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What Is My Best Option?

PembsPanther
Grafter
Posts: 246
Thanks: 2
Registered: 07-07-2012

What Is My Best Option?

Morning All
Sorry for the vague title, I have an issue at the moment with my home broadband, we do not have fibre available in my area and I constantly seem to be struggling for speed. We have a media server constantly connected 24/7, my laptop usually always connected and being used, my wife's laptop connected most of the time used 50% of the day, 1 kids laptop, 3 kids tablets and an Xbox all connected and used at peak times. Then there is also 4 mobile phones again always connected but very rarely do anything.
Both myself and my wife have now started our own businesses, at the moment we are handling telephone calls using our mobiles but it is far from ideal. My business is split into 3 different section requiring 3 different phone numbers (ideally), my wife just requires the use of 1 phone number. I have registered 4 fantastic local phone numbers through soho66 as voip seemed like the ideal solution, I got the NCH Express Talk software and even invested in the Express Talk USB phone, the solution is perfect all numbers are registered through the same software whenever anyone rings a pop up appears on screen telling me which number is ringing, but then it all goes pear shaped from picking up the phone! I just do not seem to have speed to run the software properly, there are terrible lags making it completely unusable with my current connection.
Interestingly when I am out and about I run it all through my Android tablet using a different app, I tether my phone in order to connect and it works quite well, sure there are still some lags but it is possible to hold a conversation whereas on my home connection it is impossible.
I need some suggestions guys, I need to get this up and running and reliably at home what are my options? What do you suggest? I was thinking maybe having a business line with business broadband installed and the only thing that will use it is the computer that has all of this installed on but it seems like such an expensive solution not only the added monthly cost but also I would need a whole new line fitting at home, I have no idea how much I would be charged for this.
Any input and suggestions appreciated I need to find a solution to this pretty sharpish now.
Thanks in advance Smiley
Chris
7 REPLIES
SoFarSoGood
Rising Star
Posts: 95
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Registered: 30-03-2013

Re: What Is My Best Option?

Hi Chris
I suggest you try http://www.plus.net/business/broadband/
Community Veteran
Posts: 19,099
Thanks: 434
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Registered: 31-08-2007

Re: What Is My Best Option?

Is it possible that your VoIP traffic isn't getting classified correctly and so not getting the relevant Traffic Management?
Is VoIP traffic showing up under Broadband Phonecalls in VMBU Usage Breakdown at the Member Centre. If you are a bit unsure you could try Wiresharking it.
The other option, if it's purely a matter of bandwidth, is to get another line installed and a 2nd broadband service dedicated to your VoIP and whatever doesn't conflict, but you'd have to compare the cost of that with 4GEE if you have it near enough to you, but landline BB should be cheap enough if you are on a Market 3 exchange.
Superuser
Superuser
Posts: 10,414
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Registered: 22-08-2007

Re: What Is My Best Option?

Hi Chris,
From your description, it is not entirely clear what avenue might help you best - your bottle-neck could be anyone of a number of things.  Pure volume of data you are shifting, the capacity of your BB link or the capacity of your WiFi network.  There are a number of potential solutions, each has some technicalities to be considered - I hope that the following is not too confusing.
Are the devices you are using for the VOIP connected to the router via WiFi or via Ethernet cable?  If over WiFi then what speed does the laptop report the WifI to be running at?  You will have (during the call) massive loads being placed over the WiFi network which has no sense of QoS prioritisation.  Is it practical for you to (at least as a test) connect (the laptop managing the VOIP call) to the router via a cable?  If this adequately improves matters, then you might safely assume that this is a WiFi performance issue.  If a cable connect is viable as a means of working, then you have a very cheap solution. 
If not practical, this might be remedied by buying a WiFI access point (connected via a cable to the existing router) and establishing that as the 'business' WiFi network (different SSID) but make sure the channel chosen is well away from the existing channel.  Note that this is something which will need careful consideration should you decide to opt for a separate business line / WiFi network.  This will separate your "business" traffic from your "residential" traffic over the WiFi network.
If as a test this proves beneficial as an alternative you could consider a new router (e.g. Fritz!box 3970) which can also act as a DECT / VOIP exchange.  With this approach, the router deals with the inbound VOIP (and in some cases PSTN calls) and routes them out to ordinary phones or DECT hand sets, thereby taking the network traffic away from the WiFi network.  Again wireless channel selection needs to be considered to get the best out of this.  With this configuration, you can decide at the time of making a call from a phone handset how it should be routed - VOIP or PSTN - thereby offering a means of saving costs on all outbound calls.
If a cable connection to the router does not improve matters, then the problem is with the BB speed / capacity.  What line speed are you getting?  How does it compare to published expectations for your location?  If it is not comparable to expectations, then you might have a problem on the line, the rectification of which might deliver sufficient improvement for things to work adequately.  How does a download speed test compare to the BT profile for your line?  It could be the case that the PN data speed for your line is not correctly matched to the BT profile, thereby your data transfer speed will not be the best that your line can support.
If all of these come up 'clean' then you are left with the fact that (due to geography or the state of BT infrastructure) your line will simply not support the volume of traffic you are trying to 'ship' with all of your connected devices.  If this is the case, then (aside from switching off domestic demands) your ONLY alternative is additional phone line(s).  As suggested by SoFarSoGood PN offer a number of business packages.  I can highly recommend PN Business services having been a user for 3+ years in a rural area with rather poor BT circuits..  I have found PN to be quite aggressive in fixing business line faults.  Also consider that Business users get a higher level of priority with faults and have a dedicated call desk.  Given how important such services are to a business, I suggest that you are taking a risk running a business on a residential service.  Indeed doing so might be a breach of PN's T&Cs.
I hope this is of some help - if I were in your shoes, I'd start off by checking that the BB performance is in line with expectations.  After that I'd get a business line and separate domestic traffic from the business traffic.
Cheers,
Kevin
SoFarSoGood
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Registered: 30-03-2013

Re: What Is My Best Option?

Hi Chris
Just wanted to say, I wasn't being flippant in my reply.
I was suggesting what Kevin appears to be suggesting i.e 'I'd get a business line and separate domestic traffic from the business traffic.'
This will also make it easier to claim back all/some of the expenditure against you business costs.
   
Community Veteran
Posts: 19,099
Thanks: 434
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Registered: 31-08-2007

Re: What Is My Best Option?

That is a very good point about costs and business expenditure, but you also get a better SLA.
Superuser
Superuser
Posts: 10,414
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Registered: 22-08-2007

Re: What Is My Best Option?

Chris,
Another point to consider... I recently had an interesting none attributable discussion with someone in the know, who suggested that there are some known operational issues with the Gradwell system and USB VOIP phones.  I do not know the detail beyond they can / do drop calls on answering... which sounds like it might match your issue.  Are you using USB phones?
Kevin
Superuser
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Registered: 22-08-2007

Re: What Is My Best Option?