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104 posts

Master Geek

#112294 4-Dec-2012 11:45
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Hi guys,

VoIP over 3G connection only on an HG556a - is this possible?  

I've done some searching through Geekzone and the only indication I can find is "no", but wanted to check to be absolutely sure.


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19282 posts

Uber Geek
Inactive user

  #726701 4-Dec-2012 11:48
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No as they do not have a 3G modem built in they can take a 3G mobile USB modem

104 posts

Master Geek

  #726703 4-Dec-2012 11:53
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I was meaning when a Vodem is connected to the USB port and used as the internet connection - this I know works fine, it's just if someone has enabled the SIP account when only the Vodem (or similar) is used as the internet connection.



19282 posts

Uber Geek
Inactive user

  #726705 4-Dec-2012 11:54
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Log in to the modem

user name / password = advanced

What version of software is your modem running?

104 posts

Master Geek

  #726716 4-Dec-2012 12:08
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Software version: V100R001C12B028

When I looked on the 3G Backup page, the text says: 
"Your Home Gateway is capable of backup data or voice connection to Internet through HSPA when ADSL is down. Furthermore,it could also switch back when ADSL is recovered."

This indicates that it would work, but it would be great if someone can confirm.

I don't have a Vodem myself to test (I want to use it for my folks, but it would be great to know it's going to work before I spend hours mucking around trying to make something work that can't!)

104 posts

Master Geek

  #726719 4-Dec-2012 12:12
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Thanks for the link - what are the important changes in this firmware (that relate to my situation)?

Can some others comment that have used this firmware?  Any problems?  Any improvements?

19282 posts

Uber Geek
Inactive user

  #726723 4-Dec-2012 12:15
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A few bug fixes one is WIFI dropping and a few more I can't remember off the top of my head but well worth updating


81 posts

Master Geek

  #726818 4-Dec-2012 14:06
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In my experiance the HG556 is not as good with Voip. Ie voice mail alerts and some other issues that went away as soon as I put an ata on. But the HG556 is good if using 722 (But you would only want to use 729 codec for 3G) The other thing about using 3G for Voip is that you want a really good signal. The K3805 z vodem I dont think works in the HG556. The K3805 z vodem is good for 3G as an antenae can be attached. I think it would be great to get the HG556 using voip over 3G so I will be interested how you get on. The HG556's are a pretty cheap option.

15 posts


  #823838 22-May-2013 22:07
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Hi all,

I know this post is old, but just in case the question comes up again, the Huawei HG556a shipped by Vodafone does support VoIP over ADSL as well as over HSPA (and apparently 2G as well). I've had 2 WxC VoIP lines running reliably on ADSL for about 15 months. I've just recently managed to get the SIP accounts to register over a 3G connection and see no reason that this wouldn't work as reliably as ADSL. Just be aware that there is generally higher latency on mobile 3G networks so don't be surprised if you get delays (lagging) in the conversation compared to ADSL.

I researched a few 3G modem sticks and decided on the Vodafone K3772 (made by Huawei), mainly because I was pretty sure that the HG556a firmware would support the modem stick. There is also a K3772-Z, which is made by ZTE, which I haven't been able to get to work in the HG556a. The K3772 I have is not SIM-locked and supported my 2 Degrees SIM, although it was a bit of a mission getting the 3G configuration working on the HG556a and there is not much literature I could find on the Internet on the VoIP side of this router.

To summarise: I am able to run VoIP (1 x WxC 1 x 2Talk SIP accounts) on a Huawei HG556a router using a 2 Degrees SIM in a Vodafone K3772 3G stick (not a K3772-Z, which I've not managed to get working).

My HG556a is running firmware V100R001C08B026 (Irish firmware released in 2010 I think), but I've loaded a few firmware revisions on this router and not found them to affect VoIP significantly (although NZ firmware gives nicer dial tones than the IE firmware and the plans will be optimised for NZ). I use the Irish firmware because it was the latest firmware that I could find that supports saving and restoring config files, which I found way faster and more reliable for configuring the router than the web interface. Assume that if you load firmware onto an HG556a from any source other than Vodafone NZ you will likely void any remaining warranty.

Once you get past the lack of documentation and the fun and games configuring it, I have found this router quite reliable and a bundle of features for the money you pay.

I hope this helps. I can post details on how to configure the router if anybody needs it.

15 posts


  #826794 28-May-2013 09:00
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But wait, there's more!

Since my post last week I've actually had VoIP on the Huawei HG556a router working on 3G outside my house. We used it between Christchurch and Wellington, again with a 2 Degrees SIM in the router. The SIP accounts registered ok on the router and we could make calls immediately, but we initially had trouble with receiving calls to the router connected phone.

After some messing around, I got my brother (who had the HG556a running VoIP over 3G) to simply re-run the WAN USB (3G) setup on the router again (putting in the same settings as it theoretically already had) and it burst into life after reboot and we could make and receive calls.

We used the G729 codec, because G711a just way too phat for 3G. This was our first live VoIP to VoIP call with one 3G client (I was ADSL connected) and I was amazed at the quality of the call. I've made plenty of G729 calls from my ADSL connected VoIP phone and the voice quality was ok. But VoIP at both ends, even with G729 and even with one client being 3G, was really clear over the 2 Degrees network. We talked for about 20 minutes and experienced no latency, or lag, at all. I expect Vodafone and Telecom would be just as acceptable.

Note that Telecom's T&Cs specifically prohibit using VoIP over their mobile data network. I suppose this means that if you're using Gtalk or Skype or other such VoIP product over the Telecom mobile network, you're technically in violation, but I doubt they see this as much of a threat compared to SIP calls. When I last looked, neither Skinny, 2 Degrees or Vodafone seemed to have any VoIP limitations in their T&Cs but this could change as more people work out that VoIP apps like CsipSimple are just as easy to use on an Android for making calls at a tenth of the call cost.

I'll be doing more testing further afield in the next few weeks and will post results here. I particularly want to check how much data the G729 calls actually use. I've seen calculations of anywhere between 2 and 6 minutes of talking per Mb but want to see what we get in practice. Even if you only get 2 minutes per Mb using G729, that's still 6c/minute for a voice call at the 2 Degree casual network rate of 50Mb for $6. If you use the 2 Degrees 3G rates (1Gb for $20) then the cost drops to 1c/minute or less for voice calls and you could configure a Smartphone to do this on a mobile handset.

To summarise: VoIP running over 3G on a Huawei HG556a router works well. Call quality is good using G729 from VoIP to landline and even better VoIP (3G) to VoIP (ADSL). We used the 2 Degrees mobile network (in Vodafone equipment) and had good call quality with both a 2Talk to 2Talk call and WxC to WxC calls.

104 posts

Master Geek

  #827247 28-May-2013 18:56
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Awesome!! That'll be really handy for lots of people I'm sure. I never got it going through a 3G stick, and won't have the chance now as we're living in the UK, although in the future who knows..
One question I have though is, because you need certain USB sticks, how did you specifically get the K3772 - what is it labelled as if someone else wanted to get hold of this specific stick from VF?

15 posts


  #828995 31-May-2013 19:52
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The USB sticks have a model number on the back in a font size that only a lawyer could read. I know that the K3772 works (and the K3772-Z by ZTE doesn't), but I'd imagine that most, if not all, of the other USB sticks made by Huawei would also work in this router.

The purpose of this exercise for me was to give my Mum a Christchurch number so she could call us (and receive calls from us) for the price of a local call, from overseas (with 3G, because a DSL line is expensive and she wouldn't use it other that for voice calls). You could do that same from the UK if you have family here.

Glad the info is of use to you!

2 posts

Wannabe Geek

  #846843 28-Jun-2013 17:45
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I have just set up my HG556a to run voip over a 3g vodem stick, with a vodafone sim card, and because it was quite a battle for me, I thought I would outline some of the problems and solutions I faced.

Firstly, I have set this up on Irish firmware, version 026, or 025. I initially had the latest irish firmware, and that firmware encrypts the backup settings.conf file, so i could not modify it to get it running.

Firsty, I would recommend getting the voip running on an ADSL connection with the router first, as that is less problematic.

Second, if youve looked at some of the guides about telnet "voice set all enable" although this is not required on the irish firmwares listed, if you are attempting this on the NZ firmware (not sure if 3g is possible on nz), that telnet command does not tick the Active SIP box in any shape or form. It enables the line, and if your other sip settings are correct, the Active SIP box will become ticked, but only when your account is "registered". If your account does not register, this box will not be ticked, even if the enable command worked.

Ok, tricks on getting the voip accounts running on ADSL. when setting up your adsl connection in the hg556, edit the connection already there, 0/100 and all your other account settings, and set it to data/voice. If it is not set to voice, you cannot assign that interface to SIP

Once that is set to data/voice, you can select the SIP interface in the SIP Advanced menu. You will NEVER see the 3g interface listed here.

If you have the VOIP running on adsl, to get the Voip running on 3g you must, setup your apn and username/password in the advanced>wan>usb uplink settings. When I had these wrong, I could not recieve phone calls, except, for right after making an outbound call. Dialing out was fine though.

Now you need to "backup" your settings to your computer. Open that backup in Notepad or similar. search for "hspavoicedomain=0" and change the 0 to a 1. Save and "update" the settings using the saved file. Reboot

Now when you are up and running and your 3g connection is active, it should connect to the SIP server. you can check this with telnet and the "voice show" command. Near the bottom, maybe 10 lines up of that Voice show readout, it should show that it is using the hspa connection for voice, ppp_1_65535_1 or something like that on mine. br0 is the LAN, or the interface for your adsl if it is connected through adsl.  im not sure if it will connect through the LAN or not, I havent tested.

Now the last challenge I faced, is that in my setup, there is a good chance there are no computers connected to the network, either wifi or lan connected, and when this happens, my box drops the 3g connection, even if you are in the middle of a call. The only workaround i could come up with, is to use another wifi/lan router I had, and connect it in to the hg556 through the lan ports. Once I had that setup, I was able to have all my wifi devices turned off, and the 3g connection would remain active.

If anyone can find a better way of keeping that 3g connection alive, I would love to hear it, to simplify my system a bit.

My results are a little iffy. Most of the time I am able to recieve calls, however now and then it refuses to recieve calls again, a reboot seems to be the only way around this. Any comments on using the apn? That is what I have it set to, but I dont know if it makes a difference from the one.

I havent made enough long calls to say how the call quality is, but I set the low bandwidth codecs to the highest priority.

I hope this makes enough sense, and I hope that it helps somebody save a week of their life.

2 posts

Wannabe Geek

  #846845 28-Jun-2013 17:51
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Oh one more tip. When I had the latest irish firmware, it would not update back to an older one. If you have this problem, unplug your router, hold the restart button by the power connection while plugging it back in, and keep holding for about ten seconds. Then release, and open the address in your browser. You will now be in some type of bootloader firmware update, and this will accept your older firmware. You will lose all the settings obviously.

15 posts


  #847076 29-Jun-2013 11:32
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Hi brettmckenzienz,

Thanks for the most excellent post on getting 3G working on the HG556A. In case you have to do it again, I can add a few things that might make it easier for you. I'll also mention some things that I'm sure that you already know for the benefit of anybody else reading this thread to get VoIP over 3G working on the HG556a.

I've numbered them for reference in no particular order.

1. When you run the WAN wizard and select USB uplink to set the 3G settings, if you change the Voice over HSPA setting from CS to PS then you won't need to export the config file and edit the hspavoicedomain parameter.

2. Earlier NZ firmware (B017) allows you to save and retrieve config files for the HG556A and gives better dial tones for NZ than the Irish firmware. I was using Irish firmware for about six months before I happened upon this link

3. If you select 3G Backup on the Advanced Setup menu and enable "Instant Backup" the router will select 3G on startup if ADSL is not present or working. Disabling "Switch confirm" will cause the router to switch between ADSL and 3G as required, without you needing to do it manually under HSPA Management.

4. I'm not sure whether it's a design feature that 3G doesn't fire up without a data connection but we too got around this initially by plugging another router into the HG556a. Believe it or not, the easier workaround you seek is to plug an ethernet cable between two of the ethernet ports. I wondered if this might cause some internal grief for the router, but it is a switch so it should be able to deal with a loopback between two ports pretty easily.

5. You raise a good point about the Active SIP Account tick box. I see in forums all the time that this tickbox is understandably mistaken for a control, where it's actually an indicator. You can't tick a SIP account active, as you'd expect - it simply shows you whether the SIP account (line) in question has successfully registered to it's SIP server, and I've found it to be the most reliable way of checking this.

6. Here's something that took me a while to realise. If the router doesn't manage to register VoIP to the SIP server it uses its WAN interface to provide voice calls. This means that if you setup VoIP over 3G and the SIP account doesn't register (and you don't pick it up) then the outgoing calls you make can be mobile calls from the SIM in your USB stick. Similarly, incoming calls to your mobile can be directed to your VoIP attached phone. If you're using ADSL instead of 3G and your SIP account doesn't register then calls to/from your landline can be directed to your VoIP attached phone. It doesn't happen all the time, and I haven't invested the hours required to test when it does or doesn't, but it's worth checking when you first setup a router that the calls are coming from where you think they are.

7. I've used VoIP over 3G with the HG556A a lot over the last month, with only the G729a codec enabled, and call quality has usually been better than landline quality. I increased G729a packet size to 30ms to reduce load (and heat from) both the router and the USB stick and it still seems to work fine. We've found G729a to give roughly 2 minutes talking per Megabyte used.

Although G711a is a more commonly used SIP codec, I find it too fat to fit down 3G; it's expensive on bandwidth and often clips during conversations.  Obviously you can test yourself and see what works for you.

8. The 3G USB sticks that the Vodafone website says are supported by the HG556a are K3750 (E169), K3715, K3765h, K3565z and K3765z. I only use the K3772 (as opposed to the K3772-Z which does not work).

9. This router will also work with 3G on 2 Degrees. I use the K3772 3G stick and set the APN to internet.

Good on you for posting your tips and I wished I'd known some of this before I spent weeks getting my HG556a going. I only configure these routers now through the configuration file and if there's any interest in it, I can write a step by step guide to setting one up for VoIP, with or without 3G.

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