Network Setup for UMA Calling

After getting the Blackberry Bold 2 (9700) on T-Mobile I was anxious to try out the UMA voice feature. My WIFI network at the house consists of apple devices, the airport extreme and express. After struggling to get a UMA connection working on my existing network, I found out from several web postings that there are compatibility issues between apple wireless network devices and UMA connections. There could be a solution as of this blog post but I gave up looking for one.

I also found out that T-Mobile was giving away a D-Link wireless router model # TM-G240 at their stores for 1 cent. This router is one of their recommended devices for UMA calling. I picked one up and tried to figure out how to integrate it into our home network.

Our home network consists of dual WAN connections, a DSL line and a Cable line. We have this set up for redundancy and load balancing. I use a Xincom dual WAN router to take in both the DSL and Cable connections and feed the local network consisting of a mix of wired and wireless devices.

Here is a scratch diagram of the current network setup. (I apologize, I do not have MS Visio or any other tools to create visually appealing diagrams at the time of this post)

Current Network Setup

Current Network Setup
Current Network Setup

I tried creating a separate wireless network with the new D-Link router from T-Mobile within my LAN but was still not able to establish a UMA connection. I was able to connect to the Blackberry Infrastructure and the device showed a UMA network was available however not connected. The following error code was displayed.

W006.1 – ISP or T-Mobile network error.

To view the UMA connection status, perform the following steps on your bold 2 device

Manage Connections > Wi-FI Options > Select Connection > Wi-Fi Tools > WI-Fi Diagnosis

A quick search on Google showed what the different error codes mean.
http://www.blackberryfaq.com/index.php/Wifi_/_UMA_Error_Codes

I knew that the likely culprit would be my IPSec settings on my gateway device, the Xincom router. If you have ever tried changing settings on this device you know how complicated it can get and there is not much manufacturer or forum support out there. It is a very robust device though. I tried making a few changes to no avail and did not want to change additional settings and break something else so I considered an alternate way of connecting the D-Link router and still maintain dual WAN connectivity for most of my network.

I moved the D-Link router from behind the Xicom device to right after the DSL modem and used the D-Link to establish the PPPOE connection, provide a secondary Wi-Fi connection and provide a LAN IP address which serves as the main IP for the secondary WAN connection on the Xincom device. Using this set up, the Blackberry devices with UMA can connect to the new Wi-Fi network and by being directly connected to the internet, the D-Link wireless router was then able to allow UMA calling.

Having successfully set up the UMA calling with a router connected to the internet, I begun to question the apple wireless compatibility issues. When I get time I will try and connect the both the apple devices directly to the internet, bypassing the Xincom router and see if that set up works.

New Network Setup

New Network Setup
New Network Setup

Blackberry UMA International Calling

I figured the trip to South Africa would be a good test of UMA calling on the blackberry in an international setting. I set up a wireless network connected to a DSL 256/512 connection. As soon as I connected to the WiFI network with the blackberry the UMA symbol popped up.

I disabled the carrier wireless network just to be certain that I would not be roaming and made a few test calls on UMA. The call quality was surprisingly good. I made a few changes enabling Quality of Service for the UMA ports – TCP 500 and 4500. I selected this ports per this RIM document
http://www.blackberry.com/btsc/search.do?cmd=displayKC&docType=kc&externalId=KB13922

I am not sure if the QOS settings will make a difference or not.

Since South Africa is currently 7 hours ahead of the US, internet speeds are decent when the US is asleep. As soon as the US wakes up, the internet speed slows down significantly. The UMA voice quality also degrades when US internet usage begins in the morning US hours.

So far I am very satisfied with the service. I did make a mistake and pay the $9.99 with T-Mobile for UMA / WiFi calling when I did not need to. I am on the unlimited voice plan so using UMA voice has no affect on my minutes used. The $9.99 add-on is only for people with restricted minute plans, who want to use UMA / WiFi calling without burning the minutes on their plan.

Roaming internationally with T-mobile BES with a blackberry 9700

I had to post something about this because I have had a field day with T-mobile’s tech support regarding my blackberry. First, I was lured in by the great priced plans that T-mobile has. And just to give some perspective… I’m paying half of what ATT charged me per month, I qualified for 0% interest financing on 2 new blackberries, and get this…. I don’t have a contract. I’ve got the unlimited blackberry data plan and I’m loving it.

Now for the ugly part. T-mobile’s customer support rocks, but their reps are very hit or miss. When I signed up, I made it clear I needed corporate email. The sales person set up BIS instead of BES on my line. Fine… no problem…. after fighting with enterprise activation for a day, I finally called T-mobile and asked if the issue was that my account wasn’t provisioned. Sure enough – that was the case. The rep told me that it would take up to 48 hours for my account to be provisioned. Please note that my activation took just a day later- so I was happy.  Since Peter and I were taking a trip to Cancun, I wanted to make sure that I could have my email while roaming. I called them up and set up the $19.99 a month addition to let you get your data internationally.

I get to Cancun and I have ZERO connectivity. After furiously trying to switch networks, I got on the T-mobile chat to talk to a rep. Lo and behold she mentions that … yes you have data, but your line hasn’t been provisioned to roam internationally. Imagine that! Anyway, long story short… she went ahead and provisioned my account to get international data. So problem solved right? NOPE – this created a new problem. Now I couldn’t surf the web, my blackberry app world didn’t work, and my facebook App wasn’t working either!

So here I am back in the US, on chat AGAIN with T-mobile. After the rep takes me through a sequence of steps (rebooting my phone, taking out sim cards, taking out batteries), he finally gets it all working.  He also lets me know that whenever I travel internationally this problem  is possible .

Just FYI – here’s the fix :

1 – Take your battery + sim card out

2 – Give your IMIE and Pin to the tech support

3 – They will push down updates and new service books

4 – Power your phone back up and pray

5 – Repeat if it doesn’t take the first time.

Needless to say they got it fixed, and their tech support is great. But frankly speaking, my new blackberry has been anything but plug and play ! T-mobile really needs to work on the default settings for accounts, because it’s just not practical to have to keep going back to tech support because features keep randomly turning off.