Sunday, October 18, 2015

Of arrogance, ignorance and agony: A tale of lost data.

I don't like change. Especially when it comes to computers. Windows 95 was my operating system for a long time, but when Windows 2000 came out I got it. Win95 was always so glitchy. Windows 2000 was very stable for me. And the only email program that I used was Outlook Express. I had the Microsoft Office products and Adobe Photoshop. For years the Win2k PC was the perfect PC.  Never backed anything up. Never updated Office or Adobe. Never had problems. Sitting pretty. Never thinking for once that in my arrogance, nothing was ever going to happen. Then one night last winter, Glenn, my husband and President of Bishop Computer, decides to upgrade my machine to Windows XP, the last Windows O/S that used my Abobe without upgrading. He thought he was doing a good thing. Glenn survived and/or ignored my death threats. I still had all of my programs. Cool.

Before long, my PC started being a dog. Everything took so long to do. No, it wasn't my connection to the Internet. we have an extremely fast Comcast connection. This system also liked to reboot itself every now and then. Is that what XP did? Win2k never did that. So for my birthday, Glenn got me a new Windows 7 Pro PC (now upgraded to Windows 10). But he set my old PC in another room, and I remote desktop to it, RDP. So now I have an ultra fast PC, and I can use my old programs, Outlook Express, Microsoft Office and Adobe Photoshop by RDP. Neat.

Then came the power outage. Everything went down. That's ok. We've weathered this kind of thing before. I sat down with my Windows 10 laptop and read a kindle book until power came back on. And it did, with a loud BANG! It certainly did not sound good. But I found everything came back up, my PC, the servers, the switches, and the IP Office. Everything except my XP box. Great. Glenn came back in and asked that I give him 24 hours to see if he could fix my machine. OK. I told him it's got to be done because that's where I keep ALL my passwords for everything. Talk about panic!

The next day, Glenn said we needed to send out my hard drive to a data recovery company. But to who? There are so many companies out there. Who to trust? Well, we actually know a company. Glenn had to remind me. We support their Avaya IP Office system. Gillware, Data Recovery, that's what they do. Data recovery and data backup. Glenn asked if they deal with WinXP. Yes. And they work on the type of hard drive I have. They could not guarantee data recovery. They said send it in and they will do an analysis. So we sent the hard drive to Gillware Data Recovery.

They quickly got back and said that they did recover everything except for 5000 some odd sectors. I've lost at least 5000 sectors in my brain from a recent mini-stroke (TIA) I had, and I'm still ticking. I was lucky, in and out of the hospital in 2 days. So how bad is 5000 sectors gone on my hard drive? I was super lucky with that as well. We got it back and booted the hard drive, and up it came. I could see nothing missing. My Outlook Express was there with all my passwords, which was most important! I now have a hard copy. I had my old Photoshop and Microsoft Office which was a plus. Ok, I had had my doubts and had bought into the Adobe Cloud and Microsoft Office online stuff for my new machine before I got my hard drive back. Adobe will take a nice sized learning curve. Microsoft, not so bad. So now I have the most up to date operating system, Microsoft and Adobe products. Well, everything except Outlook Express. I've got to have that.

So what have I learned? Backup, backup backup. Sooner or later, it will happen to you. Also, if you need a data recovery company, Gillware is it! They also have online backup. Check them out! Here is a link to Gillware so that you can learn about them. They are as expert to data recovery and online backup as we are expert in Avaya IP Office. Be safe!

~Peggy Bishop

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Avaya IP Office Support

When your IP Office isn't working like it should, that can be very frustrating to you and your customers. A company phone system is usually the first point of contact with clients. If it's not working properly, business is hard to conduct. Are customers getting busy signals? Are voicemails working? Is your auto-attendant sending customers to the wrong extension or into the dreaded loop? Ok, some customers want you to go into the voicemail never ending loop. We don't judge. Be that as it may,  Bishop Computer can assist you.

Bishop Computer is an authorized Avaya Business Partner. We have years of experience and we're certified on Avaya IP Office. We've installed, programmed, trained, maintained and supported IP Office since the first IP Office system came out. We still provide support for the Merlin and Partner systems as well.

Just last week we provided remote support for a client to fix some programming issues. As for voicemail? They had a Voicemail Pro license, but the voicemail was set up on embedded instead. The client then decided they would have us come out and upgrade their system to the latest release (they were at 8.0) and have a server ready to install Voicemail Pro. This particular client had (21) 9508 phones and (1) 1416 with the sidecar but it was the BM32 module, not the DBM32 module. No wonder the buttons couldn't be programmed! Below are the back and front pictures of the IP Office installed by a technician who definitely was not certified


Check out our qualifications and experience on our website  There are many people out there that say they support IP Office. Verify that they are an authorized Avaya Business Partner by going to the Avaya Business Partner Locator and typing in the name and city (we're in the Chicago area). There are some people out there that say they are an Avaya Business Partner when they are not. Some say they are certified, when they are not. Always verify before allowing someone to work on your system! Better yet, why not ask your installer what phone system their own company uses. If they don't use Avaya IP Office as their own phone system, why would you place your trust in them with installing yours?

Bishop Computer provides on site and remote support expertise to other Avaya Business Partners and to our own clients. We are a small, family run company, but mighty in our expertise. Try us out!

Call: 847.781.9475
Our support page: SUPPORT
20 years in business.

Thursday, March 13, 2014

SSCA - SIP School Certified Associate

Working with SIP trunking is always a challenge. I've worked with SIP for many years gaining plenty of experience and last year, decided to get certified. I paid for the course and test at the Avaya approved The SIP School. Then proceeded to get too busy to take the course.

Recently, I've been called to a couple of other larger Avaya Business Partners sites, where their customer's IP Office using SIP had been hacked. Plenty of overseas calls were made. Putting the units on the Internet without a firewall (not even the internal firewall was enabled) was the first mistake. And then nothing was locked down at these sites. Hackers were allowed to make their own extensions and more. Newbie mistakes. Unbelievable that these sites were installed by Avaya Business Partner's at the SME Expert level. After locking down these systems, I decided it's time to get that certification behind my name.

Logged into the course at The SIP School and proceeded to learn more than I expected. Experience was not enough. New things come out every day on SIP. It was great to get updated information and learn, really learn, SIP. The SIP School SSCA course provides very extensive knowledge into every nuance of the SIP process.

SIP is a broad and evolving technology that is extending capabilities of so many things outside the scope of what I’ve generally been exposed to.  I focus more on SIP trunking with Avaya IP Office,  where the direction is to engage SIP for cost savings and feature enhancements which can’t be achieved by analog trunks or PRI. There are security concerns however, pointing out in a previous paragraph, that make businesses stop when deciding on their communication choices. On its own, IP Office is not as secure as it could be. The good news is, IP Office release 9 (8.1+) supports the Avaya Session Border Controller for Enterprise (ASBCE), which can provide secure SIP trunk connectivity* and remote phone security.  *ITSP’s must also support the security offers to match.

So here I stand, proud to be experienced and certified on SIP. Thank you, SIP School for providing a great learning experience and knowledge sharing.

-Glenn Bishop

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Building a Better VoIP System with Avaya IP Office and Avaya Networking

There is no better VoIP system than Avaya IP Office teamed up with Avaya's own ethernet routing switch!

At the end of last year, we received the great news that a Chicago customer of ours, was expanding and opening an office in Ohio. They have an older IP Office here in Chicago that we have been servicing for years. They wanted an Avaya VoIP solution at the Ohio location. We were happy to help! We provided:

Avaya IP Office IP500v2 R 8.1
Avaya IP 9608 phones
Avaya B179 IP conference phone
Avaya 3524GT-PWR+ PoE ethernet routing switch
SIP trunk licensing
SCN licensing

The equipment came in. We had unprecedented access with this client's network crew. It's harder than most people think to work with a client's IT company. Especially an outside firm. Everyone worked together very well. We preconfigured the IP Office and the switch. We were all ready to go. And then, there was the stand still. The client's service provider in Ohio could not bring SIP trunks to their new location. This answer came after waiting 3 months. 

The client then enlisted Level 3, who got the SIP trunks installed quickly. We arrived onsite, ready for the Avaya IP Office installation with the Avaya ERS 3524GT-PWR+ switch. The installation went smoothly. Ready for the cutover, and up everything came. The SIP trunks had fantastic sound quality! The service providers techs were surprised and impressed that we got the cutover done so quickly. They mentioned the headaches and the lengthy time spent when encountering installers that don't know anything about SIP. It was a nice pat on the back!

Even better was the email thank you from our client! If you are a company looking for an Avaya IP Office VoIP solution installation and would like to talk to this customer for a reference, give us a call or email. Tell us what you would like us to quote, and we will share our reference with you!

"Just wanted to share my appreciation for the great work your team has done in getting us setup in Columbus - professional, skilled and VERY accommodating.   Please do always consider us as a reference for you whenever you need.  I would be happy to talk to any prospects to let them know how great your team is.

The phone system has been working great.

Once we catch our breath (does it ever happen?), I would like to get back together to discuss the upgrade of our Chicago office.   

Thanks again,

Bishop Computer
Avaya Business Partner
Microsoft Partner
Dell Partner

*** We are authorized, certified and experienced. And we are still cheaper in service price than most companies out there. You can't get any better than that!***

Friday, April 12, 2013

HELP! My Phone System / Network is Down!

No doubt you have had to call a service organization to repair or replace equipment, be it telecom or network equipment. There are multitudes of service companies just waiting for your call. Just do a search on Google or Bing. Look through Craigslist. Anybody and everybody it seems, can do telecom, networking and cabling.

You should get to know your service company before an emergency happens. Know what their competencies are. Just because they've worked on phone systems doesn't necessarily mean they know your Avaya phone system. Just because someone knows how to get one PC to "see" another, doesn't necessarily mean they know networking. Many service companies claim or even boast of their competencies. It's easy for someone to say, yes, we're certified. Check out our qualifications page on our website,

Do you go with a large firm or a small firm? Plus and minuses for both. With large firms, you can get a multitude of various technicians. Usually because they subcontract their service personnel. But they can usually get someone out quickly because of the various personnel they can call upon. You may not get the most knowledgeable, but they are there quickly. With a small firm, you usually get the same technician and they can get there quickly as well. But we've had companies mention that they've overlooked the "little" guy because they are afraid of getting into a jam of finding a new vendor because the small firm went under. We've seen small and large firms go under. We've taken over a lot of business because of that through the years. We have our own clients, some with nationwide offices. But we also do a lot of service work for the large firms as well.

Bishop Computer has the certification and the experience and we're usually cheaper than most large firms in service rates. We're a small, family run company, but we are mighty in knowledge. And we've been in business since 1994.  Try us out. 

Tuesday, April 9, 2013


It all started with a request to install a IP Office system… Doesn’t it always?

A client out in the western Illinois area bought an IP500v2, IP phones, a T1 card and 16 extra channels at a large online store. Unfortunately or actually expectedly this ended poorly for our client… Here’s what happened:

Whoever was working at this store was, shall we say, short on the facts, which inevitably caused trouble for our client. For one example, the salesman explained that the T1/PRI that our client had just purchased automatically connects to the Internet; this is blatantly incorrect. Negligence at its finest! 

Of course many service providers deliver T1/PRI service through a “data” connection, which can be confusing if not fully explained to clients. This is especially true for when the client might not have the knowledge of networks and circuits and just wants a dial tone when they pick up the handset.

If they could do it all themselves, they wouldn’t need our help!

We were thankfully able to bring this to the client’s attention in advance. We were able to discover the error through paying a keen attention to what the client had and through interrogating the client thoroughly. We were able to question the existence of the PRI circuit early on, and solve the problem.

How did we do that? Dedication!

With some research we discovered that no circuit was ever ordered, but their data provider had a 10m fiber link to them. A PRI circuit would take the typical 4-6 weeks to deliver, and of course the price for a  stand-alone T1 was sky high. The client had to weigh some options, but after discussing a few solutions with the client, we helped them to decide on ordering SIP trunks from their Internet provider.

Unfortunately for us, Avaya did not have any Application Notes written about this provider and their SIP. So we took that extra step and requested that data from the provider, details on their SIP provisioning and were assured they had clients with SIP connectivity on Avaya IP Office systems.

Then comes the day of reckoning!

On install day, we finally set up the system, IP phones, and add the SIP trunk licenses. To our unpleasant surprise, we discover that the provider had sent us 3 different settings for the SIP connection, and was impatiently waiting to “port” all their numbers. After putting a quick stop to that debacle, we then had to decipher their “provisioning” information… which, of course, was nothing close to the conventions that are part of the IP Office SIP trunk setup.

After a few hours of diagnosing the connection to their SIP registrar server, we determined that the client’s firewall (which the provider managed), was incompatible and had to be replaced. Once the system could talk to the SIP registrar, the SIP trunks came up as idle. After testing them a few times, we could only get inbound calls to work. At first. 

At first, the client didn’t want to set up a test number, which was a struggle for us. After all, how are you expected to test calls without that basic requirement? Nonetheless, the problem we faced was getting outbound calling to work.

After more testing and changing settings, we could not get past a very frustrating SIP: 480 ‘no routes found’ response message… which is not part of the standard SIP messages. (SIP: 480 ‘temporarily unavailable’ is more common, thus what we expected to see.) We were told to bring technical support for the problem, which should’ve been the end of it. However, as I was sending out the invite and received the trying messages as expected, the provider rejected the call.

Could it be more frustrating? Of course! But that’s the nature of this line of work. If it’s easy, we’re not called in. So we chugged on ahead, determined as always to find a solution!

After reviewing several application notes on the SIP connection testing with Avaya and other SIP vendors, we found all the standard settings were done in accordance. The problem lied in the service provider.

The provider, once they could trace the call attempt, had me setup a separate registrar. With that, the SIP:480 no “routes found” message changed to what we expected it to be: SIP:480 “temporarily unavailable.”


At the last test, they required the IP address in the from field which have all shown as “” for all the SIP provider connections introduced in the application notes.

Finally a call out worked! Anyone in this field knows the joy and relief of a job completed.


In the end, we looked back and reviewed the entire process. From the beginning, it seems that there were several issues preventing the SIP trunks from operating throughout this effort:

1. Bad router
2. Lack of good information from multiple sources
3. Changes to the registrar (mostly a secondary one) setting the system’s IP, rather than the provider’s “” (which had been identified in all the sip trunk application notes.)

We completed the installation without further trouble. The SIP trunks are working very well and have good call quality. 

All’s well that ends well!

*** Update late 2012. The provider changed something on their end (after a year of SIP running smooth). Customer was down. The provider could NOT figure out how to correct and gave the customer PRI for the same price as their SIP. 

Friday, May 6, 2011

Certification or Experience? Choose wisely in the IT & Telephony Field

It takes a certain type of person who can succeed naturally with any challenge they face. Most of us are not that person and we have to work much harder just to be successful. We are drowning in newer and newer technology which demands more and more capable personnel to manage the chores of maintaining servers and networks. Adding to that is the merging of telephony, which for IT is a hugely daunting task. How do you trust the person you hire, to do the job responsibly and maintain critical aspects of your business? Do you consider “experience” or rely on credentials?

A bit of both is what we expect will beat the “only”. If a person had just “book learning” and passed all the exams with top ranking, you would expect excellence however; challenges can quickly make or break a person. Someone who has had experience with a system, may have had similar problems in the past and has insight as to what to do to isolate and resolve issues. Especially when many problems may arise that are not of the type written in the books, but are more found in a real work environment. We can say from experience that all the places of business we’ve encountered, none are alike. Each business has its own unique way of doing things and has expectations that are equally individual.

It’s also clear that businesses demand personnel that manage IT to have a wide understanding of technology (and often much more). Something we see in increasing amount is the desire to have personnel with credentials and certifications to demonstrate expertise in areas crucial to businesses. A person who achieves the credentials of his or her field is also telling others that they are goal driven and will most likely continue an educational path.

There are some who have the education and credentials and still will change the battery when it’s obvious the tire is flat. Of course it may be an easy choice when things are going well and the path is cleared but, if you have complex situations, experience will be your better guide.

Updated: more certification - check out our blog post

SSCA - SIP School Certified Associate

Bishop Computer Technical Services
20 years in service
Experienced and Certified - a winning combination!

Authorized Avaya Business Partner: Avaya Certified Solutions Specialist ACSS-SME
Microsoft Partner: MCSE
The SIP School: SSCA