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sidney

46 posts

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#11825 13-Feb-2007 22:55
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I thought I should start a new thread to document my ongoing trials and tribulations trying to get VFX voip to work on my IPStar satellite connection and to solicit advice.

My setup: IPStar satellite connection using ICONZ as the ISP, right now on their 1Mbps/256Kbps plan. The satellite modem connects to the WAN (Internet) port of a Linksys SPA2102 ATA box. The LAN (Ethernet) port of the SPA2102 connects to a LAN port of a WRT54GL that is in bridge mode and provides a wireless connection for my computers. ICONZ provide me with a /30 subnet so that the satellite modem can have NAT disabled and the SPA2102 WAN port has my public static IP address. The SPA2102 provides NAT and DHCP service out the LAN port.

WXC/VFX unlocked Line 2 of the SPA2102 at my request, allowing me to experiment with settings with another voip provider. I have been using 0064.co.nz for that. I also have been experimenting with an XLite 3.0 softphone on both Windows ans Mac using 0064.co.nz as the provider. VFX is currently not available for use with any softphone and their configuration on the SPA2102 is kept locked, making it impossible for me to experiment with settings for them. I try to see what works well with 0064.co.nz on Line 2 and when I am satisfied that something works better I place a support call to VFX so that the first level tech can pass on my request to an ops person who eventually makes the change and then so far has ignored all my pleas to send me an email so I can know for sure when it has been done :-(

Adding to the challenges is the fact that I have not yet found how to configure Line 2 of the SPA2102 so that it successfully re-registers to 0064 after the first registration after a power cycle expires. That means that every time I want to test making an outgoing call on the box using 0064 I have to reboot it. Many many emails to 0064 support asking for advice on how to configure the SPA2102 have never ever received any reply, not even an automated acknowledgment of receipt the way most support email addresses work. Their website has no phone numbers. Strange how their automated system for sending an email when the pay-as-you-go account balance gets low does work, as does their automated system for accepting a paypal payment into the account. Other than all that 0064 does work well as a way to experiment with configurations of softphones and the SPA2102 for outgoing voip calls using servers in New Zealand, and requires no financial commitment from me other than throwing $10 in the account from time to time.

[update Wed 14-Feb afternoon: I want to put this here right after my criticism to be fair in case Google points people to it. I just got email from 0064.co.nz apologising for a meltdown of their support email server as a result of extreme spam levels and saying that they now have filters and a support ticket system in place. Indeed an email to them resulted in an automated response from a ticketing system with a ticket number and a URL where I can check the status of it.]

My results so far have been strange. On the SPA2102, outgoing voice quality is perfect, but incoming voice is close to unusable because of dropouts and jitter. To get it to be at all usable I found that I had to set the Network Jitter level to Extremely High, which according to documentation causes the jitter buffer to start at 130 msec. I also set the Jitter Buffer Adjust to Up Only. Again according to documentation that should allow the jitter buffer to expand to up to 960 msec if neccessary. I did not find anything that explains when the SPA2102 resets the jitter buffer back to 130msec. I think I get better results using the G729a codec over using G711a or G711u.

Now here is the strange part: Using a softphone like XLite 3.0, which only allows me to use G711a or G711u, gets much better results than the SPA2102, in that there is not the jitter and dropout effects on the incoming voice. I don't know what in the XLite is causing it to work so much better or what can be adjusted in the SPA2102 to get as good results. Suggestions would be welcome.

-- sidney


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maverick
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  #60730 14-Feb-2007 07:10
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Hi Sidney

Thanks you for your comments, especailly the part on our response to you this always interest's me, I will respond to this in my reply.

I am actually aware of this, my Guys were taking a look at this due to the fact it was IPStar and we are interested in it's performance and suitability for VFX, you are the first IPStar connection we have...so feel special.

Generally changes are not made to configs unless as having different settings across multiple devices causes issues for management of configurations, this was looked at a little different because of the nature of Satellite so I was happy for my guys to work with you on this, 

Now I was suprised by your comments on no replies and have checked our ticketing system, every request has been responded to, your last request was sent in on Saturday and after some discussion on Monday I approved the change and it was done by 9.00am Monday morning this would have generated the EMail to you informing you of the changes, I do not see any other repeated attempts about this.


Now as for the results you say strange and looking at what you have posted here I would agree, outbound calls are fine yet inbound are not, we can check the stats of these calls to look at what we see happening in the way of Latency, Jitter , Dropped packets etc for both types of call but basically there should not be a difference if you make a call the call is perfect seems strange on inbound that it is not, btw G711 is not designed for networks with latency it does not handle latency and Jitter well at all, G729 has a lot more "inbuilt protection" to handle this and results for Voice should be far better on these types of networks DSL is included in this whilst it will work if your network does start suffering from any of these your G711 will turn crappy a lot faster than G729, high quality networks with low latency, jitter suit the G711's better and thats what they were designed for.

We can take a look at a couple of your call flows and we can set some monitoring up to check the quality of the Voice in both directions , let me know  by PM if this is okay and I will arrange timings with my guys to take a look as I am intertested in the performance of IPStar as I am with all our services and performance. 

 


I have removed names and phone numbers for obvious reason



Sat Feb 10 10:56:54 2007xxxxx - Comments added  [Reply] [Comment]
Download (untitled) [text/plain 689b]
sidney called. please email him back regarding this jitter issue.

On Sat Feb 10 00:25:02 2007, xxxx@xxxxx.com wrote:
> Sorry to ask for yet another reconfiguration so soon after my previous
> request, but further experimentation has shown me a much better solution
> to the jitter problem on my IPStar satellite Internet connection.
>
> Please change my codec back to G729a, set Network Jitter Level to
> Extremely High, and set Jitter Buffer Adjustment to Up Only.
>
> Would you please send me an email as soon as you have made the change so
> that I can know to power cycle my SPA2102 box and try it out.
>
> Thank you,
>
> Sidney xxxxxx
> Username: xxxxxx@xport.co.nz
>
#   Sat Feb 10 10:56:54 2007xxxxx - Status changed from 'new' to 'open'  
#   Sun Feb 11 14:03:06 2007xxxx - Queue changed from Xnet Help to VFX Issues  
#   Mon Feb 12 08:52:42 2007xxxxx - Correspondence added  [Reply] [Comment]
#   Mon Feb 12 08:54:53 2007xxxxxx - Correspondence added  [Reply] [Comment]
Download (untitled) [text/plain 798b]
I have generated a new config with the Jitter Buffer Adjustment set to
Up Only. the codec was never changed from G729.


Cheers,
Stephen


> On Sat Feb 10 00:25:02 2007, xxxx@xxxxx.com wrote:
> > Sorry to ask for yet another reconfiguration so soon after my previous
> > request, but further experimentation has shown me a much better solution
> > to the jitter problem on my IPStar satellite Internet connection.
> >
> > Please change my codec back to G729a, set Network Jitter Level to
> > Extremely High, and set Jitter Buffer Adjustment to Up Only.
> >
> > Would you please send me an email as soon as you have made the change so
> > that I can know to power cycle my SPA2102 box and try it out.
> >
> > Thank you,
> >
> > Sidney xxxxx
> > Username: xxxxx@xport.co.nz
> >
>

Regards
Phil Moore
Operations Manager
WorldxChange Communications




Yes I am a employee of WxC (My Profile) ... but I do have my own opinions as well Wink

             

https://www.facebook.com/wxccommunications

Mattnzl
245 posts

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  #60731 14-Feb-2007 07:16
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Hi Sidney - sorry to but in with a question, I'm interested in satellite access for my in-laws who can't get dsl (old exchange in the country).
Have you tried Skype using your connection? Thanks,  Matt...

 
 
 
 


sidney

46 posts

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  #60734 14-Feb-2007 08:21
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Mattnzl: Have you tried Skype using your connection?


SkypeOut works wonderfully for me for calls to phone numbers in the US, but is not usable for me for calls to New Zealand telephone numbers. I haven't tried countries other than those two and the only Skype-to-Skype calls I have tried were to someone in the US so I can't comment on Skype-to-Skype within NZ. It has been explained to me that it is because Skype has servers in the US that connect to the telephone system there, but calls to a NZ phone number end up at a server somewhere in the world that feeds into some telephone provider's analog system that then ends up being converted to VOIP to New Zealand, with the total latency and jitter on top of what my satellite connection has being to much for the algorithms to handle.

That was one of the two primary reasons I am trying to get VFX to work, the other being that VFX allows me to have a New Zealand phone number for incoming calls, which SkypeIn does not offer.

 -- sidney


sidney

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  #60737 14-Feb-2007 09:07
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maverick: it was done by 9.00am Monday morning this would have generated the EMail to you informing you of the changes,


My mail logs show nothing from you arriving then. Would you have logs showing exactly what was sent out to what email address and when? If my ISP lost the mail I would like to have headers and time stamps to show them to help track down what happened. It doesn't seem to have made it even as far as my procmail script that does my spam filtering. Did you send the email to the external email address listed in my account profile or to my user name @xport.co.nz? I have no idea where the latter would go or how I would go about configuring where it should go to.

maverick: outbound calls are fine yet inbound are not


No, I must have expressed myself poorly, that isn't what is happening. Outbound and inboud calls behave the same way. Outgoing voice is heard perfectly by the other party. Incoming voice gets randomly occuring jitter and dropouts. Who placed the call makes no difference, but the direction of the packets does make a difference. One thing I find very strange is that with over 900kbps download speed compared to less than 128kbps upload speed, I still see the problems only in the download direction.

maverick: G711 will turn crappy a lot faster than G729


Yes, when I was experimenting with various settings using 0064.co.nz I must have changed more variable at once than I realised and ended up thinking that G711 was performing better than G729 when actually it was jitter settings that made the difference.

maverick: We can take a look at a couple of your call flows and we can set some monitoring up to check the quality of the Voice in both directions


That would be wonderful! All I can tell from looking at the SPA2102 are summary value snapshots during the call and the final snapshot at the end. I can see that there is about 2% packet loss, all on incoming packets, but I can't see how bad the bursts of jitter get. When I use http://www.testyourvoip.com it tells me that I have low average jitter with bursts in the 230 to 270 msec range. That would be enough to overwhelm the SPA2102's buffer until it adapts.

I'll send you a PM to arrange this.


There is something that concerns me about the rt log you posted. It shows that my initial request to change the codec from G729 to G711 was never done. I was never told that. I would not have minded having it pointed out to me that I was making a mistake by asking for that, and eventually I did realise that I was wrong and asked to have it changed back, but still that is a bad communication failure. If nothing else it left me with the incorrect impression about how my system performs with the different codecs and got in the way of my trying to figure out what configurations are needed to get this to work.

From what you have shown me I still don't know for sure if the new config has set the Network Jitter Level to Extremely High. Can you check that? I of course cannot not access the config file attachment you show a link for in what you quoted.

Ok, look for a PM, and thanks for helping out with this.

 -- sidney


sidney

46 posts

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  #60769 14-Feb-2007 13:16
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maverick: Generally changes are not made to configs unless as having different settings across multiple devices causes issues for management of configurations, this was looked at a little different because of the nature of Satellite so I was happy for my guys to work with you on this


Maverick, I'm not sure about throwing this into the mix, but I just got an email from 0064.co.nz support suggesting that the lost registration I'm seeing with them may be related to running an old version of the firmware on the SPA2102.

Currently I am running version 3.2.10. Is there any problem with my upgrading to a newer version from the LinkSys site? Would that require changes to your configuration file?

 -- sidney


maverick
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  #60770 14-Feb-2007 13:24
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sidney:
maverick: Generally changes are not made to configs unless as having different settings across multiple devices causes issues for management of configurations, this was looked at a little different because of the nature of Satellite so I was happy for my guys to work with you on this


Maverick, I'm not sure about throwing this into the mix, but I just got an email from 0064.co.nz support suggesting that the lost registration I'm seeing with them may be related to running an old version of the firmware on the SPA2102.

Currently I am running version 3.2.10. Is there any problem with my upgrading to a newer version from the LinkSys site? Would that require changes to your configuration file?

 -- sidney




Hi Sidney,

I am currently going through a few things on this, the latest version is 5.1.6 this will be available shortly as it may have some issues thats why we are on a current build that works for our service, upgrading may have a few issues that we are looking at, we are going over some of the traces now of your calls and the issue looks purely relating to lost packets. I am also responding to your PM, btw there was no opps, all configs were changed as advised by our ticket system and was not done in the last hour or so  




Yes I am a employee of WxC (My Profile) ... but I do have my own opinions as well Wink

             

https://www.facebook.com/wxccommunications

Glazza
268 posts

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#60795 14-Feb-2007 17:19
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So I assume that by reading this you dont have to be an xnet or world xchange customer to use this service?


 
 
 
 


grant_k
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  #60798 14-Feb-2007 17:48
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VFX is operated by WorldxChange, but you don't need to be an XNET customer to use it.

However, there are advantages, in particular that XNET doesn't count the data traffic used by VFX towards your monthly allocation.  Depending on how much talking you do, this could be quite a sizeable benefit.

Of course, there are some types of connection such as IPSTAR Satellite and Kordia Extend Wireless that are not available thru WorldxChange so in those two cases you don't have the option to use XNET, but of course you can still sign up for VFX.

Glazza
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  #60801 14-Feb-2007 18:08
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Cheers Grant.  I am currently with xnet, but I am looking for a telecom free option, looking at using a local wireless isp, with the vfx service...


grant_k
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  #60805 14-Feb-2007 18:29
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I have a Kordia Extend wireless connection at one of my sites and it works really well with VFX.

If you can find a local WiFi-based ISP it would work out quite a bit cheaper and should perform just as well because of the low latency compared to ADSL.

Let us know how you get on with your choice of wireless provider, it's always interesting to know about success stories with wireless.  There are still a lot of rural dwellers who can't get ADSL (like me).

Glazza
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  #60842 15-Feb-2007 08:15
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So does one require a static ip address, or any thing else than a PAP2?


sidney

46 posts

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  #60847 15-Feb-2007 08:47
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Unison: So does one require a static ip address, or any thing else than a PAP2?


You don't need a static ip address. An IPStar satellite connection, at least from ICONZ, happens to come with one, but there is nothing that I see in my voip setup that requires it. I got a SPA2102 instead of a PAP2 so that I could have the option of using a fax machine with it. The PAP2 is the only one of the Linksys ATAs that does not support the T.38 standard for using fax machines over voip. As with any ATA, in additon to the PAP2 or SPA2102 you would need an analog telephone to plug into it. You also need whatever modem and router you use for your home network and Internet conneciton. The ATA is added on to your existing local network.

 -- sidney



Glazza
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  #60853 15-Feb-2007 09:39
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Sounds good. 

For the people from WxC that monitor this forum, just tried to sign up as a existing customer but was told that my customer number was not found.  Have called the Customer Service number and waiting to be called back, but might we worth fixing the site :)

maverick
3594 posts

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  #60857 15-Feb-2007 10:09
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Unison: Sounds good. 

For the people from WxC that monitor this forum, just tried to sign up as a existing customer but was told that my customer number was not found.  Have called the Customer Service number and waiting to be called back, but might we worth fixing the site :)



Please PM me your details and I will chase up if no one has rung back, I will be in a meeting for a while but I will chase up for you after that




Yes I am a employee of WxC (My Profile) ... but I do have my own opinions as well Wink

             

https://www.facebook.com/wxccommunications

Glazza
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  #60916 15-Feb-2007 16:06
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Impressive, got the call at 10:30ish this morning, took me a couple of hours to get back to them with my mac address etc, at 3:30 this afternoon I had an xnet number, now for the test via the wireless...

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