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WRT54GS v3 Seeks best Firmware option for Vonage

Discussion in 'Cisco/Linksys Wireless Routers' started by BtrGoneThanJail, Dec 18, 2005.

  1. BtrGoneThanJail

    BtrGoneThanJail Network Guru Member

    Hi all,

    New here. So far from the wealth of info I've been reading here, I've decided to keep the 54GS v3 model. I bought two routers at Wal-Mart last week figuring I'd research a little before I opened one. Have a 54G v4 and a 54GS v3. I'll take the 54G back since what I'm reading on the forums here, the 54GS v3 is a better choice between the two.

    I have Vonage. Motorola VT1000 + Belkin FD7430(?) Router currently. Mediacom ISP, 5MB down. The cable modem is some RCA unit that the Mediacom guy put on.

    If I put the Motorola before the router, I get pretty good voice, but the Motorola bugs out every once in awhile, bringing my network down.

    Right now, I have the Motorola behind the Belkin router. That's the most stable situation. Call quality has increasingly been poor. I have Motorola in DMZ and that has seemed to help.

    The symptoms I have right now are "choppy" sounds from the person I'm calling. The person can hear me fine usually, which is good, but I get broken voice packets coming into my end. I'm not doing alot of downloading or gaming usually.

    Here's my question(s): I'm going to put the WRT54GS on the network to replace the Belkin. I'd like to keep the Motorola box behind the router. I've searched around for quite some time and haven't really found any conclusive evidence that I should open that 54GS box just yet. This site is narrowing me down, however. I think I'll be able to solve my problem here. I've looked at sveasoft, got too confused. I checked out the comparison chart from this site and I'm sure I'll pick DD-WRT.

    Anybody have any suggestions? Do you think by putting the new 54GS + DD-WRT on my network, (along with some tweaking) that my vonage problem will get better? Or is it not worth the effort? Or is there another, better solution involving a different router? I'd look at Hyper-WRT a little closer, but I want static dhcp as an option.

    Apologies for the lengthy post, but I wanted to get the details out as much as possible.

    Thanks in advance for replies. Great site here!
  2. BtrGoneThanJail

    BtrGoneThanJail Network Guru Member

  3. NateHoy

    NateHoy Network Guru Member

    I'm running your "second choice", a WRT54G V4, with HyperWRT Tofu 10. You should be able to get the same results with that, or with the GS you've chosen and HyperWRT Thibor.

    HyperWRT Tofu and Thibor both have Static DHCP, I use it in Tofu for all the devices on my network. Fantastic stuff.

    DD-WRT is also an excellent choice. BrainSlayer's done a fine job.

    HyperWRT uses stock Linksys firmware and makes minimal changes to both the GUI and the actual code to get the job done. It's as simple as the stock firmware, and simply enhances what's already there. DD-WRT is a complete departure from the stock firmware. It does many things that HyperWRT cannot. However, it is more confusing, has many conflicting options, and really requires a good bit of network know-how to run properly (at least from what I'm told - I may need to take it for a spin someday). Both are better than the stock firmware...


    As to optimization, well, if you aren't having problems with a Belkin router, I can pretty much guarantee you'll be happy with the Linksys, even with STOCK firmware. Having said that, I'd set up QoS anyway.

    If you choose HyperWRT Tofu or Thibor, basically all you need to do is the following (DD-WRT will no doubt be very similar):

    1. Load it onto the router using the instructions. Once it's stable and running...
    2. Test your "upload" bandwidth at somewhere like www.broadbandreports.com/tools - write down the "upload" or "upstream" bandwidth
    3. Go into the router config screen, then click on "Applications and Gaming" and "QoS",
    - Enable "Wired QoS"
    - Set the "Upstream Bandwidth" to 90% of your upstream bandwidth.
    - In the "Device Priority", enter the MAC address of your Vonage device, a name for it, and set it to "High" or "Highest".
    4. Restart your router.
  4. BtrGoneThanJail

    BtrGoneThanJail Network Guru Member

    Excellent NateHoy. Exactly what I was looking for. I decided on the GS model and opened it yesterday (before I read your last post). Put it on and got all my devices provisioned. I enabled QoS under stock firmware, but nothing more than simply giving priority to Port 1. First test, caller says better. Later in the evening, different caller says "crackly". So, I'll take your advice and set it up how you suggest and will report back.

    I'm on vacation and so the last thing I want to do is tweak my network right now. I do that enough with my clients when I'm off vacation. :D

    Thanks for the response. I'll definitely come back and report my findings when I continue on with your suggestions.
  5. NateHoy

    NateHoy Network Guru Member

    LOL. I hear ya.

    With the "upstream bandwidth", you'll have to experiment. I found that lowering the number from 90% cost me a little upstream performance, but got me reports from the "other end" that audio was clearer and crisper. I have 256k upload, and I have my QoS set at 205 now (just over 80%). Reports from the "other side" are that my voice is clear and artifact-free.

    I suspect that my ISP is not providing the full advertised 256k, so it's a matter of tweaking your settings until you get a number that works for you.

    Find a very patient person on the other end, and tweak the number, rebooting the router between tweaks, until you get acceptable voice outbound.
  6. Chuck_IV

    Chuck_IV Network Guru Member

    I'm using a V3 GS with Thibor's latest firmware and Vonage, without any issues at all. I have my Vonage/Motorola VT1005 behind the GS and in the QOS I give the VT1005 highest priority by it's MAC ID and set my upload limit to 218(I have 256 up).

    This works great for me. My Wife uses the Vonage to call her parents and she says everything sounds great.

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