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Vonage Files Regulatory Complaint Over QoS Premium

CowboyNeal posted more than 8 years ago | from the not-gonna-take-it dept.

160

xoip writes "A Recent CBC report says that Vonage Canada has filed a complaint with Federal Regulators over a New $10.00 per month Quality of Service Premium that Broadband Internet provider, Shaw Cable has begun charging customers of VoIP. Noted Internet Legal expert Michael Geist has written an excellent review of the complaint Vonage made to the CRTC and highlights the point made in the Vonage filing, 'that not enough is known at this point about the Shaw service in order to formulate an appropriate regulatory response.'"

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What are the 2-tier problems? (0, Redundant)

Dagrush (723402) | more than 8 years ago | (#14888410)

Does anyone know of any website that enumerates the problems that would be caused by a two-tiered internet?

Re:What are the 2-tier problems? (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14888430)

Yes, but unfortunately it is inaccesible to you unless you sign up to pay an extra $10 per month for the higher-tier service.

Re:What are the 2-tier problems? (5, Informative)

The Master Control P (655590) | more than 8 years ago | (#14888445)

Sure... just read a previous article [slashdot.org] , where hundreds of people pontificate on how bad a 2-tier 'Net is.

In short: It breaks the end-to-end quality of the Internet, and betrays the very concept of the Internet. It's greedy telcos trying to double-dip on website owners: Owners already paid for bandwidth, and I already paid for DSL: These telcos want them to pay again for the continued non-suckage of their connection.

Re:What are the 2-tier problems? (4, Funny)

Jarn_Firebrand (845277) | more than 8 years ago | (#14888481)

In other news, telcos announce those who pay a special premium will receive trailers of a new movie! Natalie Portman: Naked, Petrified, and Covered in Hot Grits.

Re:What are the 2-tier problems? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14888518)

could you puhlease give the link?

Re:What are the 2-tier problems? (2, Informative)

Penguinoflight (517245) | more than 8 years ago | (#14888621)

Most of us are assuming that providers who charge a extra "VoIP fee" are just looking for more money. This idea is upheld, because users on all the reported ISPs who are charging the fee report problems with voip service when not paying the "protection money".

I think another question comes to the service though. Should a internet provider really be giving priority to conversations? Normally if you want better service (for gaming as an example), you get the best package that your ISP will sell you. Normally this type of upgrade doesn't give you better priority on the network, it just gives you a wider bandwidth. I think it begs the question: why should other users suffer a lower priority connection to help other internet users who are on VoIP?

Re:What are the 2-tier problems? (3, Informative)

mindstrm (20013) | more than 8 years ago | (#14888732)

I think you are misunderstanding QoS and how it works.

VOIP does not take up significant bandwidth; usuallly only 8kbps per call (yes, .008 mbps)
The main factor affecting VIOP quality is latency... high latency, or worse, fluctuating latency realy screws things up.

With QoS, you can still use your full 6mbps connection, it's just that the few voip packets you send out get priority, so the call sounds good.

Similarly, if I set up my network so that even when the internet connection is pegged, my SSH sessions get priority, I can leave my connection slammed with downloads, and still comfortably work on remote terminal sessions as if the pipe is clean.

Simply buying a bigger pipe to increase latency for a small fraction of your packets is like killing a mosquito with a cannon, it's wasteful and clumsy.

A game of Counterstrike takes a heck of a lot more bandwidth than a VOIP call.

An internet provider is an independent network that wants to provide you with transit services between your network and other people's networks; tehy should be free to offer you any package they want, as long as they are straightforward about it.

Re:What are the 2-tier problems? (2, Insightful)

mindstrm (20013) | more than 8 years ago | (#14888752)

Another point.

The only reason to get a faster connection is because you are already using all the bandwidth. Simple QoS on your home router can deal with prioritizing your own traffic, but only as far as your router. This works great, and lets you download like mad and still use voip or play counterstrike effectively.. . provided your isp's network is not saturated.

Shaw operates a cable network; segments get saturated easily, especially upstream. All they are offering you is the same QoS you do yourself at home, but across their entire network. They are not suggesting reducing everone elses bandwidth.

One could guess that if this isn't implemented right, people could sign up for VOIP QoS and then route all their protocols masqueraded as VOIP, hogging the network, but generally when you set latency guarnatess, you do it for only a certain amount of bandwidth... say 24kbps low latency queue, and the rest queued normally. (so up to 24kbps of matching traffic gets priority, the rest goes normally)

Re:What are the 2-tier problems? (1)

hacksaw56 (934313) | more than 8 years ago | (#14888931)

I've got another idea for why 2-tier would suck. Or, more accurately, why 2-tier using QoS flags would suck. Let's say that you pay for QoS. Great, your packets have some some flag saying "I'm high priority" that your ISP will honor. What happens as soon as they leave the boundaries of your ISP? Do you have any guarantee that some router between you and your destination won't simply strip the flag off the packet? Nope, your ISP can't guarantee anything beyond their boundaries. How about packets coming back from the other end? Once again no guarantees. QoS... hmph!

Re:What are the 2-tier problems? (3, Insightful)

Fatal67 (244371) | more than 8 years ago | (#14889079)

Controlling the QOS on your ISP network is a hell of a lot better than What vonage currently offers. No control at all. But thats what happens when you don't own the infrastructure. the infrastructure provider saw a chance to make your service better and make money off of it. And by god, who is Vonage to tell me what i can and what i can't classify packets on my network as?

See, cable companies can't compete with vonage on price. They actually pay for their infrastructure. What they can do is make Vonage better. For a price. And vonage is bitching because.. why? oh yeah.. the cable companies would be making money off of vonages software platform.. ironic isnt it?

Re:What are the 2-tier problems? (1)

dnoyeb (547705) | more than 8 years ago | (#14889806)

Thats interesting I always thought slashdot was pro-"internet 2." My only reason for being against the new TCP/IP was the QoS provisions. I wonder how they are implementing their Qos?

Either way, if in US data is not treated neutral, the internet will devolve in US.

Re:What are the 2-tier problems? (-1, Troll)

hvatum (592775) | more than 8 years ago | (#14888570)

Does anyone know of any website that enumerates the problems that would be caused by a two-tiered internet?

Interesting question, the real question here though is: What the hell is CowboyNeal doing away from Brokeback mountain? I thought he Zonk were going to retire there...

Re:What are the 2-tier problems? (3, Funny)

hvatum (592775) | more than 8 years ago | (#14888611)

Humph, I forgot to push the Post Anonymously button again. Oh nevermind...

I didn't pay the "radio button and interactive HTML" fee!

As someone directly affected by this (5, Informative)

scrye (169108) | more than 8 years ago | (#14888417)

This is a good reason for me not to use thier service anymore. I use primus' VOIP telephone and Ive noticed its cutting in and out lately. This is just bogus and If it continues they will lose me as an internet customer. Shaw also recently announced thier VOIP service so this has to be considered anti-competitive.

Re:As someone directly affected by this (5, Interesting)

Kris2k (676294) | more than 8 years ago | (#14888559)

Actually what you don't know about Primus, is that its not their fault; but Bell Canada who hasn't been maintaining their ATM cloud that interconnects YOU and Primus together.

So, you can put the blame on the ISP, however, the true blame is the "behind the scenes" carrier that is good old Ma-Bell.

I've had soo many problems related to Bell's deficiencies, and its nothing that can be easily resolved. I've heard stories as amusing as a remote DLSAM having all of its's subscriber ports FULL, causing a waiting list for ADSL subscription in the area, and, to top-off the frustration, the 45mbps ATM link tops the 100% usage during the evening.

So, how does the enduser perceive this? The ISP is shitty as hell, tech support is incompetent, so the enduser switches DSL provider to only realize that the crappy speed continues. Next thing you know, he's subscribing to Cable where its suddenly "fast" again.

There's a lot of the voip glitches that are associated to the back-end carrier that manages the ATM cloud that interconnects the subscriber (you), and the ISP (primus). You can't see it with regular web browsing, but the second you start using realtime protocols, you'll notice it.

Re:As someone directly affected by this (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14888743)

In the past few years I worked as a contractor on Bell Canada's network configuration and analysis software, and also on a system to map their network.

So I can say with some experience/confidence that you are 100% correct about the pathetic Bell Canada situation. I had never seen such a disaster.

Re:As someone directly affected by this (4, Interesting)

tdzido (960190) | more than 8 years ago | (#14888749)

Here is a bit of my interesting experience: I'm using the Vonage box on frequent travels to Eastern Europe and I will tell you something - it works WAY better than here, in the US. Actually, it works great there! Crystal clear, no delays. I've had friends who had to cancel their Vonage accounts in major cities such as Chicago or NYC (users of SBC and Comcast). OK, I'm always trying to use the fastest provider available when in Europe, but here is the thing: those European connections are NOT as fast as ours, and I believe it's not about the quality of the connection, it is ONLY about the deprioritization of SIP packets on the US networks, or at least on parts of networks managed by major US ISPs. What would be the other explanation? I can download and upload stuff super fast, I just can't talk on the phone which uses a few kb/s of my hunders k of bandwidth. This is ridiculous. I'm surprised that nobody from the VOIP world has done some serious research and actually sued the big telecoms. Or maybe I'm so wrong making my common-sense assumptions?

Re:As someone directly affected by this (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14888755)

It's most certainly not anti-competitive. it's a service that is offered optionally *if* you are having issues with your voip service. most will not need it at all, if someone is, they have the *choice* of paying the extra for QoS for voip. shaw also offers the 'extreme' internet in some areas (working towards all areas slowly), it's an entirely new backend based on docsis 2 (I believe it's 2.0?). the system is being rolled out and any new subscriber will be put onto the docsis system for the usual high-speed internet price with the option of the 'extreme' addon if they opt for a faster connection.. this is just like a dial-up or high-speed connection, if you want it faster, you pay. the old terayon backend does not support docsis, therefore is less reliable for voip, but for most will still function without issue.

Re:As someone directly affected by this (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14888871)

I don't know what Shaw's alloted bandwidths are but where I am my Downstream is 5 Mb and my Upstream is 384 Kb. I run torrents on my computer, constantly being the top two or three in usage for my area, and the only issues that you will run into that QoS can help is limiting your uploads. I have mine capped at 30 Kb/sec and I never have any packet loss. This took me 5 seconds to do and will keep you from having to pay 10 dollars a month. In a perfect world we wouldn't need to cap our uploads but in a perfect world I wouldn't be capped at 384 Kb.

Re:As someone directly affected by this (3, Interesting)

kamikaze-Tech (871353) | more than 8 years ago | (#14889036)

Regardless of who you use for VoIP, you might gain some knowledge of the underlying issue in this post in the Vonage Canada Forum [vonage-forum.com] on the Vonage Forums: Shaw Issues QoS enhancement surcharge [vonage-forum.com]

Re:As someone directly affected by this (1)

PsuedoDragon (960206) | more than 8 years ago | (#14889155)

I use Vonage VIOP here in Denver, Colorado, USA and i had the same problem of my phone cutting out on me. i then upgraded my cable modem to a newer model and all my problems stoped and never returned. even if your modem is 1 year old still you need to have it upgraded by your cable company or buy a new one.

Re:As someone directly affected by this (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14889255)

first of all, the QOS service Shaw offers isnt something that VOIP customers are automatically charged for. You have to have it added on your account by calling Shaw and specifically ask for it to be added.
Shaw doesnt have a VOIP service. It has a digital phone service which is different. google it if your not sure.
lastly, I think VOIP users should be charged extra for the amount of ISP time they waste using an unsupported product with their internet connection.

I hope Vonage knocks over some walls at CRTC (5, Interesting)

From A Far Away Land (930780) | more than 8 years ago | (#14888422)

Vonage and other VoIP providers are getting shafted by Sasktel a major Canadian telco. Sasktel is a crown corporation, and own the lines in Saskatchewan. It was only recently that other providers were permitted to sell long distance there, and Saskatchewanians can't get a VoIP phone number with their local area code because Sasktel charges Vonage too much for a block of numbers. They claim they are selling them at a price that's in line with other regions, but how come in every other Canadian province you can get a local area code for your VoIP phone?

Re:I hope Vonage knocks over some walls at CRTC (4, Informative)

biafra (4283) | more than 8 years ago | (#14888520)

Well I can guess that part of the reason things are more expensive there is that the whole provence has a population less than the city of Calgary. Someone has to foot the bill to run coper to every farm and house in the middle of no where. At one point I worked for a major CLEC and we had the central Canadian sales reps constantly begging for us to put a switch into Sask, and we had to deny them just based on the fact that it was not feasable using traditional TDM/POTS to provide service there. In sparsely populated areas you pretty much have to rely on crown corps to provide service at even a close to decent rate, unless you're willing to pay the standard crtc/stentor backhaul charges for a T1 from Calgary to Regina.

Re:I hope Vonage knocks over some walls at CRTC (1, Informative)

Linegod (9952) | more than 8 years ago | (#14888614)

>Vonage and other VoIP providers are getting shafted by Sasktel a major Canadian
> telco. Sasktel is a crown corporation, and own the lines in Saskatchewan.

Of course. They put them in the ground, they own them.

> It was only recently that other providers were permitted to sell long distance there

No. It was only recently that SaskTel had to sell them at cost to other providers.

> and Saskatchewanians can't get a VoIP phone number with their local area code
> because Sasktel charges Vonage too much for a block of numbers.

Boo fuckin' hoo. One (306) area code for an entire province, and SaskTel has the audacity to attempt to charge the same rate as a city instead of the rural rate. What a bunch of bastards

> They claim they are selling them at a price that's in line with other regions, but how
>come in every other Canadian province you can get a local area code for your
> VoIP phone?

See above. And they can't even afford to do it themselves. http://www.webcall.ca/ [webcall.ca] is SaskTels residential VoIP service (Navigata is a wholly owned subsidiary or SaskTel), and they don't offer 306.

Re:I hope Vonage knocks over some walls at CRTC (1)

Nos. (179609) | more than 8 years ago | (#14888856)

See above. And they can't even afford to do it themselves. http://www.webcall.ca/ [webcall.ca] is SaskTels residential VoIP service (Navigata is a wholly owned subsidiary or SaskTel), and they don't offer 306.

You are hilarious, and obviously don't have a clue what you are talking about, which goes for most people posting in this thread. SaskTel has NO choice on what the charge for pretty much anything. As the ILEC, their rates are set by the CRTC, not by SaskTel themselves. If they want to raise/lower rates, they have to apply to have it done.

If the rates were so expensive, then why can Primus provide 306 numbers? I happen to have one (and have great service from them). Vonage hasn't moved into SK because they don't think they'll make their money back. It does cost money to rent T1s (PRIs), put in the equipment and so forth required to run a VoIP service. Besides, SaskTel is working on offering Webcall in SK, but is dealing with issues other than cost.

Re:I hope Vonage knocks over some walls at CRTC (2, Informative)

morethanapapercert (749527) | more than 8 years ago | (#14888754)

I am a Canadian cable broadband subscriber, thankfully not a Shaw customer.
  You may be able to get a local area code with Vonage, but at least around here, you can't always get your local exchange prefix. This means I could sign up tomorrow for Vonage and get a number, but when the school calls me to fetch my son, or work calls me in after hours, it's a long distance call for them. This is a major sticking point for me. As near as I can tell, local prefix's are generally only availible in major urban areas like Toronto, Vancouver, Ottawa and so on. (of course, this being Canada, cover those three cities and throw in Montreal and we're talking about over 80% of the population) Given that all Ont. phone numbers essentially belong to Bell until sold/leased to someone and that Bell is intensely regulated, it may not simply be a matter of being willing to pay what Bell wants for those numbers. I'm sure there are regulations to follow, commitees to placate and "public" hearings to be held before a block of numbers can be transferred. (I put public in quotes because while the process may be open to the public, held in some bland hearing room in City Hall, but when was the last time anyone you know went to one?)

why have I had the same anti-script test word four times in a row?

Re:I hope Vonage knocks over some walls at CRTC (1)

Pxtl (151020) | more than 8 years ago | (#14888820)

Really? I'm in Hamilton and my 905-number was Hamilton specific. Of course, every other aspect of Vonage was, personally, a disaster for me so I gave it up - but that wasn't a problem.

Re:I hope Vonage knocks over some walls at CRTC (5, Informative)

codegen (103601) | more than 8 years ago | (#14888757)

but how come in every other Canadian province you can get a local area code for your VoIP phone?

Yeah right. Most VOIP providers will not provide a local number in 613 area code for anything other than the Ottawa area. Those of us in Kingston, Brockville, Cornwall (St. Lawrence Seaway) cannot get a local number. The only one providing local numbers are the ISP based numbers (cable and Bell).

Re:I hope Vonage knocks over some walls at CRTC (1)

From A Far Away Land (930780) | more than 8 years ago | (#14888810)

I didn't realize it was a problem elsewhere too. Thanks for bringing up examples.

Re:I hope Vonage knocks over some walls at CRTC (1)

dadragon (177695) | more than 8 years ago | (#14888837)

Sasktel is a crown corporation, and own the lines in Saskatchewan.

Who else would? They built the infrastructure, they should own it. Seems simple, no?

It was only recently that other providers were permitted to sell long distance there

Well, considering that other providers selling long distance means buying it from SaskTel at cost, selling it at a profit, and not having to build any infrastructure themselves, do you think this is fair? Add to that the fact that the CRTC made SaskTel RAISE their rates to make their competitors look good.

and Saskatchewanians can't get a VoIP phone number with their local area code because Sasktel charges Vonage too much for a block of numbers.

That has to do with the way the infrastructure works in Saskatchewan. We (Saskatchewan) were the first to get rid of party lines, and every town has its own "NXX" (prefix - NXX-XXXX), SaskTel is running out of numbers in the 306 area code, so there really aren't any to provide. Case in point: Navigata, a SaskTel subsidiary can't get 306 numbers, either.

but how come in every other Canadian province you can get a local area code for your VoIP phone

Pretty much because every other Canadian province has more than one area code.

Re:I hope Vonage knocks over some walls at CRTC (1)

topham (32406) | more than 8 years ago | (#14888875)

because most provices don't allocate large groups of numbers like sasktel does...

a whole town gets NXX- ?? Why? there aren't too many towns in sask with more than 9999 people!

Uh (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14888428)

Wasn't this discussed weeks ago [s1ashdot.org] ?

Shaw Cable's competition? (0)

ScottCooperDotNet (929575) | more than 8 years ago | (#14888447)

Does Shaw Cable have competition?

With higher quality home routers we're going to start seeing groups of people using a single line instead of each getting the service.

Re:Shaw Cable's competition? (1)

hardran3 (886094) | more than 8 years ago | (#14888458)

Telus ADSL in the west, Rogers Cable in the east. They are also getting into VOIP.

I thought rogers bought shaw (or vice versa) (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14888608)

I thought rogers bought shaw (or vice versa) a couple years ago. We used to have both in the West.

Re:I thought rogers bought shaw (or vice versa) (1)

MachDelta (704883) | more than 8 years ago | (#14889557)

I think Rogers bought out much of Shaw's eastern holdings (Ontario/Quebec etc) a decade or two ago. Shaw is still quite prominent in Alberta, at least.

Re:Shaw Cable's competition? (1)

rm69990 (885744) | more than 8 years ago | (#14888698)

I'm a Shaw customer. Shaw is primarily a Cable TV company, who also has internet services and VOIP services. Telus is their main competition here in Calgary at least. Telus is primarily a telephone company. Telus also has cellular service, ADSL internet service, dial-up internet service and they are introducing a new Cable TV Service. So, pretty much, with the new services, the two companies compete in all of their products. I never knew Shaw did this...but I use their VOIP service anyways, so it doesn't affect me.

Who cares? (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14888465)

Licking ass is better

Follow the Leader (5, Interesting)

Doc Ruby (173196) | more than 8 years ago | (#14888479)

This defensive action by Vonage is a good justification for their somewhat annoying presence in the industry. It would be much more likely to protect the entire industry, including random newcomers, if the various VoIP carriers could get together in an industry association. But they couldn't even get together to grap the pronouncable acronym "VIP". So meanwhile, at least there's an agressive asskicker in Vonage to clear the way for the rest to follow.

Not so fast (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14888565)

This defensive action by Vonage is a good justification for their somewhat annoying presence in the industry.

I'll dare to take a contrarian view here on Vonage's position, as well as Shaw's. Having dealt with at least a few dozen Vonage customers who have been escalated to second level support and gotten me, I've encountered a rather consistent situation where nearly every customer was told by Vonage support technicians that "their ISP was having problems - call them" yet the real problem ended up being in the customer's home LAN, home cabling, home equipment, home router, etc.

Troubleshooting home VoIP with non-technical users is a bitch. I won't even begin to elaborate on the horror stories, other than to say they don't have a clue and end up taking you 30-45 minutes to figure out they've got silver satin, brother-in-law wired "straight-thru cable" (non-TIA spec), wifi AP sitting on top of the microwave oven (solved that one yesterday - "damn your Internet! My phone calls quit working every time my wife heats up her coffee - what kinda network you losers run?!!"). I can't tell you how frustrating it is to deal with this, when I've put myself thru Cisco VoIP classes and run a clean, rock solid Asterisk PBX 60 miles away from my home to carry big city dial-tone to my rural BFE home.

Yet in every case, Vonage pushed these people off and blamed something else. They refused to do basic troubleshooting, and made it the ISP's problem. They accuse us of owning the problem, and when the customer calls, they have an "expert" claiming we're at fault. So we bear the expense and end up doing Vonage customer support with no compensation for a level two+ tech's time, at a minimum internal rate of $75/hour and at least a half hour wasted.

All of that for $10 a month? That's a steal. Quit complaining and pay the fee, or expect that the next time you call us, we'll tell you to call that exceptional Vonage tech support back and bother them.

Vonage's network is running on other company's support expertise right now, intentional or not. Don't expect this to last. We added a step in the expert system in February to actually solve the problem and sell the customer into a Vonage competitor's platform where we get a small $25 commission. The result is a happy customer with working VoIP, working support and partial compensation for our effort. Vonage won't last if other providers mitigate their Vonage tech support incompetence risk this way.

Re:Not so fast (1)

Doc Ruby (173196) | more than 8 years ago | (#14888659)

I don't know what any of that has to do with my post. But then, I don't see how any of those problems have anything to do with Vonage, either. They don't necessarily have anything to do with their ISP, but LAN problems are certainly much more the province of the ISP than the application vendor. If those same people contacted Google because their GMail wasn't working, I wouldn't be surprised if Google told them to call you, too.

Not that the LAN is the province of the ISP, necessarily. It's one of the grey areas never resolved by the industry. It started to be a problem with phone networking under AT&T, which obtained the benefit of the doubt from their monopoly breakup: wiring inside the home is the homeowner's problem. It's actually pretty clear that there is a huge untapped industry in offering "tech customer support" on an insurance subscription model. But Vonage is one of the less legitimate targets for rage at these problems.

Re:Not so fast (1)

bigpat (158134) | more than 8 years ago | (#14888718)

your customers are paying for an internet connection already and you want to charge them extra to actually use it? Why not charge them an extra $20 a month for their online gaming? Or $75 a month if they want to VPN into work? I suspect you didn't work for free troubleshooting your customer's Internet connection problem, nor do your customer's get Internet access for free, so I don't see your problem? You are doing your job. Vonage's customer support may indeed suck, yes I am a customer and know this first hand. But that doesn't mean that they ISPs should be getting away with screwing over their customers for another dime on top of the charges they are already paying. Whether you like it or not, vonage and the myriad other companies and indivuduals providing services on the Internet are what makes an Internet connection worth paying for in the first place. Blocking services or getting in their way will only make ISPs make less money in the long run, not more.

Re:Not so fast (0, Troll)

Pxtl (151020) | more than 8 years ago | (#14888830)

Fsck, I had none of that - even straight up Vonage-box plugged into the cable box, and my Rogers service was crap. I had the full plan, and was running Vonage in "bandwidth saver mode" and even then the sound was laggy.

This was in downtown Hamilton, which should be a large enough city to have decent service.

Re:Not so fast (1)

Pxtl (151020) | more than 8 years ago | (#14888838)

Whoop - bah, got confused. Rogers was who I had in Guelph. In Hamilton it was Cogeco.

Re:Follow the Leader (2, Funny)

Lordpidey (942444) | more than 8 years ago | (#14888575)

Hmm, really? VIP, thats a good idea for an acronym, perfectly untaken, and can't be confused with anything else, its too bad there wasn't a Very Important Person that decided that VIP should become the acronym for Voice over internet protocol.

Re:Follow the Leader (1)

Doc Ruby (173196) | more than 8 years ago | (#14888683)

Most acronyms under 5 letters are taken. We decode them by contextual scope. People talking telephony or Internet aren't likely to be confused into Very Important Person when they hear someone say "vip".

Easy solution (4, Interesting)

DaveAtFraud (460127) | more than 8 years ago | (#14888485)

If the folks at Shaw Cable would do something about the number of spambots and spammers on their network, they'd have more than enough bandwidth to provide VoIP. This is pretty nominal for my little corner of the internet:
**Unmatched Entries**
ruleset=check_rcpt, arg1=<XXXX@davenjudy.org>, relay=S01060014bf9e1ea8.cg.shawcable.net [68.147.163.39], reject=550 5.7.1 <XXXX@davenjudy.org>... Access denied: 3 Time(s)
STARTTLS=client, relay=cardinal.lhup.edu., version=TLSv1/SSLv3, verify=FAIL, cipher=RC4-MD5, bits=128/128: 3 Time(s)
STARTTLS=client, relay=valuecity.com.s8a1.psmtp.com., version=TLSv1/SSLv3, verify=FAIL, cipher=AES256-SHA, bits=256/256: 2 Time(s)
ruleset=check_rcpt, arg1=<XXXX@davenjudy.org>, relay=cable-201-12-181-224.rec.megazon.com.br [201.12.181.224], reject=550 5.7.1 <XXXX@davenjudy.org>... Access denied: 1 Time(s)
ruleset=check_rcpt, arg1=<XXXX@davenjudy.org>, relay=S010600c0a88bbe6a.cg.shawcable.net [68.146.238.100], reject=550 5.7.1 <XXXX@davenjudy.org>... Access denied: 1 Time(s)
ruleset=check_rcpt, arg1=<XXXX@davenjudy.org>, relay=S010600152fa8f43f.vc.shawcable.net [24.86.122.21], reject=550 5.7.1 <XXXX@davenjudy.org>... Access denied: 1 Time(s)
STARTTLS=client, relay=langesales.com., version=TLSv1/SSLv3, verify=FAIL, cipher=RC4-MD5, bits=128/128: 1 Time(s)
ruleset=check_rcpt, arg1=<XXXX@davenjudy.org>, relay=20151065001.user.veloxzone.com.br [201.51.65.1], reject=550 5.7.1 <XXXX@davenjudy.org>... Access denied: 1 Time(s)
ruleset=check_rcpt, arg1=<XXXX@davenjudy.org>, relay=[218.29.22.72], reject=550 5.7.1 <XXXX@davenjudy.org>... Access denied: 1 Time(s)
Yes, I just block everything originating from shawcable.net.

Re:Easy solution (1)

plover (150551) | more than 8 years ago | (#14888864)

This points out an interesting potential "defense" against these QoS premiums.

Right now the network companies enjoy "common carrier" status. If you download child porn, or transmit a virus to another person's computer, or even run a botnet, the network operator isn't responsible for your actions. You are, because the network isn't really equipped to censor all inappropriate messages.

Well, now Shaw Cable is saying "hey, look at this VOIP call, we think it's 'bad' data, so we're going to slow it down." Effectively, they're passing "judgement" over the bits they carry. Once they start doing that, they're no longer pure common carriers -- they're refusing to haul bits for the competition. And by doing that, they've shown that they have the ability to censor bad stuff. They may end up responsible for all of the crap that they allow to flow through their network. Do they really want to put themselves in that position?

All a defense lawyer has to do is say "well, Shaw, if you block VOIP, you must have pretty good blocking technology. Why don't you block these botnets, and worms, and viruses, and child pornographers, and terrorists, and all these other things that are much more important to our society? Don't tell me you can't, because you can obviously block things when it increases your profit." At that point, he drills the guy with "since you could have blocked Code Red but chose not to, your customers should line up to sue you for failing to protect them."

Of course, IANAL. But I saw one on TV once, and I'm pretty sure that's what he would have done in this case.

Re:Easy solution (1)

arivanov (12034) | more than 8 years ago | (#14889057)

Fair point.

Minor problems:

1. They are a cable company which means that they do not have a common carrier status in first place as they are an information service provider, not a telecoms provider. Dunno who are their lobbyists, but they are bloody good.

2. They have a solid technical ground to stand on I am afraid. Besides the bandwidth limit the cable networks also have an uplink packet per second limit because of the way DOCSIS works (look for MAP in the DOCSIS) documentation. So they have technical grounds to set restrictions on VOIP as well because they have to finance extra interfaces on the cable modem termination system and use less customers per copper run.

3. On top of that at least some cable networks have serious problems with packet rates on the downlink as well. Funnily enough all of the ones I know are in North America. Quite a few companies there pump up their HFC to unrealistic rates. This is not evident when you run traffic like HTTP but becomes obvious on high packet rate traffic.

So frankly, Vonage has very few chances on winning this one.

Re:Easy solution (1)

agent0range_ (472103) | more than 8 years ago | (#14889043)

The security of the end user's pc is the responsibility of the end user. Besides, the problem is bigger than any one ISP can solve. Furthermore, as long as they pay the bill, Shaw doesn't care what goes on.

I *hate* Vonage (-1, Flamebait)

aychamo (932587) | more than 8 years ago | (#14888532)

I *hate* Vonage so much. They have one of the most stupid billing systems I've ever seen. I use my Vonage (only phone system I can have down here in the Caribbean) to make international calls. If you run a bill of over $75, they charge you an extra $80 for no reason! They *penalize* you for spending money! It is so fucking rediculous. I've tried contacting them, and they ignore me. Fuck Vonage

Re:I *hate* Vonage (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14888573)

you should consider opening multiple accounts and when your bill gets to 74.99 just start using the other one...

Re:I *hate* Vonage (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14888587)

shutup you stupid fucking nappy headed island nigger

Re:I *hate* Vonage (1)

Aardpig (622459) | more than 8 years ago | (#14888803)

Can you give specifics? What do they claim the $80 is for?

Re:I *hate* Vonage (2, Interesting)

timeOday (582209) | more than 8 years ago | (#14888870)

My main problem with Vonage is it's simply not very reliable. People seem to assume the internet connection itself is the weak link, but my experience has been just the opposite. Every time the phone goes out, I check my Internet connection and it's just fine. Sometimes unplugging the SIP box for a moment causes Vonage to start working again. That's just ridiculous. I will give Vonage one thing, at least they provide voicemail that still works when the service to my home is down.

Re:I *hate* Vonage (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14889278)

It's either something in your router, or specific Vonage interface. I carry my PAP2 with me across the country and into Mexico where it typically works perfectly. The voice might get choppy if I'm doing a significant download/upload while trying to also use the phone, but that can be solved by my own' router's QOS settings. VoIP is no more or less a problem than large file transfers/streaming, etc.

teliax? (1)

chocolatetrumpet (73058) | more than 8 years ago | (#14888916)

teliax [teliax.com] is another provider.. maybe /. knows more? Maybe this would be a good ask slashdot.

Some details from a Vonage/Shaw customer. (5, Interesting)

Yaztromo (655250) | more than 8 years ago | (#14888534)

I'm a Vonage and Shaw customer, having moved last fall to the Victoria, BC area from Toronto, and want to comment on this.

First off, while I'm as irritated and confused as everyone else, this fee is optional. Shaw isn't automatically charging people who use VoIP this extra fee. Apparantly, this is an added fee that VoIP users can pay to get better guaranteed QoS for their voice data packets.

I'm not quite sure how I feel about this, and at this time have no intention to pay the fee. On one hand, giving voice data network prioritization isn't necessarily a bad thing -- most home VoIP NAT routers provide a QoS service to do just this so downloads don't obliterate your ability to use your phone. At the same time, nobody else is charging these fees, and respecting QoS for VoIP packets isn't going to cost Shaw anything, so why should the consumer pay for such a service int he first place?

Shaw called me a few weeks ago asking me about my phone service, in an attempt to sell me on their new VoIP-based service. I told them I have Vonage. They asked me what services I was getting, and listed off the litany of services I'm getting. Then they asked me the price -- and suffice to say, I'm getting way more from Vonage, and am paying less. The phone jockey on the other end didn't know what to say about that, so just said "Uh, thanks, sorry for bothering you" and hung up.

As to the actual quality of service I'm getting -- I haven't had a single drop-out in my VoIP service in the two months that I've had it. Not a single blip. However, I also use iChat AV pretty heavily to take to family back home, and I have been having significant drop-outs in both audio and video conferences with family back in Toronto in recent weeks, where these problems didn't exist before. It's hard to say exactly where the fault lies, but I've been getting drop-outs galore in both audio-only and video conference mode between here and Toronto in the last month. I do have to recognise, however, that I do live on an island, and have no idea what the maximum bandwidth is like between the mainland and here. I can only believe that bandwidth usage is increasing, but at this time have no idea whether or not Shaw is working on running more underwater cabling between the mainland and Vancouver Island. It could just be because (due to time zones) my iChat AV conversations generally take place during peak hours.

So far, Vonage has been problem free, but I'm not a heavy phone user (I'm only paying for the 500 minute/month plan, with another 500 minutes through the soft phone option. I generally don't come even close to the 500 minutes per month). Perhaps I've just been lucky thus far. I have no intention to pay them another $10 a month just to get the service I'm already paying for, so I'm keeping my fingers crossed that my thus-far trouble free VoIP experience doesn't negatively change in the future.

Yaz.

Re:Some details from a Vonage/Shaw customer. (1)

B3ryllium (571199) | more than 8 years ago | (#14888649)

So, uh, how are you enjoying the snow? :) Out here by Mt Doug the ground is white. I'm sure it'll melt by tomorrow, but it's need while it's around. :)

I've stuck with Telus and avoided VoIP, because I have zero need for international calls. I mean, sure, maybe a discount rate to Malawi would be nice - but my sister's only going to be there for another two months. Shaw's offers all the features I would possibly want, but the extra monthly charge works out to more than or on-par with my Telus bill, so it's not worth it for me.

Re:Some details from a Vonage/Shaw customer. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14888729)

neat, not "need".

Re:Some details from a Vonage/Shaw customer. (1)

Yaztromo (655250) | more than 8 years ago | (#14888775)

So, uh, how are you enjoying the snow? :) Out here by Mt Doug the ground is white. I'm sure it'll melt by tomorrow, but it's need while it's around. :)

Until I saw your post, I hadn't even noticed. Just call me "oblivious guy" :).

I've stuck with Telus and avoided VoIP, because I have zero need for international calls. I mean, sure, maybe a discount rate to Malawi would be nice - but my sister's only going to be there for another two months. Shaw's offers all the features I would possibly want, but the extra monthly charge works out to more than or on-par with my Telus bill, so it's not worth it for me.

VoIP isn't just a deal for those who call overseas. In my case, all of my family is back in Ontario. For $20CDN a month, I'm getting 500 minutes anywhere in North America -- so it's quite worth it. Basic service alone from Telus would cost at least this much, never mind the long distance on top of that.

Mind you, I've never been a Telus customer, being a recent transplant from Ontario. I lived my first four months here offf my Fido cell phone, but reception inside my apartment was very poor. As well, I didn't want to give up my 416 area code number (the hardest area code to come by -- in Ontario, it has a certain prestige value in the business world due to it being the original Toronto area code, and the difficulty in being able to come by it these days. Besides which, people back in Toronto could call me without it having to be long distance for them). But the roaming charges were starting to hit pretty hard.

The other big advantage for me is being able to have the VoIP "soft phone", which runs on my laptop, or desktop machine at the lab I work out of. And being able to get your voice mail via the web (and e-mailed to me) is also a huge benefit. Anywhere I roam with my PowerBook and can get a WiFi signal, I can make a call anywhere in North America with no long distance (up to a maximum of 500 minutes).

I'm sold on VoIP, and so far am nothing but impressed with Vonage's service. Considering I'm not a heavy phone user, the price is perfect. I can call family and friends back home with no extra fees, have excellent local service, can make calls from my laptop (I have a bluetooth headset, making it easy to use it as a phone), have web and e-mail access to voice mail, and all the other cool phone features one can think of (call waiting, caller ID, etc.) for way lower than traditional POTS providers charge.

So long as Shaw doesn't screw things up fo me, I'm in heaven :).

Yaz.

Re:Some details from a Vonage/Shaw customer. (1)

slazzy (864185) | more than 8 years ago | (#14889100)

I'm also at the base of Mt. Doug.. small world! I'm using both Shaw and Telus for high speed. So far both have been great and only a few problems with using Skype for VOIP.

Re:Some details from a Vonage/Shaw customer. (1)

ChronoReverse (858838) | more than 8 years ago | (#14889212)

Over here in Vancouver it's pouring down the snow too =/ Anyways, I'm already taking steps to move my family over to gmail accounts (away from our shaw.ca email accounts) such that we could switch to Telus. Shaw's service has simply been abysmal for us. Latency during the evening is sometimes in the seconds with very high packet loss. I don't even ask for too much. I don't need mega-bandwidth for downloading. I'm perfectly happy with 150kb/s even. I just want to be able to play some online games during the evening since I'm out during the day. Since Shaw can't give me this, I'll look to Telus. Such is the way of competition.

Re:Some details from a Vonage/Shaw customer. (1)

Burdell (228580) | more than 8 years ago | (#14888690)

At the same time, nobody else is charging these fees, and respecting QoS for VoIP packets isn't going to cost Shaw anything, so why should the consumer pay for such a service int he first place?

Others are talking about charging fees like this. Also, QoS _does_ cost money. Even in a mythical "bandwidth is free" and "everything is connected with $BIGPIPEs" ISP, it would be nice to honor QoS to reduce jitter for VoIP, and that costs the ISP money. Some equipment can't handle it and has to be replaced (for it to be worthwhile, every piece of equipment in the ISP's network must handle the QoS). There may need to be mechanisms in place to watch for abuse (so someone doesn't start running games or P2P apps with QoS bits set because they think it'll gain an extra millisecond); that would add more overhead and possibly more equipment.

Re:Some details from a Vonage/Shaw customer. (1)

interiot (50685) | more than 8 years ago | (#14888861)

So why are ISP's asking Google for more money, when QOS has very little to do with retrieving search results? Because telcos are greedy bastards who will do anything to exploit their natural monopoly?

Why does VoIP run at bitrates very close to modem speeds, but require broadband connections? Because the extra headroom is usually enough to provide sufficiently reliable service.

Why is it that ISP's can usually support VoIP just fine, until the point that they implement "QOS"? Maybe because it's not about quality?

Re:Some details from a Vonage/Shaw customer. (2, Insightful)

mindstrm (20013) | more than 8 years ago | (#14888708)

You make good points, and as long as Shaw isn't intentionally making their service VOIP-unfriendly, this is fine.

As to why tehy would charge more, $10/mo is a bit steep, but implementing QoS for specific customers for vonage service is an added feature, and it does cost them extra administrative overhead.

This seems to me like a good move by Shaw that's being misinterpreted by everyone else.

I've often felt that ISPs like Shaw SHOULD offer several diffent types of QoS:

1) A basic package where you get to play with everyone else at the whim of the standard tcp/ip stack, with no protocol specific QoS controls.
2) The option of paying for different basic QoS types.
          - latency QoS for voip.
          - A connection that offers no bandwidth restrictions, but no latency guarantees. You can use as much as you want, as long as it's available.
          - A connection of medium speed, but with a guaranteed overall latency of no more than 150ms for any traffic.

And so on... why not? There is no problem in this.

The only problem, and the only time the CRTC should get inolved, is when they start arbitrarily REDUCING the quality of service for specific protocols. I'm more concerned wiht throttling of bittorrent arbitrarily than I am with offering optional QoS for voip.

Re:Some details from a Vonage/Shaw customer. (2, Interesting)

Yaztromo (655250) | more than 8 years ago | (#14888825)

The only problem, and the only time the CRTC should get inolved, is when they start arbitrarily REDUCING the quality of service for specific protocols. I'm more concerned wiht throttling of bittorrent arbitrarily than I am with offering optional QoS for voip.

The only other case where the CRTC might get involved is if Shaw is misrepresenting the fee to their customers. I haven't been contacted by Shaw myself, but I've heard reports that Shaw has been calling some Vonage customers and telling them that their VoIP service might not work right if they don't pay this extra fee.

If this is the case, then Shaw may not be properly representing the fee and its plusses and minuses. If they're calling people and trying to scare them into paying extra money or their phone service might not work in the future, that would seem to me to be extortion. And as Shaw now offers their own VoIP service where they don't charge customers this extra fee, the CRTC may have something to say about them attempting to make their competitors VoIP services more expensive.

I think more evidence will have to come out into the public either way before I pass any sort of personal judgement. I'm just hoping that my VoIP service keeps working as it always has -- if it starts going downhill, I'm not going to be terribly impressed.

Yaz.

Re:Some details from a Vonage/Shaw customer. (1)

ddekok (141583) | more than 8 years ago | (#14888762)

Shaw's QoS package is not worth it, and isn't forced on customers who use VoIP. Out in Victoria, webcall (www.webcall.ca) works fantastic with Shaw's 5.0Mbit package. No dropped calls, no delays, no stutter, no problems. Hell, I even started downloading drivers for my radeon at over 100KB/s and my call went along as if it were a real phone line. I don't think Vonage has a leg to stand on.

Re:Some details from a Vonage/Shaw customer. (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14888798)

Well, no... Shaw's Digital Phone is not VoIP-based... not in the traditional sense anyways. I helped build the damn thing in Calgary and it uses PacketCable (which, yes, is based on IP). They have a seperate network for the voice data than their Internet data. You see, there are a myriad frequencies they can send over coax and the "phone modem" talks over a different data channel. Therefore, your voice data doesn't have to compete with the BitTorrent losers and other bandwidth-sucking creeps. It's better quality than Vonage can over hope to accomplish because... they own the infrastructure!

In the backend, it's Bell, and here it becomes VoIP/ATM ... but that's hardly unusual, most major carriers do that.

Re:Some details from a Vonage/Shaw customer. (1)

ljw1004 (764174) | more than 8 years ago | (#14888849)

Why should you pay the fee even if it costs them no extra to provide it? -- because with no fee, then each customer has an incentive to set the "QoS" bit on every packet they send. (First just a few users will buy some third-party "web-accelerator" software which sets the bit, and then more users will buy a cheaper version of the web-accelerator, and then everyone will be setting their QoS bit). The QoS bit will inevitably become meaningless. You need pricing to preserve it.

The french metro system has a service much like this. Some carriages are divided into two identical halves. You can buy an 10-euro to go in half "X", or a 5-euro ticket to go in half "Y". The result is a beautifully self-regulating pricing scheme: the cost is exactly equal to the "utility" function amongst the customers for how worthwhile they find the degree of uncrowdedness.

Re:Some details from a Vonage/Shaw customer. (1)

Fatal67 (244371) | more than 8 years ago | (#14889051)

here's the real deal.

Vonage doesn't have to pay to send their traffic across the network that shaw built. Since they don't have a network, they have no control over their traffic and it is delivered best effort. The same with the rest of your traffic.

Shaw decided hey, we can make their product better by charging 10 bucks a month and giving it a higher QOS.

Vonage said.. "OH MY GOD!!! SOMEONE ELSE IS MAKING MONEY OFF OF THE PLATFORM WE BUILT! SUE! MAKE LAWS! CRY!!!"

And continue to make money on the infrastructure Shaw made.

Re:Some details from a Vonage/Shaw customer. (1)

Gooba42 (603597) | more than 8 years ago | (#14889078)

Do telemarketers pay higher rates for the same services I receive on my phone plan?

They're making money on the infrastructure Ma-Bell built.

Re:Some details from a Vonage/Shaw customer. (1)

Fatal67 (244371) | more than 8 years ago | (#14889085)

Sure do. Telemarketers pay per minute for their calls. You probably pay an all you can eat unlimited plan.

Re:Some details from a Vonage/Shaw customer. (1)

Gooba42 (603597) | more than 8 years ago | (#14889132)

For local calls I'm unlimited in this area. I'm currently using Vonage so I'm really unlimited anywhere I care to call but only because SBC sucked so bad when I had them before that I had to find a way out of that mess.

Re:Some details from a Vonage/Shaw customer. (1)

loraksus (171574) | more than 8 years ago | (#14889766)

this fee is optional

Yes, "optional" as in "do you want to use your voip phone or not"?

Before you start, keep in mind that Shaw cut (in damn near half) the service for all of their customers a few months ago.
The cut the speeds, they dropped the bandwidth limit to a paltry 30 gigs, and then - they offered to sell you the level of service you had 6 months ago for an extra $10 a month (and, actally, 6 months ago, the bandwidth cap was 80 gigs, so you can't get the same level of service).

They degraded your service to the point where VOIP was virtually unusable and then decided to extort their customers out of another $120 a year.

And for those who say "go to the competition", it is sort of funny how Telus (the one and only "competitor") matches - often in under a week - the customer abusive policies that Shaw implements. Both companies have, over the last two years, slowly decreased the bandwidth limits and speeds to where they stand today. Makes you wonder if they are working together....
Furthermore, people from shaw WILL call you and threaten you with "excessive usage fines" (these aren't defined _anywhere_) and will also threaten you with disconnection.
The best part is those who are locked into contracts are well and trully fucked. The level of service decreased, you keeep on paying or cough up the vulgar termination fee.

Vonage Fucking Sucks! (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14888563)

Christ and it's so fucking annoying with the music from Kill Bill...

whooo whooo whooo whooo fuck you Vonage, hope the GNAA fucks your ass!

I don't have a problem with this IF... (3, Insightful)

Hamster Lover (558288) | more than 8 years ago | (#14888615)

I don't have a problem with this IF Shaw is honoring QoS flagged packets and routing them accordingly. If it's just a bullshit fee where Shaw is purposefully degrading service when it identifies VoIP protocols or ports only to restore service when the fee is paid, then I have a problem. I guess what I am trying to say is I think it's OK if you pay to receive an additional service versus paying a fee to restore service you should be receiving in the first place.

I want to believe Shaw is acting in good faith and offering something to customers of value. Their Internet service has always been very good for me; their mail servers suck, but that's a different story.

As someone pointed out, if Shaw only dealt with the SPAM zombies and compromised Windows boxes on their network there would be plenty more bandwidth to go around for VoIP. I am currently on Telus and you wouldn't believe the number of intrusion attempts I receive from Shaw netblocks.

Re:I don't have a problem with this IF... (3, Interesting)

colenski (552404) | more than 8 years ago | (#14888714)

I am running 30 remote boxes for a business over 30 Shaw cable modems to an Asterisk server via IAX. I am passing TOS bits and I know for a fact that Shaw is dropping the TOS bits. I tested this by running test calls from cable modem to cable modem - all on Shaw, never hopped to another network - and examining the TOS with TCPdump. 0x0. *and* we are paying the $10 extra - they call it "lightspeed" or some such.

That being said, it ain't that bad with Shaw. Thank god for the Asterisk jitterbuffer, though.

Priority- Pay for Performance (4, Interesting)

PhYrE2k2 (806396) | more than 8 years ago | (#14888617)

Rogers (formerly a Shaw area) around here has Ultra-Lite, Lite, Express (3Mbit down), and Extreme (6Mbit down). Each provides a different maximum speed and level of service for customers who feel the need to save money and receive a service comparable to just over dialup, to extreme for users who want 6Mbit downstream. You get more capability and pay a premium for the ability to burst into higher speeds, despite most users sitting at idle for much of the time, and still having a total transfer cap.

What Vonage is claiming is that this is different than any other sort of service addition (and that this makes them priced higher than Ma Bell and hence can't compete, or can't compete with similar offerings in the area).

My argument is that they are saying "our service does not guarentee any latency, and we cater more to raw throughput, the traditional measure. We'll give you the possibility to have less latency, which is useful for real-time uses such as voice and video, but for a fee". How is this different than "we'll give you the possibility to have higher burst speeds useful for mass file transfers".

Users with specific uses that aren't a part of 'the masses' will get charged. I pay a few dollars a month extra on my phone line for touch-tone. I pay for the ability to use on-demand with Rogers. I pay a premium for GSM versus using EDGE/GPRS. This is life. You pay for what you use. When _everyone_ has a blackberry- then the standard rates will include it. Until then, the people who want e-mail will pay for it, so that those who don't won't have to.

This of course all assumes that they actually take these into account and that they do benefit their service. If it's a scam, then we have another story.

Re:Priority- Pay for Performance (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14888745)

As an interesting side note;
Rogers is also using traffic shaping technology to reduce (supposedly) upstream load on their network. This was introduced after their Digital Phone Service launched, DPS is not VoIP, it uses a seperate part of the cable spectrum. I don't know if the traffic shaping is affecting VoIP, it certainly hits p2p traffic, the timing is suspect though.

Re:Priority- Pay for Performance (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14888761)

I really don't get where you say that you "pay a premium for GSM versus using EDGE/GPRS" as the two technologies while related do not exactly overlap. In fact most cell phone subscribers that have GSM service would be paying the premium for EDGE/GPRS as that is the internet extension onto the GSM service (exception of course being those with data-centric plans).

Re:Priority- Pay for Performance (1)

captaineo (87164) | more than 8 years ago | (#14889022)

My concern is that this fee isn't for an add-on feature above and beyond the ISP's existing service - they might just start degrading everybody's latency unilaterally, and only restore it back to normal if you pay the fee.

Modern businesses seem very adept at chipping away consumer surplus... Anything you take for granted but don't have a legal claim on, they'll just take away and charge you to get it back. Like good QoS for your consumer broadband connection, absence of advertising before movies, ability to walk through an electronics store without being hassled by overzealous salespeople, etc.

Re:Priority- Pay for Performance (1)

Fatal67 (244371) | more than 8 years ago | (#14889058)

I dont know about shaw, but the cable co I work for doesn't do that. Everything is best effort unles syou pay more for it. Then it gets a higher QOS flag. I highly doubt Shaw is degrading anything.. they are just making Vonages product better.. for a price.

Question: (1)

mindstrm (20013) | more than 8 years ago | (#14888685)

Is Shaw charing this as soon as they detect vonage service, or is it an optionatl QoS fee you can pay to get guaranteed QoS with vonage?

This seems justified in a way... (4, Insightful)

AmazingRuss (555076) | more than 8 years ago | (#14888731)

I mean, really. Vonage is using telco infrastructure to undercut a major telco profit center, without paying a them a dime for the privelege. Packets don't magically wing their way across the globe, you know.

If the phone business goes away, telcos are going to have to make up for it somewhere, and the only place left will be bandwidth...that stuff that we get for a flat rate now.

Metered priority usage paid by the user is the only really fair way to do it. You need a lot of packets, you pay more. You need a lot of fast high priority packets, you pay a lot more.

Tracking all this is a another can of worms entirely....but dammit, this is how it SHOULD work.

Re:This seems justified in a way... (2, Informative)

Yaztromo (655250) | more than 8 years ago | (#14888869)

If the phone business goes away, telcos are going to have to make up for it somewhere, and the only place left will be bandwidth...that stuff that we get for a flat rate now.

The problem in this instance being that Shaw is a cable provider, and not a traditional telco. Their own IP-based phone service is quite new (first offered only in the last 2 months I believe, at least here in Victoria), so they haven't lost any phone customers due to VoIP.

Yaz.

Re:This seems justified in a way... (3, Insightful)

tsotha (720379) | more than 8 years ago | (#14889266)

Vonage is using telco infrastructure to undercut a major telco profit center, without paying a them a dime for the privelege.

No. The customer is using telco infrastructure, which he pays for monthly in the form of a service fee to his ISP, to undercut the absurdly high rates telcos charge for POTS.

Vonage is just an application. If Vonage has to pay the "using my pipes" fee, and Google has to pay the "using my pipes" fee, what the hell am I paying every month to my ISP?

Research the product (3, Interesting)

GuruHal (229087) | more than 8 years ago | (#14888767)

I think we need to examine Shaw vs Vonage telephony for a minute. ***Disclaimer: After comparing the two services side-by-side, I'm a Shaw Phone customer.

      Vonage is VoIP running over standard ethernet on the Internet. It's voice traffic competes with every other data packet on the Internet, no matter if it's on Shaw's network, or Telus' network, or the Internet in general. Vonage is portable and available on any high speed network.

      Shaw Phone may technically be VoIP, but it runs on seperate hardware (an independant modem with no active data connections), on a seperate channel allocation than Internet (a managed voice network) and doesn't have to compete with Internet traffic. It's routed to the PSTN without touching the Internet so the voice packets don't require QoS. Shaw's telephony is NOT portable, its for home use only.

      This is like comparing apples to oranges. I've tried Vonage and although it worked okay, at times the packet loss was unbearable. I don't care what the excuse is (overloaded nodes, Internet traffic spikes, etc), when I use the phone I just want it to work. Period. I also think that 911 is pretty much a required service and there are some significant differences between Shaw and Vonage in that respect, but thats a different debate. Shaw Phone isn't perfect, but its certainly better than Vonage in my experience.

      The QoS service definitely isn't a tax because its not mandatory and Vonage works as advertised without it. Besides all that, Shaw can only offer QoS on their own network. Once the traffic leaves their network QoS is meaningless. Would I subscribe to QoS? Probably not, but then again I'm not using Vonage.

And to the earlier poster who suggested that Shaw should reduce the number of customer spambots on their networks to reduce traffic overhead - I couldn't agree more. Turn that bandwidth shaping towards the spam relays and cut their service until they correct their problems. They'd probably gain a significant amount of usable bandwidth for the effort.

On one hand (1)

future assassin (639396) | more than 8 years ago | (#14888799)

How dare they charge me $10 if I want QoS on my line on the other hand they own the the lines and are in the business of making money. If the $10 goes to impoving the network then I guess I'd pay it. Although I'm already paying $74 per month for my SOHO Xtreme I so at $84 its a bit hard to swollow. ATM I'm using Dolphintel for my voip and so far seems ok on SHAW but cant say how its like on regural SHAW accounts.

Here's what I'd like to know... (3, Interesting)

SleepyHappyDoc (813919) | more than 8 years ago | (#14888807)

If they'll let me pay $10 a month to prioritize VoIP, can I pay them $10 to prioritize my bittorrent packets? Or can I use the VoIP prioritization to sidestep their traffic shaping.

Since Christmas, torrent traffic has been badly shaped on Shaw...when it takes 72 hours to download the just-released Gentoo install CD from their tracker, you know something's wrong. It's not like it wasn't well-seeded....

Re:Here's what I'd like to know... (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14888859)

try uTorrent (micro-torrent), and make sure you enable encryption.
with the bittorrent packets encrypted it will not be as easy for your ISP to apply their traffic shaping analysis to your traffic.
after that, change the preferred port to something different, like 1720 (normally reserved for vpns) instead of 6881 (the generally accepted default for torrent traffic).

Re:Here's what I'd like to know... (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14889204)

try uTorrent (micro-torrent), and make sure you enable encryption.

uTorrent is Windows-only and proprietary. The parent referred to a Gentoo install CD. Most likely he's on a Linux box, and since it's Gentoo you need the source code.

For torrent encryption, the only option on Linux is Azureus. Although, KTorrent is also in the process of implementing encryption [kde.org] .

RAS syndrome (1)

dartarrow (930250) | more than 8 years ago | (#14888843)

"Shaw's QofS Service has the potential........"

I am not really a grammar Nazi, nor am i Trolling. Really. But "QofS Service" would be expandeed to become "Quality of Service Service", and I cant really completely RTFA while laughing remembering about the RAS Syndrome [answers.com]

Re:RAS syndrome (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14889015)

Aah, but you're paying for a service that improves your quality of service...

shaw,qos (4, Informative)

mikers (137971) | more than 8 years ago | (#14888896)

I have Shaw internet, I also have subscribed to their QOS enhancement (as per this discussion), and I use wholesale VOIP (rather than Vonage). I'm actually thinking of cancelling the QOS for technical rather than ideological (*emotional* -- as per this story) reasons.

The QOS enhancement was hidden away inside of the Shaw website, and most of the customer service people I talked to had no clue what it was. This was about 4 months ago when I first signed up for it. I finally did find someone who knew what it was. They said:
- It enhanced service for internet. They didn't really say how much or what I would notice
- Shaw's internet phone uses a separate network or channel, and does not use their regular internet channels
- The QOS enhancement is only applicable to their internet service, and does not put your VOIP traffic over their separate network for Shaw internet phone.
- Cable modems on shaw (at least mine) support DOCSIS 2.0, and apparently (I'm not an expert) it has QOS capability along with the rest of their network outlay.

QOS
- This QOS thing is technically possible from the Shaw end, but the question of performance is a large one
- I haven't really noticed either a degredation or improvement in voip... But then I haven't been monitoring carefully
- I think the time when I need it most -- when Shaw's network is otherwise saturated -- is when it will pay, but I suspect those times are rare.

The two big problems I see:
- The biggest problem I can see is that the QOS enhancement is only valid over Shaw's network, and if your voip provider doesn't peer directly with shaw, your voip packets will be at some other carrier's mercy once they leave shaw
- The second biggest problem is ping times. Some of my VOIP providers are 13 hops from where I am (and three network peering points away), and even with QOS there is no way to keep round trip delay to less than 100 milliseconds -- at which point the lag is noticable and gets irritating. No amount of QOS from shaw will fix the number of hops.

Conclusion
The lesson to learn is that QOS is useful if you are on a saturated part of the shaw network, you call during busy times of the day AND (this is important) your voip provider is a short number of hops from you AND ON THE SHAW NETWORK!

Otherwise save your money. Oh yeah, and write letters to the CRTC to get them to stop Shaw, Bell and Telus from doing this two tier internet garbage!

Re:shaw,qos (1)

Fatal67 (244371) | more than 8 years ago | (#14889071)

- This QOS thing is technically possible from the Shaw end, but the question of performance is a large one

You won't notice an improvement if they have enough bandwidth. However, if your node is filled with bittorrent users, your voip phone would still work where normally it would suffer.

I'm just about ready to start adding Voip and gaming QOS services on my network. Changes nothing if you don't get it. CAN make some services better in the event of congestion if you do.

Reponse from Shaw (4, Informative)

edsouza (960198) | more than 8 years ago | (#14889014)

From their news release section:
    http://www.shaw.ca/NR/rdonlyres/A19222AC-750B-42CC -AC99-136A5C2EA420/0/VonageMar8.pdf [www.shaw.ca]

From my interpretation, if you want better QoS, you pay the $10/month - so you get a less likely chance that your packets won't get dropped on network saturation.

Also they like to sell there own phone service saying it eventually connects to a phone line so it doesn't go over the internet but only there private manage IP network.

Re:Reponse from Shaw (2, Insightful)

Yaztromo (655250) | more than 8 years ago | (#14889158)

I think this part is pretty funny:

Contrary to Vonage's claim, Shaw does not offer an Internet telephony service in direct competition with Vonage or any other Internet phone provider. Shaw's Digital Phone service is a carrier-grade, primary line, local and long distance residential telephone service that uses a managed IP network. Shaw Digital phone calls travel directly from Shaw's secure private network to the tried-and-true public telephone system. They do not travel over the Internet. The result is a more reliable and higher quality phone service.

Shaw and Vonage aren't in direct competition? How many phone service providers does the average home need? In my experience, if you exclude cellular service, most residential homes have a total of ONE phone service provider.

Clue to Shaw: you both sell a telephone service, and are thus in direct competition. Later in the same paragraph, Shaw even seems to indirectly acknowledge this fact, by saying that they provide "a more reliable and higher quality phone service". Come on Shaw -- you can't offer the same service as another company, claim you aren't in competition with them, and then claim that you're solution is better than their is.

As both a Shaw and Vonage customer, I'm currently sitting on the fence. I refuse to pay the extra $10 a month fee to Shaw, but have no problem with them offering an extra service so long as they aren't taking steps to degrade the service I've already paid for. However, this press release is just dumb, and makes Shaw look desparate. Whomever penned this press release should be re-assigned to something more suiting their lack of ability in logic and coherent thought.

Yaz.

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