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Poll

Does anyone trust Vonage's Documentation of Firewall Configurations>
No
30%
 30%  [ 3 ]
Yes
70%
 70%  [ 7 ]
Total Votes : 10

Author Message
GemNEye
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Joined: Sep 13, 2006
Posts: 6

PostPosted: Wed Sep 13, 2006 1:12 am    Post subject: Yet another post about firewalls... Reply with quote Back to top

I have read several posts about firewalls and have read Vonage's official documentation, but I do not find enough evidence to believe that the information is correct.

My Internet connection goes directly to a Linux server which is acting as a firewall/router. The Vonage device (Linksys RT31P2) is connected to its own segment (off of the Linux Server) separate from any other network. I allow all traffic orginating from the RT31P2 going to the internet (any non defined network).

If I do not allow any inbound traffic (unless connection was established from outbound connection) Vonage works (in the loose sense of the word). I can make phone calls, I can hear people, people can hear me, and I think I receive most inbound phone calls.

With this configuration my firewall blocks several packets from vonage's networks.

Here is a list of the traffic that is blocked:

63.77.214.0/24 UDP PORTS (in the 30000 range)
63.77.214.0/24 ICMP TYPE 8
69.59.224.0/19 UDP PORT 65535

Of course those are not the ports which is Documented in Vonage's FAQs or in the various posts.

So my question is if inbound port forwarding is required, then why does my Vonage work when no inbound ports are forwarded. Secondly, why am I receiving packets from vonage's networks on ports that are not documented?

Anyone else getting the same results? Anyone have any answers?
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rgnok
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Joined: Jun 12, 2006
Posts: 174

PostPosted: Wed Sep 13, 2006 9:44 am    Post subject: Re: Yet another post about firewalls... Reply with quote Back to top

GemNEye wrote:
So my question is if inbound port forwarding is required, then why does my Vonage work when no inbound ports are forwarded.


No answers, just an observation. Inbound port forwarding is NOT required and nowhere does Vonage documentation say it is. Most people using Vonage do not need to setup any sort of port forwarding. Just as stated in the Vonage documentation, if you are having PROBLEMS getting the service to work, you MIGHT need to do some port forwarding. But this is the exception, certainly not the rule! The Vonage adapter establishes a sort of heartbeat connection, going OUTBOUND to keep in touch with Vonage servers and identify itself to the Vonage call routers. This is also how things like the network availability number works - Vonage does not wait until a call comes in and can't reach your adapter to assume your connection is off -- if your adapter does not AFFIRMATIVELY "check in" with the Vonage servers at regular intervals, Vonage assumes your adapter to be offline and behaves accordingly.
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GemNEye
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PostPosted: Wed Sep 13, 2006 10:15 am    Post subject: Reply with quote Back to top

From http://www.vonage.com/help.php?article=1098&category=44&nav=3

If your Vonage adapter is located behind a routing device that has firewall capabilities, and you do not wish to reconfigure your network, then that routing device must be configured for port forwarding for Vonage service to operate.

Also from that same page:

The following ports are needed for INCOMING and OUTGOING Internet communications from and to Vonage devices and servers.

RTP (Voice) Traffic: Ports 10000-20000 UDP. When a call is made, a random port between 10000 and 20000 is used for RTP (Voice) traffic. If any of these ports are blocked, you may experience one way or no audio.

That does not sound optional to me.

Plus, the ports being blocked are not in that range, so clearly actual traffic does not match documentation.
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rgnok
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PostPosted: Wed Sep 13, 2006 11:29 am    Post subject: Reply with quote Back to top

You're right, Vonage does seem to say in places that port forwarding is required.

However, this is an example of poor documentation or inconsistent instructions from Vonage.

My system works, behind a firewall, with no port forwarding. Most users (at least around here) report the same, and it sounds like yours does also.

Moreover, while the link you posted seems to have Vonage saying it is REQUIRED, follow this link (http://www.vonage.com/help.php?article=1095&category=44&nav=3) to the same Vonage installation help, and it says "Firewalls, especially those employing SPI, can sometimes interfere with your Vonage service" Not that port forwarding is required or Vonage will not work without it (even behind a firewall), just that is SOMETIMES causes a problem.

So go figure!
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EzCo
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Joined: Jul 21, 2005
Posts: 533
Location: Southeastern PA

PostPosted: Thu Sep 14, 2006 9:24 am    Post subject: Reply with quote Back to top

GemNEye wrote:
From http://www.vonage.com/help.php?article=1098&category=44&nav=3

If your Vonage adapter is located behind a routing device that has firewall capabilities, and you do not wish to reconfigure your network, then that routing device must be configured for port forwarding for Vonage service to operate.


Which is an absolutely incorrect statement.

GemNEye wrote:

Also from that same page:

The following ports are needed for INCOMING and OUTGOING Internet communications from and to Vonage devices and servers.

RTP (Voice) Traffic: Ports 10000-20000 UDP. When a call is made, a random port between 10000 and 20000 is used for RTP (Voice) traffic. If any of these ports are blocked, you may experience one way or no audio.

That does not sound optional to me.


That's true, you should not block those ports. However, port forwarding and blocking are two different things.

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GemNEye
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PostPosted: Thu Sep 14, 2006 3:55 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote Back to top

I block all but a few select ports and I can say I have never seen Vonage even attempt to make an inbound connection using UDP ports between the range of 10000-20000.

On the other hand, several attempts in the 30000 have been made.

I do not understand your point about stating a difference between port forwarding and blocking. It is Vonage's Title the states Port Forwading, and then states blocking in their paragraph.

I guess my point is that I can block all non-established inbound connectivity and Vonage works fine. The only problem is that firewall logs are full of dropped packets from Vonage's networks where the destination port is in the 30000 range and the protocol is UDP (which is incosistent with Vonage's documentation).

Also, all inbound (remote host originated) traffic can be blocked and Vonage device still works fine behind a firewall. Again, this appears to be inconsistent with Vonage's documentation.

It is obvious there is confusion with this topic because I have read several posts stating different ideas on how all of this works. There inconsistencies a many.

I was hoping to create a thread where the Myths could be laid to rest.
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EzCo
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PostPosted: Fri Sep 15, 2006 10:46 am    Post subject: Reply with quote Back to top

GemNEye wrote:
I block all but a few select ports and I can say I have never seen Vonage even attempt to make an inbound connection using UDP ports between the range of 10000-20000.

On the other hand, several attempts in the 30000 have been made.

I do not understand your point about stating a difference between port forwarding and blocking. It is Vonage's Title the states Port Forwading, and then states blocking in their paragraph.

I guess my point is that I can block all non-established inbound connectivity and Vonage works fine. The only problem is that firewall logs are full of dropped packets from Vonage's networks where the destination port is in the 30000 range and the protocol is UDP (which is incosistent with Vonage's documentation).

Also, all inbound (remote host originated) traffic can be blocked and Vonage device still works fine behind a firewall. Again, this appears to be inconsistent with Vonage's documentation.

It is obvious there is confusion with this topic because I have read several posts stating different ideas on how all of this works. There inconsistencies a many.

I was hoping to create a thread where the Myths could be laid to rest.


You're blocking is OK because you're obviously using a stateful firewall. Some people may not have that with their device, so that was my point with port-forwarding and blocking.

GemNEye wrote:

Also, all inbound (remote host originated) traffic can be blocked and Vonage device still works fine behind a firewall. Again, this appears to be inconsistent with Vonage's documentation.


Yes, that is correct with a stateful firewall, which is a bit of a redundant statement these days. I doubt Vonage will change their documentation as they are going to prefer a shotgun approach and have people open everything up "just in case". I guess they figure it might save some CS troubleshooting.

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Deeyou
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PostPosted: Fri Sep 15, 2006 12:27 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote Back to top

Sometimes the devices will use higher ports.....

Have you tried disabling the firewall completely ??
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GemNEye
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PostPosted: Fri Sep 15, 2006 11:24 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote Back to top

I am not actually having a problem. Except sometimes people say they have called when I have no record of the call. Obviously I have no data gathered and debating this would be meaningless.

I am just trying to get the facts out.

So far we have:

If your Vonage device is behind a stateful packet inspection firewall (which is true in my case) no inbound ports need to be opened in the firewall in order to get Vonage device to function properly.

Vonage networks definitely use ports outside of the documented 10000-20000 (UDP) port range.

There are several ways to connect your Vonage device to the internet and each different method may require a different solution.

And possibly, my opinion only, the documentation that can be found on vonage's web site is less then clear on this topic.

Did I miss any?

Not to enhance the rumors, but oddly enough, I added DNAT rules (port forwarding) for the Vonage Networks, and now my Tivo device (HR10-250) magically started being able connect via its phone call back to the DirecTV mothership. I don't really have enough proof that the firewall changes made a difference (as there are other factors involved), but the day I made the firewall change was the first time in 145 days that the call was successful.
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