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72FLH
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PostPosted: Fri Mar 03, 2006 7:53 am    Post subject: TWCNY vs Vonage Reply with quote Back to top

I participate in several Usenet groups - I posted the below message there last week, looking to find some answers about my crappy phone service with Vonage. I was directed by a fellow Usenet member to this forum, so here I am. Perhaps I can get some help here, other than the explanation of "throttling" and the general, "yeah, cable companies suck" I was receiving in Usenet.

I just *really* want to get my quality back on my Vonage service - I don't want to be blackmailed into TWCNY's phone service. I think, just on principle, I'll go back to regular land line phone service, first.

I have TWCNY tech's coming *again* on Tuesday - not that I think this will help at all. Is there anything I can point to specifically to make them finally believe that it's *their* problem and not Vonage's problem? I know Vonage is not to blame, here.

My original usenet massage is below, and after that is my Boston test scores.

(Original Usenet message)

So I have Vonage.

All summer my phone worked wonderfully, you couldn't tell the difference between the Vonage service and a regular land line telephone. I got Vonage service, even though I had Time Warner Cable, Road Runner, and every other thing Time Warner offered, because Time Warner, at that time, didn't offer digital phone service "in my area".

Now, the story is quite different. My phone rarely works. It hasn't worked reliably since winter hit, which also coincides quite nicely with the date of Time Warner offering their own digital phone service ($10 a month more expensive than Vonage).

When I go to use the phone, most of the time it will say "Unable to make a call, try later", or, when someone calls me, I can hear them (faintly), but they can't hear me, or if they can hear me it sounds "Like you are underwater". The reception is choppy, staticky, and "popping".

I've called TWCNY twice to come and fix it but, of course, they say "too bad" after checking the bandwidth on the TV and declaring it "fine". It's not their service, so they have no responsibility to troubleshoot it. I've gone through support on the Vonage website (it's rather hard to call them when the phone doesn't work), and other than some software upgrading they've
done on the router, they blame it on "bandwidth issues".

I tended to not believe the "bandwidth issues" excuse until last week when I got a phone call from someone in TWCNY's business department. She left me a message (I've been letting a lot of calls go to messages - at least I get the messages, rather than the "can you hear me now" syndrome after picking up the phone). She was calling because my account had been referred to her because of "high internet throughrate usages", and she wondered if I was
running a home business, and if I was, then she wanted to "UPGRADE MY BANDWIDTH", and take the "restrictions" off of my account.

Now, excuse me, but what the hell???

Number one: Why do they monitor my usage? And why do I suddenly get thrown to the business department if I go over some "limit" that I didn't even know was in place?

Number 2: If I'm paying for "high speed beep beep" cable internet service, why would they have "another level" they could upgrade me to? And is this why my phone doesn't work? If I stay off the internet - will that leave more "bandwidth time" for the phone?

Number 3: This makes me put on my tinfoil hat and think that I was right to assume that once their phone service was available, they somehow "took away" some of my bandwidth to force me to switch. Is this even possible or am I being paranoid?

Number 4: Should I just capitulate and pay the extra $10.00 a month for their service, and then at least have the satisfaction of them having to fix it if it breaks? Although it would Kill me to have them blackmail me into it.

Number 5: What is the correlation between the weather and the phone? When it's nice out, the phone is "better" - not as good as it was in the summer, but "better". Are cable lines affected by cold? All of our lines are new except for the "drop" from the telephone line - all the cable inside the house was done before we drywalled, all brand new cable. Could the "drop" be the problem?

Number 6: I went across the street and called the lady back from the business department and she song and danced me right out of thinking that there was ever "another level" - she made it sound like it was just a "designation on my account" and that there was no other "level" available, and I was getting their premium service. But I have her message saved, the one where she offered to "upgrade my bandwidth" and "take restrictions off my account", even though she said "well, this is my cell phone number and I don't have your account in front of me, and I don't know what I could have been referring to...." and she also said that accounts get referred to her
for "high throughrate usage" at this time of year because their accounts are monitored by the IRS, and "high usage" usually corresponds to "home business" and the IRS wants to know this information. Huh????

So, is this a vast conspiracy? Does the IRS really get some kind of
insider's info from the cable company as to who is running a home business? Did the cable company steal my bandwidth to blackmail me? Does Vonage work better in warmer climates? Do I need to switch to TWCNY and just let it go? Or should I upgrade my tinfoil hat instead?

(end original message)

My stats:
Malone NY
Broadband Linksys RT31P2 Router - not wireless.
Surfboard 4100 Cable Modem

(Both have had software updates in the last 6 weeks)

I have also gone to the Vonage Dashboard and adjusted the Bandwidth saver to all three different settings with no change in quality.


Boston results:

MOS Analysis From You TO Boston



MOS 3.6 / 5.0
(Best with G.711 is 4.4)



Degradation Sources
Codec 0.57 41.6%
Latency 0.00 0.0%
Packet Discards 0.81 58.4%
Packet Loss 0.00 0.0%

Codec G.711 (PCM at 64kbps,
20ms RTP payload,
80kbps IP BW)
Round-Trip
Latency 127 ms
Packet Discards 3.1%
Packet Loss 0.0%
Loss Periods Min: 20 ms
Avg: 20 ms
Max: 40 ms
Random Loss

Jitter Min: 0 ms
Avg: 7 ms
Max: 46 ms

Signaling Quality Post-Dial Delay 63 ms
Call Setup Time 63 ms
Media Delay 156 ms

MOS Analysis FROM Boston To You

MOS 3.7 / 5.0
(Best with G.711 is 4.4)



Degradation Sources
Codec 0.57 44.6%
Latency 0.00 0.0%
Packet Discards 0.71 55.4%
Packet Loss 0.00 0.0%

Codec G.711 (PCM at 64kbps,
20ms RTP payload,
80kbps IP BW)
Round-Trip
Latency 127 ms
Packet Discards 2.0%
Packet Loss 0.0%
Loss Periods Min: 20 ms
Avg: 20 ms
Max: 40 ms
Random Loss

Jitter Min: 4 ms
Avg: 8 ms
Max: 58 ms

Signaling Quality Post-Pickup Delay 72 ms
Call Setup Time 76 ms
Media Delay 108 ms


Thanks
Kate
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NateHoy
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PostPosted: Fri Mar 03, 2006 8:13 am    Post subject: Reply with quote Back to top

Is that test done on a totally quiet Internet connection (ie. computer hooked directly to your cable modem, no other services running at the time)?

If so, then your packet discard rate is pretty high.

Is your cable modem a company-provided one or your own? If your cable company owns it, is there a chance that they would replace it for you, just in case?

Here are some basic diagnostic tips that might help out a bit..

http://vonage.nmhoy.net/packetloss.html

_________________
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My Vonage Self-Help Guides: http://vonage.nmhoy.net
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72FLH
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PostPosted: Fri Mar 03, 2006 8:22 am    Post subject: Reply with quote Back to top

Hi -

Yes, that's a "totally quiet" internet connection. My computer is hooked directly to my cable modem, and nothing else was running at the time.

I *know* my packet loss is high - the last time I was able to call Vonage, the tech guy (very helpful, BTW), ran some ping tests and *told* me my packet loss was high. Relaying this info to TWCNY was not enough to convince them that the problem was their's, though. They still came out to the house, hooked some multimeter tester to the TV, declared my broadband rates "sufficient", patted me on the head, and left.

They seem to think I am not educated enough to realize that simple "rates" are only one part of the equation, and that the packet loss *is* an issue.

Now, they don't even come out any more. When I call to lodge a complaint and ask for a tech to come over, they blow me off - make an appointment and never show up. They were supposed to be here MOnday, never came, I called again Wednesday, they said they would be here that afternoon, never came. I called again yesterday and said "OK - I give up - I'll buy your phone service - come and install it" They set an appointment up for Tuesday. We'll see if they come.

I have bone cancer, and I'm sick a lot. I really need a working phone. I don't want to be blackmailed into getting their service - it's a matter of principle. But I don't know what else to do at this point. The reason I got Vonage is because most of the calls I make are to the various clinics and doctors I call - who are all in Plattsburgh, Burlington VT and Boston - all long distance calls for us. Vonage is much more cost efficient.

My cable modem is TWCNY provided - I will ask them to replace it, if I can ever get them to come out again.

And thanks for the diagnostic links, I will check them out.

Thanks
Kate
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navydavy2001
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Joined: May 26, 2005
Posts: 1125
Location: United States

PostPosted: Fri Mar 03, 2006 9:24 am    Post subject: Reply with quote Back to top

Am I the only one finding that IRS comment very odd, and suspect? What in the heck are these companies doing? My advice would be to try and get a different device out in front, so maybe like this:

Modem---->New Router (WRT)---->Vonage adapter

What we have seen here is that if you put a different device in front, it will send your packets a different way than if the Vonage device is in front. Also you get the added benefit of some QOS. So you'd sort of be hiding behind that router. If they have you "flagged", that's not the first time we've heard that here, and I'd definately say that cable companies are noting who uses Vonage and who doesn't. Guys, remember that cable weenie who was here about a week ago, pumping us for monitoring info? This is getting kinda of surreal.

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JohnM720
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Posts: 13

PostPosted: Fri Mar 03, 2006 9:32 am    Post subject: Reply with quote Back to top

I use Earthlink for my high speed speed service which is supplied
through the twcnyc system and only for internet as I use satellite for
TV. I have been with Vonage over a year now and have had no problems at all with my service. TWCNYC I believe does monitor bandwidth usage and that is to make sure that no one is using home services to run a server which is against their TOS. You did mention that your problem seems to be weather related so that would possibly indicate a problem with your connection on the pole. Some years ago I had TWC and experienced snow on my tv intermittently. TWC came out several times and found nothing. Got lucky and they showed up during the problem and traced it back to a bad node on the pole. Switched the connection over and problem solved. If you want to be sure and replace the modem I believe you can bring the modem to one of their service centers and they can give you a replacement on the spot. That would certainly eliminate any modem issues.
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72FLH
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Posts: 4

PostPosted: Fri Mar 03, 2006 10:30 am    Post subject: Reply with quote Back to top

Quote:
Am I the only one finding that IRS comment very odd, and suspect? What in the heck are these companies doing?


Well, just to add more Twilight Zone to it - When I called TWCNY again this morning to ask that they *please* stop blocking my ports just until Tuesday, when I would capitulate and have *their* service installed, the "level 3" tech I spoke to disavowed any knowledge of anyone named "Denise" who would call me from a *cell phone* and try to upsell me services from TWCNY. He said that just wouldn't happen - that anyone affiliated with TWCNY would be calling from their business office and would not be calling from a cell phone. He said they have no Denise, that no one would say these things to me, that I have no restrictions on my account, as she claimed, and that there is no "upgrade" available as far as bandwidth is concerned.

But I swear to you on all that is holy to me, I have a message from Denise, who identifies herself as a TWCNY employee, and is, indeed, trying to "upgrade my bandwidth" and "take the restrictions off of my account." If I knew how to post the voice message here, I would. It's a .wav file.

The funny thing is, she refers to me as "Kim" on the message. *NO* one calls me Kim. My legal name is Kimberly Katherine - I go by Kate. I have since I was an infant, since my mom's name is Kimberly. Except for bills that require ID at the time of signing up no one even knows my name is Kimberly. TWCNY is the only bill in my name along with my husband's - the rest are in his name. (because TWCNY required photo ID when they came to the house to hook everything up - and I was the only one home.) On the message she says "Hi Paul, Hi Kim". Now, unless she got this info from TWCNY, how would she even know our names?

He also admitted that they have no affiliation with the IRS, and that the IRS does not pump them for information on who is running a home business, contrary to what the mysterious Denise said.

Quote:
My advice would be to try and get a different device out in front, so maybe like this:

Modem---->New Router (WRT)---->Vonage adapter


This I do not understand.

The way my setup is now is like this: (and forgive my "technical speak" - I lack it. )

My Surfboard modem has one line coming in - the cable from the wall.

Going out from the modem is the line that connects to the router.

This line goes into the router - I think it's an ethernet connection - looks like one.

Coming out *from* the router is a blue ethernet connection that goes to my computer.

Also going into the router is the phone jack from the phones. The Vonage guy switched this last week from a "Phone 1" connection to a "Phone 2" connection, in an effort to see if that made a difference in the quality. (It didn't).

I don't have a "Vonage Adaptor" unless that is something I have that I don't call that.

Is there a way to switch this around? I thought this was the "standard" setup - is it not? Is there something else I can get or try that might make a difference?

At this point, I'm willing to try anything before I have to be blackmailed into TWCNY's service.

Thanks,
Kate
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dconnor
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Posts: 2263
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PostPosted: Fri Mar 03, 2006 10:37 am    Post subject: Reply with quote Back to top

72FLH wrote:
If I knew how to post the voice message here, I would. It's a .wav file.


No problem, email it to webmaster at this site.

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72FLH
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PostPosted: Fri Mar 03, 2006 10:51 am    Post subject: Reply with quote Back to top

Quote:
No problem, email it to webmaster at this site.


Done, Thank You.

Kate
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dconnor
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PostPosted: Fri Mar 03, 2006 11:01 am    Post subject: Reply with quote Back to top

http://www.vonage-forum.com/images/voice-message.wav

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