Author Topic: VoIP (QoS) Routers  (Read 3049 times)

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Offline normfromga

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VoIP (QoS) Routers
« on: Wed Nov 22, 2006 - 07:18:48 »
I have subscribed to a voice over internet (VoIP) service for a couple of months, and not being a frequent caller, I am relatively pleased with the service, especially at the cost. ::noworries::

My wife, who makes most of the calls, and pays none of the bills, does not like it a bit. ::frown::

But one of her biggest complaints is that the line is noisy and undependable, with various beepings, echoes, fading in and out, and ultimately, disconnects.  I had hoped that some of this, particularly the background noises, might be reduced by switching from 900MHz analog cordless phones to 5.8GHz digitals, but the quality still sips (according to her, with much better hearing), and the cut-offs still occur.

I checked out a few consumer magazines and sites, and it was apparent that this was a fairly frequent complaint, and it seemed that it was pretty much "take it or leave it", regardless of VoIP provider.  [BTW, my provider is one that probably nobody here heard of...like I said, cost was my primary criterion... ::lookaround::]

Anyway, I was about to "pull the plug" on the system, and go back to the Baby Bell (who has really grown up, BTW], when I thought I should give my provider a shot at fixing stuff.

Their response was that I should try a Quality of Service (QoS) router, which might fix just about everything.

Of course, I never heard of such a thing, and after serious study of the subject on the internet, I now know only a little bit more.

Rather than further bore those who have read this far and already have an answer, or completely confuse those who reach this point in near-complete confusion, I will come to my questions:

Question A:  I am currently using a Netgear WGR614 v5, router.  Is there anyone here who is using this router with their VoIP, without any problem?  If so, did they directly connected the analog telephone adapter (ATA) to it, or were they provided another, VoIP-ready router to provide separate networks for the phone and internet services?

Question 2:  Does anyone use another router for VoIP that they can recommend?  I would be particularly interested in knowing if anyone has resolved the above issues by upgrading their hardware.

I am aware of a few caveats in all this:

1. My problems may not be at the router at all (though my symptoms sure look like it to me.  Besides, I am in hopes that I will be able to upgrade locally so that if it doesn't work out, i.e., pass the "wife test," I can get my money back ASAP.)

2.  The term "firmware" keeps coming up in forums addressing this issue.  Yeah, even I know what the term means (I've even used it to fix a major mp3 player malfunction, which I would recommend trying before tossing), but I would rather be able to simply "plug and play," rather than "plug and pray" and have to surf the net to download the answer to my prayers. ::nodding::

Any help will be appreciated.

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VoIP (QoS) Routers
« on: Wed Nov 22, 2006 - 07:18:48 »

Offline normfromga

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Re: VoIP (QoS) Routers
« Reply #1 on: Fri Nov 24, 2006 - 15:20:44 »
Since I didn't stir up any enthusiastic responses, I trudged off to Best Buy, and talked to their "Geek Squad."  They gave me the same "deer in the headlights" look as everyone else I've talked to about this, but they were able to read the outside of boxes, and the only wireless router that mentioned "QoS" was their D-Link DIR-625, which is also marketed towards on-line gamers.

Being that to actually "set it up," (that is, among other things, provide secure access), I would have to disconnect my desktop, schlep it to the living room so that it could be wired directly to the router, and, then, after the router was programmed, schlep the CPU back to the den, I took the lazy way out, and assuming that the router knows more than me, just unplugged my old router, and put in the new, and turned everything back on.  And, apparently, everything works! ::clappingoverhead::

And it cleaned up the Voice over Internet Phone service like magic (it also claims to have “Network Magic

twd

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Re: VoIP (QoS) Routers
« Reply #2 on: Fri Nov 24, 2006 - 17:09:46 »
That's all very interesting, Norm; thanks for posting that update.  I would have had the same deer-in-the-headlights look, though I do know what QoS means.  It makes sense that a router for gamer would tend to optimize the same things as a VoIP needs.

Offline charlie

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Re: VoIP (QoS) Routers
« Reply #3 on: Wed Dec 06, 2006 - 14:38:46 »
I just switched to Sunrocket VoIP yesterday. Love the price. So far, the quality is just dandy. I didn't need a router; just went from the cable modem to the gizmo, and from there straight to the computer and the phones.

Offline Jimbob

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Re: VoIP (QoS) Routers
« Reply #4 on: Wed Jan 24, 2007 - 17:26:27 »
Vonage for well over a year, no hickups.

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Re: VoIP (QoS) Routers
« Reply #4 on: Wed Jan 24, 2007 - 17:26:27 »



Offline esaym

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Re: VoIP (QoS) Routers
« Reply #5 on: Sun Apr 15, 2007 - 14:41:53 »
QOS for voip would only be needed if someone will be using the internet while a phone call is being made.

There are free ways to do QOS.  I wrote this how-to over here if anyone is interested: (link removed per forum rule 3.3)   Smoothwall is a linux based hardware firewall btw.
« Last Edit: Mon Apr 16, 2007 - 14:12:48 by esaym »

Offline Arkstfan

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Re: VoIP (QoS) Routers
« Reply #6 on: Sun Apr 15, 2007 - 22:14:41 »
I just switched to Sunrocket VoIP yesterday. Love the price. So far, the quality is just dandy. I didn't need a router; just went from the cable modem to the gizmo, and from there straight to the computer and the phones.

Hasn't Sunrocket been getting some grief because of their slow implementation of enhanced 911?

Offline normfromga

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Re: VoIP (QoS) Routers
« Reply #7 on: Wed Apr 18, 2007 - 09:21:40 »
I just switched to Sunrocket VoIP yesterday. Love the price. So far, the quality is just dandy. I didn't need a router; just went from the cable modem to the gizmo, and from there straight to the computer and the phones.

Hasn't Sunrocket been getting some grief because of their slow implementation of enhanced 911?
I think that nearly all VoIP has been getting some grief because of the E-911 problem.

The problem is rather simple:  VoIP is 100% portable, which means, unlike cellular phones, whose location can be narrowed down geographically, an emergency operator has no way of telling the location of the caller unless the caller tells them, pre-emptively or during the emergency. 

The FCC seems to think all this highly unacceptable, but to the casual observer, that evaluation seems to be just a way to introduce more regulation, i.e. taxation. ::pondering::

The fact is, the whole system only works if the user has both electrical power and broadband access.  If one is really concerned about worse-case emergencies, they had best have a land-line or charged up cell phone available for back-up.

Also, y'all are right, if one does not have, or need, a router already, buying a ATA (VoIP adapter)with a built in router is a much better way to go than buying the two separately.

Offline Jimbob

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Re: VoIP (QoS) Routers
« Reply #8 on: Wed Apr 18, 2007 - 09:56:22 »
Our cell phone is the best backup in a storm.  You're not supposed to get on the land line phones in storms anyway.  You could conceivably die if lightning strikes.

Offline Arkstfan

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Re: VoIP (QoS) Routers
« Reply #9 on: Wed Apr 18, 2007 - 11:50:36 »
We are having an interesting situation here. ATT is preparing to add IP TV services. Comcast has been fighting it demanding that ATT pay the same exact fees and taxes Comcast does for cable TV service. Comcast on the other hand sells VoIP phone service under their nameplate but doesn't pay the same fees and taxes for phone service as ATT does.

They do offer E911 based on the registered service location which should be fine for the vast majority of their users.

Offline normfromga

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Re: VoIP (QoS) Routers
« Reply #10 on: Wed Apr 18, 2007 - 16:21:12 »
They do offer E911 based on the registered service location which should be fine for the vast majority of their users.
I agree, and I think most providers offer this kind of service, including mine, Opex. [I told you that you probably never heard of it..]

However, the fact that it is not fool proof, 100% of the time for 100% of their users has gotten the Feds all riled up.

[I had recently been listening to a series of C-Span podcasts of participants of this controversy...]


Offline Arkstfan

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Re: VoIP (QoS) Routers
« Reply #11 on: Fri Apr 20, 2007 - 11:48:41 »
My opinion for what it is worth is that if you have a primary address for your Voip service to replace a conventional phone then E911 should work as well as conventional landline. If you want to use it traveling or in multiple locations, you pays your money you takes your chance like you do with most cell phones.

Apparently Vonage's legal woes over patent infringement may send them to bankruptcy. Wouldn't be shocked if they end up getting bought out by one of the big tech companies, a cable company or a phone provider.

Offline normfromga

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VoIP: The Final Solution...
« Reply #12 on: Sun Jul 29, 2007 - 21:29:14 »
At the near-begging of my wife, I have switch back to BellSouth/ATT, which, truth be known, has become a relief to me as well.

First of all, my service had been steadily deteriating, and the provider's service department has "opened" two tickets in the last few months, but not, as far as I know, actually done anything...not even contact me!  In the last couple of weeks, it had reached a point where I could call out alright, but incoming calls were one-way:  I could hear out but nobody could hear us.  It finally ended up that I had my voice mail instruct callers to call my cell phone or leave a message.

It surprised me how the same company that had provided me faultless (and cheap) long distance service for several years, had such a terrible VoIP service.  I thought that they might have just gone outside their level of competence, but I also found out that they had been bought out by another company the beginning of this year, which may caused a turnover in policies as well as personnel.

But this will not be too much of a hardship:  we became interested in the service because my wife's mother was in failing health in CT, and my wife would want to call her as often as possible.  after her passing the end of last year, we really have not been placing many long distance calls, and what one's we do, we can do by cell phone on weekends and evenings.

And, besides, there are certain reservations I have about VoIP in general, based on not just my own experience, but by a general overview of the situation.

1.  There are so many potential weak links in the system, as was mentioned before.  When you pick up an Internet phone and not get a dial tone, it could be due to a power outage (unless your modem and ATA have battery backup), cable system down, some electronic component in your system blown, or your provider might have gone out of business...(it could happen that fast.)  With a traditional system, you could usually just blame the phone company.

2.  A supposed attraction is that you can have a phone number from any part of the world.  The flip side is that, depending on your provider, you not only might not be able to use your old number, you might not be able to get one listed in your part of the world.  For example, if I wanted to switch to Vonage (who, the last I heard, wasn't allowed to get new customers), even though it is the largest provider, the closest city I could get listed for would be Eastman, which is about 40 miles away.  [That doesn't sound like much of a nuisance unless you are calling a pizzeria with caller ID, and you are trying to convince them that this is a local delivery... ::frown::]

3.  Much of the economical advantages of VoIP is based on fewer local and state fees and taxes than phone lines.  This advantage could easily disappear.

4.  The much tauted free "Caller ID" is not quite real.  Yes, you can usually see the phone number, but the only way it will be tagged with a name is if you manually feed in to the system or in your own phone, if so equipped.

and,

5.  The prioritization issue.  Broadband companies have the capability of setting priorities on internet traffic based on addresses.  There is talk that they might try to sell faster access to companies, such as those selling downloadable products, who might be willing to pay.  There are some federal investigation as to the legality of such things, but if a broadband provider also markets their own VoIP product, what prohibits them from deciding to slow down, or otherwise inhibit, a competitor's VoIP service going over their lines?  [And don't think that hasn't crossed my mind as I tried to figure out why my service was suddenly getting so bad.]

As I said, these are just personal observations and gleanings of industry trade talk.  I don't have a crystal ball to know if VoIP is the wave of the future, or if it is already waving bye bye.  I have friends who have had similar stories about bad service with other companies, while others are happier than a lark with theirs, though one was surprised to hear one the radio that their provider had gone under, though he was still getting service.  [The company's website wasn't functioning, though...]

As alway, "Buyer beware!"

 

     
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