VoIP Spear Blog: News & Noise
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Happy Anniversary!

Published: Jan 14, 2009 Filed Under: Noise

It's been two months since we launched VoIP Spear and we've learned a lot in this time. New users are signing up every day and it's exciting to see people all over the world using the service. The first thing I do each morning (and, indeed, several times throughout the day) is check to see who has signed up and where they are from.

I'm not sure if anyone has noticed, but there have been a few small changes to VoIP Spear in the last two months. We've worked hard to make them as transparent as possible so the changes doesn't interfere with the operation of the site.

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ICMP vs UDP

Published: Dec 17, 2008 Filed Under: Noise

VoIP Spear servers work by pinging our users' endpoints. Ping is a nearly ubiquitous network tool that is used to test whether or not a computer/device is reachable across the Internet.

One problem with using ping is that ping uses the ICMP protocol while VoIP uses [UDP](http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/User_Datagram_Protocol

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Some Users Have Been Experiencing 100% Packet Loss

Published: Dec 7, 2008 Filed Under: News

VoIP Spear has only been live for a few weeks, yet we're seeing good numbers of users signing up for service. It's nice to see the fruits of our labours.

One nice thing about going live is that we're finally seeing how real people use VoIP Spear. A few problems have come to light, the most common of which is that our VoIP testing isn't working for some users -- the MOS for their endpoints is always 1.0 (the lowest possible score). We figured out pretty quickly that this is happening because their router or firewall is blocking ping/ICMP traffic, resulting in 100% packet loss. VoIP Spear servers use ping/ICMP for running the tests to all of the endpoints.

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How to Measure VoIP QoS

Published: Nov 25, 2008 Filed Under: Noise

Oftentimes, I hear people mention bandwidth when speaking about VoIP QoS (Quality of Service). There seems to a common misconception that bandwidth is the key factor in determining the quality of voice over a network. In reality, this is not true. It's of course important to have enough bandwidth for your VoIP needs, but there are other important qualities of your Internet connection that affect VoIP QoS -- packet loss, latency, and jitter.

The Internet works by breaking up all data into small groups called packets. Occasionally, some of these packets are lost in the network and don't reach the far-end. This is called packet loss and results in degradation to the quality of your phone call. Ideally, you would want packet loss to be 0% (or at least under 1%), however it's possible for you to experience acceptable VoIP quality with packet loss as high as 5%.

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VoIP Spear Launches!

Published: Nov 14, 2008 Filed Under: News

Great news, everybody! VoIP Spear is finally live. The Internet's finest VoIP QoS testing and tracking service is ready and raring to go.

We've worked hard to make VoIP Spear a compelling service right from the get go. Our Personal plan suits the needs of most casual users. It's free to use and lets you monitor one endpoint. For small businesses or users who need a little bit more, we can offer our Basic and Standard plans. Beyond that, we have our Bronze, Silver, and Gold plans which are perfect for carriers offering VoIP to their customers because these plans support many more endpoints. If you have more than 100 endpoints to track, please contact us and we'll work with you to develop a pricing model that suits your needs.

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