New ADSL Router +802.11abg +VOIP

Some things I learnt include:

  • SIP
  • 1st level helpdesk folk will avoid your call if the device is not sold by them
  • Whirlpool has an awful lot of crap, but the back-channel chat can be invaluable.
  • You only truly find out how good service is, when you have a problem.

Session Initiation Protocol (SIP), or that “ruddy SIP” when it’s not working, is how Voice Over IP (VOIP) works*.  Like most protocols, it is a one-to-one conversation.  And because it’s a conversation, you can work out what is being said:

02-11-2008 20:18:24 Local7.Debug 192.121.0.44 ==>231.23.45.23: Received SIP packet from: 203.2.134.1:5060<013><010>SIP/2.0 183 Session Progress<013><010>Via: SIP/2.0/UDP 231.23.45.23:5060;branch=4574395743957<013><010>Call-ID: lkjfldsajf98r098rwfdskj@231.23.45.23<013><010>From: FredPhone <sip:0312345678@sip.fredphone.net:5060>;tag=lj5l45sf34r<013><010>To: 0412122222 <sip:0412122222@sip.fredphone.net:5060>;tag=jflfjldsjflsd-fjdlfjdlj4<013><010>CSeq: 1019589250 INVITE<013><010>Require: 100rel<013><010>RSeq: 749414039<013><010>Allow: ACK,BYE,CANCEL,INFO,INVITE,OPTIONS,PRACK,REFER,UPDATE,NOTIFY<013><010>Supported: 100rel<013><010>Contact: <SNIP>

… sometimes, with the right tools & hardware.  Without those, you can make inspired guesses, based on experience.  The snippet above is from broken SIP session.  I ring my cell phone from my VOIP service, and it rings once and hangs up.

Contacted my ISP’s helpdesk.  I have a problem with my Maestro ADSL modem and your VOIPfone VOIP service.
“No can help, we don’t sell the Maestro brand”. Darn.  The Maestro helpdesk were no better.  Remember that 1st level helpdesks aren’t much help.

So I whinge on Whingepool Whirlpool, the Australian Broadband forum.  Not a great deal of help to be found from my fellow posters, but I had a 3rd level support guy from Maestro contact me, and the VOIP tech for the VOIPfone service, both via email! 
I only got this support by being courteous and not bagging either product.
^—— important point.

The cause?
After many SIP protocol captures, it turns out to be a problem with the new Maestro firmware.  Maestro have supplied me with a test firmware which fixes the problem, but causes a problem with another feature 🙁
At least we’re getting there.

Nitpicker’s Corner
Not technically accurate, but close enough to the truth that you can get for free.  The true truth can be found by a) giving me money or b) reading here.
The Nitpicker’s Corner is inspired by Raymond Chen.

Maestro and VOIPfone.  The names have been changed to protect the guilty.
Incidentally, Maestro is a real brand.  They make rock-solid modems.