VoIP on Cable ISP using Cisco uBR900 router

Posted on 2004-04-22
Last Modified: 2013-11-29
Hi everybody,
I have the above router that is supplied and owned by the ISP. They dont allow me to peek at it and definately not change anything. However they will change if I ask nicely!

OK, my issue is that I am a SOHO using the superb Cisco 7960 VoIP handset (without call manager). This I have connected into the router. All networked PC's (4 off) are connected to a switch which in turn uplinks to the router so everyone has access to the ISP. The reason for this setup is that the Cisco router has only 10mps while the switch has 100mps networking.
Everythng works fine (after much sweat and tears), the Cisco IP phone is set to use G729 codec as we have found the voice quality is better than G711.

The ISP has sold me a 300 / 300 connection.
My question is in two parts.
How can I verify that I am getting what I am paying for? I can use many freebie programs to verify that my download is more or less 300 but I can find nothing tho help me verify that my upload us 300.

Also, is the 10mps router connection affecting the VoIP connection quality? Would I be better asking the ISP to provide a cable modem and use the better connection speed of the switch. They claim that this is not practical as I have a fixed IP which I understand is highly desirable for effective VoIP.

I am asking this question as I have checked the connections using ping plotter and the turnouround reproted by PP seems not to have changed since the upgrade from 300/150 to 300/300 ISP connection.
Sorry to waffle but I guess to get a correct answer you need a detaied question.
Question by:Muskett
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Expert Comment

ID: 10889307

To confirm the upload speed into your ISP you could ask your ISP to verify the connection speed and produce documentory evidence...this would be a better way than using another internet site as you then rely on that internet site have sufficient internet bandwidth and other factors such as routing hops and traffic shaping between ISP's come into play.
On the point of VoIP on the router...the 10Mb uplink will not affect your voice quality as the phone is plugged directly into the router and remains unaffected by server broadcasts from the switch which is plugged into another router port.
Check with your ISP to see if they have changed the config of the router to accomodate your VoIP phone through shaping and QOS. If they have then your router will give precedence to voice traffic over data traffic ... if they have not and you are not experiencing quality issues with your voice calls then you have nothing to worry about...if you start to experience issues later then get the ISP to amend the config of the router to prioritise voice over data.
There are many ISP's that provide static IP addresses through cable, so mention this to them and ask them to reconsider the request...they can provide a static address through any connection media, but whether they want to is another matter.


Author Comment

ID: 10891559
Perhaps I should have made it clear, I am in Europe and there is no real cable competition except adsl and that is no where near the speed that I have now.
I have checked with the ISP and they claim 300/300. It just seem strange that  pings are returned in more or less the same as before so my question was is this a valid way to look at upload speed? It think you have indicated it is not due to the pinged sites bandwidth.

Do I understand that I am being fed crap regarding the fixed IP address? It can still be fixed with a simple cable modem? If so, is there any real advantage in me pressurising them to change the Cisco router for a cable modem?

Expert Comment

ID: 10891869
If you're in the UK, then SDSL is another option depending upon whether your local exchange is sdsl excellent ISP called Easynet offer DSL services with upto 2Mb upload and download speeds on an contention of 1:1. They are one of the very very few to be installing their own DSL equipment into exchanges so they may have SDSL where BT do not.

A ping test only provides a very simple availability test and is very much dependant on the remote side being responsive and is not really a stress test to gather any information on your upload speed as it only sends and receives a small singular packet.

There are ISP's that do supply static IP addresses as a matter of course to cable modem customers, but if yours does not then tell them you want to host a small web service to private customers and as such need a static address range for this service. I would put emphasis on the small size of this need to get them worried about you taking all their bandwidth !!

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Author Comment

ID: 10960519
Thanks for the info, I am a Brit but am not in the UK. I am generally satisfied with the service of the ISP, my 300/300k service is adequate for the VoIP and the network access. Transferring large files and occasional upleads to our website. They supply a fixed IP address which is fine.

Do I conclude correctly from the responses that there is no satisfactory way that I can prove my upload speed and therefore have to trust that I am getting what I am paying for?

Thanks all,

Author Comment

ID: 10960603
Sorry, 300/300 above is "kbps"

Accepted Solution

Stevel123 earned 250 total points
ID: 11220631
Apologies for the long delay in replying...out of the country and unable to connect in...
It is very difficult to onclusively prove you are recieving the full bandwidth allocation unless you are able to use a bandwidth checker utility locally on your system against the ISP's equipment, therefore removing the unknown factor of other websites and other ISP's. Even this may not provide conclusive proof, as the other issue with a DSL service is the contention ratio of the circuit provided by the ISP. In the UK almost all DSL services are delivered by BT. You can specify contention ratio's of 50-1, 20-1 or pay more for a lower contention ratio.
There has to be a level of trust of the ISP that they are actually providing you with the bandwidth you are paying for...


Author Comment

ID: 11220719
Thanks Steve,
You have confirmed my concern that the subscriber is very much in the hands of trusting the ISP. Even the point on contention ratios is unprovable.
To be honest I am not having major problems with either large file transfers of VoIP.
That said, VoIP is not the "quality" that it really should be, or more correctly as "sold".
I have found a company that offer PSTN fallback at the same rates in event of network failure, I will try them out. I do not like using this site for publicity, especially for companies that I have not fully proved. If anyone is interested in knowing the Co. is then email me "" and I will send the link on the basis that it is up to you to satisfy yourself they can fulfill your needs.
Steve certainly has gone a long way to answer my questions so he certainly deserves teh points.

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