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Vonage I did more packet sniffing last night and wouldn't you know it, I couldn't get it



I did more packet sniffing last night and wouldn't you know it, I couldn't get it to fail without intervention (such as rebooting the router without rebooting the ATA).

What's disturbing is it appears this issue could be solved by Vonage and it would probably lead to a much more stable product for everyone.

Once the ATA registers with the SIP Proxy (in my case something like proxy4.vonage.net), every few seconds the SIP proxy requests the ATA to "NOTIFY" it. I'm assuming this is a type of heartbeat. The trouble is, if the ATA stops receiving the heartbeat, it doesn't bother to assume that it needs to reregister to get it going again. It just sits there. What the ATA is really good at is ARPing for its own IP address. It's constantly worried about another device on the network with the same IP address.

I have sniffed both sides of the router and if you reboot the router without rebooting the ATA (self-induced failure), the Port Address Translation (PAT) is broken in that Vonage's proxy server is trying to request a NOTIFY from port 5061 to say port 1200 but it's never passed to the ATA because the router has lost track of the fact that it should send port 1200 requests to port 5061 on an inside (behind the router) address.

This would certainly be enough to break incoming calls because Vonage can no longer contact the ATA to initiate an incoming session. However, now that the PAT is broken, the ATA is completely unable to initiate an outgoing session. It sends the INVITE (SIP jargon to START a call) and based on my sniffing, the router passes the INVITE through and on to Vonage but the Vonage proxy server ignores it. I can only assume that it ignores the ATA's request because it's expecting the INVITE to come from a particular registered port for every particular IP. That port is the port that the ATA and the Vonage proxy setup whenever the ATA REGISTERS with the Vonage proxy. It does this when you reboot the ATA and seemingly on a timed basis thereafter. I haven't done enough sniffing to determine if this is random or at predictable intervals.

The bottom line is that I don't know why Vonage would ignore an INVITE from an IP that's registered but a port that is not registered. You'd think it would send back a BAD REQUEST message and cause the ATA to reregister and establish the call. Instead, the ATA repeatedly begs by sending a stream of INVITE commands which are all ignored. Eventually the ATA punts and gives a fast busy signal.

Last night was interesting in that I actually double-NATted my Vonage setup and I could not get it to fail. Here's the layout:

Vonage <-> Internet <-> XPICS <-> WGT624 <-> hub <-> ATA-186

Internet = Charter Pipeline + 3COM Cable modem
XPICS = Internet Connection Sharing, two-NIC Windows XP desktop

The XPICS machine became my first "router" to which I patched my WGT624. I also patched my laptop to the hub. I used the XPICS machine to sniff "outside" the WGT624 so that I could understand how it's NAT is working. I used the laptop to sniff what's going on "inside" the WGT624. The laptop yielded the original request from the ATA and the XPICS machine monitored what came out of the router. I actually had three Ehtereal sessions. One to monitor behind the WGT624 (laptop) and one for each of the XPICS NICs.

Unfortunately, I could not get this setup to fail outside of self-induced failure where I reboot the router and do not reboot the ATA.

For the moment, I am leaving this configuration in tact with all three monitors going. I told my wife to keep track of failures.

The only problem with this setup is that it's not exactly the same as connecting the WGT624 directly to my cable modem. It's a double NAT. However, I tried to put another hub between my cable modem and my router and I couldn't get it to work. I really wanted to sniff packets without introducing another router. Because I could not get it to fail last night, I'm starting to wonder if it's something the WGT624 receives via unprotected Internet traffic that's causing some SPI/Firewall logic to kick in and invalidate the PAT between the ATA and the Vonage SIP proxy.

Does anyone know how to get a hub working between the cable modem and the router so I can more accurately duplicate the setup with which I have experienced failures?

Also, should I open a trouble ticket with Vonage and ask them why the INVITE is ignored if the registration is broken? Wouldn't one think they should be issuing some kind of BAD RESPONSE to the ATA that triggers it to reregister? This would seem much more robust than simply ignoring it and allowing the ATA to fail. And it doesn't seem to matter how many calls fail, the ATA DOES NOT REREGISTER. It does do a few things like query DNS to ensure that it has the right address to the Vonage proxy. It queries DNS to make sure it has the right TFTP (trival FTP) IP and it ARPS the gateway to make sure it's still alive and it has the right MAC address. But it doesn't bother to REGISTER with the Vonage proxy. I have no idea why it queries for the TFTP server. Is it thinking that it might want to upgrade the firmware when a call fails? If so, it certainly doesn't try to get a new config file or firmware. It only seems to do that when it boots - to which it gets a FILE NOT FOUND twice from the Vonage servers. It seems odd that it wouldn't try to REGISTER again. Is Cisco and/or Vonage missing an opportunity to enhance the robustness of Voip?

Comments?



Read The Full Thread:

SPI Firewall, Netgear WGT624


THE QUICK : If you are having problems and have a Netgear or any other vendorís broadband
This is exactly the same issue I have with my Netgear WGR614 Wireless Router and
Unfortunately, Iíve got a Cisco 186 which doesnít have a passthrough, so Iím forced
Thanks- Please do post your reply from netgear. My Motorola is now living
This past Monday (Feb 9th) I purchased a WGT624 V2 and it was already loaded with
Well, getting the Motorola behind the Netgear WGR-614 seems to be hopeless. I've
I have a Netgear FWAG114 firewall/router and have exactly the same problem. I've
Well I thought I had things fixed but even with the port forwarding, it's hit or
My Ethereal showed the same time frame between ARP's. I also have a Csco186 and
I posted a follow-up to this thread last night but it has now disappeared. I asked

rradina posted "I did more packet sniffing last night and wouldn't you know it, I couldn't get it" on 02/18/2004

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