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Kurty
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PostPosted: Sun Aug 05, 2007 12:05 pm    Post subject: Best Network Topology? - Modem>Phone Adapter>Router Reply with quote Back to top

Hi,

I currently have a landline AND Vonage and I am planning on going full-on Vonage and dropping the landline. That said, I am concerned about what the best network topology is to ensure that I don't experience call quality problems.

My thought was to put the network phone adapter (I have the popular black Motorola phone adapter - VT2142) AFTER the cable modem, and then connect my router to it. I could setup QoS on the hacked firmware of my Linksys WRT54GL, but this seemed like the simplest solution.

I would appreciate any comments.
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twelve01748
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PostPosted: Sun Aug 05, 2007 9:07 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote Back to top

I have Vonage in three locations, all with Comcast. In all three locations I have the Vonage router directly after the cable modem (a SB5120). I connect up a Wireless Access Point for wi-fi and everything else goes to the router or to a L2 switch after the router. I have two VT2442s and one RTP300. The phone service is rock solid as is the Internet access.

I strongly recommend that the Vonage router be directly after the modem.

Steve
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NateHoy
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PostPosted: Mon Aug 06, 2007 7:29 am    Post subject: Reply with quote Back to top

If you have a WRT54GL, it's highly unlikely you have a better router in the Vonage one.

The important thing is to put your strongest router with the best QoS where it can manage the traffic. In your case, that may well be the WRT54GL.

I have no experience with the Vonage VT series of routers, but I have a WRTP54G, and the QoS on the unit is completely and utterly useless. My network stability and voice quality BOTH improved immediately once I put the WRT54G as my primary router. I am currently running "Tomato" aftermarket firmware, but I also had excellent results with "HyperWRT Thibor". "DD-WRT" is another one that comes highly recommended, but I've never had a use for its thousands of features (all of the important ones are in Tomato, and Tomato is a good bit faster).

My advice would be - go with the one you want to try first, run it for a few days, then swap them out. I'm going to take a guess that you'll like the results with the WRT54GL out front - when you use aftermarket firmware in it, it's one amazing little router. Mine has been absolutely rock solid for about two years now, and has never failed me.

_________________
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)
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mjstraw
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PostPosted: Mon Aug 06, 2007 7:52 am    Post subject: Reply with quote Back to top

I agree with Nate. Vonage router/adapter combos tend to have marginal routing capabilities.

Unfortunately, Vonage does not sell (directly) an adapter-only unit. Others can say for sure, but I would hope that you can configure one of their combo units to operate in adapter-only mode.

As an alternative to Nate's router-with-good-QOS suggestion, another would be to use a dedicated QOS/shaper unit between your router and cable modem. ex Hawking Tech HBB1 or D-link di-102.
Don't do any QOS on your router. Then put the Vonage unit in adapter-only mode on the other side of the router, just like your PCs and other application devices.

Mark
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NateHoy
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PostPosted: Mon Aug 06, 2007 8:02 am    Post subject: Reply with quote Back to top

Quote:
Others can say for sure, but I would hope that you can configure one of their combo units to operate in adapter-only mode.


Easily. Just plug the Vonage router/adapter into a LAN port of your other router, then don't plug anything into the LAN ports of the Vonage router/adapter. There's really no "configuration" to do. If you don't want it to be a router, don't use it as one.

You can, however, configure the Vonage router/adapter to be an adapter AND a switch, taking advantage of its Ethernet ports but not using its routing capability. A few scenarios on how two routers can coexist are laid out on this page, part of my Vonage Self-Help articles.

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

_________________
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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NateHoy
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PostPosted: Mon Aug 06, 2007 8:15 am    Post subject: Reply with quote Back to top

Quote:
As an alternative to Nate's router-with-good-QOS suggestion, another would be to use a dedicated QOS/shaper unit between your router and cable modem. ex Hawking Tech HBB1 or D-link di-102.
Don't do any QOS on your router. Then put the Vonage unit in adapter-only mode on the other side of the router, just like your PCs and other application devices.


If you use the Hawking, you would simply install that between the modem and the Vonage router. As far as I know, that's really all you have to do - the Hawking is a pure QoS box, but won't conflict with the QoS found on your current router. Of course, turning off QoS on your Vonage router (if possible) will free up processing power on the Vonage router, and may improve your voice quality.

One other defect, at least with my WRTP54G, comes in the form of the routing table itself. The routing table has a small number of entries and a 5-day "inactive connection timeout", meaning that any abruptly interrupted connections will consume a slot in the routing table and will not free it up for 5 days. If you use file sharing tools like BitTorrent, or run any kind of a moderate-use Web or HTTP server, you may find yourself having to restart the router frequently. The Hawking box won't help with that problem.

Still, I've seen a lot of feedback on these forums that inserting a $30 (or somewhere around there) Hawking is a cheap and easy way to fix a Vonage router's lack of QoS, if you don't already have a decent router to start with.

If you spend $60 or so, you can get a WRT54GL and replace your Vonage router with a much more powerful one, including a really good WiFi radio and (once you load aftermarket firmware) a really solid feature set. But that solution may be overkill for some people.

If you already own a router, it's worth a try configuring it and putting it out front, if your current Vonage router is not meeting your needs. If that doesn't work, you can then decide whether you want to spend $30 on a QoS fix or $60 to replace the heart of your network with a more powerful one.

Of course, if your Vonage router is meeting your needs, no need to spend anything on anything. Wink

_________________
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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mjstraw
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PostPosted: Mon Aug 06, 2007 8:33 am    Post subject: Reply with quote Back to top

I'm not familiar with the exact QoS algorithm used by Tomato, but my NetGear FVX538 does simple ToS/CoS/DiffServ priority-Q CoS.

The HBB1 and DI-102 units take an additional step - when there is Voip traffic on the link they fragment the non-VoIP traffic so that it can start passing newly-received Voip traffic without waiting for a large non-VoIP packet to finish sending.

Remember - all of this only helps with outbound traffic (ie how you sound to the other end of a call). It does nothing for how others sound to you. Nor does it do anything about poor quality introduced by problems/delays/overloads in some part of the Internet between you and the other end of the call.

Mark


Last edited by mjstraw on Thu Aug 09, 2007 8:47 am; edited 1 time in total
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Kurty
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PostPosted: Mon Aug 06, 2007 6:20 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote Back to top

Let me clarify something, the Motorola VT2142 is simply a device that has a WAN, LAN, and telephone port connections. My thought was to plug the cable modem's WAN connection into the VT2142. Then use the LAN connection of the VT2142 and plug it into the WAN connection of my WRT54GL. The thought being that the phone adapter (VT2142) could get ALL the bandwidth it needed first and then the router got what was leftover.

OK. That said, what do you think?
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kdf55
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PostPosted: Mon Aug 06, 2007 9:40 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote Back to top

I have mine setup - cable modem ->Wireless router->VT2142.
It works just fine that way.
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NateHoy
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PostPosted: Tue Aug 07, 2007 7:12 am    Post subject: Reply with quote Back to top

Kurty wrote:
Let me clarify something, the Motorola VT2142 is simply a device that has a WAN, LAN, and telephone port connections. My thought was to plug the cable modem's WAN connection into the VT2142. Then use the LAN connection of the VT2142 and plug it into the WAN connection of my WRT54GL. The thought being that the phone adapter (VT2142) could get ALL the bandwidth it needed first and then the router got what was leftover.

OK. That said, what do you think?


Worth a try.

Even with only one LAN port, the VT2142 is still a router. I know I'm splitting hairs on that, but Network Address Translation is still happening and the router still needs to be able to prioritize bandwidth using QoS.

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

Now, I have absolutely zero experience with any of the VT series from Vonage, but I've heard enough "outbound audio" issues to make me guess that the VT2142 is not going to cut the mustard. It's certainly worth a try, though.

If that doesn't work out for you, I'd look into an aftermarket firmware like Tomato or HyperWRT Thibor and put the WRT54GL out front. That unit is a known routing powerhouse, and I own one myself so I'd be happy to show you how to get it firing on all cylinders. I know I've been thrilled with my configuration (WRT54G V4 (same as WRT54GL) out front, Vonage WRTP54G serving as a Vonage device only), and that's been doing great for me for over two years.

_________________
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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