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Vonage VoIP Forum Digest, December 8 - 10, 2006

Vonage VoIP Forum Digest

December 8, 2006

By Daniel Connor

Welcome to today's edition of the Vonage Voip Forum Digest. I am sorry for the time delay in publishing the Digest issues this past week, I have been in India working on my new project Encyclocentral and the time zone is 10.5 hours earlier then normal.

In the news we'll learn what percentage of customer problems Vonage is now solving the first time a customer calls. We'll go to a new Vonage Forum thread about getting the Vonage softphone to work over a Cisco VPN. Today is Friday, the day in which we review what some leading bloggers have been saying about Vonage this week. We'll also check in on Vonage's stock price. 

In The News

At an investment conference in New York yesterday, Vonage Chairman and Chief Strategist Jeffrey Citron said Vonage is losing subscribers at a slower pace after making improvements to customer service.

Vonage is now able to solve a problem the first time a customer calls 76 percent of the time, Citron said.

The rate of customer turnover will decline 20 to 30 basis points in the fourth quarter, Citron added at a UBS AG conference in New York. He also repeated Vonage's forecast for $600 million to $615 million in sales this year.

On The Vonage Voip Forum

New Vonage Forum Member stumpypete is stumped why his Vonage softphone is not working over his Cisco VPN. He's started a thread about this issue, and has named this thread softphone not working over Cisco VPN.

"My company uses the Cisco VPN client for secure network access. I just installed the softphone, and it does not work when my pc is connected through the VPN," stumpypete writes. "It works great when the VPN isn't connected. What, if any, are my options?"

Before answers from fellow Vonage Forum Members come in, stumpypete follows with a post that has more details:

He writes that after doing some research he has uncovered the apparent  fact that the softphone requires UDP 5060, 8000, 8001 to be open, and that these are usually blocked by corporate firewalls. He says he has put in a request to have these ports opened, but he's not too optimistic that request will be granted.

Fellow Vonage Forum Member dgi11 has some advice for stumpypete.

"Try starting the softphone before you start the VPN software," suggests dgi11. "Checkpoint VPN is typical two services that are set to automatic at startup. I know this works for some things that my company blocks."

Next, Vonage Forum Member kws has some detailed analysis of what he thinks is causing the problem.

"I don't have the Vonage softphone, but I've been playing around with other softphone providers and here's what I *think* the problem is," writes kws.

"When the softphone starts up it needs to report the IP address of where it is to the Voip gateway," he writes. "Without the VPN running the softphone talks to your router/firewall or to external servers to figure out what the external IP address of your router/firewall is and reports that to the Voip gateway.

"When the VPN starts up, you effectively have two IP addresses and two routers/firewalls," kws adds. "The softphone seems to prefer to talk to the VPN firewall rather than your local LAN one. So it sees the external address of your company and reports that to the voip gateway. Incoming calls get routed to your company IP address, through the VPN and to the softphone. 

"If any of the firewalls at your company or associated with the VPN on your end block the Voip ports it doesn't work," kws points out, even if it works it adds a bunch of extra hops to the voice traffic that don't need to be there.".

"I am experiencing the same issue with my Cisco VPN Client," adds Vonage Forum Member Slobes. The V-Phone works fine until I completely log into the VPN and the connection is established. The V-Phone then reports "Unregistering Service". I looked at the log files for both the Cisco VPN client and the V-Phone. 

"It appears that the Cisco VPN client defaults to tunnel through UDP, but you can change it to TCP where it uses port 10000 as the default," Slobes adds.." I am not sure if this is the same for UDP because you do not have the option to change it when UDP is selected. The V-Phone shows multiple instances in the log file showing that its communicating with a Vonage IP address through port 10000. 

"I thought this was the issue so I changed the VPN client to tunnel through port 9000," he writes, but "even when connecting through this, the problem prevailed."

In The Blogs

We read about 15 Voip and IP-telephony-related Weblogs. Some we read more than others, but we enjoy most of them. Face it, bloggers are opinion-shapers. So today, we are going to give you a round-up of what the blogs we read have said about Vonage this week.

Here's what the Voip bloggers have been writing about Vonage this week:

Andy Abramson of VoIP Watch writes that Vonage is doing some major new marketing in Quebec.

Russell Shaw of the ZDNet IP Telephony blog wrote an article in which he described how it was that AT&T is responsible for misrouting a 911 call placed by a Vonage subscriber in Wisconsin. 

Garrett Smith of the Smith On Voip blog has an idea to call services like Vonage POVS, or Plain Old Voip Services. That's to distinguish Vonage and others from the very expensive and fancy Voip services lots of large businesses use.

From time to time, we like to feature interesting and entertaining posts from Blogs that are not necessarily about VoIP, but mention Vonage. In this new MySpace blog I happened to notice yesterday and it is entitled,  blogger Bas writes, "About three weeks ago now, I got an email from Vonage saying that I was eligible for two free months of service. Using their “refer a friend” plan, John signed up from me. After he stays with the company for three months, I get 2 free. So I waited up to a week (as the email said) and then called them when I didn’t see the credit. No problem, the guy was very fast and nice, and said I’d be getting the credit in a few days. After waiting a week or so, I still didn’t have the credit. So I called again." I hung up and redialed. The system once again said “3 minute wait” but put me right through to this very nice woman. She confirmed my information, confirmed that the credit had not been applied, and promised to get it done “by Friday”. In addition, she told me that John would get 1 free month for accepting my referral! So 2 for me, and 1 for him. Sweet! I checked this morning and my credit had been applied. Thanks Vonage!

Vonage Stock Report

On Thursday on the New York Stock Exchange, Vonage stock closed at $6.74 a share, which was a rise of four cents (+0.60%)  from Wednesday's closing price of $6.70 a share as well as equal to the session low and that was $6.74 a share. Total Vonage shares traded on Thursday came to 1, 216,000 shares.

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

We've Updated Our VoIP Speed Test

The fact that both of the Vonage Forum threads we highlighted today featured a Vonage Forum Member posting the results of his Voip Speed Test gives me another reason 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. Check with us Monday morning for the newest edition of the Vonage VoIP Forum Digest, including an announcement as to our newest Vonage Forum Member of the Week.

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