WiFi 1st - Maximize your WiFi/Router - Community Guide

voip
how_to

#1

Anytime your WiFi is at less than its optimal capability, your phone may be forced into ‘error recovery’ mode, this can result in many of the network/WiFi problems that are seen and can result in handing the call over to Cell in an attempt to provide you a quality call experience, or dropping calls when your cell service is poor or missing
Republics “Bonded Calling” has made important strides in call quality by using VoIP and combining it with Cell backup utilizing many innovative and patented processes and have overcome many, but not all of the problems encountered by end users.
The quality of the WiFi connection that we as users provide, can adversely impact our calling experience, but the majority of network problems (non-cell) can be fixed by the end user or their ISP

Background

VoIP (Voice over Internet Protocol) is real time, and not like email, browsing or even streaming a video, as VoIP cannot drop a packet or chunk of voice and then have it resent as the others do. Things that can be overcome by buffering and then playing back like the PC does with your Netflix and other things you download (and you never notice) can be problematic with VoIP … but usually, can be overcome. Speed or bandwidth is not as important as quality, as the voice data stream only uses about 80-100K (either direction) … so please don’t start by thinking ‘I have to up my speed to 1 Gig’ or whatever

Quick Start - WiFi problems

There is a really good community that will be more than happy to work with you if you need any assistance

  • Ask for help in Question & Answers - select the bottom right on the page and start a ‘New Topic’

Make note of any visual indicators before you begin troubleshooting and make note of the Status and Notifications which may be seen by swiping down from the top (Status line) these may vary depending on your phone type and plan.

The 1st 5 items below, if done before you seek help may fix your problem and can be helpful to those trying to give help

During testing or benchmarking, you may want to turn off Bluetooth and boot up in Safe Mode (except most 3.0 phones) to help eliminate possible sources of problems

  1. Power Cycle your network: See details below - This can fix many problems and is considered a Best Practice, something that many of us do periodically.

  2. Check Router Channel See details below to ensure you’re on a good channel for the router, neighbors can be on the same or overlapping channel and cause interference.

  3. Disable SIP ALG (Application Level Gateway) … Check router’s configuration to ensure it does not have SIP or NAT ALG enabled - See details below

  4. Check router is at latest level of firmware/code, if your router is new (or you have not updated it), your problem may be fixed by a simple update - See details below

  5. Test your Internet see if you really have a good signal - See details below

  6. Check your phone’s settings (1.0 & 2.0 only) to ensure they are set to the ‘mandatory’ in the Checklist - Phone Info

Many of us have been enjoying Republic Wireless for some time and would like to help maximize your experience
Gather all available information before making changes (visual indicators, screenshots etc)
This will help when defining your problem in a discussion or a Ticket. Does it fail on WiFi, Cell or Both? if WiFi does it fail on other than your home WiFI (like McD or Starbucks)


Details for items 1-4 above

Power Cycle Network (1)

  • Access your phones WiFi Settings and ‘FORGET’ the affected router name/SSID
  • Power off your Modem, Router and Phone then start a sequential power up (unplugging units is preferred)
  • Wait 30 Secs and Power up modem (if present), when it has completed its bring-ups (can take ~2 mins) then power up the router and wait for it to complete its bring-ups.
  • Now power up your phones and re-authenticate to a properly refreshed WiFi network. This Best Practice should be done occasionally, but if you have to do it all the time, you should isolate and fix the problem

ROUTER CHANNEL Selection (2)

You can check to see if your router is using a quiet channel and not getting interference from near/overlapping neighbors. Analyzers can be used to determine if this is a problem and aid in the selection of the ‘best’ channel to set the router on.
In the US only channels 1-11 should be used for 2.4Ghz, and only channel 1/6/11 provide the proper separation to avoid overlap/interference. If only overlapping channels are available, then try to pick the one with the greatest spread between your signal and the interfering signal


This example shows interfering devices. If the Device #2 was moved to Channel 11 it would interfere with no one (because it’s -75 signal is well below the -40 that Device #6 shows)

5Ghz available on most of the RW phones can help eliminate neighbor interference as fewer users use this band. However, due to the higher frequency, the distance/penetration of the signal is usually less
Most of the 3.0 phones currently sold/supported by Republic support 802.11b/g/n/ac (Dual band 2.4 & 5.0 Ghz) Check your phone’s specs if in doubt

SIP ALG (Application Layer Gateway) (3)

  • SIP ALG needs to be disabled on most routers if the option is available, as the function modifies SIP (Session Initiation Protocol) packets and this may cause VoIP problems. (1 way audio, near immediate call drop)
  • Some routers may refer this to NAT ALG
  • From your router’s web configuration page (usually under Configuration / Firewall / Advanced Settings)
  • Disable SIP Application Layer Gateway (SIP ALG) if set on by default configuration
  • Router Compatibility is a ‘3rd party’ guide, with recommendations and configuration information on many routers
  • How to disable SIP ALG
    • SPI (Stateful Packet Inspection) Normally should be enabled for security, may be disabled during problem determination

Router Updates (4)

Router Firmware/Software not at the latest level can cause many problems (including poor voice quality and connect problems)

  • Best Practice is to maintain the latest level of firmware even a ‘New’ router may have downlevel firmware, due to sales or supply chain delays

Additional considerations

QoS (Quality of Service)

  • Normal QoS allocates priority usage of bandwidth to specific function/devices attached to the router (usually just on the upload path). If you determine that your VoIP calls break up and find it’s when someone else is uploading on the same router, you may need to see if your Router supports QoS … implementation varies and can be complex, so consult the documentation or ask for assistance
  • WMM (WiFi Multi Media) should be enabled for all routers. This is the only QoS that provides collision detection and prioritized recovery for WiFi and it provides your Voice transmission the highest priority. Some routers have WMM enabled by default, and it may also help with video to other devices.
    WMM should be enabled for all routers, however, a few users have found it necessary to disable WMM at the router, but this is the exception
    Note:
    802.11n routers & AP without WMM will limit the link speed to 54Mbps (occurs if WMM not implemented properly by the router manufacturer)
    All phones except the Defy XT should support WMM QoS and it is always enabled on the phones (Router needs to have WMM enabled)
  • WMM APSD or Wi-Fi Multimedia (WMM) Automatic Power Save Delivery is a feature mode that allows your mobile devices to save battery while connected to your wifi network.
    Caution: This is not WMM QoS and is known to cause problems by shutting down the WiFi (Disable the function on the Router is recommended)

Router location and Interference

You can improve your WiFi signal by reducing the ‘noise’ that it has to compete with.

  • Bluetooth headsets operate in the same 2.4Ghz band as routers and some of them can cause interference with your WiFi, this is seen more on older devices as the newer ones detect and respect the WiFi
  • Strive for “line of sight” between your phone and router or AP (Access Point) and try to avoid physical obstructions whenever possible. Walls do the most damage, other obstructions including cabinets or furniture will weaken the signal to some degree. Place wireless AP/router on or near the ceiling to help avoid obstructions. Watch the angles, a signal going through a wall at an angle will hit multiple 2x4 and be degraded more than one going straight through, try to avoid room corner placements. Adjusting the antennas or location slightly can improve performance.
  • Avoid reflective surfaces if possible. WiFi signals can be reflected off of windows, mirrors, metal file cabinets, tables etc., lessening both network range and performance.
  • Install AP/Router at least 3 feet away from other home appliances that use wireless signals (some microwave ovens, cordless telephones, baby monitors, and home automation equipment like X-10 devices) and away from electric fans, other motors, and fluorescent lights).

Open Access - Required Ports & Protocol

Your Router (home, school or business) or ISP must not block outbound traffic (from your phone) destined to the following ports:

5090 UDP which is used for call set up
6000-29999 UDP which is used for voice/audio
443 MQTT which is used for Voicemail, Messaging SMS/MMS and keep-alive messages to RW servers. (some 2.0 Phones will continue to use 8883 until a config refresh *#*#8647#*#* is done, and the DEFY will continue to use 8883)
NOTE: Most firewalls are stateful, meaning they allow two-way communication as long as it is initiated by a client (phone) that is inside the router’s network. This could be your home, school or office router/firewall
Republic phones will always send the initial voice/audio data packet to a destination port of 6000-29999 (regardless of who placed the call)

Note: A 3rd party site provides the ability to test that the outgoing port is open, by use of the following links. You would run these from the browser on your phone
http://portquiz.net:5090 — UDP Call set up
http://portquiz.net:6543 — 6000-29999 UDP for voice/audio, full range may be used, single test port should suffice

INTERNET - General Info for all phones on Republic

A good signal from your ISP (Internet Service Provider) is essential to maintain good voice quality
Latency or Ping under 150ms | Jitter under 5ms | Packet loss under 1% | MOS between 3.5 and 4.5 hi=good

Latency or Ping … the length of time it takes to make a round trip to the other end and back.
Jitter… a measurement of variation or spacing between chunks of data … think of a picket fence that the pickets are not spaced evenly … pretty ugly wouldn’t you say?
Packet loss … dropped or lost packets … same fence with missing pickets … even uglier
MOS (Mean Opinion Score) …how good a panel of listeners would say the voice sounds on a scale of 1-5 (this has been around from early Telco days) … and they used to use real people to rate the Voice Quality

Link Tests (5)

These are used to test router/ISP from your PC for speed, (up/down) and other conditions that can affect call quality … Complete testing requires Java on your PC and it is best to run the test from a WiFi connected PC and always run the test when other users of the router have been quiesced (kicked off) … you may want to save the results to use as a benchmark in the future.
Run these tests while not streaming Netflix, downloading files, making phone calls etc.
NOTE: with recent changes in Chrome it is best to run this from Firefox (Java will not run properly on Chrome) and full measurements are not possible)

Additional Test

  • VoIP Spear provides testing and graphing of MOS, Packet Loss, and Latency. Test runs continuously and can show up to last 6 hours of voice quality data, with a free version of their test. It is recommended that you use this as an ongoing test
    Note: This is BW’s preferred test (due to the 6 hr history available) Set End points to your external IP address and 3 cities for best view
    You need to access at least once a month or they will cancel your subscription
  • VOIP Speed Test … excellent test … after the test completes, select Speed Tab and copy the Test Result #xxxxxx link into your response
    Info on Cell and WiFi connectivity from SignalCheck Lite displays the current connection type along with the carrier name for each connection, even while roaming. Good info to include in discussion or Ticket

Internet or Router - Fault isolation?

Whenever possible you should initially determine which one might be causing your problem then attack that first (you may want to make multiple passes of the test in each position)
Modem and Router are separate: use this procedure

  • Disconnect the Ethernet cable going from Modem to Router (at the Router end)
    • Connect it to your PC, make sure PC is communicating via Ethernet/WAN (not WiFi)
      • With some DSL services, you will need to register your PC’s MAC address and restore when done testing
    • Run the link test documented above and note the results as (1)
    • Reconnect the Router to the Modem and connect the PC to the Router via Ethernet cable• Verify that PC is communicating via Ethernet/WAN (not WiFi)
    • Run the link test documented above and note the results as (2)
    • Disconnect PC from Router, move it to the same place you would ‘use/test’ your phone from
    • Verify that PC is communicating via WiFi
    • Run the link test documented above and note the results as (3)

Combined Modem and Router use this procedure

  • Connect your PC to the Router via Ethernet cable …make sure PC is communicating via Ethernet/WAN (not WiFi)
    • Run the link test documented in the INTERNET section above and note the results as(1)
  • Disconnect PC from Router, move it to the same place you would ‘test’ your phone from
  • Verify that PC is communicating via WiFi
    • Run the link test documented above and note the results as (3)

Compare the test results,
If the test results vary appreciably … like (2)<(1) or (3)<(2) then that is the area you may want to concentrate on … call ISP … fix/replace/relocate router… or post results from your testing and let the community help you

Additional resources

Selecting a new Router?

Assistance can be provided by many sources within the community and on the web.

Still having problems?

If you have updated the Router firmware, made the suggested Router configuration changes and are still having problems (or need assistance in configuration)
Just ask in Question & Answers - select the bottom right on the page and start a ‘New Topic’

Please provide the following information

  • Description of the problem, include any visual indicators on your phone
  • Name of ISP (Internet Service Provider)
  • Type of service, i.e. DSL, cable, satellite, broadcast
  • Router brand, model, and version (all the numbers and letters from the model designation on the nameplate)
  • Firmware revision of your router if you are able to find it.

Need Help?

  • Just ask in Question & Answers - select the bottom right on the page and start a ‘New Topic’

Additions or Corrections? … just reply with any suggested additions

Thanks,
Ben


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