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Problem using relay.plus.net

FIXED
Snowman
Hooked
Posts: 9
Thanks: 2
Registered: ‎23-02-2019

Problem using relay.plus.net

I have configured my NETGEAR D7800 router to send me a daily email containing the log file.
It worked fine until around the end of January.
The settings I had configured in my router were:
Outgoing Mail Server = relay.plus.net
Outgoing Mail Server Port Number = 25
My mail server does not require authentication.

Recently I have not been receiving daily emails, however the router log says it is still sending them.
There was no error message in the router log.

I changed the router configuration to provide authentication (username/password).
The router log now contains the error message:
[email failed] ssmtp: Cannot open relay.plus.net:25, Saturday, February 23, 2019 19:07:50

I have also tried using port 587 instead of port 25 which gives a similar error messsage:
[email failed] ssmtp: Cannot open relay.plus.net:587, Saturday, February 23, 2019 19:39:49

A have a friend with the same model of router who is also on Plusnet and has also started seeing similar error messages:
[email failed] ssmtp: Cannot open relay.plus.net:25, Thursday, February 07, 2019 06:00:06
[email failed] ssmtp: Cannot open relay.plus.net:25, Thursday, February 21, 2019 06:00:05

There seem to be posts indicating that that Plusnet have recently changed the way emails work so I am guessing that this has probably caused the problem. How can it be fixed?

16 REPLIES 16
MisterW
Superuser
Superuser
Posts: 11,119
Thanks: 3,398
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Registered: ‎30-07-2007

Re: Problem using relay.plus.net

No changes have been made to the email systems yet, they are planned for the end of the month. In any case they shouldn't affect you if you are using relay.plus.net. 

Check that you aren't using SSL  on your SMTP settings.

Superusers are not staff, but they do have a direct line of communication into the business in order to raise issues, concerns and feedback from the community.

Snowman
Hooked
Posts: 9
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Registered: ‎23-02-2019

Re: Problem using relay.plus.net

My NETGEAR D7800 router does not provide any option to use SSL for email.

Something appears to have changed this month - my router settings worked fine up to the end of January but I no longer receive the router log file emails.

MisterW
Superuser
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Posts: 11,119
Thanks: 3,398
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Registered: ‎30-07-2007

Re: Problem using relay.plus.net

Can you send emails with the same settings using a normal email client ?

Superusers are not staff, but they do have a direct line of communication into the business in order to raise issues, concerns and feedback from the community.

Snowman
Hooked
Posts: 9
Thanks: 2
Registered: ‎23-02-2019

Re: Problem using relay.plus.net

I don't have an email client on my system - I use outlook.com.

The settings in my router are now back to the ones that used to work:
Outgoing Mail Server = relay.plus.net
Outgoing Mail Server Port Number = 25
My mail server does not require authentication.

The router tries to send a log file email at 19:00 each day.
Yesterday the router log said that it had sent an email at 19:00 but nothing arrived in my hotmail.com email account.
Today the 19:00 daily email did arrive (for the first time this month).
So it appears that the router settings above can still work, but delivery of the email is not currently reliable.
I will see what happens over the next few days.

 

OskarPapa
Plusnet Alumni (retired)
Plusnet Alumni (retired)
Posts: 1,325
Fixes: 64
Registered: ‎09-10-2018

Re: Problem using relay.plus.net

Hi @Snowman, thanks for updating is.

 

Please do let us know how you get on.

 

Don't hesitate to drop us another post with any further queries, we're only a click away.

Snowman
Hooked
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Registered: ‎23-02-2019

Re: Problem using relay.plus.net

An update on what has happened since 26th Feb.

In summary - it has got much better since the start of April, but on some days the email from my router is not received.
Many (but not all) of the non-delivery dates are weekends or Bank Holidays.

I can live with this (the emails from my router are not critical) but it would be good to get delivery back up to 100% like it used to be before February.

Is the mail delivery service via relay.plus.net supposed to be available 24 x 7, or is it sometimes out of service in the early hours?

Details on the delivery history are given below:

Prior to 31st Jan daily emails were always sent by the router and received at 19:00.

Y = email was received
N = email was not received

31st Jan Y

February
1st - 25th N
26th Y
27th N (Wed)
28th Y

March
1st Y

I changed the router configuration to send the daily email at 04:00.

2nd Y
3rd Y
4th Y
5th Y
6th Y
7th N (Thu)
8th N (Fri)
9th Y
10th N (Sun)
11th Y
12th Y
13th N (Wed)
14th N (Thu)
15th N (Fri)
16th N (Sat)

The router was switched off 17th - 27th March

28th N (Thu)
29th N (Fri)
30th Y
31st N (Sun)

April
1st Y
2nd Y
3rd Y
4th Y
5th Y
6th Y
7th Y
8th Y
9th Y
10th Y
11th Y
12th Y
13th N (Sat)
14th N (Sun)
15th Y
16th Y
17th Y
18th N (Thu)
19th Y
20th Y
21st N (Sun)
22nd N (Mon - Bank Holiday)
23rd Y
24th Y
25th Y
26th Y
27th N (Sat)
28th N (Sun)
29th Y
30th Y

May
1st N (Wed)
2nd Y
3rd Y
4th Y
5th Y
6th N (Mon - Bank Holiday)

Snowman
Hooked
Posts: 9
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Registered: ‎23-02-2019

Re: Problem using relay.plus.net

During April the daily email from my router was delivered on 23 days out of 30 (77%).
During May the daily email from my router was only delivered on 20 days out of 31 (65%).

The daily delivery log for May:

Y = email was received
N = email was not received

1st N (Wed)
2nd Y
3rd Y
4th Y
5th Y
6th N (Mon - Bank Holiday)
7th Y
8th Y
9th Y
10th Y
11th Y
12th Y
13th Y
14th Y
15th Y
16th N (Thu)
17th Y
18th Y
19th N (Sun)
20th N (Mon)
21st N (Tue)
22nd N (Wed)
23rd Y
24th N (Fri)
25th Y
26th Y
27th N (Mon - Bank Holiday)
28th N (Tue)
29th Y
30th N (Thu)
31st Y

Could Plusnet check their mail server logs to try to determine what happened to the email on the days that it didn't get delivered?
The daily email is sent at 04:00 to the email address associated with my Plusnet Community account.

Townman
Superuser
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Re: Problem using relay.plus.net

There are a number of factors which might be "in play" here...

  • Does your router simply try once and then give up or does it make a number of attempts to send before giving up?  Attempting just once could get hit by a slow response, noise on the line or a multitude of transient issue
  • Does the router specify a FROM address?  Some do not.  One might consider that the implementation of SPF and there being no from address might give rise for concern, but should not give rise to variable behaviour
  • Is your line stable?  Is there any possibility that on the days you did not receive the emails, that the line was down for extended periods?

The email account which you are using to access the SMTP server, is this one which you use regularly via any other means?  If yes, do you ever see any issues attempting to send emails?  If not can you please confirm that you have no issues accessing that email address on webmail and further you have no problems SENDING emails via webmail.

Superuser citation

This topic has been cited by one of the Superusers; the purpose of which is to provide a note for information which might help to focus continued discussion (but might not result in a staff response).


 

Superusers are not staff, but they do have a direct line of communication into the business in order to raise issues, concerns and feedback from the community.

Snowman
Hooked
Posts: 9
Thanks: 2
Registered: ‎23-02-2019

Re: Problem using relay.plus.net

The entry in the router log file to say that the router log email was sent is exactly same on a day when the email does not arrive as it is on a day when it does arrive.

On 30th May there is a router log file entry:

[email sent to: xxx@hotmail.com] Thursday, May 30, 2019 04:00:43

On 31st May there is a router log file entry:

[email sent to: xxx@hotmail.com] Friday, May 31, 2019 04:00:44

(where xxx@hotmail.com is my email address)

So it appears that the router thinks that it sent the email successfully on 30th May but it did not arrive at xxx@hotmail.com (it did arrive on 31st May).

The router does appear to be able to detect at least some email failure conditions and record them in the log file - there is an example in my first post on this thread.

When I receive a router log email it looks like this in outlook.com:
From: root@D7800 <xxx@hotmail.com>
Sent: 05 June 2019 04:00
To: xxx@hotmail.com
Subject: NETGEAR D7800 Log

There are no entries in the router log file for 30th May to indicate that the WAN connection went down.
The router log file will record any [Internet connected] / [Internet disconnected] events.
The last [Internet disconnected] event I can see in the logs that I have kept was on 31st March.

I last rebooted my router 30 hours ago.
Logging in to my router currently shows that:
- The statistics for the WAN show a WAN up time of 30 hours so it appears that the WAN has not disconnected since the router was last booted.
- The log file shows that it sent a log file email to xxx@hotmail.com at 04:00 today (6th June). This email has not arrived at xxx@hotmail.com even though the WAN connection has remained connected.

I use outlook.com for my email (so I am assuming that when I send an email it does not use the relay.plus.net email infrastructure).
The only expected incoming emails to xxx@hotmail.com that I am aware that I have not received are some of the daily router log files (that do use the relay.plus.net email infrastructure).

Townman
Superuser
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Posts: 19,684
Thanks: 8,028
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Re: Problem using relay.plus.net

If you are sending emails via relay.plus.net and are logging onto that server as plusnetaccountname then you should set the FROM address in the router to be something like

Router@plusnetaccountname.plus.com

That will then avoid the possibility of falling foul of any SPF rules.

Alternatively you could use the SMTP server belonging to hotmail using your hotmail credentials.

Superusers are not staff, but they do have a direct line of communication into the business in order to raise issues, concerns and feedback from the community.

Townman
Superuser
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Posts: 19,684
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Re: Problem using relay.plus.net

Out of discussing this in the SU group (I thought this might be a different symptom of something already being looked at) I’m advised that every day between 20th & 30th May an email was accepted from the router and successfully sent to outlook at 4am.

What hotmail does with it thereafter is something else. Have you check in the spam folder? How does your hotmail account deal with suspected spam?

We know that in recent months the outlook email platform has got more picky about spam profiling, particularly checking if a sending SMTP is authorised to send mail on behalf of the sending mail address.

Relay.plus.net is NOT an authorised sender for @hotmail.xxx therefore these emails might be falling foul of stringent anti spam measures as we saw with Gmail recently.

To avoid the consequences either change the from address to be router@plusnetaccount.plus.com or use hotmail’s SMTP server, not Plusnet’s. See https://answers.microsoft.com/en-us/outlook_com/forum/all/smtp-server-settings-for-hotmail/bbadd3e1-...

Superusers are not staff, but they do have a direct line of communication into the business in order to raise issues, concerns and feedback from the community.

Snowman
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Registered: ‎23-02-2019

Re: Problem using relay.plus.net

Thank you for investigating what has been happening and establishing that the emails are being accepted from my router and successfully sent to outlook.

I do regularly check my outlook.com Junk Email folder - on the days when the router log emails do not arrive they have not been placed in this folder so they appear to have been silently discarded. It seems odd that the emails arrive on some days but not others when the source and destination are always the same and the content is very similar each day - a textual log file.

Also thank you for the suggested actions.
I will need to do some further research / experimentation to find out what might be achievable.
I just had a quick look at my router configuration settings relating to emailing the log files and they appear to be very limited (e.g. I can't see how to explicitly specify the FROM address).

Townman
Superuser
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Posts: 19,684
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Registered: ‎22-08-2007

Re: Problem using relay.plus.net

What version of firmware are you on?

I’ve looked at an online manual and saw no reference to sender’s email address. The updated firmware refers to SSL which the manual does not.

Here’s an idea. Set up an email address on your Plusnet account router@ which forwards to you@hotmail. Set your router to email to rourter@youraccount.plus.com - this might be more predicatable.

Your variable experience might well be down to the variability of SPF rejection. Will see if I can find any further info.

Superusers are not staff, but they do have a direct line of communication into the business in order to raise issues, concerns and feedback from the community.

Snowman
Hooked
Posts: 9
Thanks: 2
Registered: ‎23-02-2019

Re: Problem using relay.plus.net

My NETGEAR D7800 router is running Firmware Version 1.0.1.47, which is the latest version.

I agree that setting my router to email to something@myaccount.plus.com and setting this to redirect to my hotmail.com address seems likely to be the best solution.
I configured things this way last night and the 04:00 email arrived at my hotmail.com address this morning.
Hopefully this will prove to be a reliable solution.
I will monitor the email delivery for the rest of this month and mark the problem in this thread as fixed if it keeps working.

Thank you for your help. The problem was very confusing because the email was delivered on some days but not others with no error messages or any obvious cause that I could see.
I still don't understand why some messages were silently discarded but others were delivered, but I am primarily interested in making the email delivery reliable again (as it used to be before the start of February).