New Forum Member
Joined: Nov 09, 2006
This is a very long but I think, interesting story. If you can help in some way, please do.
Personally, I suspect major foul play by the carrier(s) and have heard and/or read similar stories from many others in exactly the same situation as me. I'm thinking of dumping all of this and just buying cell phones for everyone. (Odd, I remember how much we use to complain about cell service until Voip came along.)
- EDIT: I've highlighted the important parts to shorten the read time:) -
1. Location: Dallas, TX (Lewisville area)
2. ISP: Verizon FIOS
3. Speed: 15 Down / 2 Up (now)
4. Router: DLink DI-624 Airplus Extreme 6
5. Vonage Adapter: Motorola MTA (Can't get model # without disconnecting a lot of stuff!)
6. Network: FIOS --> DI624 Router --> 10/100 Switch -->> 2 Vonage Motorola MTAs and numerous PCs and servers --> 3 phones are distributed via structured cabling throughout the house and an outbuilding.
7. Issue details are below stats - Mainly choppy audio on INBOUND calls.
Speed test statistics
Download speed: 12473816 bps
Upload speed: 1850256 bps
Quality of service: 92 %
Download test type: socket
Upload test type: socket
Maximum download pause: 171 ms
Average download pause: 9 ms
Minimum round trip time to server: 40 ms
Average round trip time to server: 60 ms
Voip test statistics
Jitter: you --> server: 10.6 ms
Jitter: server --> you: 763.9 ms INBOUND <-- Injected???
Packet loss: you --> server: 0.0 %
Packet loss: server --> you: 0.2 %
Packet discards: 0.0 %
Packets out of order: 0.0 %
Number of supported Voip lines: 31
Estimated MOS score: 3.5
Lots of jitter inbound... 0.2% packet loss? hmmmm
Choppiness, choppiness and more choppiness...
I've had Vonage now for a little over two years (September 2004). Originally, I had Comcast 3/1 cable and Vonage, for the most part, worked fine. Occasional choppy audio but not very often and easily fixed by rebooting router, cable modem and/or the MTAs. (Rate limiting testing has begun).
Several months ago, I switched my ISP to Verizon FIOS (I work from home and wanted more more more)
Initially, I went thru hell trying to even get FIOS because it was brand new and they couldn't figure out how to even get it to me since I didn't have phone service with them... odd... they insisted I had to have phone service with them before they could provision FIOS internet. (I wrote it off believing that the sales rep was only used to provisioning DSL). Several hours and numerous calls later I was able to get the service (5 down / 2 up) through the New Jersey FIOS office who transferred me to someone here in Texas and this is where it gets interesting: I was able to get the service ordered but not until I had refused the Verizon VoiceWing service several times.
The service was installed without a hitch and all was well. Vonage worked fine for quite some period, maybe two to three months. During that time, I received a couple of calls from Verizon asking me to switch over to their phone service. As time went on, I began to experience choppy audio but almost always it was on inbound calls only... and on all three lines... at the same time. I would reboot all the equipment and most of the time it cleared up.
Each time I called into Verizon to check into this issue, they always had a horrible time trying to find my customer records because I didn't have a Verizon phone number and each time they wanted to cross-sell me their phone service and after each refusal, Vonage coincidentally seem to get more 'problematic'.
During one particularly bad period, I was experiencing choppiness so bad, I was rebooting everything every hour or so. I started with Verizon again because I suspected network problems (all 3 lines were choppy). After they finally found my records... again... I explained the issue and they tested my fiber stating that all was well... oh, wait a minute, you have Vonage for your phone service? (and I quote), "you know, that can use up to two megs of your bandwidth... per line... that could be your problem". Inside, I giggled, verbally I just said, "Uh, no it doesn't." Getting no sympathy from an obviously undertrained technically, overtrained at cross-selling, support rep... I moved onto to Vonage support.
I called Vonage. After being on hold for a little over 45 minutes, the phone rang, clicked, rang again in a lower, more distant tone and I got through to an echoey (if that's a word) Sahlindra or Mahlandra or Rhavindra or whatever she said, who switched her PC's support matrix screen from Dell to Vonage and began asking me questions like, "do you now have de devices turned to on?" and other intelligence insulting questions like that.
After I explained the problem in more detail, she told me she needed to change some settings and then asked me to power cycle the phone adapters. Huh? I asked her if she realized that we would lose the phone connection. Uh, no, she didn't know that. Another dead end. Vonage support smells funny. Adding insult to injury, later, I logged into the Vonage site to find that the settings that she needed to change were the "Bandwidth Saver" settings. She lowered them from 50K to 30K. I had already tried that, many times. No setting made a difference in the quality of service. Heck, I thought she was going to maybe do a flash update to fix a codec problem or something, not change the bandwidth/codec settings.
I called Verizon again; rinse, repeat. No problems with the fiber, all clear and of course, I need Verizon phone service. I even bumped my service up to 15 down / 2 up. Called again, same response; fiber is good, oh wait, Vonage? That uses a lot of bandwidth. Now, keep in mind, the choppiness in INBOUND, you know, the 15Mb side? Not the OUTBOUND which is 2Mb (OK, 1.8Mb). They don't get it.
As of late, ALL inbound calls are choppy. I can only hear enough to tell the other party I have to call them back. I've rebooted everything, changed the bandwidth allocations up and down, rebooted some more... to no avail. Late at night, calls seem to be fine (better). During the day, crap. Every one of my conversations lately starts with, "Yeah sorry I had to call you back, I'm having problems with my Vonage service... but I suspect..."
Being the conspiracy theorist I am, I am convinced that Verizon is INTENTIONALLY rate limiting Vonage (and possibly other) Voip data streams; there can be no other explanation. Especially when lots of other folks are reporting the same dang issue; heck, are all inbound call routed to a broken PBX in Hoboken? They SHOULD have rate limited the OUTBOUND calls which go up a smaller pipe and contend for less bandwidth with other services, not the INBOUNDS! It would have been a little more believable, but, if I have 15Mb down and all the tests I run, even when I have computers downloading files just fine, pulling pages up quickly, sending emails AND I place calls from line 1 to my cell AND from another cell to line 2 and they all show excellent stats, clearly, something is restricting packets for that ONE particular inbound service.
Possibly, they only have the ability to detect and rate limit Voip traffic coming TO a client but not traffic originating FROM the client due to some equipment limitations, NATting issue or for deniability purposes, I don't really know; however, all of my past experience with Voip 'choppiness' has been strictly related to limited bandwidth... period. Other behaviors like dropped calls, echo, delay, etc. could be attributed to other things (including bandwidth) but choppiness always came down to... not enough bandwidth. I think I have enough bandwidth.
7 years ago, we tested Voip with Cisco IP Phones, Video Conferencing with Polycom and Sony remote cameras, internet access, mail, etc. all running at the same time over a frame circuit at 384K... everything worked just fine and we used that system for 5 years for remote workers all over the US (until broadband got so cheap it didn't make sense to keep frame circuits in place).
Again, the choppiness, when it rarely occurred, even at that low amount of allocated bandwidth, was due to the LACK of or the misallocation of the bandwidth to that particular service; not bad routers, not bad switches, not bad PBXs (and there were those), but simply - bandwidth.
As you can tell, I'm PO'd. Verizon has spent MILLIONS to put the FIOS infrastructure in place and I'm certainly happy to have REALLY fast internet service and oh, I didn't mention, FIOS HDTV as well. I just don't like being manipulated into offsetting their infrastructure upgrade expenses by being coerced into purchasing ALL of my services from them. I especially don't like people looking me in the eye (or the ear as the case may be) and lying to me. (Vonage uses two meg of bandwidth?)
I don't like these tactics. After Vonage is stomped, who's next, Skype? A myriad of other independent Voip providers?
My preference would be to put the technical elements in place to prove that this is being done, have the issue corrected and keep my Vonage service but unfortunately, my only option at this point seems to be to throw in the towel and say "OK, Verizon, you win, gimme the damn phone service."
I'm on my phone several hours a day... I have to have decent service. OK, at least as good as cellular.
(And I guess I can kiss any chance to work for Verizon goodbye, huh?)
Last edited by luptona on Thu Nov 09, 2006 8:56 pm; edited 3 times in total