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mbressman
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PostPosted: Sun Jul 19, 2009 1:01 pm    Post subject: Poor Call Quality & Sporadic Issues with Business Lines Reply with quote Back to top

Hi,

I was hoping someone on here might be able to lend me some assistance. I have a client that I set up Vonage for (it's a small company - 2 people - sharing an office with a larger office and they were previously using the larger office's telephones and network) in order to expand to 2 lines and save some money. I arranged to get them 2 business lines with Vonage (plus a free fax line) and 2 Vonage adapters (one adapter for both the fax and one of the business lines and the other adapter for a secondary business line / line for the assistant). Initially, they were using Vonage on a shared T1 line and they had issues with call quality (such as momentary, sporadic drops in the call on their end throughout the day). I then arranged to have Verizon install DSL (768K up / 3 MB down) service for them and moved their entire network over to the DSL line. Aside from using Vonage on the DSL line, they do normal business activity on it (email, web browsing, etc.) as well as usually maintain an outbound VPN connection to another site for most of the day. However, I didn't think this would eat up enough of the bandwidth to cause problems with Vonage, and figured they'd have plenty to solve the existing issues they were having using Vonage on the shared T1 line.

Unfortunately, this doesn't seem to be the case. The client is still reporting that they are experiencing call quality issues with Vonage, especially more in the afternoon although its sporadic and seems to occur almost randomly. However, when they do occur, the quality is so poor (drops throughout the conversation, lags, etc.) that they have to disconnect and then redial the other party.

The network is set up as follows:
Code:
DSL -> Netgear Wireless Router running DD-WRT ->
   Patch Panel -> Jack in office -> Linksys 5-port Switch ->
      Vonage Adapter ->
         Phone
         Fax Machine
      Computer #1
      QNAP TS-101 NAS Device
   Wireless Connection to Netgear WGPS606 -> Linksys 5-port Switch ->
      Computer acting as File Server (running FreeNAS)
      Computer #2
      Vonage Adapter ->
         Assistant's Phone


I would imagine that there would be more problems with the wireless connection Vonage adapter, but it seems there are many issues with the wired connection Vonage adapter (to be fair, the wired connection Vonage phone is the one used more often, so more problems would be noticed, but there still shouldn't be any problems at all!).

I ran PingPlotter on Computer #1 above (which is plugged into the same 5-port switch as the Vonage adapter) and it showed an average in the 70's, although there were times when I got different results when the Vonage line was being used. For instance, I believe there was a call being made between sometime around 4:47 PM, and here are the PintPlotter stats for around that time:

"7/17/2009 4:45:48 PM",0,22,22,24,24,25,71,71,70,71,70,70,70
"7/17/2009 4:46:03 PM",0,33,23,25,24,25,71,71,70,71,70,70,70
"7/17/2009 4:46:18 PM",0,228,196,164,174,278,290,260,227,193,180,169,182
"7/17/2009 4:46:33 PM",0,216,227,196,164,175,194,160,126,227,192,292,305
"7/17/2009 4:46:48 PM",0,51,147,244,206,257,271,226,232,243,243,209,169
"7/17/2009 4:47:03 PM",0,173,140,107,81,49,200,168,223,192,200,190,143
"7/17/2009 4:47:18 PM",0,24,25,26,26,77,73,73,242,208,174,154,103
"7/17/2009 4:47:33 PM",0,66,28,25,124,85,137,150,150,118,78,70,174
"7/17/2009 4:47:48 PM",0,112,71,34,24,127,136,142,148,110,91,70,71
"7/17/2009 4:48:03 PM",0,138,330,300,261,224,234,198,163,124,84,74,71
"7/17/2009 4:48:18 PM",0,22,23,24,24,25,71,70,71,71,70,70,71
"7/17/2009 4:48:33 PM",0,109,171,134,95,56,71,73,71,70,232,191,156
"7/17/2009 4:48:48 PM",0,27,22,25,24,24,71,71,71,71,70,70,71
"7/17/2009 4:49:03 PM",0,24,23,34,26,25,71,70,72,220,183,146,108
"7/17/2009 4:49:18 PM",0,35,26,25,24,25,71,71,70,71,70,78,71
"7/17/2009 4:49:33 PM",0,22,23,190,152,117,126,87,72,70,93,278,212
"7/17/2009 4:49:48 PM",0,22,22,24,65,166,173,134,95,71,70,70,71
"7/17/2009 4:50:03 PM",0,22,23,25,24,25,71,71,211,172,133,92,74

Another one was apparently made at 4:38 PM, and here are the PingPlotter stats for around that time:

"7/17/2009 4:36:48 PM",0,22,22,24,24,25,71,101,219,180,140,101,70
"7/17/2009 4:37:03 PM",0,22,22,198,159,120,128,88,71,72,71,70,71
"7/17/2009 4:37:18 PM",0,112,74,37,24,25,70,232,192,154,114,75,70
"7/17/2009 4:37:33 PM",0,22,22,24,31,205,162,129,94,71,108,236,72
"7/17/2009 4:37:48 PM",0,24,25,26,26,27,73,237,203,170,152,119,85
"7/17/2009 4:38:03 PM",0,54,22,24,24,25,71,230,191,152,111,71,70
"7/17/2009 4:38:18 PM",0,22,22,24,29,24,71,70,71,71,70,70,70
"7/17/2009 4:38:33 PM",0,53,36,24,24,30,221,188,158,125,111,94,71
"7/17/2009 4:38:48 PM",0,23,23,96,24,25,71,70,70,88,93,70,71
"7/17/2009 4:39:03 PM",0,22,22,26,33,24,71,70,82,71,70,101,83
"7/17/2009 4:39:18 PM",0,22,22,24,24,25,71,70,71,122,86,70,70
"7/17/2009 4:39:33 PM",0,22,22,25,25,25,221,187,153,118,85,72,71
"7/17/2009 4:39:48 PM",0,109,76,45,24,25,71,226,192,160,126,93,70
"7/17/2009 4:40:03 PM",0,22,22,24,24,25,71,72,71,71,70,70,71
"7/17/2009 4:40:18 PM",0,22,22,24,187,154,166,132,97,71,70,70,234
"7/17/2009 4:40:33 PM",0,23,24,140,27,28,73,73,73,72,72,72,72

I honestly don't know how to proceed at this point. Is this an issue with Verizon, with Vonage, with my network layout or wiring, or something else? Should I attempt to lower the call quality bandwidth via Vonage's control panel (I believe I can do that somewhere - maybe via their online web interface)? Is it possible it's a bad adapter? Is there something else I can try? Any help is greatly appreciated, as the client is getting extremely frustrated and I want to do whatever I can to assist them and resolve this issue. Any help is greatly appreciated!! Thanks!

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trekologer
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Posts: 350

PostPosted: Sun Jul 19, 2009 7:11 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote Back to top

First, I am not completely familiar with PingPlotter but I'm going to assume those numbers are the round trip times to some constant destination. If that's the case they're pretty darn bad. Now the question is why are they that bad: is it the connection, the the way the connection is being used, or both? To try to narrow that down, you'll want to run the same test when there is little to no traffic (ie: off hours) and compare. If you get the same results, you're probably looking at a problem with the connection.

In either case, you will want to configure your router to give priority to your voice traffic. On DD-WRT, you need to do two things: enter your upload and download speeds and select the service type to give priority to. To determine your upload and download speeds, run several speed tests on different websites and take the average of all of them. Then enter 80% of the average in the appropriate fields. Next, select the service to give priority to: rtp (this is the protocol uses to send the voice traffic) and set priority to "premium".
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PostPosted: Sun Jul 19, 2009 10:53 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote Back to top

Yup, I believe that's what those #'s are (although I'm not that familiar with the software either - it was suggested to me by Vonage - I'm still waiting for them to get back to me so I can provide them with the data). They seem bad during these phone calls, but in general I thought that anything less than a few hundred milliseconds was OK? The average for the entire 36 or so hours I ran it was around 75 or so milliseconds.

Here are some from around 5 AM in the morning Saturday:

"7/18/2009 5:21:48 AM",0,26,23,24,24,25,71,70,71,70,116,171,70
"7/18/2009 5:22:03 AM",0,22,22,25,24,24,71,70,71,71,70,70,71
"7/18/2009 5:22:18 AM",0,22,22,25,89,25,71,71,71,71,70,70,70
"7/18/2009 5:22:33 AM",0,22,22,24,88,25,71,70,71,71,70,70,70
"7/18/2009 5:22:48 AM",0,22,22,25,53,24,71,71,71,70,70,70,71
"7/18/2009 5:23:03 AM",0,22,22,24,25,158,71,71,70,72,70,70,70
"7/18/2009 5:23:18 AM",0,22,22,24,24,112,71,71,71,70,70,70,70
"7/18/2009 5:23:33 AM",0,22,22,24,24,25,71,71,70,70,70,71,71
"7/18/2009 5:23:48 AM",0,22,22,24,24,25,71,71,71,70,70,70,71
"7/18/2009 5:24:03 AM",0,21,22,24,24,25,71,71,70,71,70,70,70
"7/18/2009 5:24:18 AM",0,22,22,24,24,24,71,70,70,71,70,70,70
"7/18/2009 5:24:33 AM",0,22,22,24,24,24,71,71,71,71,70,70,70
"7/18/2009 5:24:48 AM",0,22,22,24,24,25,71,71,70,71,70,70,71
"7/18/2009 5:25:03 AM",0,21,22,24,24,25,71,71,71,71,100,160,71
"7/18/2009 5:25:18 AM",0,22,22,24,24,24,71,70,70,70,70,70,70
"7/18/2009 5:25:33 AM",0,22,22,24,24,25,71,71,71,71,70,70,70
"7/18/2009 5:25:48 AM",0,21,22,24,24,25,70,70,71,71,70,70,71
"7/18/2009 5:26:03 AM",0,21,23,24,24,25,71,71,70,71,70,70,71

When compared to the ones I previously posted, does this help narrow anything down?

As far as configuring the router, can you provide some more guidance? For instance, should the port be WAN and the packet scheduler be HTB? And I'm assuming I should leave "optimize for gaming" unchecked? Also, why does it need my uplink and downlink speeds? And, would it make more sense to just prioritize all traffic from the Vonage adapters by using its IP address under the "Netmask Priority" section or by using its MAC address under the "MAC Priority" section?

Thanks again for your help and assistance!

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mbressman
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PostPosted: Sun Jul 19, 2009 11:07 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote Back to top

Also, what priority should I set the RTP protocol too (i.e. premium, exempt, express, standard, etc.)?

Thanks.

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trekologer
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PostPosted: Mon Jul 20, 2009 12:00 am    Post subject: Reply with quote Back to top

A ping measures the round trip time to an internet host and back so the time to from you to that host is roughly half the time ping reports. This is called latency: the time is takes to get data from you to the destination. For a voice over IP service (such as Vonage) you want your one-way latency to be as low as possible but anything under 75-100ms should be fine as that shouldn't introduce noticeable delay to the audio.

However, the biggest problems typically are not latency but jitter. Jitter is the variation is latency from one packet to another. Your telephone adapter can adequately compensate for jitter up to about 40ms or so, anything higher is going to cause packet discards. Those are packets that reach the other end but are received too late.

As for how to setup the QoS in DD-WRT... port is WAN, packet scheduler HTB, optimize for gaming off. The reason that it needs to know your uplink and downlink speeds is to know what bandwidth is available and when it needs to kick in the prioritization and limit the throughput of lower priority traffic. The reason that I suggest to set the service priority verses netmask or MAC is that should you ever change your Vonage devices (replace one, add another) or the IP address changes (as it does with dynamically assigned ones), you don't need to adjust the QoS rules. The voice traffic will always be rtp while the other identifiers may change. Set the priority to premium.
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PostPosted: Mon Jul 20, 2009 2:11 am    Post subject: Reply with quote Back to top

Trekloger - thanks for all the info. So, if the jitter is what's causing the issue, what can be done to resolve that? Would that be an issue with the ISP? Do you think making the changes to the QoS settings on the DD-WRT router will solve those issues?

I've made the changes (I actually set them up already, but thank you for confirming that I've set them up correctly!) and informed the end-users that they should try it and let me know whether it's better or not - so I guess I'll have an idea soon enough as to whether it solved the issue or not.

I also used the Bandwidth Saver feature of Vonage and reduced the bandwidth to 50K for each of the two adapters - I figured that considering the quality is sporadically horrible already, reducing the bandwidth couldn't hurt and might even help - what do you think?

Thanks again!

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PostPosted: Sun Jul 26, 2009 2:17 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote Back to top

So after making the changes, it seems as if the Vonage adapter that is wired seems to be working better, while the Vonage adapter that is wireless is still having some issues. Obviously, I'm going to go and try to wire that Vonage adapter to see if that solves the issues.

Does anyone have any more suggestions as to how to make sure I have fully fixed the issue? The QoS changes and the bandwidth saver changes seem to have done the trick, but I'm thinking I should get in touch with Verizon (the ISP) to discuss the jitter issue - does that seem like a good idea?

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