ecf),

  • Britrace.txt file (for TR114 BRI boards)

  • Application and System Event logs

  • Esker Platform registry keys:
    HKLM\SOFTWARE\SSTAI\Faxgate\
    HKLM\SOFTWARE\Esker\BTFaxboard 

  • Constructor registry keys: HKLM\system\currentControlSet\Services\bfax 

  • Trace files from Constructor's utilities from the
    \Program\BoardDrivers\Brooktrout folder (BTInit.log, bri.log, britrace.txt)
    => IMPORTANT: They are often mandatory as required by constructor if we need their support.

Note: It is possible to create cases for the Brooktrout support on their website at the following url:


http://www.dialogic.com/support/contact/default.aspx
or by emailing them to: americas.support@dialogic.com (for US support ) or emea.support@dialogic.com (Europe Support)

0.3.6Brooktrout documentations


They can be found in the installation directory: \BoardDrivers\Brooktrout or C:\Brooktrout\bfax depending on the installation type (plug and play or not). See readme.txt at the same place to use them.

0.4Tips and Tricks

0.4.1Changing board modus between PTP / PMP for an ISDN BRI board configuration


PTP (Point-To-Point) / PMP (Point-To-Multipoint) is a parameter of the ISDN protocol Data Link layer. The BRI interface has the capability to handle one ISDN terminal or multiple ISDN terminals on the same line. Your PBX or Phone Provider enables or disables this feature in the Data Link layer.
Settings that are incompatible with your provider will result in call failure. If you don't know which settings apply to your configuration, contact your Phone Provider or try sending a fax using each of the settings.

Note: The PTP Datalink is commonly used in most countries.

For a Bfax Architecture: You can change this parameter value by doing the following:



  • Open a Command Prompt window.

  • Go to the \BoardDrivers\Brooktrout folder.

  • Edit the bri.cnf file and change the parameter value on the Datalink line to:
      datalink ptp
    or
      datalink pmp

  • Close and save this file.

  • Load changes by typing the following command:
      briconf -p bri.cnf

Note: If you have flashed the BRI Board firmware, be careful to always reset to the correct value for the Datalink set in the bri.cnf file by typing the DOS command just above.

For a boston architecture, you simply need to edit callctrl.cfg file and set the datalink setting. You need to restart the Esker Fax Connector service to apply this change.


0.4.2Adding a « w » character in front of the fax number


If the ISDN provider uses a T1 E&M protocol on the ISDN line, you should use one "w" in front of the fax number by modifying the telco settings. That will force the Brooktrout channel to wait for a wink after it goes off-hook, before it dials any numbers. This is a method of "call supervision"; the board's making sure the channel is actually available for the channel to place a call, before it attempts to do so. If you put a "w" in front of the number, and the board goes off-hook and doesn't get a wink back from telco or the PBX, it will immediately go back on-hook and return an error 265 ("digital timeslot busy") up through the API to the application.

0.4.3Recommendations when dedicating fax channels for receiving/sending in ISDN configurations (bfax architecture only)


In cases where you want to dedicate certain channels for receiving or sending, Brooktrout advises that:

  • Either whole fax channels on ISDN port be dedicated for receiving or sending,

  • Or only even numbered channels be dedicated for sending, and odd numbered channels for receiving.

For example, with a TR114+I4B, if you want to dedicate one line for sending, and one line for receiving, the following configuration would be suitable:

  • Fax line 1 = In/Out

  • Fax line 2 = In/Out

  • Fax line 3 = In

  • Fax line 4 = Out


0.5Important Patch to install


4.0SFP1:

Solution 2169: ESK_40SP_FP1_SF72955 “Tiff scrambed with old TruFax or TR114 faxboard since FP1”



Solution 2561: ESK_40SP_FP1_SF92280: DW 4.0 SP/FP1 Secure inbound fax


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