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Vonage VoIP Forum Digest - August 8, 2006

Vonage VoIP Forum Digest

August 8, 2006

By Daniel Connor

Welcome to today's edition of the Vonage Voip Forum Digest. 

In the news, we'll catch up on how Vonage is doing adding E911 services, as well as catch up on some Vonage company news.  We'll go over a newly posted Vonage Forum thread on a Vonage-related security issue, plus a thread seeking an equipment recommendation.  

In The News

Vonage Adds E911 in San Francisco

Vonage has announced that its subscribers in San Francisco, are now equipped with Enhanced 911 (E911) -- a feature that automatically associates a physical address with the calling party's telephone number.

In addition to San Francisco, Vonage recently turned up E911 at an additional 400 local run emergency call centers across the U.S. in less than three months -- bringing the total percentage of Vonage U.S. subscriber lines that have E911 to over 83 percent.

In June 2005, the FCC gave Vonage, and all Internet-based phone service companies, 120 days to create an E911 system from scratch, and provide all of its customers, wherever they are in the U.S., with E911 service. In that amount of time, Vonage worked closely with local 911 centers, also known as Public Safety Answering Points (PSAPs), across the country to turn on E911 for as many customers as it could. Currently, Vonage continues to test and turn up new PSAPs which are VoIP-ready every day and will continue to do so until Vonage customers have access to E911.

"Turning up San Francisco is a tremendous step for Vonage, as thousands more subscriber lines in California, one of Vonage's largest markets, now have full E911 capability," says Jeffrey A. Citron, chairman and chief strategist of Vonage Holdings Corp. "In just three months, Vonage was able to equip over 400 more locally run calling centers with E911. Vonage will continue to work with the FCC, regulators, Congress and public safety until PSAPs across the nation are equipped with E911."

Vonage now offers emergency 911 service in more than 5,300 calling centers in the U.S. 

Vonage Awards Shares To Execs

In a move not unusual for corporations, Vonage announced share awards to some top executives yesterday.

Vonage granted 50,000 restricted shares to Chief Executive Officer Michael Snyder.

Michael Tribolet, president of Vonage America, received 65,000 shares, and Chief Financial Officer John Rego also got 50,000, New Jersey-based Vonage said Monday in a filing with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.

On The Vonage Voip Forum

Because Vonage Forum Member jklarfeld had some Vonage-related security concerns, he decided to air them out in a thread he established and named, Security Problems with RTP300 and WRTP54G routers.

He quoted from an article on which said:

"Another security professional showed how people can have their phone numbers hijacked when using certain types of equipment that route calls over the Internet.

"The research, from Arias Hung, a security professional with Media Access Guard in Seattle, showed how to control the inner workings of Internet phone routers made by Linksys, which is owned by Cisco Systems Inc.

"Once the routers are accessed, a person can change the device's so-called media access control address, which acts as a serial number that Internet phone providers such as Vonage Holdings Corp. use to verify the identity of customers.

"A person exploiting the flaw could intercept calls made to a legitimate Vonage user and make calls that would appear to come from the user's phone number.

"The service providers should be very concerned," Hung said. "The general consumer should stay away from this router," he said, referring to two models that Linksys designates the WRTP54G and the RTP300.

"Cisco spokeswoman Molly Ford said she could not immediately comment on Hung's research."

But I'll tell you who does have a comment on this research. That would be one of our most knowledgeable Vonage Forum Members, NateHoy.

"The article is very sketchy, as are all the other articles on the issue, but it appears that they are saying that the device can be cracked when in your possession and the MAC address changed. This is true of all routers" Nate writes. "The MAC address is stored in NVRAM, with a factory default, and if you managed to load aftermarket firmware into a WRTP54G or RTP300, you could very likely change its MAC address.

But then NateHoy makes an important point: 

"Of course, in addition to the MAC address, Vonage also uses a username and password which is not provided to the end user,"Nate explains. So, in addition to cracking the device and spoofing a MAC address, the thief would need that username and password.

"The thief could get this, but only by monitoring your Internet connection and capturing packets (or by gaining access to your router, which could be physical access or remote, if you are foolish enough to enable remote administration and use a simple username/password combination, which is NOT the factory default setting)," NateHoy adds.

Further explaining, NateHoy writes that "if said thief is watching your network, they already have all of your email and any unencrypted passwords you put on web sites. Making unauthorized calls on your Vonage line might be the least of your worries then."

But according to Nate, that's not all the hassle such a thief would face.

"Then, of course, there's the fact that they'd need some form of physical access to monitor your network, or a really poorly configured router that allows detailed logging to be sent remotely (which the Linksys/Vonage routers are not even capable of).," he writes.

And then Nate goes on to make a powerful statement:

"Again, I'd love to see more details on this research, and a description of how it is done. I know how to extract the MAC address and username/password of the RTP300/WRTP54G if I had physical access to one, and I know how to alter it if I wanted to, but gaining remote access to one so I can clone it? Not in the default factory setting, and not using any method I've ever heard of even if the user opens the device up to me remotely," Nate states. 

"Admittedly I'm not the sharpest knife in the drawer," Nate adds in closing, "but the news media also love to make a splash with a partially-informed article here and there blown out of proportion."

Hey Nate,Dan here. I'd have to disagree. You are one of the sharpest knives in the drawer. 

From time to time we get posts here asking for equipment recommendations. I just noticed that on the Vonage Softphone Forum area of the Vonage Forums, that Vonage Forum Member bsacco began a thread that he named, need Bluetooth enable Voip headset/microphone recommendation.

"I have a Dell Laptop with a Bluetooth Wireless Card. I want to buy a Bluetooth enable Voip headset/microphone to make Voip calls through my PC," bsacco writes. "I've never used bluetooth before and never used VOIP through my PC. 

"I was wondering if someone could recommend the best headset/microphone that can do the above," bsacco ends his post by asking.

"I've been using a Sony HBH-660 Bluetooth headset for about a year now, and have been very happy with it," replies Vonage Forum Member Yaztromo. "I'm using it with an Apple PowerBook G4 laptop, an Apple PowerMac G5 desktop, and my Sony Ericsson T610 cell phone, all without issue."

Check Out Our Vonage SoftPhone Forum

Vonage offers a very popular SoftPhone service you can access directly from your PC's screen. Here is the section of the Vonage Forum with a linked list of threads with questions and solutions about Vonage SoftPhone. As you just read in our review of the thread need bluetooth enable Voip headset/microphone recommendation, we get all sorts of questions on the SoftPhone Forum. Here's the direct link to the Vonage SoftPhone Forum.

Vonage Stock Market Report

On Monday on the New York Stock Exchange, Vonage stock closed at $6.94 a share, a gain of three cents (+0.43%) from Friday's closing price of  $6.91 a share.  Total trading volume for Vonage on Monday came in at 577,100 shares. 

Once again, our Vonage Stock Forum can be reached from this link.

We've Updated Our Voip Speed Test

I wanted to call your attention to our upgraded Voip Speed Test.

Instead of the simple upload/download test, this one has all the reporting that is needed to diagnose ISP issues such as Jitter and Packet Loss.

The advanced report screen has been configured with a "Copy to Clip Board" button so you can easily paste the results in the forums.

I would like to thank the following members for giving valuable input during the beta testing: reebok, Steve48, NateHoy, VonageTPA, Trowski and scerruti.

For those of you that are interested in the details behind the results, the following are the tests parameters:

The test is located in Washington DC.

The data.bin file for the speed test upload/download is 10Mb with 8 seconds max time out.

75,000 bytes is used to calculate the number of supported Voip lines.

Other variables:

Voip lines simulated =1
voip bytes per packet =8
voip simulation seconds =10
voip packets per second =75

If you have any questions about this test, feel free to post them in this thread.

As we close out today's Digest, I'd like to remind you once again about some more options you have to receive the Vonage Voip Forum Digest every day. If you go to this page:, you will see a list of RSS Newsreaders from which with one or two clicks, you'll be able to get your Digest delivered directly to your Newsreader each morning. The Newsreaders we've linked to on that page include such reliable and trusted services as Bloglines, Feedster, My Yahoo!, Newsgator and Feedburner. I am open to add others, just contact me with the info of the Newsreader.

That's what's hot about Vonage today. We'll be back on Wednesday morning with our next edition of the Vonage VoIP Forum Digest, including our popular Vonage Forum Member of the Week feature!!

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