Network Cable Advice Needed - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 2 Old 01-27-2011, 07:22 AM - Thread Starter
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OK, this isn't so much about my home theater setup as it is about my network and how it might be affecting VOIP. Currently have Comcast underground digital cable, and Vonage as my phone setup. We've had Vonage for about 2 years now and the only issues we've had was billing errors (resolved) and more recently... problems specifically with the quality of outgoing calls. I recently added an AppleTV (gen1) to my setup and have a 20' CAT5 cable running from my router to the ATV and streaming via HDMI into my Mits DLP. Picture quality is just fine, no jitter, and my media is on a USB drive connected to my iMac. I mention this because the ATV setup was added well after the breaking up in outgoing calls was detected and noted by Vonage/Comcast. Don't think the ATV has anything to do with it.

So we call someone and they tell us the phone was breaking up badly and they are only catching every other word or so. This seems to happen not at the outset, but about a minute or so into the call. They call us back on the quality seems good to both parties no matter how long we stay on. Go figure.

I spent two hours on my cell phone with the Vonage tech who had me run numerous tests (Visualware's site) and on the quality aspect, after running the test 4-5 times the quality dropped substantially on the last test. It wasn't happening as consistently as the phone call experiences, but when I first called Vonage the tech heard the noise so we switched to my cell.

I have Comcast Broadband, and all our cables and utilities are buried. I had a comcast field guy come out and he again ran some tests and said my internet connection seemed fine, but he also saw the occasional quality test show up bad. Comcast will come out this Spring and run a new cable from the pylon to the house, and hopefully they will also put it in conduit rather than burying cable alone.

I went out and bought all new cordless Panasonic DTECT 6.0 phones a couple of weeks ago replacing the Uniden 2.8GHz ones, and I should mention that when I spoke to the Vonage tech, they had me pull all phones out and plug a wired phone into the Vonage adapter... static would still appear somewhat randomly. They said that eliminated the phone equipment and probably the hard wiring.

Realizing that perhaps my CAT5 cables are getting old, maybe I should get some shielded CAT6 cables to replace all my patch cables? The Motorola Surfboard modem is now moved next to the Vonage module in my electrical closet, so rather than having two long ethernet cables coming to my desk (which is about a 40' run including drops) I'm now using a 3' CAT5. My computer is a iMac, and my router is an Apple Airport Extreme, wireless n. I have a 3COM OfficeConnect 8-port switch in the mix as well because the Airport Router only has 3 Outgoing Ports and between networked printers and my wife's PC, I needed the extra connections. I tried switching channels on the router but I'm not seeing any big changes in the problem of noise when I call out. My mac is hard wired but I use my MacBook around the house... works great, and I don't want to shut off the wireless.

I am not a techie... I'm just a user and trying the basics. I figure maybe there's some sort of interference possibly coming into the phone system. Maybe the shielded cable will help? Maybe the new wire underground will help? Maybe someone can suggest some router options? I'm a good listener, and any advice would be appreciated.

Thanks in advance... Mike

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 If God had intended man to watch TV 24/7, he would have given him rabbit ears Â
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post #2 of 2 Old 01-27-2011, 08:04 AM
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I happened to be doing some surfing last night, and found the Glasnost test (Max Planck Institute). Tests the broadband connection for packet loss, traffic shaping, upload/download restrictions, etc and host of other things to determine the health of your connection for VOIP, gaming, etc. May be useful to get a baseline, or help you communicate to the techs the specific problem. My results showed a significant router queueing delay during uploads.

http://loki08.mpi-sws.mpg.de/bb/bb.php

http://broadband.mpi-sws.org/transparency/#overview
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