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Can Any Router Guarantee Bandwidth For VoIP?

timothy posted more than 6 years ago | from the garbly-in-garbly-out dept.

Communications 414

cartman94501 writes "My wife and I use Vonage for Voice over IP at home, mainly for work-related phone calls so we don't have to give out our home number to clients and colleagues. Most of the time it works fine, but when I'm using BitTorrent or other high-bandwidth applications (purely for legal and non-copyright-violating purposes, of course), the call quality gets choppy. I have used my Linksys (not a WRT54G, so 'upgrading' it to Linux probably won't work) router's QoS feature to assign high priority to the MAC address of the Vonage box, low priority to the BitTorrent box, and medium quality to everything else, which helps a little, but not enough. Is there a router out there that would allow me to reserve, say, 75-90kbps of bandwidth off the top for VoIP and never, ever allow any application to use that, regardless of whether there's a VoIP call going on at the moment or not?" (More below)cartman 94501 continues: "That would solve my problem, but I fear I'd have to build a Linux box and learn all sorts of esoteric commands to really make that work. Are you aware of a commercially-available router that would allow me to accomplish this goal with some sort of ease? While I'm not prepared to pay four figures, I'm certainly not naïve enough to expect such a device to be available in the $50-100 range of your garden-variety wireless router. Wireless would be ideal, but if I could patch it in between my existing wireless router and the cable modem, and turn off QoS entirely on the existing router, that would work, too."

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414 comments

Gaming Router (5, Insightful)

seanalltogether (1071602) | more than 6 years ago | (#23959145)

Most gaming routers allow for this kind of functionality. In fact the first search result on google for 'gaming router' brought me to a product from dlink that provided exactly that.

Re:Gaming Router (4, Informative)

OAB_X (818333) | more than 6 years ago | (#23959297)

While limiting bandwidth might help, VOIP applications are much more sensitive to ping than BitTorrent, so even if you save bandwidth just for the vonage box, you will still need to customize packet priority. My D-Link gaming router has some ability to do it, but if you want real QoS stuff, a linux firewall box is the way to go.

Re:Gaming Router (3, Interesting)

timeOday (582209) | more than 6 years ago | (#23959683)

Since I run a PVR/Webserver at home anyways, I did just that (routed all traffic and ran lartc to prioritize VOIP) for a couple years. But in the end, I stopped because the uptime wasn't good enough for phone service. A fan in the PC fails = no phone until you get a new fan. In my experience a router device with no fans and no hard drives is much more reliable, so I took the PC out of the loop. The downside is now bittorrent messes up the phone again.

PS you don't need to statically reserve upstream for the phone, just set VOIP to have the highest priority, then limit total upstream to about 10% less than your ISP upstream so your modem buffers don't fill up. However, nothing will save you if your ISP isn't delivering reliable upstream bandwidth.

Re:Gaming Router (5, Interesting)

c_forq (924234) | more than 6 years ago | (#23959973)

Couldn't you do a low heat/low power CPU that doesn't need active cooling, RAM, and a USB thumb-drive to boot off of?

Re:Gaming Router (5, Informative)

Telecommando (513768) | more than 6 years ago | (#23959343)

So don't keep us in suspense submitter, which model do you have?

You can load software on more than just the WRT54G.

DD-wrt works on quite a few devices:
http://www.dd-wrt.com/wiki/index.php/Supported_Devices [dd-wrt.com]

Used Linksys APs are fairly cheap and available. I bought a used WRT54GS V2.1 last weekend for $30. Loaded DD-wrt on it this afternoon.

Re:Gaming Router (2, Informative)

bfizzle (836992) | more than 6 years ago | (#23960027)

The problem I have ran into time and time again is the WRT54G just doesn't have enough CPU power and RAM to handle the mess torrents make. Throw VOIP into the mix everything comes to a stand still.

I used pfSense but several distros as supported by some micro pc manufactures.
http://www.pfsense.org/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=44&Itemid=50 [pfsense.org]

I'm currently running a NetGate device with a 500MHz AMD Geode processor and 256MB of RAM. $200 is a little bit on the pricey side, but it is tiny and fanless.

Re:Gaming Router (5, Informative)

bonehead (6382) | more than 6 years ago | (#23960021)

Most gaming routers allow for this kind of functionality. In fact the first search result on google for 'gaming router' brought me to a product from dlink that provided exactly that.
Not exactly true. Sure, it might be a bullet point on their feature list, but in practice it doesn't really work.

I've installed many VOIP systems in small to medium sized companies, and back when I first started doing it I learned a valuable lesson:

Your router can only control what it sees.

Seems obvious, but let's consider the implications.... Your router cannot do anything of meaning about incoming data. By the time your router sees it, it's already traversed your cable or DSL line and the damage has been done. Something like bittorent is throwing a ton of incoming bandwidth at you, and there's not much a consumer grade router can do about it.

The way I approach it is to use a small, but fully functional Cisco router at the client side, and work with a mom & pop ISP who will also throw some QoS on their router for that link. I won't accept a job installing a VOIP system for a client who isn't willing to go that route.

You have to give the *incoming* VOIP priority over the incoming torrent traffic, and for good results, this must be done at the ISP, before it has already clogged up your personal "last mile" link.

If you want to run bittorrent and VOIP on the same connection, you need a *real* router, and a cooperative ISP.

Torrents kill VOIP. The method I outlined is the only way, after several years of trying every idea and product out there, that actually produces reliably stable results.

Get a better firewall (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23959179)

And use it.

Re:Get a better firewall (1)

FAEK (1313539) | more than 6 years ago | (#23959753)

May I suggest this fine combination between a firewall and a VOIP system. Just look here [source.vxd.fr] for more info.

John Handy (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23959195)

You just had to add "My Wife" didn't you.

Re:John Handy (1)

TheDarkener (198348) | more than 6 years ago | (#23959275)

Handy man!!!

Tomato (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23959201)

Perhaps try picking up a WRT54GL and installing Tomato on it.

Many linksys models can use dd-wrt or other (1)

zonky (1153039) | more than 6 years ago | (#23959209)

firmwares. It would help to know what router you have.

Re:Many linksys models can use dd-wrt or other (2, Informative)

zonky (1153039) | more than 6 years ago | (#23959221)

and a WRT54GL cost me $100 (NZD) so i'm assuming it's $60-70 USD and with DD-WRT will do what you want and more.

Quality of Service (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23959217)

If you have the Vonage box prioritized, and the BT box bulked,(set for low priority) that should completely eliminate your problems, if it isn't, either you didn't set up QoS properly, or the QoS sucks and doesn't work.

For my setup with VOIP, I use a WRT54GL, with OpenWRT. Before I setup QoS, I experienced the same problems you did, but after I did all the problems went away.

Build one... (5, Informative)

kwabbles (259554) | more than 6 years ago | (#23959227)

www.ipcop.org
www.endian.com
www.smoothwall.org

Full-featured firewalls, will run on old crappy hardware you got laying around the garage. All you need is two NICs. Viola. QoS no problemo.

Re:Build one... (4, Informative)

NFN_NLN (633283) | more than 6 years ago | (#23959409)

What about http://m0n0.ch/wall/ [m0n0.ch]

Re:Build one... (4, Informative)

aliquis (678370) | more than 6 years ago | (#23959807)

Exactly, that or http://www.pfsense.com/ [pfsense.com]

Voip packet queuing (5, Informative)

whatmot (756982) | more than 6 years ago | (#23959233)

I use a Dlink appliance that works well, requires zero configuration and is placed in between the router and the modem - Voip Internet Accelerator Intelligent Packet Priority Engine Manufacturer Part Number: DI-102 Never had a single problem over more than a year of use.

Re:Voip packet queuing (3, Informative)

BulletMagnet (600525) | more than 6 years ago | (#23959983)

One little problem - your DI-102 unit is EOL'ed and no longer available.

Get another internet connection (5, Insightful)

fat_mike (71855) | more than 6 years ago | (#23959235)

If you're running a business, your first worry should be about servicing your customers not using Bittorent. Get another DSL/Cable/Wifi connection for your business and run your VOIP over that.

If you only need the limited bandwidth that you are looking for you'd be fine with the lowest speed (read cheapest) connection any ISP offered.

Re:Get another internet connection (1)

geekoid (135745) | more than 6 years ago | (#23959613)

true, OTOH if there is a solution for this, why not use it?

Re:Get another internet connection (1)

Rushowr (995924) | more than 6 years ago | (#23959697)

Uhm...the poster already mentioned that the bittorrent box on the network was low priority, and was actually asking for help further improving the bandwidth restrictions... Gawd I hate people who just want to be rude to people instead of possibly helping them

Re:Get another internet connection (1)

mollymoo (202721) | more than 6 years ago | (#23959743)

If you're using it for work get work to pay for a second phone line and unplug it after hours.

bittorrent latency (3, Informative)

markjhood2003 (779923) | more than 6 years ago | (#23959249)

Interesting exploration of the issues here: http://www.formortals.com/Home/tabid/36/EntryID/57/Default.aspx [formortals.com]

Re:bittorrent latency (1)

NeoNorm (982601) | more than 6 years ago | (#23959989)

The problem is likely not with your router, but is an inherent issue with bittorrent. The above article explains it very well. Mod Parent up.

QOS should work (5, Interesting)

corsec67 (627446) | more than 6 years ago | (#23959251)

QOS should work if you set it up properly.

On my WRT-54GL with Tomato [polarcloud.com] (others might work, Tomato is the easiest of ddwrt, openwrt in my experience), the QOS settings can be limited in just the way you want, with everything except the highest only being allowed only 75% of your upload, or whatever you want.

Downstream is a bit harder to restrict, since the queue is on the Telcom side of things, but you could do some QOS in your router there as well.

Re:QOS should work (5, Informative)

pyite (140350) | more than 6 years ago | (#23959631)

QOS should work if you set it up properly.

No, it shouldn't. QoS only works on egress. You can't do any meaningful ingress QoS. All you can do is stop packets from coming past the router. That doesn't address the real problem which is that the ISP link is maxed out. In fact, if you start dropping TCP data that's in a lower priority queue than your UDP voice, it will cause even further issues as the sender will retransmit those lost TCP packets.

Re:QOS should work (2, Insightful)

wolf12886 (1206182) | more than 6 years ago | (#23959873)

I wish I had mod points today, most people don't understand this, and wonder why even throttled BT kills their connections.

Re:QOS should work (1)

wolf12886 (1206182) | more than 6 years ago | (#23959893)

sorry, ignore parent, I meant to reply to a nested post

DDWRT QoS doesn't work in latest release (1)

tknd (979052) | more than 6 years ago | (#23959665)

In my experience DD-WRT QoS features don't work in the latest release. You're better off buying a tomato compatible router and flashing it with that firmware. The other option is OpenWRT but after reading the installation guides it doesn't seem so easy to get working.

Re:QOS should work (1)

afidel (530433) | more than 6 years ago | (#23959703)

For VoIP there's really no need for QoS on the downstream. Personally I've found that the best QoS is to simply limit my torrent client to about 1/3rd of my total available (150/500 kbps) upload bandwidth. That works better than the QoS on any low or midrange router/firewall I've ever run.

Seconded for Tomato (3, Informative)

PCM2 (4486) | more than 6 years ago | (#23959975)

I also use the Tomato firmware on a WRT54G, and I have exactly the kind of setup the OP describes. I don't even remember what kind of QoS came with the default firmware, but I never had any kind of luck with it, nor with DD-WRT. Tomato has been great so far.

Tomato actually offers fairly sophisticated QoS rules. You can set priorities by MAC address, IP address, port, etc. You can even set bandwidth caps for specific protocols/ports; so, for example, you can set the first 512KB of data transferred over port 80 to "Highest" priority, while anything after that drops back down to "Lowest" -- the effect being that regular ol' Web surfing gets a little kick in the pants, but extended transfers are given less priority. The latest release even added the ability to prioritize small packets (ACK, SYN, etc.)

What's more, Tomato also offers really neat graphing of your traffic. You can actually see, in near real time, what percentage of your outbound traffic falls under which priority category, with a nice pie graph. This is especially helpful when you want to double check that your rules are actually working (and you didn't make a typo when you were entering in a Mac address, for example).

One thing to remember when you're setting up QoS on a router like this, though, is that you need to reserve a certain amount of upstream bandwidth just to manage to QoS overhead. So, say you have 384KB/sec upstream bandwidth. You'll probably want to tell the router to reserve 40KB/sec or so for QoS. YES, that means your maximum upstream bandwidth will in effect be lower than what your provider advertised; call it the cost of doing business with QoS.

I have no empirical measurements to offer. All I know is that with the original, official WRT54G firmware and also DD-WRT I saw virtually no difference whatsoever when QoS was enabled. My outbound voice quality on my VoIP line was very choppy, particularly (but not limited to) when I was doing BitTorrent. With Tomato, on the other hand, there seems to be a marked improvement. I can actually hear the difference when I check and uncheck the "enable QoS" checkbox.

Re:Seconded for Tomato (1)

PCM2 (4486) | more than 6 years ago | (#23960029)

Incidentally, other posters are correct when they say that QoS can only really manage your upstream bandwidth. When I say the voice quality was bad, I'm talking about the sound of my own voice. The way I check the quality is by calling a different number and leaving a voicemail message. Everything sounds fine to me when I'm speaking, but the voicemail message tends to sound pretty choppy upon playback if there was other traffic on the line at the time and QoS was not enabled.

ISP to blame? (3, Insightful)

jrronimo (978486) | more than 6 years ago | (#23959253)

I have heard that most ISPs put VOIP packets on super-low priority anyway, so even your setup at home won't affect it a whole lot. I may have heard wrong, though.

No, that's not how it works (3, Informative)

billstewart (78916) | more than 6 years ago | (#23959913)

There are a few ISPs that have blocked VOIP, mostly (ex-) monopoly telcos in various countries that want to charge you by the minute for voice. But most ISPs, and especially non-telco ISPs, don't care, because voice doesn't use that much bandwidth (especially if you're using compression.) BitTorrent's a different game - it's using something in excess of 1/3 of the bandwidth on the internet, so there are reasons for some ISPs to care about it other than just greed and spite :-)


The real problem is that ISPs don't put VOIP on high priority, and applications like BitTorrent, ftp, and to some extent http want to suck down all the bandwidth they can get and fill up any network queues they can to keep the data flowing. ISP backbones are fat enough that it doesn't matter that they don't prioritize VOIP, but the link from their last switch or router to your house is a finite size, and BitTorrent can not only crowd out the downstream link, but can queue up enough packets that your VOIP traffic needs to wait a while for its packets to get through, and the gaps kill your audio quality.


Also, the most critical thing for your router to control is prioritizing VOIP packets on the upstream, but apparently that wasn't enough to keep the article poster's calls working well.


don't know if you were serious or trolling anyway...

One packet at a time (5, Informative)

feenberg (201582) | more than 6 years ago | (#23959273)

Suppose your upload speed is 150Kbps. A single bittorrent packet is 15,000 bits, so it takes a tenth of a second. If there is a bittorrent packet in the router when the VOIP packet arrives, the VOIP packet still has to wait for the bittorrent packet to finish, which means waiting up to a tenth of a second. Even though the VOIP packet always gets priority over other waiting packets, it will often arrive when the router is otherwise engaged, and therefore likely to endure a tenth of a second delay, which is probably noticable. I suppose reducing the MTU might be a help.

Re:One packet at a time (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23959713)

That isn't the problem. The maximum length Ethernet packet is 1500bytes or 12000 bits. These days upstreams are usually faster than 384kbps, which translates to a maximum latency caused by an in-transfer packet of 30ms, which isn't nice but not really a problem for voice communication. This latency can be further reduced by lowering the MTU on the outbound interface of the router, at a small throughput penalty. However, no latency of this kind would cause choppiness. What the poster experiences is most likely saturation of the inbound channel. TCP flow control should avoid this, and as long as the number of streams and their individual flows are steady, it does. Then a traffic shaper can reduce the senders' packet rates far enough by throttling the local acceptance rate to avoid the buildup of a queue on the other side of the DSL connection. But remember that this is indirect: It is the senders' TCP stack which adjusts the packet rate to minimize packet loss and maximize throughput. The problem stems from BitTorrent's erratic traffic patterns. New peers join, other peers leave. All flows fluctuate heavily. Under these circumstances, the local traffic shaper can not effectively limit the inbound rate, and then the inbound VoIP packets are queued behind a random number of inbound P2P packets on the other side of the DSL connection. That's where the choppiness comes from and there are only two ways to solve the problem: Throttle the inbound P2P traffic far lower than the available bandwidth or get a separate connection.

Re:One packet at a time (1)

afidel (530433) | more than 6 years ago | (#23959741)

Yeah setting my PC MTU to 576 instead of 1500 made a big difference for me, not as much as limiting my upload in the torrent client, but the two together work very well.

Re:One packet at a time (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23959779)

IP allows fragmentation. Good routers will automatically fragment the large packets to reduce the latency. Several gaming routers on the market advertise this functionality, but I've never tested to make sure it actually works.

Re:One packet at a time (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23959835)

Really interesting, I actually almost always modify the router's MTU down to 1200. When it comes to wireless it always increases performance by a lot.

Re:One packet at a time (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23959949)

> A single bittorrent packet is 15,000 bits

Unless you reduce your MTU. With IPv4 the minimum MTU is 68 bytes, but you had trouble communicating to some sites with it. 576 bytes used to be very common. I had good luck using a 296 byte MTU when I did some web surfing, Napster, and VoIP over a analog modem.

The only problem I had with the 296 byte MTU was with applications that use UDP like PointCast (with the client that did a real UDP push to the clients rather than the more common periodic HTTP pull one that wasn't real push). UDP doesn't handle small MTU's very well.

Put the Vonage box first... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23959279)

I had similar issues and ended up putting my Vonage box in front of my Linksys - turned off all firewall features on the Vonage side and set the IP for the linksys as DMZ. Figured this way the Vonage box will "win" when it comes to bandwidth battles....all happy now.

OpenWRT or dd-wrt (1)

Britz (170620) | more than 6 years ago | (#23959303)

http://openwrt.org/ [openwrt.org] (extend yourself, open, maybe takes longer to set up)

http://www.dd-wrt.com/dd-wrtv3/index.php [dd-wrt.com] (web interface like normal, just tons more options)

both should do the trick and maybe even run on your router

check:
http://www.dd-wrt.com/wiki/index.php/Supported_Devices [dd-wrt.com]

Re:OpenWRT or dd-wrt (1)

thatskinnyguy (1129515) | more than 6 years ago | (#23959857)

I have installed DD-WRT on many Linksys WRT54G's like the poster said he has. I find it to be very useful and I find the vpn endpoint capabilities totally amazing. One thing to look out for is the version of the default firmware. Versions 1-5, installing is like a walk in the park. Version 6 needs a bit of voodoo trickery and more 3rd party software. All of that is documented on DD-WRTs Hardware Compatibility List under Linsys [dd-wrt.com] . Version 7 is unsupported altogether so I would recommend fleabay for an older model.

Re:OpenWRT or dd-wrt (1)

cam312 (1240696) | more than 6 years ago | (#23959963)

A couple notes on this.

I run VOIP over a cable connection, and fought with quality of voice call whenever I e-mailed out a large attachment, or had my file server DFS sync in the background.

- I found that QoS on the router by itself didn't help a whole lot. It made a small difference, but not the big one I was expecting.
- upgrading my bandwidth made a significant difference, even when doing large transfers. There was more space for the VOIP packets to "slip in", I guess. Still not acceptable performance though.
- throttling my upstream to 90% of my bandwidth made all the difference in the world. I was no longer creating a queue at the ISP end where apparently VOIP packets (being UDP?) were being bypassed by the TCP traffic I was sending. Even high priority UDP were below normal priority TCP.

So - my solution - which works for large outgoing transfers (e-mail and DFS sync) - is to get a Linksys WRT54GL and put dd-wrt on it. Set it up so that the VOIP device is the highest priority for QoS. Then set it up to limit your upstream traffic to 90% of your actual upstream bandwidth.

I use this for my daily use business phone. (remotely hosted VOIP switchboard)

Linksys Sunrocket router doesn't even do this (3, Informative)

Lord Byron II (671689) | more than 6 years ago | (#23959307)

I have the Sunrocket "widget" (Linksys voip adapter) plugged directly into my dsl modem, and my router plugged into the widget. The widget is supposed to give its own data priority, but I've never seen any evidence of that.

But if all you care about is keeping BT from using the last XX amount of bandwidth, just dial your max upload and download speeds down in the BT client.

DD-WRT hardware support list (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23959311)

You can check the DD-WRT support list at
http://www.dd-wrt.com/wiki/index.php/Supported_Devices
to see if your router can maybe use that firmware which supports the reserving of bandwidth. It might be complicated to install for some routers but there are often step by step instructions that work out pretty well.
The easiest solution for you is probably just to limit your bittorrent client's upload and download rate to maybe 70-80% of your maximum so that there is always enough bandwidth available.

Not a specific answer but some advice. (1)

pandrijeczko (588093) | more than 6 years ago | (#23959331)

I do work as a techie for a telecoms company putting in VoIP systems and, yes, I know of systems that will do it but they are all at business-level prices and far too expensive for a home user.

However, there are a couple of things to bear in mind before you go to any expense in buying a bandwidth reservation device.

1. Yes, prioritisation of VoIP packets is part of the way to go but even though you set up prioritisation at your end of things, how do you know your ISP or any of the interconnecting providers are going to preserve that prioritisation? Routers do weird and wonderful things with packet queues and remarking packets such that the priority you sent the packet with is not necessarily the same the far end receives it with.

2. Bandwidth reservation is all fine and dandy as long as reserved ALONG THE ENTIRE PATH of the call. Sure, your broadband connection is theoretically the lowest bandwidth part of the path - but what happens if your ISP hits a congested period?

With point 1., you can at least packet sniff both ends to see if the prioritisation is preserved but unless your ISP can reserve bandwidth for VoIP, I'm not sure that a router that does it at your end only is going to be much of a guarantee of overall service.

Put the Vonage adapter in front of your Linksys... (3, Informative)

grandfenwick (31075) | more than 6 years ago | (#23959341)

Between the modem and the router. Hook the phone into the adapter as usual.

The adapter is what guarantees bandwidth for your phone.

WRT54GL with the right firmware is the answer (2, Informative)

irving (52575) | more than 6 years ago | (#23959347)

Purchase a WRT54GL (not any other WRT54G, unless you know what you're doing) and install the Tomato firmware on it. Not DD-WRT, not OpenWRT or any of the others. Tomato has better QoS and Traffic shaping functionality than most commercial firewalls I run.

You know the answer (1)

Tweaker_Phreaker (310297) | more than 6 years ago | (#23959353)

You answered your own question, buy a newer Linksys (or other supported brand) router model that you can get one of the many Linux firmwares (dd-wrt, open-wrt, etc.) onto. They all have QoS sections in their web gui's that are somewhat simple to use. The big thing to remember though is that bit torrent uses hundreds of connections that can build up at the ISP side and give you horrible latency and jitter so to avoid that you may have to severely restrain your torrents.

It's not your router... (3, Insightful)

acvolt (241850) | more than 6 years ago | (#23959363)

The problem is related to the amount of traffic coming to you from the internet. No amount of QoS applied to your router will be able to shape the traffic that is piling up against the provider's side of the link to your house. That leaves you with 2 options:
1. If your BitTorrent client supports it, set the maximum download rate to less than what your internet connection speed is. I won't guarantee this will completely solve the issue, but it should help.
2. Don't download big files while you are using your VoIP phone.

Re:It's not your router... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23959667)

> No amount of QoS applied to your router will be able to shape the traffic that is piling up against the provider's side of the link to your house.

Of course, this isn't true. TCP is a two-way protocol, so you can slow down the sender(s) - google for (as an example) the 'Wondershaper'

In my case, this helped... (2, Interesting)

bogaboga (793279) | more than 6 years ago | (#23959367)

...I called my VOIP provider (PrimusTel) and talked technically to the representative on the other side. I asked him to increase the compression ratio to allow near quality calls. I also used the web interface and "told" my router that trhe maximum available bandwidth available was 50kbs.

This has worked for me, no regrets.

Make Vonage first... (1)

Andraax (87926) | more than 6 years ago | (#23959379)

Hook the Vonage box up to your cable / DSL modem, then hook the router up to your Vonage box. This way, Vonage can starve the network when you're on the phone.

Re:Make Vonage first... (1)

indian_rediff (166093) | more than 6 years ago | (#23959905)

This is exactly what I have tried and I find that the Vonage box is able to take whatever BW it needs. Of course, it also helps that I don't use BitTorrent these days :-)

Once you're past the router... (3, Interesting)

Ungrounded Lightning (62228) | more than 6 years ago | (#23959381)

Once you're past the router you'll also have the problem that your ISP may not be honoring the QoS tagging of the VoIP traffic or otherwise identifying it and giving it priority. (In fact they may chose to identify it and give it LOWER priority if it's not theirs.)

So fixing your router may only be half the solution: It may throttle back your BitTorrent traffic to keep from stepping on the VoIP packets on the way to your ISP's first box, only to have it stomped by somebody ELSE's BitTorrent (or whatever) traffic on the next hop.

This, by the way, illustrates both halves of why "network neutrality" can't be just "treat all packets the same". You have to give the VoIP packets priority in scheduling over the BitTorrent packets to get them to work well (which doesn't do anything but slightly slow BitTorrent). But the tools to do that also give an ISP the ability to give the VoIP packets for their high-dollar service priority over BitTorrent while letting their competitors' VoIP packets fight it out, or even be handicapped further. Now try writing legislation to mandate the first while forbidding the second.

Try Sonicwall (1)

ghost_of_mrchicken (1315095) | more than 6 years ago | (#23959387)

I've tried Sonicwall in the past, and it had a bandwidth limiter in its configuration. The price is reasonable and the configuration doesn't require extensive knowledge of routers.

Re:Try Sonicwall (1)

DigiShaman (671371) | more than 6 years ago | (#23959795)

The cheapest wireless Sonicwall router (TZ 150) goes for arround $300. And that's not including all of the yearly subscriptions you can add on too such as anti-spyware/virus filtering. Besides, Sonicwall GUIs are so user-unfriendly.

I'm sorry, but I can't recommend any Sonicwall device for a home user or someone with little to no previous router/networking knowledge. Great products for the office however.

WRT54GL and dd-wrt are they way to go (1)

mnmoore (50459) | more than 6 years ago | (#23959397)

Routers are cheap. Buy a WRT54GL. Note the 'L', this is the "Linux" version and is more or less equivalent to a WRT54G, version 4 (v5 is when they started to suck). Install dd-wrt, the flavor with QoS.

I have basically the same setup as you, Vonage, home network, occasional BT use. dd-wrt is configured to give highest priority to the port the Vonage box is plugged in to, and bulk (lowest) priority to traffic in the bittorrent port range. Works very well for me.

All the QoS settings are in the dd-wrt GUI, you don't need to know Linux per se.

Simpler Solution (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23959411)

Wouldn't it be a lot easier/cheaper to just use your bittorrent client, almost all of which let you configure the amount of bandwith it uses and when?

DD-WRT (1)

na1led (1030470) | more than 6 years ago | (#23959421)

DD-WRT is your answer. Google it!

Get a real router (1)

dondelelcaro (81997) | more than 6 years ago | (#23959463)

You might as well just get yourself a power-efficient linux-powered router and set up tc properly to guarantee an uplink bandwidth slice to VOIP. (There are various recipes on lartc.org [lartc.org] to help you with this.

Downlink bandwidth management is slightly more complicated, but you can sort of manage it by droping or delaying non-voip packets which are coming in too fast to keep your ISPs queue empty.

Vonage (1)

ThundrNeon (1078563) | more than 6 years ago | (#23959471)

I also use vonage and had similiar issues. To fix them we delved into the vonage box and gave it a static IP that wasn't assigned by our router. Next turn on DMZ Host for that specific static IP address. Then we also turned on QOS to highest level for the port it was plugged into or you can do it by IP depending upon your router. QOS, DMZ host, and a static IP like that fixed all of our problems with quality. Now we get excellent call quality even while downloading at 1.5 Mb/s and uploading at 95Mb/s (nearly max for my house's connection).

BitTorrent Client (2, Interesting)

Bobfrankly1 (1043848) | more than 6 years ago | (#23959487)

I know you're looking into the router, but another option is to impose a limit in your BitTorrent client. I know UTorrent has functionality for restricting upstream and downstream speeds. Perhaps the client you are using has the same capabilities. Or perhaps I'm just made a worthless point, let the mods decide!
-
Soon to be modded -5 retarded, Bob

pfSense (1)

adrianhensler (454654) | more than 6 years ago | (#23959491)

In a word: pfSense. There are other options; but this 'appliance' installation is a solid, free, powerful product. I suggest you take a look. Just turn off dhcp on your linksys and use it as a wireless access point. I also suggest using a mini-itx board and case to keep power and size low. Possibly using the new Intel Atom; but you'd have to verify it will work on that hardware; I expect that it would.

QoS on consumer grade circuits.... (2, Informative)

DeadBeef (15) | more than 6 years ago | (#23959501)

Short answer, not really.

Longer answer, any circuit where you don't have a predictable amount of bandwidth will be hell to build any QoS with. Pretty well any home user connection will be in this class. Most of the cheap consumer devices that claim to do this are relying on tricks that won't work in a heap of cases or worse are snake oil.

No device is going to be able to do a good job without a heap of background information on what your connection is an how it behaves, things like when the buffers for outbound traffic on the other end of your DSL line kick in and behave etc.

If you want to learn a whole bunch of esoteric commands and a bit about networking you should be just fine building something to do it with a Linux box =)

Alternatively you might get a 95% successful solution if you buy a consumer device and shape the internet facing interface down to a speed that you hope your circuit will never drop below.

QOS != bandwidth (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23959525)

Proper QOS is not the same as bandwidth. You could reserve all the bandwidth you want but if you've got bad jitter then the call will still be hopeless.
Pausing bittorrent during calls is one solution. You could implement QoS so the other party can hear you, but for you to hear them your ISP really needs to apply QoS

It's not only bandwidth (1)

ForestGrump (644805) | more than 6 years ago | (#23959543)

Bandwidth is important to make sure your data arrives in a timely manner. However, there are other considerations when you are dealing with VOIP- mainly packet order and jitter.

I would recommend that you do a packet capture (wireshark) and take a look at the time between packets arriving. Also, pay attenation to sequence numbers. One or two every here and there can be compensated with, but if yours or the ISP's router buffer is delivering packets out of order (or even worse, dropped packets), then that's another problem you need to look into.

Grump
(former VOIP engineer)

Speedtouch (1)

mollymoo (202721) | more than 6 years ago | (#23959551)

My SpeedTouch 546 will do this, I think all the SpeedTouch routers will. I don't think you can do it with the web interface, but you can with telnet or by editing a config file. You just turn IPQoS on and the default ruleset prioritises VOIP and shares bandwidth fairly between the four ethernet ports. In fact, it might be on by default.

Speedtouches are very capable little routers under the hood. In addition to the usual 1:many NAT, firewalling and port forwarding, mine is currently also doing proper NAT (I have a public IP block) and IPQoS. The firewall is based on chains, so is pretty flexible. I think they run pretty much the same firmware as the "business" routers which are 5x the price, but with a dumbed-down web interface. If you don't mind a command line (it's quite a nice CLI for an embedded system - on-line help, interactive command entry and a command history) they'll probably do everything you'd want a router for a small network to do.

Not possible (1)

gweihir (88907) | more than 6 years ago | (#23959563)

You can shape the outgoing traffic, but not the incomming one. Even if that is bandwidth-limited by the application, different bittorrent senders will create bursts of incomming traffic when their traffic combines. There ia absolutely nothing you can do about this, except haveing more bandwidth available than the combined maximum burst speed of the incomming traffic.

Re:Not possible (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23959919)

You can use a linux box as the router and cbq to do traffic shaping. As far as i know, there is nothing commercially available that can match the ability. I have used it on a condominium wifi network and was able to give different levels of bandwith to particular mac addresses. It worked great for inbound/outbound traffic, but took forever to figure out how to implement. Limiting the bandwith on the BT client is the easiest way to fix the problem.

pfsense (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23959567)

pfsense

Torrent client with throttle (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23959581)

I use Vuze (Azureus) as a torrent client, which lets you limit the up and down bandwidth of torrents. Not sure what you can do for intensive browsing, non p2p downloading and voip though.

Too bad it's Vonage and not direct from the ISP. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23959585)

Too bad it's Vonage. If you get VoIP through your ISP and they provide services such as 911, chances are they already do this kind of thing for you out of necessity. VoIP traffic is generally given the highest priority in order to ensure call quality for emergency situations. It would rather suck if a torrent kept the ambulance from being dispatched while you're having a heart attack, so ISP's have the ability on their end to isolate the VoIP traffic in a way that not all services can (Vonage) in order to make sure this doesn't happen. /disclosure: I work for a business that provides VoIP to Cable Companies

Learn DD-WRT (1)

Raineer (1002750) | more than 6 years ago | (#23959587)

It isn't "esoteric". Do some research and you will find it is not that hard, and it does work fine. However, I have to dump Vonage anyways... Even with it being plugged DIRECTLY into the cable modem it doesn't work as well as it should. I've been a Vonage customer for 3 years...and I'm canceling my number this weekend to switch to Skype. I have had zero Skype problems whatsoever, and it is 1/3 the cost for the same features (minus 911, but you can always call the emergency departments directly)

A software solution? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23959593)

I use Vonage for VOIP as well and I use BitComet. I too has the same problem, but I solved it without a router.

Vonage requires a minimum of 20-30 KB/s upload and download to work well. BitComet (and other clients) allow you set the maximum bandwidth usage. When I limited the maximum bandwidth in the BitComet settings to 30 KB/s less than my maximum upload/download bandwidth, it solved all of my problems.

Perhaps this would work for you too and be a less expensive option than purchasing a new router that would effectively do the same thing.

I have a similar problem (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23959615)

I have found that when I'm riding my motorcycle down the freeway at 90 mph, it becomes difficult to light my cigarette. Can anyone recommend a better lighter?

Traffic goes the wrong direction (1)

billstewart (78916) | more than 6 years ago | (#23959623)

VOIP traffic needs to get good bandwidth in both directions - inbound and outbound. Your router can prioritize outbound traffic so that VOIP packets always go first (assuming it can recognize VOIP), but there's it can't control inbound traffic because the bottleneck in that direction is the DSL/cable link from your broadband provider to your router, not the Ethernet from the router to your PC. In theory, your ISP could offer QoS features and if the people you're talking with sent you properly marked packets it could do the same, but it practice that never happens with consumer-priced services.


So how can you restrict the speed of incoming BitTorrent traffic or other kinds of high-volume traffic? You're basically trying to get your router or your computers to tell the far end to slow down.

  • Some link-level protocols like Frame Relay have mechanisms for this, but DSL generally doesn't, and that's not end-to-end anyway.
  • ICMP Source Quench can theoretically help at an IP level, but it's very crude and everybody blocks ICMP anyway.
  • TCP has two mechanisms - Explicit Congestion Notification (ECN) [wikipedia.org] and windowing/acknowledgments. ECN isn't universally supported, but sometimes works, by sending slow-down messages to the senders. Alternatively, your router could get fancy by messing with queuing and TCP ACKs as a much cruder way to get distant senders to slow down. I don't think I've seen any routers that have implemented that, but I've seen some host-based applications that can sort of do that from a per-host level, which doesn't quite match what you want.


If you're only running one BT system, you can use a BT client that throttles traffic, and set it to a level that'll usually leave your voice usable. It's not perfect - BT is typically sending requests for blocks to a bunch of different peers, and the peers are sending those blocks when they get around to it, and if you're talking to four peers they might all transmit the same millisecond, but at least on average you can get some control that'll help.

Re:Traffic goes the wrong direction (1)

Curmudgeonlyoldbloke (850482) | more than 6 years ago | (#23959935)

In theory, your ISP could offer QoS features ... but it practice that never happens with consumer-priced services.
For good or ill, I bet that will change (at least at the cheap "home" end of the ISP market). At least one ISP in the UK does this - VOIP etc. sits at the top of the table, so-called "interactive" traffic such as web browsing is next, and P2P scratches around on the floor.

It'd solve your problem, but at the expense of your P2P traffic being slow because everyone else is browsing the web. You pays your money and takes your choice...

The age old battle (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23959643)

You're fighting the age old P2P battle my friend. Sysadmins and service providers have been waging this war for years; how do we allow for both... truth is, you don't. Because P2P applications more often become popular because of their illegal content avilability they are developed with this in mind. QoS unfortunately can help but it is marginal at best. QoS prioritizes packets based on characteristic matching, be it DSCP flags, IP address, port matching, w/e. The fact of the matter is the router has to do SOMETHING with each of these packets. P2P apps often create massive amounts of SYN traffic as it tries to establish connections with peers in the "swarm". The cheap $40 off the shelf "home-use" routers may have 8MB of RAM, and maybe a Citrix 133MHz (if your lucky) processor. As it attempts to throttle the traffic it has to work very hard. If QoS is available for your computer (where the traffic is originating) you may be able to configure it to shape the traffic before it overwhlems your box. Long story short, use a separate connection for your P2P stuff or upgrade to a business class router that can handle the traffic. A nice Cisco unit will run you about $3,000 or a second ISP $40/mo. You can sometimes find used equipment from businesses upgrading or going out of business that can still meet these needs but give you a nice price break. I would expect to spend about $1,000 for something worthy of attempting P2P traffic shaping.

Understanding QoS on the Internet (5, Informative)

Adeptus_Luminati (634274) | more than 6 years ago | (#23959669)

Firstly, there are routers out there, or perhaps more specifically, firmware (i.e. DDWRT), which support detailed QoS schemes such as allocating 100Kbits for VoIP at high priority, 512K for http web surfing at medium priority and whatever is left over can be used for torrenting.


What such routers are doing is only "outbound packet DSCP marking". In English this means that once you configure such routers, only the packets that you send out to the Internet will be marked to exibit the behaviour you desire; however... and this is a BIG however, the fact of the matter is that:


1) Whilst you have marked some packets high, medium and low pririty, your ISP and every other Telco/ISP on the Internet may completely ignore those markings (preferences) of yours.


2) In fact, some of them may "remark" all your packets back to the same level, effectively disabling QoS.


3) Most routers mark packets outbound, and little emphasis is placed on inbound marking. This is because by the time the packet gets to you, unless YOUR router is saturated the packet will get through with low latency.


In order for QoS to work effectively the following things must be in place:


1) Every single network device along your network path must support QoS. This is NOT the case with 99% of the Internet. Not because the routers aren't capable of such, but rather because the ISPs disable this function for customer marked traffic.


2) Even if every network device from your home PC, router, to your ISP, the 6 telcos in the middle of the Internet cloud and your destination website in China supported QoS, chances are they would not all agree on what each marking would mean, and therfore they would interpret them incorrectly (from your perspective).


3) QoS only comes into effect when a network point is saturated, during all other times of bandwidth being available, QoS has next to no effect.


Further,


VoIP is UDP based, and is highly sensitive to latency. The Internet is a place where latency is highly unpredictable and the more network hops (the further geographically) your packets have to travel, the higher the end to end latency will be; as such, VoIP is likely to remain a low quality voice transport for a while. Contrastly, your analogue telephone line, when you make a call from US to China, actually reserves an entire set of *dedicated* DS1 (64Kbits/sec) analogue pipes from one end to the other. In other words, there is zero sharing; hence the guarantee and high quality.


Perhaps one day, when all the major Telcos and ISPs have more pipe than they know what to do with, long distance VoIP will come close in quality to analogue phones... until then it's a complete crap shoot. You might get amazing quality to some locations on some days, at certain times 99/100 times, and to other locations 80/100 times the VoIP call is utterly useless.


In resume, you can tweak your home router all you want. It might help slightly since your router would become a saturated network point due to you using bitorrent simultaneously; however, the other 8+ hops to get to "China" are completely out of your control.


My recommendation is that if you have a say 1Mbit Up/Down pipe for broadband internet; that before you make your VoIP call, that you throttle your bittorent software (in the software itself) to use only 850Kbits up/down. VoIP protocols can suck up anywhere between 8Kbit/sec (highly compressed) to 110 Kbits/sec (uncompressed). So by leaving 150Kbits for VoIP, there's a good chance the VoIP and torrents can co-exist peacefully.


Cheers, ADeptus

Is your problem upstream or downstream? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23959673)

I've been a VOIP user in Australia almost since the very first VOIP PSTN services were offered to the general public about four years ago. I understand entirely the issues described in this posting. But its more complex than what you might thing.

What exactly sounds choppy? Does the far end caller sound choppy to you, or do the people you're talking to complain that you sound choppy, or both???

Implementing a QOS router only helps in the UPSTREAM direction - that means the people on the far end are likely to hear you better (less choppy for them) but it will make NO DIFFERENCE to you. I'm presuming you've got switched and wired Ethernet between your router and your VOIP Analogue Telephone Adapter and the Ethernet is substantially faster / non-blocking compared to your broadband connection.

After years of complaints from my wife and family, I finally got a workable solution that pretty much makes VOIP sound better than our crappy 5km analogue PSTN line....

1) I implemented QOS in my router

2) I got the router to identify P2P traffic specifically and limit its maximum rate both upstream and downstream to about 100 kbit/s less than the nominal DSL line rate.

3) I configure my bittorrent clients to limit traffic anyway, although this is probably paranoid.

4) When my wife calls down expletives from upstairs, I immediately stop the bittorrent client and go and hide.

Are you getting a feeling now for how the problem can be addressed??? I suspect that while ISPs offer 'best effort' internet services, VOIP and Bittorrent are going to be difficult to mix.

I also took a fifth action which was the best 'solution' of all - but still not perfect.

5) Subscribed to the fastest DSL service I could get - which for me turns out to be about 4M downstream and 384k upstream (sadly, that's all you can achieve on long crappy lines like mine) - but it worked. Mind you, It was the FOURTH ISP I churned to that got it working - the other three implement 'shaping' which (GRRRRR) cannot discriminate between P2P and VOIP - and VOIP calls were constantly dropped after about a minute if I had a torrent running.

Good luck. But watch out for QOS services from your ISP some time in the next decade.

Enough! (1)

fabs64 (657132) | more than 6 years ago | (#23959693)

Do we really need requests for commercial product recommendations on the front page?

A simple solution (4, Funny)

Duncan Blackthorne (1095849) | more than 6 years ago | (#23959699)

Why not just get your VoIP through Comcast? They'll have no problems throttling your bandwidth for you for no extra charge.

You sure that's the problem? (1)

nsayer (86181) | more than 6 years ago | (#23959727)

If the calls sound choppy to you, then the problem probably is the incoming bandwidth, which a router on your premises is not going to be equipped to solve. By the time the packets come in to your border router, they've already occupied the bandwidth that you would be attempting to reserve.

Common Error (1)

Some guy named Chris (9720) | more than 6 years ago | (#23959759)

See, here's the problem. With QoS on these routers, you only have actual REAL control over what you transmit, not what you receive, and since you're receiving data across the internet, all the QoS bits on your inbound traffic from Vonage are thrown away as soon as they hit a backbone router.

So, yeah, you can control how much bandwidth on your outbound you allocate to VOIP traffic, but your bottleneck is not on outbound (if Bittorrent is what is causing your problems), but on traffic coming in. The best you can do is have your router drop non-voip packets inbound, and trust that the sender will slow their rate and retransmit. But, if they do, your BT client might try to compensate by the reduced flow by trying to connect to more peers. And, even if it doesn't, you're still having to receive the connections, determine whether they're VOIP traffic or not, and either pass or drop them. Your pipe is hammered and filled before your router ever gets a chance to do any QoS.

Basically, unless you control both endpoints and all the links in between, you cannot have real, hard QoS. You can "hope for the best", which is what you've got now.

Type of Bandwidth Limitation (1)

bill_mcgonigle (4333) | more than 6 years ago | (#23959769)

Some routers do bandwidth limitation by limiting average bandwidth. That is they send at full speed, pause, send at full speed, pause.

That's not good for VOIP as it hoses your latency, but it's going to be fine for SMTP. Maybe yours does that.

Known Problem (1)

storm_guardian (687284) | more than 6 years ago | (#23959775)

Basically the issue is that your router can prioritize outgoing packets, but your ISP controls the priority of incoming packets. The only sensible solution is to bandwidth limit your other uses (most bittorrent clients can do this) so that there's always spare capacity for VOIP.

Call forwarding (1)

Andy_R (114137) | more than 6 years ago | (#23959793)

If only there was some way to route analogue sounds signals over some unused bandwidth in those internet wires that you have coming into your house...

Why not just set up plain old telephone call forwarding, and get calls to your business number routed to your home number?

If you're calls SOUND choppy to YOU... (1)

volxdragon (1297215) | more than 6 years ago | (#23959841)

The problem isn't your upstream (IE, from you to the ISP), it's your downstream (from the ISP to you). You can control your upstream with QoS settings on most good routers (although you need a 'real' router to get true QoS handled in hardware - most of the software implementations in the little SOHO routers suck badly), but you are at the mercy of your ISP for your downstream. If you are doing anything that pulls large amounts of data toward you (IE, downloading), it is far more effective to have the application do the throttling than the router (the router will just drop a ton of inbound traffic on the floor which is rather ineffective since you will usually have a much higher bandwidth on the LAN side than the WAN side in the first place). As for bittorrent, limit the number of inbound connections and limit the bandwidth per connection in the application, that will be most effective...

Your best/cheapest option is an ATA with a router (1)

peskypescado (869865) | more than 6 years ago | (#23959849)

Your best option is to get a SIP ATA (analog telephone adapter) that has a router built-in. I have personally used a Grandstream 486 [grandstream.com] ,and they work great. Vonage uses SIP and I have read (but never tested myself) that you can use any SIP compliant device with it. The difference between Vonage's ATAs and others' like Grandstream's is that Vonage's are locked down to only work with Vonage.

So you would go from your DSL/Cable modem to the ATA/Router then to your Wireless/LAN access point or switch. If you would prefer to still use your wireless router for everything you could set it up in a DMZ on the ATA and put the ATA on a different subnet than the wireless router.

QoS (1)

commking (876841) | more than 6 years ago | (#23959891)

You can only half do it. QoS means prioritising packets - sending important packets before less important packets. So, you can prioritise VoIP, outbound. You can't do it inbound - only the router at the other end of the link can do that - and since that belongs to your ISP, you can only do it in one direction, unless your ISP offers it (unlikely on a non-business type product). You've also talked about bandwidth reservation - same deal applies. Since a voice call goes in both ways, I think you can get the idea. Good luck!

BitTorrent Throttling? (1)

nko321 (788903) | more than 6 years ago | (#23959985)

Don't most of the good BitTorrent clients let you throttle how much bandwidth you want to let it use?

A couple ideas... (1)

vux984 (928602) | more than 6 years ago | (#23960011)

I have used my Linksys (not a WRT54G, so 'upgrading' it to Linux probably won't work) router's QoS feature to assign high priority to the MAC address of the Vonage box, low priority to the BitTorrent box, and medium quality to everything else,

Check for firmware updates for your router. Consider purchasing a new router. At most it will help a bit.

which helps a little, but not enough.

As you've noticed, evidently.

Is there a router out there that would allow me to reserve, say, 75-90kbps of bandwidth off the top for VOIP and never, ever allow any application to use that, regardless of whether there's a VOIP call going on at the moment or not?"

Well, first off that would be a pretty stupid waste of capacity. And secondly, no, if the packets are flooding in from the outside, even if your router is rejecting them, they are still flooding in saturating the pipe.

There are 2 things you can do:

1) Throttle down your bittorrent at your end, to limit its download rate. That will keep peers from saturating your incoming link.

2a) Contact your ISP and see if they offer QoS service, which means they will prioritize your VOIP packets through their network, and their routers.

Shaw in Canada for example offers it for $10/mo

http://www.shaw.ca/en-ca/ProductsServices/Internet/Internet+Explained/QoSVoIP.htm [www.shaw.ca]

In theory this is the best solution. In practice, its somewhat controversial.

Some have alleged shaw and other ISPs deliberately manipulate competitors voip traffic to promote its own voip offering. While this is possible, in my experience that isn't the case at all [at least with shaw].

Others allege that its a 'scam' to let shaw squeeze more money out of people and has no effect. But to counter that I have heard of cases where people have found QoS made a big difference.

Still others claim that QoS should be free and automatically applied to real-time apps like voip, video chat, etc and refuse to pay for it. But that's a separate economics issue.

In my case (on Shaw) I use primus voip and have no trouble, except when torrenting, but throttling my torrents seems to generally resolve the issue, and I've never tried their QoS service. I also mostly torrent at night.

Don't bother with consumer routers for VOIP (1)

Darkk (1296127) | more than 6 years ago | (#23960017)

Bit-torrent is a HUGE resource hog and pretty much all consumer routers barely can keep up. Bit-torrent can generate hundreds up to several thousands of connections which fills up the iptables in the consumer router very quickly. There isn't enough memory or horsepower in a typical Linksys or D-Link router that can really keep up with it. Poor VOIP connections confirms this. Best bet is setup a Linux router using IPCOP (www.ipcop.org) and it's really easy to setup and configure. This way you can customize the hardware anyway you want to suit your needs. What's more you can easily add more features to it like OpenVPN. If IPCop isn't to your liking there are plenty of others out there. Take my word for it, you outgrew that Linksys router and no firmware will 100% fix it regardless of what people say. Good luck.

Get a D-Link gaming router (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23960023)

Dlink DGL-4100 router has traffic shaping that YOU specify. I play online games and use BitTorrent at the same time with no trouble now that I got the gaming router with the traffic shaping ability. It's WICKED nice. A bit pricey, but my lag spikes are gone, and it goes nice and smooth. This may help your VOIP blues.

Edgewater Edgemarc might be your answer (1)

sasso (1315107) | more than 6 years ago | (#23960035)

I used to work for a VoIP company, although on the IP side of things (so i'm no expert on the edgemarc), and we looked at using Edgemarc as our CPE for businesses. These devices can be statefully aware of active voip calls and when there is bandwidth contention, it can adjust the tcp windowing of your non-voip traffic which slows the remote host's transmission of data. it's a reactive solution and the edgemarcs aren't cheap, but businesses use them. don't hold me to it, but it might be worth checking out. i think they make a few SOHO models.
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