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By WelshPaul
#17
Sometimes sound quality or registration problems are caused by poor internet connections, running a trace route programme can help identify whether a problem you are experiencing lies with your Internet Service Provider or somewhere else.

To find out detailed information about the route between you and your VoIP provider you need to run MTR.

Getting the Software
Windows users will need to use Trace Route - see below

To get winMTR click here.

Download winMTR from the above link and save it to your desktop, now extract the contents of the zip file you downloaded to your desktop. (You can use 7zip to extract the file, it's free to use and you can get it from here.)

Click on WinMTR.exe. (It is located inside the folder you just extracted to your desktop.)

When the programme opens do the following:
  1. Enter your VoIP providers proxy address e.g. sip.myvoipprovider.net into the box marked 'host'.
  2. Click start.
  3. Allow the programme to run for about 100 cycles.
Understanding the Results
There's a link to a full descrption of understanding trace routes at the botom of this post.

The programme send packets of data to your VoIP providers servers, counts how many it gets back and measures how long the round trip takes. It also shows all the steps (routers) on the way.

You should have all zeros in the column marked % loss i.e. you should receive back as many messages as you sent. Any regular loss at all is a problem and should be reported to your ISP. Over 5% loss is regarded as unusable but your calls may still survive it.

If you see loss in your connection, look for the very first link that you see it because that is the router that is in trouble. You may find bigger loss later in the trace but it is being caused by the first router you see it at.

The best, worst, average columns tell you how long it took to get there and back, in milliseconds. You can safely ignore all but the average column which should be in the region of 20-50 if you are in the UK. Average UK round trip times of over 100 may cause voice problems and shows a possible problem and you should talk to your ISP. (Note: it is normal to see large numbers in the 'worst' column, the average column is the one to look at.)

Reporting your Results
If you have been asked to send your results to your VoIP provider or ISP, click the 'copy text to clipboard' button and then paste them into your email. (I don't recommend sending them as attachments, as some security systems put in place by companies will not allow them.)

Link to explanation of trace route for the more technically minded:
http://www.exit109.com/~jeremy/news/pro ... route.html

Speed Test
It's also useful to know how much bandwidth you actually have available, not just what your ISP's marketing blerb tells you it could be!

Test it here: http://www.speedtest.net/

Using Trace Route
If you use Windows 8, MTR may not work and so instead use Trace Route.
  1. Swipe up to show the Apps screen. You can accomplish the same thing with a mouse by clicking on the down arrow icon at the bottom of the screen.

    Note: Prior to the Windows 8.1 update, the Apps screen can be accessed from the Start screen by swiping up from the bottom of the screen, or right-clicking anywhere, and then choosing All apps.
  2. Now that you're on the Apps screen, swipe or scroll to the right and locate the Windows System section heading.
  3. Under Windows System, press or click on Command Prompt.

    Note: A new Command Prompt window will open on the Desktop.
  4. In the black window that pops up type your VoIP providers proxy address e.g. sip.myvoipprovider.net then press carriage return.
Wait for the programme to finish then copy the results by:
  1. Click on the small black icon in the top left of the small window.
  2. Click edit and then choose mark.
  3. Highlight the trace route information.
  4. Click on edit again and choose copy.
You can then paste your trace into an email in the usual way (control V is the quickest).
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