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Mustardman
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Posts: 105

PostPosted: Wed Mar 29, 2006 5:48 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote Back to top

Your Vonage connection is only as good as your Internet connection and it's gonna be a lot easier to notice the problems with Vonage.

If your internet is flaky then OF COURSE your going to have Vonage issues. Stop trying to blame Vonage or get all Orwell 1984 on Shaw. If Shaw is dropping out then call them and have the guys come out and fix it. It could be your residential cable wiring. Shaw recommends the cable modem have a direct connect to the cable coming in from the street. Do you have this? How old is the wiring from the street to your home? All these are potential problems. I had these problems myself. They ran brand new wiring from the street and put the modem on it's own tap right from where they split it outside the house. All free of charge. I also exchanged my Terayon modem for a Motorola DOCSIS modem. These things completely solved all Internet problems and drastically improved TV reception.

PS: I would be VERY suspicious of a Dlink router!
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jthunder
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PostPosted: Wed Mar 29, 2006 5:51 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote Back to top

When you test against www.testyourvoip.com you are not using the Vonage service, so I make the inference that it has to be the network between me and the server, which shaw provides the most important component of (normally peering connections are fairly robust and highly efficient)

I also am now (3:00pm MST on the 29th) experiencing normal call quality, and here is my test score from two seconds ago.

http://www.testyourvoip.com/results.html?id=PRW53I

This is consistent now with it being approximately average over a couple of tries. Notice the absense of any packet discards in either the upstream or downstream traffic.

I believe that one of two things is occuring;

a) the network connection between me and the testyourvoip servers is currently not over-utilized therefore providing me with the network services needed to score this high.

b) shaping has been rolled back to allow for more throughput on the upstream traffic.

I think probably that a) is the case, but that shaw will let Voip users be affected by the poor performance, and force affected users to either sign-up for the QoS package or shaw's DPS.

I predict that if a) is the case that we will continue to see poor performance during peek usage times (when is that? between 5-10pm?, daytime hours?)

Anyone care to add anything to this?
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Mustardman
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Joined: Nov 19, 2005
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PostPosted: Wed Mar 29, 2006 6:19 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote Back to top

Your score looks good right now but I fail to understand how you can conclude it is the Shaw network and/or something they are doing rather than your physical wiring or router or something your PC or someone else on your home network is doing. Those can all vary at different times of day or from hour to hour depending on outside temperature and a host of other things.

Try speedtest.shaw.ca and correlate that with the testyourvoip.com. If there is a discrepancy there then it may be the internet connect between Shaw and Vonage that is the problem.

I am not saying it is not the Shaw network or something they are doing. I am just saying that as obvious as it may seem I don't think you can conclude that. I was certain I was having problems because of the Shaw network but was quite suprised when they ran new wiring to the house and fixed my problems.
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mratz
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PostPosted: Wed Mar 29, 2006 6:30 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote Back to top

Perhaps I'm assuming too much to think that nobody would post messages here complaining about Voip problems when they have a known Internet performance issue.

I experienced an Internet outage for a couple hours yesterday and, guess what?, my Voip phone didn't work. Am I blaming Vonage? No. I called Shaw about that.

Except for that outage, my Shaw Internet has been performing very well. Even during peek traffic periods, I never notice a degradation in Internet service. (I often work from home and rely heavily upon my Internet service.)

It's with this background info that I start looking to Vonage when I'm experiencing a Voip problem.

Here's an important question that I think needs more consideration: Why do in-coming problems experience very few problems compared to out-going calls? If there was a general Internet access performance problem, wouldn't it effect both in-coming and out-going calls?

As far as my D-Link router is concerned, it's performed very well since I bought it. And my Linksys PAP2 worked fairly well behind the D-Link for over 4 months. Why would it start causing problems now?

For the record, in the router's configuration, after setting up a DHCP reservation for the PAP2, I setup 2 virtual servers for UDP traffic on ports 5060 and 5061 to the PAP2's IP address and added the PAP2 to the DMZ. It seems to be working much better. I don't know what changed to make this configuration necessary, but the phone seems to be working OK now.
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Mustardman
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PostPosted: Wed Mar 29, 2006 7:44 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote Back to top

Actually it IS quite possible to have internet problems which only seem to effect outgoing. You may very well have problems in both directions but the much higher incoming bandwidth is better able to cope. I think outgoing is on a different frequency out of the modem (not sure about that on DOCSIS). If you have a coax problem then outgoing could very well be the only one effected. Consider ALL possibilities

Believe me, I though I had it all figured out too but eventually a lot of my assumptions were wrong. It could very well be due to a heavily loaded node in your neighbourhood. Just don't jump to those conclusions.

About the Dlink. I had a Dlink that I was convinced was not giving me any problems until I switched to a Linksys. Before that all the tests I did told me the Dlink was fine but it was not!

The processor may not be able to keep up intermittently when it gets multiple packets from things like email or ? Regular internet use may not suffer from that but Voip sure will.

Dlink products are designed to be a cheap as possible. That is BY FAR their over riding design goal. Functionality, reliability etc. are all a distant second.
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mratz
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PostPosted: Thu Mar 30, 2006 2:18 am    Post subject: Reply with quote Back to top

Yes, I agree that you can have cabling problem that can effect only out-going data traffic. But your cable modem can't tell if the packets you're sending and receiving contain latest photos of Pam Anderson or digitized snippets of your conversation with mom. Since web-surfing is all about download speed, Voip may be the only thing you do where you really need decent upload speed. You could surf the Internet all year and never realize you have a poor connection that only effects your upload traffic.

Consider that every Voip conversation uses both uploaded and downloaded traffic. When you talk, your voice is converted into IP packets and uploaded to Vonage's network. When your mom tells you to quit looking at pictures of Pam Anderson, her digitized voice packets are downloaded to your Voip box. If you had a poor cable connection that effected only uploaded traffic, for example, she'd have a hard time hearing you while her voice comes across fine using your connection's bigger download band-width. (Figures, eh?)

The problem I was experiencing (and was described by others earlier in this topic) was that when I placed an out-going Voip phone call, the audio quality, in both directions, was very poor. When I received an in-coming phone call, the audio quality, in both directions, was much better.

So what's the difference between in-coming and out-going phone calls? The way the call is initiated. For in-coming calls, the IP connection between Vonage's switching center and our Voip boxes is initiated by Vonage's network. IP connections in out-going phone calls are initiated by our Voip boxes.

Simple logic says that a general Internet connection problem would effect Voip traffic regardless of how the call was placed.

While the cable modems in our homes don't have the smarts to prioritize different types of IP packets, the cable company's router's and switches can. But if Shaw was secretly sabotaging Voip traffic for those customers who haven't signed up for their Voip QoS, would it make sense that they'd significantly mess with both uploaded and downloaded Voip packets only in out-going phone calls and not touch Voip packets on in-coming calls? I don't think so.

The simple fact is that there's been a network change, either in Vonage's network or in Shaw's, that has adversely effected the success with which our Voip boxes have been able to establish a solid connection with Vonage's switching network. For some reason, I think we're experiencing a lot of dropped packets in connections we initiate.

As far as the difference between D-Link and Linksys routers, it's not really worth debating. I think Linksys used to be mostly crap. I think that's really changed since Cisco bought Linksys. I've never had a problem with any D-Link equipment I've worked with. For that matter, it's been a long time since I've had any problems with Linksys equipment either. I think both companies make the same quality of equipment in the same price ranges. There's certainly a lot of other cheaper equipment out there. The problem is that both D-Link and Linksys make so many different models of routers that all perform a little differently from each other. With all these different models and the different applications in which they may be put to use, it's very difficult to compare apples-to-apples. We each have a router that's working well for us, but each may have sibling models that work like crap in our respective environments.

My Linksys PAP2 Voip box worked fine for more than 4 months while plugged into my D-Link router. Then, without any changes to the router, my Voip quality took a nose dive. All my other IP traffic is still working fine. The fact that a lot of other Vonage customers suffered the same quality dive at the same time is a clear indication that the problem isn't with my router. (If it is, Shaw has a serious routing issue! Very Happy )

The problem may not be caused by my router, but I'm wondering if, in the absence of a system-wide resolution from Vonage, I can solve my problem by "helping" my PAP2 initiate its connection with Vonage's switching network. Unfortunately, I can't get a clear description of exactly how the PAP2 handles Voip traffic. I think that adding the PAP2 to my router's DMZ is probably the one change I've made that's improved my out-going call quality over the past couple of days. I'm still searching for a detailed technical description of how the connection works.
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Mustardman
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PostPosted: Thu Mar 30, 2006 11:24 am    Post subject: Reply with quote Back to top

If your getting problems only when people call in instead of you calling out then I would keep calling Vonage and have them escalate it. I know it's a royal pain but it works.

These are calls to and from the same numbers right? Consider all possiblities. If you are calling out fine are they local numbers where as people calling in are LD or visa versa. If you call a local number and it's fine, then that EXACT same number calls you and it's crap then yes, it could very well have something to do with Vonage but ONLY within that VERY narrow definition of EXACT SAME PHONE NUMBER and that it is repeatable over and over.

Using Linksys as a comparison to Dlink was a bad example. I should have stated using a Linksys WRT54G v2-v4 as opposed to most Dlink wired and wireless routers.

I don't have a problem with newer revisions of some of the Dlink products that have been around for awhile but most of their stuff is basically crap shoot!
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mratz
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Location: Red Deer, AB

PostPosted: Thu Mar 30, 2006 11:39 am    Post subject: Reply with quote Back to top

It's my outgoing phone calls that are bad. I've been calling friends and family here in town and the audio quality was so bad, we couldn't communicate. Loudly and slowly, I'd say, "Call me back!" They might not have been able to hear me, but they'd know who it was because nobody else in our circle of family and friends has such a crappy phone. They'd call right back and our audio quality was fine. This has been happening consistently for the past couple of weeks.

I do need to call Vonage again and ride them about it. My problem with that is the first thing they want me to do is reboot my PAP2 which kills my phone call. I end up using my cell, but given past tech calls to Vonage and my above normal usage this month because of my Voip phone problems, I'm way over my packaged air-time. My cell phone bill is going to be a killer. So much for Voip cost savings.
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blacknail
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Joined: Dec 20, 2005
Posts: 19

PostPosted: Thu Mar 30, 2006 3:39 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote Back to top

I just saw this thread, I have had the Shaw enhanced QoS for several months and everything was fine until a couple of weeks ago so I added shaw extreme (an extra $10 as well) and still had problems. I gave in and got Shaw Digital phone because I can't afford the bad call quality. One point the Shaw guy told me is that you are sharing your bandwidth with about 450 users and there is only 512kbps upstream or about enough for 5 simultaneous calls (or 2 conference calls) between all those 450 users. I would use DSL but having cable, internet and phone from one company for under $100 per month is probably the best value out there. Plus I can now call all those 1-800 numbers and order pizza from my landline.

I am still keeping Vonage for the virtual phone numbers though.
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Mustardman
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PostPosted: Thu Mar 30, 2006 7:38 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote Back to top

I don't think that is right. Each user is limited to about 512k depending on what plan you are on but I am pretty sure each neighbourhood node has a LOT more that 512k upstream. I think it is at least 2 to 3Megs. Maybe more. They try keep each node at no more than 500 users but some can get up to 1000 before they get around to adding another one.
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