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Getting good QoS with VoIP during network activity

Posted on 2008-09-30
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Last Modified: 2013-12-14
I have VoIP service with VOIPYourLife.com.

They provided a phone adapter, which is a LinkSys SPA-2102

I have a Qwest DSL Modem (ActionTec M1000) and a LinkSys Router (WRT310N)

I've flashed the WRT with WRT-DD.

My setup is:

Modem --> WRT
The various computers and the SPA are all connected to the WRT.

I've set the DMZ in the modem to point to the WRT.

In WRT-DD, I've set QoS to Premium for the SPA.

Call quality is fine until I have significant download activity on the computers.  Then, the VoIP is essentially unusable.  Either they can't hear us or we can't hear them or it's terribly choppy.

I'm hoping an expert can help me troubleshoot this and find a mix of settings that will give us good call quality, regardless of what the computers are doing on the network and/or internet.
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Question by:Kaprice
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Expert Comment

by:DMTechGrooup
ID: 22611097
What are you downloading? Bittorrent? P2P? Music?

The QoS can set those services to bulk so they have less priority.. so when a phone call is going on the other stuff gets less bandwidth.
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Expert Comment

by:lrmoore
ID: 22611130
>I've set the DMZ in the modem to point to the WRT.
Try setting the modem into bridge mode instead so that the WRT actually gets the public IP address and sends the pppoe username/password information
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Expert Comment

by:DMTechGrooup
ID: 22611139
He is using Qwest. They use PPoA and do not support a bridge mode.
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Author Comment

by:Kaprice
ID: 22611238
I download from various sources.  Sometimes it's streaming audio or video (such as from NetFlix), sometimes through an FTP client, download manager (such as FlashGet), and also Torrents.

The degradation is particularly strange, to me, since my upload/download bandwidth test around 1600/650 kbs -- wait...

I just ran another test at dslreports.com and my download speed dropped by half (578 kbs)  Not sure what that's about.  Latency jumped by double (102ms).  So, I may have have an inconsistent connection.

Anyway, I get quality issues with downloads as low as 160 kbs.  I'm told by the VoIP provider that the voice bandwidth is set to around 64 kb, so I SHOULD have plenty of bandwidth.

I wonder if it's more than bandwidth causing the problem?  Latency?  Number of connections?  Overloading the router and/or modem with activity?

Where do we look?

DMTechGrooup:, you mentioned setting the torrrent (and possibly other download apps) to "Bulk".  Should we consider and pursue that?
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Expert Comment

by:DMTechGrooup
ID: 22611251
Yes.. set all that type of traffic to bulk.  You could go as far and set the MAC of the computers to bulk as well.  Latency could be an issue.  Did you look up your Download/Upload speeds from the modem itself?  Should be on the main page of http://192.168.0.1

http://www.talkswitch.com/voip/voip_test.aspx
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Expert Comment

by:DMTechGrooup
ID: 22611265
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Author Comment

by:Kaprice
ID: 22611304
Yes, the modem shows:

Downstream Rate:  1536 Kbps

Upstream Rate:  832 Kbps

testyourvoip, earlier today, showed numbers close to that,. with only around 40 latency.  But, tonight, I'm getting about half the downstream rate and double the latency.  

Though, I will say my quality issues happened during the day, right after the higher test.

Is there a downside to setting the computers to Bulk?
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Expert Comment

by:DMTechGrooup
ID: 22611466
No, as long as you are not on the phone then they will use the bandwidth it can.

Have your DSL tested to the house, I have seen issues with the wiring.. time of day.. heat.. etc can cause issues.  Only true way to test it is to put the modem right where the phone lines come in..  Qwest will want to try and say no problems and they can be hard to track down.
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Author Comment

by:Kaprice
ID: 22611471
As for setting the computers to Bulk, I don't see a place in WRT-DD to set QoS by IP.  
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Expert Comment

by:DMTechGrooup
ID: 22611500
Screen shot attached.
qos2.JPG
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Author Comment

by:Kaprice
ID: 22611516
With uTorrent running (even paused), DD-WRT LAN Status shows my computer as having 410 connections.  Is that OK?  

I shut down uTorrent a few minutes ago, and the number of connections is slowly going down.  It's currently showing 209.  Does that seem like an unusually high number.  All the other computers have from 1 to 10 connections.

OH, my count just jumped up to 225.  uTorrent wouldn't be doing this, after I closed it, would it?  (And, I truly exited, not just hid in the system tray.)

I've only got this Experts-Exchange  page open in Chrome, and the DD-WRT open in IE.
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Expert Comment

by:DMTechGrooup
ID: 22611534
torrent is a peer to peer.. people use your computer for seeds or leeching so it is possible to have a lot of connections open.

You could also have spyware or something going on..

http://www.softpedia.com/get/System/System-Info/Tcp-IP-Monitor.shtml

What protections do you have on your system?  You might want to post up a new thread with a hijack this log for some of the spyware experts to look at.
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Author Comment

by:Kaprice
ID: 22615360
I'm running McAfee security suite.

Once uTorrent closes, you'd think those connections would sever, right?
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Expert Comment

by:DMTechGrooup
ID: 22615658
Should, I personally don't like McAfee..  Try scanning with www.malwarebytes.org .. That will give you a better idea.
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Author Comment

by:Kaprice
ID: 22616801
Thanks for that.  A quick scan using the malwarebytes software showed no problems.
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Author Comment

by:Kaprice
ID: 22621186
even with my computer set to Bulk and the Phone Adapter set to Premium, the phone quality is horrible when downloading.

Anyone know how to troubleshoot this?  What settings (in router or on the Phone Adapter or in Windows) can improve call quality.  One voice or another just absolutely cuts out.
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Expert Comment

by:DMTechGrooup
ID: 22621246
Post a screen shot of your QoS page.. have you called them to test your lines?
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Author Comment

by:Kaprice
ID: 22695857
Here's the shot.  While taking the shot, I thought of something.  The port forward WAS fixed to ...108.  But, the SPA is on variable IP.  I checked and noticed that it had gotten reassigned to ...107,  so, I just changed the SPA IP to fixed ...107.

I also called tech support, and the guy said my QOS and Codec settings had gotten deleted, somehow.  So, he set them to something he said would be good.

I'll pay attention to quality and report back.  

Do the settings in the screen shot look good, to you?  

Anything else you recommend I look at (or show you)?  

Should we confirm the DMZ settings in the Qwest modem are correct?  

Is there a way to test for that?
VOIPshot.png
VOIPshot2.png
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Author Comment

by:Kaprice
ID: 22695862
Oh, and the status page (LAN) shows these MACs:

SPA mac: 00:0E:08:E8:0A:EB
My PC: 00:1B:24:28:8C:6F

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DMTechGrooup earned 500 total points
ID: 22698016
As long as the DMZ is pointing to the Linksys (192.168.0.2) or whatever it is then it is working.  Everything else looks good.
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Author Comment

by:Kaprice
ID: 22698209
Thanks.  One thing I noticed when making the screenshot is that the IP of the SPA had changed.  Turns out it was set to dynamic IP.  I called tech support and had them change it to Fixed, so now the port forwarding should work, consistently.

I'll double check the DMZ settings and the IP of the router.

I'll report back with phone quality after some real-world testing.

BTW, is there anything in the screenshots that someone could use to hack my system?
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Expert Comment

by:DMTechGrooup
ID: 22698655
No you don't have any ports open that shouldnt be.. you should be fine.
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Author Comment

by:Kaprice
ID: 22723120
Well, my VoIP quality is still terrible during downloading.  Thanks for all your efforts.  
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