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Vonage VoIP Forum Digest, September 20, 2006

Vonage VoIP Forum Digest

September 20, 2006

By Daniel Connor

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

In the news, we'll find out what a leading Internet telephony magazine thinks of Vonage Chairman Jeffrey Citron. We'll go over a Vonage Forum thread about diagnosing Vonage call quality, as well as a thread about a Vonage equipment issue.

In The News

Internet Telephony Magazine Says Citron Has Brought Voip Awareness To The Masses

In its 100th issue, Internet Telephony magazine names Vonage Chairman and Chief Strategist Jeffrey Citron as one of the key figures in the growth of IP communications (of which Voip is a major component.

"Jeffrey Citron of Vonage gets lots of credit for many things in the VoIP market," writes Rich Tehrani, who is president of the company that owns Internet Telephony magazine. "He was the visionary that decided to make Vonage a consumer Voip play. He single-handedly scared the living daylights out of the RBOCs (Regional Bell Operating Companies-Dan) and cable companies, forcing them to develop Voip strategies. This spurred billions of dollars of communications investment. He delivered on the promise of Voip for the masses. 

"He didn’t do anything technically spectacular — Net2Phone did more or less the exact same thing many years before Vonage — he just was able to put together a company that knew how to market to consumers and he backed it up with enough investment to get millions of people to try VoIP," Rich adds. As they say, timing is everything and Citron probably had the critical mass of broadband subscribers needed to get his service to take off rapidly. Also, while branding Vonage, his company’s marketing caused the enterprise and SMB VoIP markets to grow more quickly and also made sure virtually everyone in the U.S. knew what Vonage and Voip was."

Rich adds that he believes that even though the Vonage IPO has been controversial, Citron "should be commended in a major way for what he did — he brought widespread understanding to the world of Voip and educated the entire U.S. population on what was once an esoteric and exclusive technology."

Rich also analyzes that many Voip industry watchers think Vonage- which now has more than two million subscribers- can achieve even greater success if Vonage focus, as Rich puts it, "more on profitability and less on market share."

On The Vonage Voip Forum

On account of the fact that he has been having some problems with Vonage call quality, new Vonage Forum Member DeadPoolX decided to open a Vonage Forum thread about this issue. He's titled this thread Poor speed and consistent choppy audio.

"My audio quality is just terrible. I've called up tech support and they ran me through the general routine. Basically, it amounted to me lowering my setting on the Bandwidth Saver option to its lowest setting (30 kbps, I believe) and that still hasn't helped," he writes.

" It's mostly a crapshoot," DeadPoolX describes about his Vonage service.." Some days, it's okay; other days, the audio quality is so bad, I can't hear a thing the other party is saying, it's all garbled up," he writes. 

But then he adds, "oddly enough, they can hear everything I'm saying. There's no problem there at all."

Then, in the same post, DeadPoolX includes the result of the Vonage Speed Test (we write about that below). And then after that, he explains his technical issues further.

"I don't have Cable Modem or DSL; I have (supposedly) Ethernet. I'm currently in college and I live in an apartment complex that supplies all of its people with high-speed Internet access. The name of this company is Pavlov Media (formerly Fusion Broadband)," DeadPoolX writes, adding that he doesn't have a high opinion of them because he believes that they show up poorly on speed tests.  

"So what do I do?," DeadPoolX asks. "I'd like to continue using Vonage, as I like the features of the service (I also call to Canada practically everyday), so to get all of these features and long-distance calling abilities, it'd cost a small fortune with AT&T or something similar."

Steve48 answers.

"Unfortunately, good Voip phone service is utterly dependent on a good internet service, and I suspect (as I 'm sure you do) that the problem is there," Steve48 writes. He then asks DeadPoolX to run a comparison Voip test at Steve advises DeadPoolX that after he runs this test, he should  disconnect any network equipment, including the Vonage box, plug his computer directly into the service, and repeat the test.

Although DeadPoolX ran the test and did a follow-up post with the results, it seems as though there are some complications.

DeadPoolX writes that he can't do the test and disconnect his network equipment. 

"You see, Pavlov Media requires that you register your MAC address through them," he explains. "Since I'm using the RTP300-VD router that came with my Vonage setup, I had to register the router's MAC address. If I were to disconnect from the router and directly connect from the wall socket to my computer, I wouldn't be able to get online, so checking this test wouldn't be possible, nor would I be able to do anything else online as well."

After taking the time to carefully analyze DeadPoolX's testyourvoip results, Steve48 writes a follow-up post with his analysis.

"Actually, except for latencies, your numbers aren't too bad," he writes. "I suspect that your phone would have been having one of its 'good' periods when you took this data. If you can, try to run a test or two when the phone is acting up. Unfortunately, I still suspect that it's you ISP, and there's nothing you can do about that."

Over on the Vonage Canada Forum section of the Vonage Forum, I noticed that new Vonage Forum Member dan_1979 started a thread about a topic of broad interest to many Vonage users no matter where they live. He has called this thread, DLink VTA-VD Connection Issue - 4 Blinking Lights.

"I have placed 2 calls into Vonage tech support, and then were not able to resolve," dan_1979 writes, adding that tech support  walked him through the reset of all devices via power cycle and then had him do a hard reset on back of the Vonage device- (push pen into reset btn for one minute). 

"Then we attempted to directly connect VTA-VD to PC to check firmware," he describes, adding that when he ran an ipconfig it came back "media disconnected." That notification made it impossible to troubleshoot the issue.

"Also, I have disabled the firewall in windows XP (media Center Edition), my Linksys router, and through McAfee...and still 4 blinking lights," he adds.

Then fellow Vonage Forum Member dbarkeep, who has written many helpful posts since he joined here less than two months ago, gives a detailed analysis about how he views the issues dan_1979 is describing.

"Four blinking lights indicates that you connected with the configuration server but were unable to connect with your outbound proxy," he writes." Usually this occurs when the SIP port you are using is being blocked or possibly being forwarded to the wrong IP address in your router. If you're at a hotel they also block this sometimes."

Then dbarkeep explains this problem can also be caused by an issue with your Vonage profile, for example if your Vonage password has become unsynchronized with the Vonage servers.

"I would first verify that UDP port 5060, 5061 and 10000 are open and not being forwarded incorrectly, and possibly have someone at Vonage remove and reassign your line to recreate the profile," dbarkeep then suggests. "They may also be able to try changing your outbound proxy server."

Vonage Stock Report

On Tuesday  on the New York Stock Exchange, Vonage stock closed at $7.20 a share, which was down six cents from Monday's $7.26 a share but up 5 cents from a session low of $7.15 a share. Total Vonage shares traded on Tuesday came to 365,800 shares.

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

Check Out Our New Vonage Forum Toolbar

After a ton of hard work and months of beta testing, I am happy to announce the release of the Vonage Forum Toolbar.

The Vonage Forum Toolbar can provide you with easy desktop access to your Vonage Voicemail as well as total minutes used during your billing period, It works for all, and users.

The Vonage Forum Toolbar works with Internet Explorer and Firefox.

If you have questions, or comments, I've made a NEW Vonage Forum Toolbar Thread. Here's the direct 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.

That's what's hot about Vonage today. We'll be back on Thursday morning with our next edition of the Vonage VoIP Forum Digest.

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