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Comcast Accused of Blocking VoIP 325

Posted by Zonk
from the comcastic-is-not-a-word dept.
kamikaze-Tech writes "Comcast, the largest USA Broadband provider is being accused of VoIP blocking, just days before they release their own VoIP offering. According to a long standing thread on the Vonage Forums, many Comcast ISP users are unable to use Vonage. Tempers are flaring: 'Although you will see all manner of opinions on this thread, there seems to be a sentiment that - politely put - Comcast could really be doing a better job of carrying Vonage bits.' Looks as though this could be the beginning of the broadband quality wars, with Comcast taking the first step."
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Comcast Accused of Blocking VoIP

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  • by eldavojohn (898314) * <eldavojohn@nOsPam.gmail.com> on Thursday March 02, 2006 @09:29AM (#14834335) Journal
    All these ideas are entirely possible but it could simply be that Comcast doesn't provide the kind of broadband consistently necessary to use VoIP.

    My experience with Comcast has been extensive and I am nothing but a little dissatisfied with how consistent my connection broadband width was. I'm not complaining that I lost connections (though I know people who have) but I will complain that my upload and download widths were anything but stable.

    I eagerly await the broadband over power lines [wired.com] initiative that's inevitably going to be made available to everyone. Imagine paying for broadband but not having to pay also the cost of using an extensive cable network. Brilliant idea! Use rudimentary piggy backing techniques to deliver two signals through one line. It's actually not that difficult, I'm not sure why this took so long to develop and why it's taking even longer to make available to the public. Yes, I've heard of security concerns but there's got to be some encryption you can use.

    If I ever live to see the day where cable is obsolete, I'm going to uncap my modem [cable-modems.org] and host something huge to my friends. Anyone care to take a guess on how long I'd be able to keep that up before they shut me down?
    • >>I eagerly await the broadband over power lines initiative

      ARGH!

      There are serious issues with BPL. It generates interference that compromises several amateur radio bands, and is likewise interfered with by the legal operation of numerous low-power transmitters. (This includes CB radio transmitters as well as ham radio transmitters.)

      Visit http://www.arrl.org/tis/info/HTML/plc/ for more information.
      • There are serious issues with BPL. It generates interference that compromises several amateur radio bands, and is likewise interfered with by the legal operation of numerous low-power transmitters. (This includes CB radio transmitters as well as ham radio transmitters.)

        I think that the 5 people who this will negatively impact will be rendered insignificant by the thousands that it would benefit. It's the same argument that people use to negate the complaints of Mac users, except hams are a MUCH MUCH smal

        • You do realize that since HAM is licensed and BPL isn't, I could therefore in order to get a signal out, effectively obliterate your internet connection by boosting the power from a HAM set. BPL gives interference and it can take it too.
    • Forget BPL, let's get some of the Municipal Wireless programs implemented first. I think that it's a little more likely to happen once people start to pressure their politicians not to give into the demands of the telecom providers. Personally, I think the telecom arguments can be fought with the argument that the municipal contracts will go to them anyways, so it is a semi-moot point. Of course, IANAL nor a legislator, or anyone with any relevant information on the topic whatsoever. But, I've heard abo

    • Cable modems are based on TV channels being used for data.

      Each channel is something like 6 to 8 MHz wide. They can be dedicated, time sliced, or done like Ethernet. Different channels are used for up and down.

      The down channel tells your cable modem where and when it may transmit.

      If you get a channel to yourself, great! They are allocated based on demand, more of less. An idle computer doesn't need a dedicated channel for hourly DHCP updates.

      Latency varies. If you need to wait for a transmit window, well, yo
    • Imagine [...] not having to pay also the cost of using an extensive cable network.

      Broadband over power lines uses the power lines - the power grid - which is an extensive network of cables. It has a definate cost. In fact, the costs are higher than that of cable - since the power lines are responsible for the maintenance and upkeep of the power poles themselves, while the cable companies merely rent space on them.

      • Wouldn't it be interesting if the power companies increased Comcast's pole rental rates when the contract came to renewal?
        After all, maintaining those power poles costs money, and, well... wouldn't it be a shame if Comcast's equipment started falling off power poles. There could even be a tiered pricing scheme ;)
    • Anyone care to take a guess on how long I'd be able to keep that up before they shut me down?

      Anywhere from a few minutes to 24 hours. The uncapped modems were usually scanned for at least twice daily. First "offense" and your modem was cycled remotely and the correct cfg file was downloaded again "capping" your modem. Your account was flagged and a ticket was opened for you. If you did it again then you were booted permanently for a TOS violation. Depending on the severity of the uncapping (10+mbit/10+
    • All these ideas are entirely possible but it could simply be that Comcast doesn't provide the kind of broadband consistently necessary to use VoIP.

      Well, there is an easy test. If their VOIP works fine and other people's don't then they are probably gumming up the lines with QoS. ISPs have been working on different levels of service for differently labeled packet s of data for a while now and I think it should be clear to everyone that QoS really stands for "pick your pocket", not "quality of service". Qu
    • If you live in Texas you don't have to wait too long for this to come true: TXU to offer Broadband over Power Lines in 2006 [usatoday.com]
  • Actually... (Score:2, Informative)

    by Xystance (660413)
    The last few days I've been having real problems with OUTGOING Vonage calls, but incoming Vonage calls have been ok.

    Outgoing calls are extremely choppy and cutout in the middle of words, but I can hear the other person without a problem.
    • I've noticed this too. Some calls are OK out have been OK. But a fair number are having problems. Receiving has been ok.

      To add to this, I've noticed Comcast is offering phone service of its own on their website. Perhaps this is what they are up to, scrrewing with Vonage and trying to tell us it doesn't work, but then saying: "Why don't you try our service instead?"

      The thing that sucks is I just signed up for Vonage and a have a couple months to go to get my rebate check. I also redid all the drops in the ho
  • Comcast and its sibling company Road Runner routinely block access to alternative websites such as www.infowars.com and www.rbnlive.com because they take on the Feds and the "yes-man" major media. Time Warner (the owner of both Comcast and Road Runner) is a "yes-man" major media company, towing the neo-con line.

    It is does not surprise me they would block access to their competitors. Soon I expect them to begin survelliance of their customers and reporting their "un-American" activities to the alphabet a

    • Citation? they partnered to buy Adelpgia, but time warner does NOT own comcast....
    • I don't think I've ever seen a comment so ridiculous here, mainly because you seem so sincere.

      Road Runner and Comcast are not sibling companies, they have deals in some areas for the purposes of branding. Comcast, to the best of my knowledge, has never blocked out specific web sites from its subscribers. Time Warner contributed large amounts of money to Democrats this past year (IIRC, more than 2/3 of its campaign contributions, the only major media company to donate more to GOP and its candidates was Disne
    • The 'alphabet agencies' were set up to provide work for the millions left unemployed after the 1929 stock market crash, stuff like building roads. They weren't in the business of spying on 'commies' or dealing with 'unamerican' elements. Most (if not all) of them don't exist anymore.

      *takes the pedant-points and runs*
  • For all the mud slung at them, SBC has given me nothing less than great service. VOIP works great, I get better-than-advertised throughput (5 Mb down, instead the listed 3 Mb), and I've asked them repeatedly if I could run small servers off my connection and always been told "yes".

    Now the rumor is that they're trying to bring fiber into homes and deliver television signals over the phone system.
    • The funny thing is, back in the early 90s, SBC and the other telcos got about $200 billion in rescinded taxes, favorable legislation, and other goodies to deliver fiberish speeds, and deliver "ultra high speed broadband" to 85% of the country. By 1998 or so. Now the US is 16th in broadband penetration, and at speeds that are a fraction of several Asian countries' networks.

      They claimed that it was so expensive to build the infrastructure, that there was no way they could do it while being burdened with their
  • Penn Jillette, in one of his books, wrote about how his ideal society would have all roads privately owned and managed. You'd pay as you went rather than paying for the road as part of your taxes. Those who used the road the most paid the most in tolls.

    However, such a situation generally assumes that road operators would be willing to build roads out to remote areas where only a handful of customers would ever drive. It also assumes that these so-called "liberated" road owners would be unprejudiced indiv
  • How is this legal?

    Or is it that Comcast has full control of what gets sent through the bandwidth they provide?
    Inquiring minds want to know.
    • Technically, they have every right to filter what goes through the connection you lease from them (barring contractual violations - not sure if that applies here). But then they run the risk of losing common carrier status. IANAL, of course.
  • Not enough upload (Score:3, Informative)

    by DrRobert (179090) * <rgbuice@IIImac.com minus threevowels> on Thursday March 02, 2006 @09:38AM (#14834400) Homepage
    I had Comcast and Vonage. Comcast's lower lever service has a limited upload cap which is not quite enough to get consistently clear calls, especially if you are doing anything else with the computer at the same time. It is not clear that this is a problem because they don't talk about upload bandwidth on the Vonage box, only total bandwidth, which Comcast technically meets. I cancelled Vonage after a couple of months, when I encountered almost comical ass-ness from the Vonage customer support. Those guys are complete bastards.
    • Baloney. Bandwidth is not the problem. Comcast's upload cap is 384kb, which is enough for at least two good VoIP calls at once, if nothing else is using the link. It's possible that Comcast is doing traffic shaping to curb people they feel are bandwidth hogs. After all, "unlimited" does not really mean unlimited. You'll never see them admit that though.

    • Comcast is 384kbps up, thats more than enough for VOIP. Hell, Vonage has a low-bandwidth codec option that's incredibly tiny. Now you said "using computer for other things." Well, if you're maxing out that upstream bandwith then all these packets will be in contention. Unless you've got a nice QoS implementation going you can't just sit around running bittorrent, emule, and limewire all the same time while browsing the web and expect quality VOIP service.
    • I'm not sure how they can claim that their service is broadband if it doesn't have enough bandwidth for VoIP. G711 uLaw only requires 107Kbps including all overhead source [grandstream.com] (pdf file).
    • As others have pointed out, it's not the bandwidth that matters, it's packet loss and latency. Do a continious ping to your VoIP providers gatewatey with a packet size of 1024 bytes (or the closest hop that doesn't drop ICMP packets). If you continually get responses >200 ms (high latency), then it's going to be difficult to converse with someone because you'll constantly be talking over each other. Really bad latency will make the call sound half-duplex walkie talkie, where only one of you can speak at
  • If I remember, about a year ago here on Slashdot, I read about a DSL ISP who got busted by the FCC for doing exactly this. They got fined a heap of money. I pay for Internet and WANT Internet, NOT just port 80 for web browsing. So Far both Cox and Verizon DSL do NOT block VOIP - a good thing for me, as I have both of them.
  • Business move? (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Dimentox (678813)
    Comcast probably did this blocking to sell their own service.

    They could justify the block with this part of their TOS.
    http://www.comcast.net/terms/use.jsp [comcast.net]

    "You shall ensure that your use of the Service does not restrict, inhibit, interfere with, or degrade any other user's use of the Service, nor represent (in the sole judgment of Comcast) an overly large burden on the network. In addition, you shall ensure that your use of the Service does not restrict, inhibit, interfere with, disrupt, degrade, or impede C
    • I only just started having problems calling out in the last week. Yesterday I too noticed they are selling their own service.

      I suspect you may be right.

      As far legality goes, they've got the money to hire the lawyers to make whatever they want legal as far as the courts see. They just claim Vonage takes up too much bandwidth and therefore violates the Terms of Service agreement that says they alone determine who or what is using up too much bandwidth and causing problems on their network.

      Time to dump Comcast
      • They just claim Vonage takes up too much bandwidth and therefore violates the Terms of Service agreement that says they alone determine who or what is using up too much bandwidth and causing problems on their network.

        GSM compressed VoIP takes up at most 13Kbps. I can't see that they can get away with blocking such a low bandwidth application on the grounds that it uses up too much bandwidth.
    • I doubt a judge (or anybody with sense, really) would conceed that using Vonage's VoIP creates an overly large burden on the network, in light of the fact that Comcast is days away from rolling out their own VoIP. If VoIP created such a huge burden, then why would they start offering it themselves?
    • But i belive in this case this was just a shot to sell their own service, the main question is since its their network are they really ALLOWED to do this?

      Sure, just as soon as they give up all their lines using publicly owned right of ways and are willing to no longer be protected from legal action for all the copyrighted material and kiddie porn they republish from router to router. That is to say, when they are no a government mandated local monopoly with special protections and privileges they can sto

  • by xrecruit (956246)
    I have been working with one of their local spot advertising reps, and was informed that "They may not be willing to work with me, because I have a competing product." Its too bad this kind of thing is even legal--From an economic standpoint, competition benefits consumers. Their rep has been shady, she said a 30-second spot (with my parameters) costs $3,000 to produce, but when I spoke to the producer, he laughed and said at most $500, and sometimes they do the first one for free. When I ask the rep ques
  • The solution to these kinds of games by telcos and cable companies is to remove whatever legal protections the perpetrators may enjoy under common-carrier or similar legal theories. When they suddenly become criminally liable for the unsavory activities of their users they'll rethink this idea.
    • ISPs generally don't have common carrier status.

      From wikipedia: [wikipedia.org]"Internet Service Providers generally wish to avoid being classified as a "common carrier" and, so far, have managed to do so. Before 1996, such classification could be helpful in defending a monopolistic position, but the main focus of policy has been on competition, so "common carrier" status has little value for ISPs, while carrying obligations they would rather avoid. The key FCC Order on this point is: IN RE FEDERAL-STATE JOINT BOARD ON U
      • I read that very article before posting, which is why I said "or similar legal theories". Some ISPs might be considered common carriers for certain purposes -- if Verizon, a telco, starts providing VoIP over its FiOS fiber service, does Verizon FiOS become a common-carrier service? Current law is very unclear.

        In any case, the business operations of Comcast and other cable companies depend on monopoly franchises granted by local governments. That means they have a responsibility beyond maximizing their

  • Purposfully degrading the quality or blocking certain network trafic to hinder a competitor's ability to compete with you is clear cut anti-competitve behavior and illegal in the US. This type of underhanded "cheating" to make your service look better by making someone elses look worse must be wildly tempting for a company that both provides connectivity and competes with others to provide services on top of that connectivity but no ammount of tempation makes it any less illegal.

    Any Comcast employee asked
    • make your service look better by making someone elses look worse

      That's what quality of service is all about and why putting intelligence in the network is stupid and wrong. No matter how fast your equipment gets, decisions take time that could better be spent just moving the data. No matter how good you make yourself look, you are never your best. Common carriers should never engage in net shaping other than routing around damage or pulling the plug on spambots and infected machines.

    • The tech who connects the packet shaper to the network is not going to be liable, but rather the company will be liable. No jury anywhere in the US would believe that a single tech acting alone and without instruction from above installed this device on his own initiative. It wouldn't matter anyway since the corporation would be the one named as defendant. Documenting who asked might be prudent but it could also be difficult especially if the manager giving the order knows that it is illegal. Nobody wants t
  • by magefile (776388) on Thursday March 02, 2006 @09:49AM (#14834466)
    Why should Vonage get special treatment? After all, it's not like Comcast does a decent job carrying *anybody's* bits.
  • You have given me another reason not to keep your service when I move. Between the constant blacked out and pixelation of tv channels, the high price of said cable channels, the moronic tech who said my surge suppressor was the reason some of my channels were snowy even though I had the device for years and had no problems and which said problems were fixed a few hours after I reattached the suppressor, your usurpation of the last 7 minutes of CNN Headline news at the top and bottom of every hour (which me
    • I had Comcast for years and their customer service was lousy, usually ineffectual, and their service over-priced. Not to mention the constant outages that used to seem to take place when I was in the middle of something for work. Nothing quite like picking up the pieces when the Internet connection drops out! Mind you, I'm with Cablevision now, and the service has not improved, though I have no trouble with the Internet connection. I can't get them to change the phone number on my account with any success (

  • What Comcast actually blocks is a rewarding customer experience, and the desire to continue paying them money. I've never had a pleasant experience dealing with Comcast, but unfortunately, they are the only cable company available to me currently. Verizon FIOS will be here soon, and the noise you hear will be the sound of my cable modem shattering on the driveway.... Not that I expect Verizon to be nicer or anything, but it will be good to have competition and a new set of foreign national customer service
    • Verizon has already laid the FiOS fiber in my area. From what I understand, Verizon will not be providing cable TV service due to regulatory issues, even though the FiOS website shows a channel list for the county that I live in. My Verizon POTS phone line works just like it should. I have Cox cable TV and broadband internet and I have no complaints about Cox (except I think that they are too expensive). The only personal interaction that I have had with either Verizon or Cox within the past 10 years wa
  • I live in the North Texas area. Charter communications has been the big cable internet provider in this area for seemingly forever. And, in the last few months, they have had their service for cable internet degrade horribly.

    Many of my neighbors used VoIP, and were unable for hours at a time to use their phones. It's the major reason I never went to VoIP.

    Just about a month ago, Verizon threw down fiber optics, and within a few weeks, offered their FiOS service. For basically the same price as Charter's
  • It's just when you oversell your service, everyone ends up with shitty QoS - and since Vonage's protocol likes bandwidth (skype has much, much lower bandwidth reqs), naturally, their stuff doesn't work all that well.

    That said, they have been jacking their rates while at the same time killing off features - newsgroups, static ip addresses, and of course, the ever decreasing transfer limit (I don't believe there is a place in the USA where you are allowed to transfer more than 80 gigs combined up / down month
    • Just like to point out you can configure Vonnage to use lower bitrate codecs. Just most people leave it at 64kbps. IIRC you can go all the way down to GSM CELP at 8kbps.

      Even a dialup modem can handle 8kbps reliably.

      Tom
      • Yeah, that is true, and I was going to mention it. But I had problems with Vonage under Comcast (and with my new connection up here) even when I set the bitrate to lowest quality. Besides, a good chunk of the problems is the voip box having an intermittent connection with the server.

        I don't want to sound like I'm advertising skype, but I've been on 3 way conference calls with people on dialup lines in Germany and haven't had any issues with sound quality and I've used skype quite a bit when my vonage servic
        • I think your ISP just sucks.

          I use Vonnage as my home phone and it's 95% of the time just fine. I do get the occasional "unrecoverable 1.5 second lag" bullshit. But I'd say the vast majority of calls are crystal clear.

          Coupled with the fact it forwards to my cell phones and I can call anywhere in North America for unlimited time ... it's pretty decent.

          Skype is ok too. I don't have anything against it. And I don't represent Vonnage.

          I just like the service is all. ... stupid cold ... arrg.... day go faster!
          • Oh, I completely agree, my ISP does suck, comcast sucked and the "competition" here also sucks, even if all 3 of those do beat dialup.

            I'm just saying that as ISPs try to mooch as much as they can from their customers (lowering speeds, packet shaping and the such), eventually there will become a point where you're going to have to spring for a "premium" package in order to get some things working.
            To me, especially since I know that X,Y and Z worked once upon a time, and the only thing that has changed is the
      • Your point is correct but your numbers are misleading.

        g.711 encoding (ie. no compression) is 64kbit PAYLOAD. You'll end up with 77kbit on the WAN link, due to RTP and IP overhead.

        g.729 encoding (ie. good compression) is 8kbit PAYLOAD. You'll end up with 21kbit on the WAN.

        Assuming 30ms packetization time and voice activity detection(VAD) turned of.

        These number are for routers not supporting header compression. Header compression saves you around 10kbit on both g.711 and g.729.

        The GSM codec as implemente

  • It seems every 3 months or so ISPs forget they're common carriers. You can't limit traffic beyond the tech specs and then say "we're not responsible for what the traffic represents".

    Being immune from prosecution is a privilege extended because you're enabling the citizens to live peacefully and freely.

    Otherwise the MPAA and RIAA may want to have a chat with you.

    That and if Comcast is really doing this then fuck them. Make it expensive for them to suck. E.g. share connections with your neighbours, call te
    • According to the FCC, Internet service providers are "information services", not common carriers. They exist under a different but related set of legal regulations (see In re Federal-State Joint Board on Universal Service, 13 FCC Rcd. 11501 (1998)).
      • Whoops sorry.

        My point though is that if they want to claim they let all non-abuse traffic through and are not responsible (for say piracy or kiddie porn) then they ought not to modify legitimate packets and data.

        Of course I live in a country where GSM comes from ... Rogers. It's direct competitor is ... Rogers (there is only one GSM provider in Canada).

        You can get net access from ... Bell Canada or .... Rogers.

        etc...

        You think your monopolies suck in the USA. Here in Canada we put the "pwned" in Monopwned
  • I had been using Vonage with my Comcast cable modem with no problems for over 2 years. Last last summer, I started having severe problems with Vonage. Calls sounded like very poor cell phone calls and a 4 to 5 second delay from when I spoke and the person acknowledged they heard me.

    I called Comcast to complain. After 3 service calls in 2 months, I finally was tired of the problems and went with Verizon DSL for 2/3rds the cost of Comcast broadband.

    Vonage works perfectly again.

  • This agrees with my own experiences with Comcast. I was testing VoIP through my own local company and for the first couple of weeks it worked great. However, in the past month or two things changed dramatically. Now VoIP calls are 100% guaranteed to disconnect during a conversation and are very choppy even when they work.

    Running mtr shows lots a significant amount of packet loss though and lots of jitter; it may not be enough to affect e-mail or web browsing, but it's plenty enough to disrupt VoIP.



  • I'm not surprised that VoIP doesn't play well over ComCuss or RoadRunarounder. I was with Roadrunarounder for 3 years. The first year and a half was flawless. Then came the packet loss. They claimed it was "signal strength". They replaced our cable drop with RJ6 but the problem came back. Then they replaced the hybrid splitter transformer but the packet loss reared it's head after a few months. Then the packet loss went away for 4 or 5 months and it was smooth sailing. It reared it's head again and RoadRuna
    • I think when Comcast rolled this stuff out, the infrastructure was new and worked well. But unlike verizon, they don't really employee people to properly maintain this equipment and things are starting to fall apart. Maintenance is expensive.

      The reason I say this is a few months ago, my TV picture on comcast got really fuzzy and poor. I called them, and the first thing they did was put a signal booster on the line coming in. That more or less fixed it. And in his truck the guy had dozens of these.

      So th
  • Almost a year ago when I got Vonage, it would never work consistently well with Comcast. When I switched to FIOS over the summer, magically it started working again.

    However, my observation is that FIOS offered significantly higher bandwidth back (it's 5/2 as compared with 4/512k) which seems important for VoIP. Plus, I found Verizon's bandwidth to be more consistent. FIOS offers 5/2 and it *always* works that way. Comcast seemed more inconsistent.

    In any event, Vonage never worked consistently well under
  • They want $39.99/month to switch to 'digital' voice. I told the gentleman that our conversation was taking place over a VOIP line (Vonage) at a much lower rate; he spouted some ridiculous sales-speak about how that wasn't possible. Since that call, I've kinda been waiting for something like this to take place. How can they sell a service at $39 with so many other options out there?

  • Comcast history (Score:2, Interesting)

    by MrNougat (927651)
    When I moved into a new house six years ago, we had AT&T cable. We got a flyer on the door about broadband internet. I called them up. "Sorry, it's not available in your area yet." I asked when it would be available. "Twelve to twenty-four months."

    Twelve months later, I called back. "Not available in your area." When? "Twelve to twenty-four months." But that's what you said last time. "Sorry, my hands are superglued to the laminated 'lame answer' card."

    Another twelve months, another call, same
  • I can go to DSLReports and get a general idea how well my cable is performing. Vonage (or preferably an independent source that can work with all VoIP providers) needs the same thing. A number you can call that simulates a connection, measures the current quality, and e-mails you the result. Without hard numbers to back up allegations of Traffic Shaping, this lack of network neutrality is a hard argument to make.
  • It's time to start calling these kinds of schemes (selectively degrading Internet service to companies the ISP dislikes) by some kind of simple name that encapsulates the negative impact to the customer. I suggest "Internet Minus". It's the Internet, minus the sites and services people really want.
  • I had all kinds of trouble using Vonage yesterday morning. Voicemails were not forwarded to my email and logins to their web page timed out. But that was a Vonage problem not an ISP problem -- I tried from different providers with the same result.
  • I'm a Comcast customer. I promise that if they institute filtering for traffic to attempt to control what I can and can't do with the network I'm paying for, I will switch to another provider. (Yes, I already went through this with port filtering, I did switch, but unfortunately I lost...at least they have a good argument for port 25, and they're not blocking port 80 anymore.) The only way to stop the big companies from doing asinine things like this is to make it affect their bottom line. So you too sh
  • If Comcast and other ISPs begin using filtering technologies and/or packet shaping which makes decisions based upon the content as the packets flow over the network aren't they in danger of losing their status as a common carrier? They argue that they are a common carrier to avoid liability for services like Kazaa, eDonkey, and Bittorrent being used to trade copyrighted materials across their networks while at the same time filtering competitor's VoIP traffic to gain a competitive advantage for their own se
  • It could be a number of reasons;

    1. Poor upstream B/W

    Could be a number of factors - bittorrent, trojans ending email etc

    Results in the other party not being able to hear you (properly/at all)

    2. Poor downstream B/W

    Could be torrents, downloads, windows updates, some arse pingflooding you

    Results in you not being able to hear the other party

    3. Poor Provider B/W

    Caused by overselling bandwidth, overloaded routers, cr*p hardware ... Call sounds like a conversation with M-M-Max H-H-eadroom-room-room

    I think this is m
  • Not Surprising (Score:2, Informative)

    I've been fighting comcast's and other ISP's blocked ports for a few years now:

    http://rebrandsoftware.com/portblocking.asp [rebrandsoftware.com]

    Check out the visitor-submitted "Complaint List by ISP" at the bottom of the page, Comcast has the longest list of all.
  • If Comcast is hamstringing Vonage users to foster growth of their own VOIP, that would be tortous interference in a major way. The first VOIP-war would likely end up in court really soon. It would be pretty easy for Vonage to show how only Comcast users have a problem by IP.
  • Their customer service pissed me off... though I miss downloading iso's in under 10 minutes: http://jasonbowen.org/download.jpg [jasonbowen.org]
  • by wrook (134116) on Thursday March 02, 2006 @12:05PM (#14835671) Homepage
    I was surprised to find out that Bell Sympatico rewrites all the headers in SIP messages as it goes through. I only discovered this because in certain circumstances it does it wrong and it caused the softphone I'm working on not to work.

    I'm sure this is the start of some traffic shaping experiments for VOIP on that network. Whether they have started degrading service yet I couldn't say, though.

    Very worrying...
  • Argh (Score:3, Interesting)

    by serenarae (154753) on Thursday March 02, 2006 @07:21PM (#14839307) Journal
    A. They don't block ports
    B. Your signal levels coming into your house are probably bad, or you have a bad split in the house somewhere. Keep in mind, every time you split that coax that your signal gets cut in half depending on what type of splitter you put on the line
    C. From what I understand, their VOIP service isn't like vonage, and it runs over their private network
    D. If you have an issue, don't complain about it here. Call them and tell them exactly what's happening. I let my lower channels stay fuzzy for three years without calling, blaming it on them. They came out an reran the line to my house and I haven't had any issues with cable or net since.

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