How does VOIP work for big bandwidth users?
March 4, 2005 12:38 PM   Subscribe

How does VOIP work for big bandwidth users? I like to play online flash games and watch streaming video from time to time. My boyfriend plays games like Everquest and World of Warcraft. Is VOIP realistic for us, or should we stick with our landline and calling cards?
posted by croutonsupafreak to Technology (9 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
We can't use the VOIP line when also downloading/uploading files - usually one party's voice gets delayed and broken up, which is so frustrating that you may as well not use the phone. But the SO bought a device that manages the phone from the mac (can't recall the name just now, but email me if you're interested), and it's set so that when the phone is answered, any downloading/uploading automatically stops. It was terrible, virtually unusable until this device, and perfectly fine now.
posted by hsoltz at 12:59 PM on March 4, 2005

You haven't told us what sort of connection you havem, and what your typical up/downstream speeds are. That will have a huge bearing on what sort of performance hit you'll see dyring a VOIP call.
posted by pmbuko at 1:01 PM on March 4, 2005

On a related note, what's the point of getting VoIP if you have DSL? I pay for a phone line, over which I get DSL, and on top of that I pay for phone service? Is residential VoIP intended only for non-DSL users?
posted by Big Fat Tycoon at 1:28 PM on March 4, 2005

If this is really just to talk to your boyfriend, my girlfriend and I talk over AOL instant messenger (for free) with our computer speakers and mic. Works like a charm.
posted by rafter at 1:28 PM on March 4, 2005

When downloading big stuff at high rates from bittorent or usenet the Vonage VOIP is pretty much unusable. Installing it on the other side of the router fixes that problem but makes ALL internet slower, prob not a prob for browsing but downloads run at 1/4 their normal speed whether or not the phone is in use.

And this is with "Xtreme" high speed cable (the local option for high bandwidth users.
posted by Cosine at 2:13 PM on March 4, 2005

I am currently in the process of working out similar bugs in my new VOIP service (Vonage). Putting the provided router in front of my existing router was not an option since there are a number of features not available on that device that I use on a regular basis.

So, I went out and bought this. This is not necessarily a product endorsement as I am not 100% convinced of its capability, but what you are looking for is a feature called QoS (Quality of Service). QoS will take a specific port, application, or MAC address of network device and assign a higher priority to any traffic originating or being received by the specific port/application/device.

The base firmware (software on the router) has rudimentary QoS support, however, Linksys releases their firmware under a GPL license (meaning, it can be modified) and a number of developers have taken it upon themselves to expand on the firmware to include more advanced QoS.

A good resource regarding routers, specific VOIP services, and a whole lot more is
posted by purephase at 2:20 PM on March 4, 2005

Response by poster: I am not technically-minded enough to understand any of what the router stuff you guys are talking about. So it sounds like configuring VOIP for our needs would be too difficult, if it's even possible.

Right now we have DSL, but we're considering going to VOIP when we move in a few months and are forced to switch to cable for our high-speed web access.

When we move, all of our friends and family members will be long distance from us.

If I can't call my mom without forcing him into Everquest lag land, however, that's not OK.

Calling cards it is.
posted by croutonsupafreak at 2:27 PM on March 4, 2005

Response by poster: "any of what the router stuff you guys are talking about" = "what the router stuff you guys are talking about means."
posted by croutonsupafreak at 2:31 PM on March 4, 2005

I use a the vonage with a cable modem and the ever popular Linksys WRT54g router. With a lot of router stuff, hacked firmware and wondershaper, it is almost as good as a regular phone and transfers almost don't interfere at all. Almost being the key. It's definitely no land line.

What I'd suggest is getting VoIP for cheap long distance related stuff, and a landline for local calls. Assuming you're doing enough long distance to warrant it.
posted by Leonard at 3:51 PM on March 4, 2005

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