How do I make my wireless router play nice with my VOIP adaptor?
June 30, 2008 6:43 PM   Subscribe

What's the best way to get my wireless router (Linksys WRT54G2) to play nice with my Vonage VOIP adaptor (Motorola VT 1005)? Frequently when I'm trying to upload somewhat sizeable files (e.g., like a minute-long movie to youtube), I lose my connection and have to reboot.

I don't know much about networking, so please bear with me. My current set-up is cable modem --> Linksys wireless router --> VOIP adaptor --> PC running Windows XP. If I remove the wireless router from the equation, things seem to work fine. But otherwise, usually if I'm trying to upload some pictures to flickr or a short movie to youtube (or even sometimes when checking yahoo e-mail), my connection will disappear.

Weirdly, if I have a remote connection to my work network up at the time via Citrix, that connection will not be affected. And I still have phone service through Vonage. But I will not be able to access the web via Firefox or Internet Explorer. If I reset the wireless adaptor, that fixes the problem for a time until the next upload. I don't torrent or do any really huge data transfers.

I had this problem with a previous router - the Belkin Wireless pre-N router. I recently switched to the older Linksys model, hoping that would fix things. But it hasn't. This is frustrating since I rely on my wireless connection to stream music over to my Roku soundbridge, among other things.

I've googled and checked the manufacturers' web pages, but haven't been able to find help. Oh, and I have the most recent firmware version. My question is similar to this question about how visiting flickr and netflix kills an internet connection; I've just tried reinstalling flash and flashblock. It's also very similar to this question about a combination Vonage/Linksys router having to be reset, but there was no conclusive answer there.

I'm happy to provide more details if needed.
posted by chinston to Computers & Internet (5 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
You might try this sort of product.
posted by aerotive at 6:58 PM on June 30, 2008

The stock firmware on linksys routers is fairly naff. Assuming it is a linksys wrt54g v2, that'll take the open-source dd-wrt firmware quite nicely.

The list of downloads suitable for that version of the WRT54G router are here.
Install the dd-wrt.v24-9517_VINT_mini.bin first, using the normal firmware flash on the linksys (linksys limit the size of the firmware you can upload)
Once you're running dd-wrt happily, you can reflash with a version of the firmware that will take advantage of the 4MB flash , and give you extra features, but you don't have to. The options are here, about half way down under file versions, you should be able to install any version other than mega.

dd-wrt is far more stable than stock, with a lot more features. If you really don't like it, you can always reflash back to stock with no harm done.
posted by ArkhanJG at 7:42 AM on July 1, 2008

The VOIP version of dd-wrt has SIPatH built-in for example, a SIP proxy that is designed for VOIP phones. The Motorola VT 1005 does support SIP proxies even when locked to vonage, according to my quick google, so that might be something that would improve the stability of your connection.
posted by ArkhanJG at 7:51 AM on July 1, 2008

Here's a decent walkthrough set of instructions you can use, for a slightly different version of dd-wrt. (ignore the firmware versions in the guide, and use the VINT ones)
posted by ArkhanJG at 8:03 AM on July 1, 2008

I use a WRT54GL running DD-WRT on my home network, with a VoIP ATA (a Linksys, but they're all pushing about the same amount of traffic).

The critical part of my setup was configuring the router's QoS features. First I set the maximum up and down speeds to just under what my connection can handle. (I have 3Mb/s down and 768kb/s up, so I set the maximums to about 90% of each.) Then I configured DD-WRT to give the VoIP ATA, based on its MAC address, maximum priority. Everything else on the network is below it. Then I also fussed around setting up priority by protocol, pushing Bittorrent and other big downloads down to lower priorities, but that's not really necessary. The key is just making all traffic coming from the VoIP box have a higher priority than anything else.

Also, I don't use my VoIP ATA in "pass-thru" mode. I just don't see the point and IMO it just messes up the network topology. I have it attached to my router, just like any other "spoke" in a hub-and-spoke model. It's technically possible to connect it up so that it acts as a gateway/router on the edge of the network (between the DSL/cable modem and the existing router), and have all traffic on the network flowing through it, but I don't use it that way.

But without setting up QoS, big downloads can basically make VoIP unusable. You need to QoS, and you need to set the max up/down limits below what your ISP's connection will handle. (If you don't do this last bit, the router will QoS but it'll still send too many packets and they'll just "stack up" at your modem. That's bad.)
posted by Kadin2048 at 10:38 AM on July 1, 2008

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