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SBMongoos
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PostPosted: Thu Mar 02, 2006 2:30 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote Back to top

NateHoy

That's one thing. The DLink has no QOS. Nothing at all that I can find. Is the QOS really necessary anyway? Especially with the Comcast bandwidth?
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NateHoy
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PostPosted: Thu Mar 02, 2006 3:07 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote Back to top

QoS is only necessary for Vonage when you use a good deal of your upload/upstream bandwidth (data sent from you to the Internet, not data from the Internet to you) while on a call. For example, if you send a large email while you are on the phone, you may find that the other side reports choppy audio. QoS keeps this from happening by slowing down the email and keeping Vonage happy with bandwidth.

QoS cannot help you with downloading. It can't control the data your ISP is sending to your modem. So it can't help any choppy audio YOU might hear, only the choppy audio the other end hears.

It also can't help a bad connection. If Comcast sets up a delay between you and Vonage, for example, as this thread seems to indicate they are - there's nothing at all that QoS can do about it. You are only prioritizing the data you send on your modem, it does not affect what your ISP does with the data once it gets on their network, and they have their own QoS protocols that they can use.

In my case, between my constrained upstream bandwidth (256k) and my use of VPN tools for work and BitTorrent for open source software and TV shows, I'm frequently using most or all of my upstream bandwidth, so for me good, solid QoS is a must.

_________________
Comcast Cable (3m down / 256k up) -> Linksys BEFCMU10 v2 (DOCSIS 1.0) -> WRT54G v4 ("Tomato" firmware) -> the rest of my network including a WRTP54G (Firmware: 5.01.04)
My Vonage Self-Help Guides: http://vonage.nmhoy.net
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Joscelin
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PostPosted: Thu Mar 02, 2006 3:14 pm    Post subject: Testing for VoIP-News.com story Reply with quote Back to top

Hi All,

Thanks for your help. Following up from my earlier post in which I called for some conclusive data about the alleged blocking of Vonage by Comcast, we are still looking for a reliable testing solution that will provide some really bulletproof data.

I've enlisted the help of someone with more Tech expertise than myself to comment. Below is some of the stuff he sent over to me. Your feedback is much appreciated. I'm assuming some of you will be familiar with all of the stuff that my friend makes a point of explaining to me in layman's terms, if so, sorry about that, and please just skip to the end. He has specifically mentioned the potential of designing a test himself or enlisting people from Vonage to custom design a test. What do you think:


So there are several issues here:
* Comcast is assumed to be highly technical, so they will be able to
cleverly hide their sabotage, if it exists
* User testing tools are not generally sophisticated enough to detect
problems

Lets take a look at the testing part first, because that will lead into
the explanation of the second part.

User testing tools largely consist of testing over a protocol called
ICMP. ICMP (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Icmp) is a peer to the TCP
part of TCP/IP (it's also a peer protocol to UDP, not talked about
here).

ICMP traffic is special traffic that isn't typically used as part of
everyday network usage. When you browse the Internet, or make a Voip phone call, you're using TCP, not ICMP. When you ping or traceroute ( the two most common tools on user systems ) you're using ICMP, not TCP.

ISPs will block ICMP traffic for many reasons, including security (more likely) or general bandwidth conservation (less likely).

A good way to see this is by pinging www.microsoft.com :
matt@matt:~$ ping www.microsoft.com
PING lb1.www.ms.akadns.net (207.46.19.30) 56(84) bytes of data.

--- lb1.www.ms.akadns.net ping statistics ---
9 packets transmitted, 0 received, 100% packet loss, time 8001ms

------------
In this case, you can see that all packets were "lost", in our case they were blocked. However, you can still (obviously) access Microsoft's websites using a web browser.

In any case, ICMP traffic can be selectively handled differently from
normal TCP traffic very easily. Because of this, it's difficult to have
users try and detect problems on their systems without specialized
tools. I'll talk about these more at the bottom of this email.

Having said all of this, the next logical step seems to be "Well, why
not just use a web browser, since that's normal traffic, to detect
problems?"

(Un)fortunately, Comcast is an ISP and can do far more clever "futzing" with traffic than simple ICMP filter/blocking. Voip traffic uses a particular protocols and well-known ports that we can assume Comcast knows about. Given this, they can block/delay traffic to and from customers of Vonage selectively.

So, they can allow full speed traffic to and from Vonage's webservers and selectively block/delay Voip traffic only if they so choose.

It's important to keep in mind, however, that given the complexity
involved with delivering reliable network traffic that Comcast may
simply be having technical issues. This happens more often than people realize and may explain the reasons involved here.

Unfortunately, without a very specific set of tests (which I would
expect Vonage to create, actually) it will be hard to prove Comcast's
actions one way or the other.

Having said all of this, there are a few tools people can use to try and detect issues (should you want to learn how to do all of this of
course). On is a tool called "Nmap" (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nmap ). Nmap is a "security" tool
and shouldn't be used lightly (system administrators don't like people using Nmap against their servers, as it's classically used by crackers gathering information before breaking into systems). However, you can use nmap to scan the remote hosts and see which ports are open. This would be a quick way to tell if the ports are being blocked intermittently.

Another tool is called Ethereal
( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ethereal ). Ethereal can be used to
monitor network traffic at the very lowest levels and requires a
protocol expertise to interpret the data. However, it could be used in this case to figure out if the packets are being blocked/delayed because
there are markers in the way the packets are handled (packet loss for example).

Also, a link to a Vonage test:
http://www.vonage.com/help_knowledgeBase_article.php?article=497&category=159
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devnuller
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PostPosted: Thu Mar 02, 2006 3:47 pm    Post subject: It is the Vonage ISP not Comcast Reply with quote Back to top

If you look through all the traceroute data in this thread you will noticed something consistent..... Packet loss and latency at Global Crossing.... This is a problem with Vonage's ISP and not Comcast..... Sorry to debunk all the conspiricy theory people....
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JBtech01
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PostPosted: Thu Mar 02, 2006 3:54 pm    Post subject: Comcast and Vonage facts Reply with quote Back to top

I wasn't a member of this forum previously, but I work in communications and felt compelled to add some information some of you may not be aware of.

Comcasts' product isn't officially available in most markets, so there are many unknowns about their service. You could call it a competing product, but there are a few important distinctions that make it worth a second look. At a glance, the price looks higher, and that's where most people quit looking. Obviously, if you purchast Vonage, you still need an ISP. Adding the price of high speed internet suddenly makes the two products comparable in price.

In the case of traditional Voip providers like Vonage, voice packets travel over the public internet and are subject to the reliability of the networks over which they travel, although voice packets on most systems do receive a higher priority than other data packets. With the Comcast product, voice packets travel over their private broadband network, which is far more reliable and Comcast must take responsibility for their own Qos. With Vonage and others, the responsibility for the quality of calls doesn't always reside with the provider, but with the various networks over which the calls travel. Even if a Comcast customer was to call a non-Comcast customer, the call travels on their network to the hub nearest the recipient, where it the must hop onto the PSTN.

As for Comcast having a monopoly, I guess it depends on how far one wishes to stretch the definition of a monopoly. Clearly, they are the only provider in most areas they provide service. But I believe a monopoly means no one else is allowed to provide that same service in that same area, which certainly is not the case. It's called an over-build, and other providers are welcome to come in and lay their own lines, provide their competing services, etc. And that's where the problem is. Networks like Comcast, Time Warner, and others aren't required to share their bandwidth (and I don't believe they should be). So over-building is cost-prohibitive, and that's why you really don't see it. Is that a monopoly? I guess it's a matter of opinion. I would like to see competition bring down prices, but how can that happen?

Adelphia wasn't aquired by Comcast as a whole, but was split up among a few of the major providers - which may be Comcast in your area.

And Comcast blocking Vonage packets? Wow. Study all the latency and packet loss you wish, concoct all the ridiculous conspiracy theories you can. When you're ready to confront the truth, here it is: you have either a simple wiring problem in your home, or your service provider has a problem on their network. Either of which can be easily repaired. Sorry, it's not a conspiracy. Voip quality is inherently going to be better coming from a broadband provider, there is no foundation for adding more problems to the traditional Voip services.

You can take off your tinfoil hats now, they're not coming to get you. Really.
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PostPosted: Thu Mar 02, 2006 4:04 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote Back to top

"you have either a simple wiring problem in your home"

For the majority of users that have come here for help, I think we do a good job helping them. I take offense to that comment, and say that the people who lend their expertise to troubleshoot these problems don't overlook "a simple wiring problem in your home." Without having much inside knowledge about what goes on here, who get's help, and what fixes problems of the mundane sort for Vonage, I really just laughed at your comment. I won't get mad, I promise. I just...laughed. We narrow issues down to the gnat's ass here, and this is most certainly not "a wiring problem." Something is definately afoot, whether it be intentional or not.

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devnuller
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PostPosted: Thu Mar 02, 2006 4:15 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote Back to top

"Something is definately afoot, whether it be intentional or not"

Yes... Vonage balances their traffic across the least cost ISP at the expense of performance. The lower cost ISP has congestion at their exits.... Look at the traceroute and history in this thread.
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PostPosted: Thu Mar 02, 2006 4:18 pm    Post subject: Re: Comcast and Vonage facts Reply with quote Back to top

JBtech01 wrote:
I Voip quality is inherently going to be better coming from a broadband provider, there is no foundation for adding more problems to the traditional Voip services.

You can take off your tinfoil hats now, they're not coming to get you. Really.


Hmmm, there are some really good points here. Is a better quality product which some additional features such as a battery backup and alarm system support worth another $15 bucks a month?

I don't know $180 a year is a little high, IMHO on top of my existing fees already being paid to Comcast. I might consider it after a few testimonials and a 20% price decrease.

Oh and they are coming to get me, they all are, in fact you are one of their agents and I should be talking to you...

Wink
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devnuller
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PostPosted: Thu Mar 02, 2006 4:30 pm    Post subject: Re: Comcast and Vonage facts Reply with quote Back to top

w0lver wrote:
I don't know $180 a year is a little high, IMHO on top of my existing fees already being paid to Comcast. I might consider it after a few testimonials and a 20% price decrease.

I agree, you can't beat the price. But you get what you pay for.... I have Vonage for my second line and aside from garbled voice during some peek times it has been great.... I just need to get a new MTA so I don't have to stop surfing while I am talking.... Wink
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JBtech01
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PostPosted: Thu Mar 02, 2006 4:48 pm    Post subject: Go get 'em tiger. Reply with quote Back to top

I provided two of the most common causes for latency and packet loss, and certainly the first place one should check if these symptoms are occurring. Plenty of people don't realise the problem COULD be that simple.

So laugh, get mad, but it's informative and the truth. Information and assistance, that's what this is all about, isn't it?

Are the people that lend assistance to fix these problems here present in said homes? If asked to inspect wiring, could the average user determine what's ok and what should be suspect?

I think overall the assistance provided here is of the utmost quality, but don't be offended when someone proposes the most common solution to a common problem, especially when it pertains to no case in particular, but the whole of them.

For the record, I do have quite and in-depth knowledge of the inner workings of Vonage products, that's part of the reason I joined here. You do know what they say about assuming, right? Even if your assumption of my knowledge was based on some context from my previous (and first) post, isn't it silly to allow your insulted ego to dictate a post in an environment where people come for help? That was the intention of my post - to provide some information to those who wish it, and add some opinions of my own, not to step on the toes of the high and mighty.
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