VOIP/Home Networking suggestions?

We have no cell service in our apartment building, so my desire for a good, home VOIP solution has been super frustrating. I suspect the problem isn’t with VOIP itself, but something about my home network. Wondering if anyone has any experience solving for this.

I have tried

  • Spectrum’s Digital phone solution
  • a VOIP solution through an OBI200 adaptor
  • a Verizon Microcell for our iPhones
  • Verizon’s WiFi Calling mode on our cell phones
  • using my company’s VOIP solution through my Mac Mini and a wired Ethernet solution.

With all of these, calls are intermittently decent to miserable. Eventually, every calls has terrible digital dropouts, so i sound like i’m constantly being clipped. It’s almost always the outgoing audio. In all these cases, i can hear the other person fairly well.

On the infrastructure side, I’ve:

  • bumped up our internet connection. Realistically getting 100MBS down, 10MBPS up, with a ping of 14.
  • upgraded our modem from stock Spectrum unit to a good Netgear model
  • upgraded our home WiFi to an Orbi Mesh Router

If anyone has any suggestions, I’d be eternally grateful. My last solution is going back to a regular, analog phone, which seems insane!

I’ve used Ooma voip on a 25 down 5 up connection with no issues. VoIP box needs to be hardwired to the router, no using WiFi. If the router has QOS settings, give the voip the highest priority. Have you tried a analog phone connected directly to the voip box? Wireless phones can have interference issues.

Beyond that you may need some additional testing tools to see if you are getting consistent speeds.

Yes, that’s what I need to do next. I think I did have the VOIP box directly into the router, but it’s been a bit. And yes, it was to a wireless phone. I couldn’t keep a wired phone by the router, because of where the cable comes into the house. I may buy a cheap analog phone, just for testing purposes.

A wired phone is not needed. Only the VOIP box, not the phone handset that you use, needs to be hardwired (ethernet) to the router. For wireless handsets, there are three choices:

  1. Connect the VOIP box (Ooma or similar) to a standard cordless phone “base station” (Panasonic, Vtech, etc.). Then you are free to use cordless phone handsets throughout your home.
  2. Connect the VOIP box (Ooma or similar) to your home in-wall telephone wiring. Then connect a cordless phone base station anywhere in your home that you have a wall telephone outlet. Like in choice #1, you can then use cordless handsets anywhere.
  3. Some VOIP boxes (e.g., Ooma) have built-in cordless handset capability. Simply buy one or more Ooma cordless handsets that operate wirelessly with the Ooma VOIP box. In this situation you would not need a standard cordless phone base station/cordless handset system.

I’m remembering a recent episode of #macgeekgab where one of the hosts, John, was experiencing major packet loss caused by the internet provider. Since all the attempted solutions come back around to your internet service I would think:

  1. Some sort of loss on the provider side
  2. There is a QoS issue with Orbi
  3. An issue with the main cable modem

Before you do anything else; how about enabling WiFi calling in your iPhone?

If you still want a “landline”,your iSP (cable) provider is the easiest and often most cost effective solution. Also they will make sure your experience is good since they controll everything.

If you choose a 3rd party VoIP I suggest to use a router with QOS capabilities so you can prioritize VoIP traffic.

No need to bump up your speed, Relatively VoIP doesn’t require much but you do want to prioritize this traffic over everything else on your Network.

A low latency network and internet connection is critical.

Hope this helps

This was already tried. See original post.

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I am sooooo sorry for not reading it twice before offering some free advice.

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Thanks for all the advice, everyone. Very helpful. I’m going to try the OBI box again and see what happens.

And I hear you all. If i go back to a spectrum modem and their Digital Phone, at least i can make it their problem. My frustration the last time is they didn’t have a modem-only solution, only a modem/WiFi router, which means i had worse WiFi than i new get with my own mesh router.

It’s never easy!!!

Turn the WiFi off on their router and connect the Orbi via Ethernet and use it for WiFi. Hard not to use their router but you don’t have to use their WiFi.

+1 for hardwired voip box
+1 for QoS if you have it/can use it but try turning off SIP ALG if not already, as this can be a problem.

You may also be able to use the DMZ feature or “Special Server” feature of your router to reduce the number of barriers between your voip box and your provider.

Do check your internet connection for latency (think you said 14ms) but also jitter which can be an issue.

You may also be able to choose a lower bandwidth codec on you voip box, but with your bandwidth I would not expect it to be a bandwidth issue.