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matgreig
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PostPosted: Mon Jan 10, 2005 4:37 pm    Post subject: Bandwidth Reflection on Call Quality + a few general ?'s Reply with quote Back to top

INTRODUCTION: I've been using Vonage for the last two months or so, and so far it hasn't been a smooth transition. My typical phone experience is that the call will be great for a minute or two, and then either the person I'm calling can't hear me, or the call becomes choppy, or there is just dead silence for 20 seconds or so. I dig on Vonage's additional features and obviously the price is attractive, but if the basic phone service isn't reliable - none of the rest matters.

So, I've messed around with my Vonage phone adapter (Linksys RT31P2) and my primary router/all-in-one (Linksys WRT54G w/ latest official firmware) and things have gotten a little better, but still not good.

My current config is INTERNET->CABLE MODEM (don't remember the model/make off hand)->WRT54G->RT31P2. Additionally, all of my end nodes are hanging off the back of the primary WRT54G via a nice 48 port switch. The only thing hanging off the back of the RT31P2 phone router is my telephone.

It's configured that way b/c the WRT54G is infinitely more flexible than Vonage's RT31P2, and why go out and buy a PAP2 if I don't need to and can just use the RT31P2's as a phone adapter and disable everything else. The WRT54G is further configured with QOS where the one port running to the RT31P2 is set to high priority and the other three ports are set to a QOS low priority.

My questions to you all are as follows:

1. I realize Vonage recommends setting the RT31P2 in front of any other routing/all-in-one device (specifically b/c the RT31P2 has built-in QOS as I understand it), but in my scenario I *should* be fine - yes/no?!?

2. If I WERE to put the RT31P2 in front, can I set the device to completely pass through all traffic, minus the voice traffic and still have everything work as if there was nothing in front of my primary WRT54G router (VPN, DMZ's, HTTP via RDP, ....)? *AND*, if I put it in front, would it (theoretically anyway Wink, be any different than my current setup (and if yes, why … what am I missing)?

3. My current Comcast broadband cable service is 256k/3mb @ $52.95/month and the highest they’ll offer me is 386k/4mb @ $62.95/month. I checked around, and I can sign up for DSL with Qwest on their premium package offering me 864k/1.5mb @ $42.99/month. Yes, I know that these are the maximum possible (i.e. – you’ll never fully attain these) speeds, but it seems to me that it’s the upload cap that really neuters Voip and I’d be better off loosing some download speed for a BIG jump in upload (and saving some money is always a good thing). Thoughts … comments?

4. Any other inexpensive service providers in Seattle, WA that people are using?

I’m going to setup PingPlotter when I get home to check out the quality of the broadband connection and I’ll head over to testmyvoip.com to see how I check out there. I’m also planning on picking up a new cable modem – SB5100 to see if it makes any difference (always have 30 day to return it) – as it seems like a lot of people have experienced a big difference with a new cable modem.

Anything else that I should be looking at, testing, or trying?

Thanks a bunch!

Matthew
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charliep3
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PostPosted: Mon Jan 10, 2005 7:01 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote Back to top

on a percentage of my calls I have a situation where the other party can't hear me. usually this happens after the call is been going for some minutes. My hunch is that it has something to do with Vonage servers and not my ISP.

there are quality of service features built into the Vonage box that work when you put the Vonage box in front of your router. For whatever reason when I have things configured this way I'm unable to connect my other devices to the Internet.

I'm looking for a solution to my upload audio dropping out. if the problem was strictly my upload bandwidth than I might expect to hear some choppy sound or other evidence that it's tight band with but it's never that way it's always all-or-nothing and that suggests an issue with Vonage equipment either at my end or their end.
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rebus
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Joined: Dec 04, 2004
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PostPosted: Mon Jan 10, 2005 7:10 pm    Post subject: Re: Bandwidth Reflection on Call Quality + a few general ?'s Reply with quote Back to top

matgreig wrote:
The WRT54G is further configured with QOS where the one port running to the RT31P2 is set to high priority and the other three ports are set to a QOS low priority.


That's the key, making sure the phone adapter has the highest QoS priority to get first dibbs on bandwidth.


matgreig wrote:
I realize Vonage recommends setting the RT31P2 in front of any other routing/all-in-one device (specifically b/c the RT31P2 has built-in QOS as I understand it), but in my scenario I *should* be fine - yes/no?!?

Yes, correct.


matgreig wrote:
If I WERE to put the RT31P2 in front, can I set the device to completely pass through all traffic, minus the voice traffic

That's what Vonage would prefer because most users don't have a clue about QoS. It's easier to tell you to put it first in line, rather than lead you through the QoS priority settings. In reality, with QoS set properly, you shouldn't have a problem. Still, it wouldn't hurt to test putting the RT31P2 first in line if you have the time to futz around with it. The reason is, you can also set the Voice QoS where you define your available upstream bandwidth. Using that setting, the adapter makes extra sure to take its fair share of bandwidth first, while throttling all other upstream traffic to acceptable levels to avoid starving the voice traffic.

You are correct, you should be able to go Modem -> RT31P2 -> WRT54G. Into the RT31P2 plug the phone and a single uplink to the WRT54G. If you want to go one step further, in the RT31P2 config setup your WRT54G as a DMZ host, which will let the WRT54G do all the firewall/filtering for your LAN. But again, if you put the RT31P2 first in line, make sure you (a) set the Voice QoS and enter your upstream bandwidth, and optionally, (b) set the port uplinking from the WRT54G to QoS low priority. 'B' may be redundant if Voice QoS is set, but at least you'll be sure voice has absolute top priority.


matgreig wrote:
it seems to me that it’s the upload cap that really neuters Voip and I’d be better off loosing some download speed for a BIG jump in upload (and saving some money is always a good thing).


You should have enough upstream bandwidth already, since even high quality only needs 90kbps upstream. What's probably hurting call quality is packet loss, latency, and/or jitter... any of which are the kiss of death to voice quality. Doing a PingPlotter is a good start, because it may shed a little light on the quality and *consistency* of your upstream connection, although (to my knowledge) isn't designed to detect and report jitter.

 
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