Fongo App Call Drops at 20 minutes

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Fongo App Call Drops at 20 minutes

Postby Simon nomiS » 11/26/2020

Hullo people! Hoping someone can offer some insight...

I have been using the Fongo mobile phone app for several years and it has been mostly good to me, dropping a call randomly when I guessed the shared Wifi signal was not strong or too much traffic, but also having extended calls sometimes too.

I moved recently, and now my free calls from Campbell River, BC to Vancouver or across to Peterborough, ON are being dropped like clockwork at the 18-20 minute mark. I would guess that it was my new internet service (which seems fine for everything else), but my friend used Wifi to make a Whatsapp call for over an hour that worked just fine.

I haven't made any international charged calls yet from my new address so not sure yet how that functions.

Please help! Thanks for your time!

Simon
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Re: Fongo App Call Drops at 20 minutes

Postby Liptonbrisk » 11/26/2020

Simon nomiS wrote:
I moved recently, and now my free calls from Campbell River, BC to Vancouver or across to Peterborough, ON are being dropped like clockwork at the 18-20 minute mark.


Are you calling another Fongo Mobile or VoIP user? If so, the issue could be on the other end.

If the call drop occurs at exactly the same time duration, each and every time, then I suspect the issue is SIP ALG related.
In the Fongo Mobile app, under settings-->troubleshooting, enable "Alternate Fongo Connection."

Also, check to ensure "Allow IPv6 Connection" is enabled. It should be by default.

If using "Alternate Fongo Connection" works, refer to point B below. If you were given a modem/router combo and have your own router, stick the modem/router combo in bridge mode so that you can bypass the buggy SIP ALG feature in it. You can also ask your ISP if there's a way to disable SIP ALG in the modem/router combo you have. SIP ALG is a router feature. Alternatively, you can just leave the "Alternate Fongo Connection" switch toggled on.

----
The following is a general writeup that applies to FPL (Freephoneline), but it also applies to Fongo Mobile (except I have no clue what the values are in point 4 for Fongo Mobile).

Typically, for VoIP SIP services, especially for freephoneline, you want


1) a router that does not have a full cone NAT,

Visit https://www.think-like-a-computer.com/2 ... es-of-nat/.
Mango from the Obitalk.com forums writes,
“Use a restricted cone NAT router, and do not use port forwarding or DMZ. Restricted cone NAT will only permit
inbound traffic from the service provider you're registered to. If you have a full cone NAT router, it will allow traffic
from any source. This is probably not what you intend.
If you have a Windows computer, you can test your router using the utility here:
http://www.dslreports.com/forum/remark,22292023. To run it, use stun stun.ekiga.net from a command prompt.”
Essentially, you download the stun-test.zip file; extract the stun.exe file from within the zip file to an easily
accessible location; use an elevated command prompt (visit
http://www.thewindowsclub.com/how-to-ru ... inistrator); change directory (cd) to the
directory or location where you extracted stun.exe (visit
http://www.digitalcitizen.life/command- ... c-commands); and type “stun stun.ekiga.net” without
the quotation marks followed by the enter/return button on your keyboard.
Asus routers, at the time of this writing, produce port restricted cone NAT routers, for example and are fine,
provided you’re using one with Asuswrt-Merlin, third party firmware installed.

2) a router that lets you disable SIP ALG if it's buggy,

To understand why SIP ALG often causes horrible problems, please visit
https://www.voip-info.org/routers-sip-alg/ (scroll down to the section on SIP ALG problems).

If you're dealing with a modem/router combo issued by an ISP or a router with SIP ALG forced on, you may have
to use voip4.freephoneline.ca:6060 for the Proxy Server. The purpose of voip4.freephoneline.ca:6060 is to circumvent
faulty SIP ALG features in routers.

The purpose of "Alternate Fongo Connection" in Fongo Mobile is to also bypass faulty SIP ALGs in routers.

3) a router that allows you to set QoS or assign highest priority to your [Smartphone, in this case] ATA or IP Phone over all other devices on your LAN (local area network),

For a very general description of what QoS can do for you, visit https://www.voipmechanic.com/qos-for-voip.htm.
The basic idea is if you're torrenting or have a bunch of other computers, smartphones, tablets, etc. downloading and uploading (hogging all your available bandwidth), you don't want
your ATA not to have access to enough bandwidth to make or receive calls properly. So QoS or a Bandwidth Monitor feature (which is just another form of QoS) is a really good idea for VoIP users.

I often get an occasional relative complaining to me, "Hey my calls sound choppy." And then when I go visit, some kids are playing MMOs on a computer, while another person is downloading a huge file,
and another person is backing up files to a cloud service all at the same time someone else is trying to talk on the phone. All those devices, without QoS enabled, are fighting over available bandwidth along with the ATA.

and 4) A router that lets you adjust both Unreplied and Assured UDP timeouts.
(Here, you can replace "ATA" with "Smartphone/Fongo Mobile")

Thanks to Mango, many of us now understand that in order for ATAs to remain registered and working properly with a VoIP SIP provider like Freephoneline, in particular after power failures, the following conditions must be met:

UDP Unreplied Timeout (in your router) < NAT Keep-alive Interval (in your ATA; for Obihai ATAs this is X_KeepAliveExpires; for Grandstream, the setting is SIP OPTIONS Keep Alive Interval) < UDP Assured Timeout (in your router) < SIP Registration Failure Retry Wait Time (or RegisterRetryInterval in Obihai ATAs)

“<“ means less than.

When a modem leases a new IP address, a problem can arise where prior associations using the old IP address are maintained in the router. When the ATA attempts to communicate using the old IP address, the response is unreplied, and then if the UDP Unreplied timeout is greater than the Keep Alive Interval (and UDP Unreplied timeout is often set to 30 by default in consumer routers) a problem arises where the corrupted connection persists. If UDP Unreplied timeout is, for example, 17, and the NAT Keep Alive Interval is 20, then the corrupted connection will timeout or close. A new connection will be created, and everything will work fine.

Another problem can occur when the Keep-Alive interval is greater than UDP Assured Timeout (often 180 by default in consumer routers): the NAT hole will close due to the ATA not communicating frequently enough with the SIP server. In turn, incoming calls may, intermittently, not reach the ATA. Again, X_Keepalives expires is supposed to be 20 with FPL.

(the above settings are making reference to those in Obihai ATAs)

Getting access to both UDP Unreplied Timeout and UDP Assured Timeout settings in consumer routers may be difficult, if not impossible. Asuswrt-Merlin (I would avoid any model below/less powerful than an RT-AC68U), third party firmware for Asus routers, does offer easy access to these two settings, which are found under General–>Tools-->Other settings. My understanding is that third party Tomato firmware has these two settings as well. So if your router supports Tomato firmware, that may be another option. Note that I will not be held accountable any damage resulting from failed firmware updates. Apparently, Mikrotik routers also allow users to change both Assured and Unreplied UDP timeout settings as well: https://forums.redflagdeals.com/recomme ... #p28056619.

Router firmware that allows users to adjust Assured and Unreplied UDP timeouts include

Asuswrt-Merlin
Ubiquiti
Mikrotik
pfSense
Tomato
DD-WRT


The keep alive interval for FPL is 20. The SIP Registration Failure Retry Wait Time is 120. I use 15 for UDP Unreplied Timeout and 115 for UDP Assured Timeout.



ISPs do not issue customers routers that can do all four things I just listed. Typically it's far better to have your own router with strong QoS functions and a restricted cone NAT firewall,
disable whatever SIP ALG feature is enabled in the router, and stick whatever modem/router combo your ISP gives you into bridge mode. For Bell Hubs, visit http://forums.redflagdeals.com/please-s ... r-1993629/. For Rogers, visit https://www.rogers.com/customer/support ... ridgemodem.
Please do not send me emails; I do not work for nor represent Freephoneline or Fongo. Post questions on the forums so that others may learn from responses or assist you. Thank you. If you have an issue with your account or have a billing issue, submit a ticket here: https://support.fongo.com/hc/en-us/requests/new. Visit http://status.fongo.com/ to check FPL/Fongo service status. Freephoneline setup guides can be found at viewforum.php?f=15.
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Re: Fongo App Call Drops at 20 minutes

Postby Liptonbrisk » 11/26/2020

Simon nomiS wrote:I moved recently, and now my free calls from Campbell River, BC to Vancouver or across to Peterborough, ON are being dropped like clockwork at the 18-20 minute mark. I would guess that it was my new internet service (which seems fine for everything else), but my friend used Wifi to make a Whatsapp call for over an hour that worked just fine.





If calls aren't dropping at the exact same moment but, instead, sound choppy before they drop, then the issue is more likely to be related to QoS (see point #3 above) or jitter/packet loss.
For related information, refer to page 45 from this PDF guide: download/file.php?id=2065.

Whatsapp doesn't use SIP Protocol, and the servers are located in multiple areas. One unrelated service working doesn't mean another will.

Fongo Mobile is a SIP service, and Fongo Mobile's servers are located in Southern Ontario only.
It depends on your ISP's routing to Fongo Mobile's servers, but generally speaking, the longer the path to the server, the greater that chance for a problem to develop along that path.
The discussion below mentions cellular services, but the same idea applies.



http://forums.redflagdeals.com/merged-f ... #p29184315
"People located in southern portions of Ontario using Fongo Mobile, Fongo Home, and Freephoneline are generally going to have better experiences than those who aren't, with those specific services. People on Rogers, Bell, Telus or their affiliated mobility providers in strong LTE areas in Southern Ontario will generally have better experiences as well (as opposed to people, for example, in some locations, on Freedom Mobile)."

Why?

"Ping is a measurement of data packet transmission, and ping does affect delay or lag. All gamers know, almost inherently, that lag affects them negatively. A PC gamer will pound his or her keyboard in hope that a character will respond on his or her monitor, quickly, but when there's a delay or lag, reality doesn't meet expectation. A gamer can see this problem visually. Over VoIP, anything over 200-210 ms, you will typically start to encounter crosstalk due to increased delay, even if the untrained ear doesn't notice. All VoIP services are subject to the same scientific principles including the fact that speed of transmission affects delay. When pings (and especially) jitter are high, VoIP can be a pretty horrible experience . . . Anyone using any communication service (or even when playing online games or using other online services) should understand that the longer the path to the server being used, the greater the potential exists for a problem to occur somewhere along that path."

If you ever play an MMO or select an online game server, gamers almost always choose servers that are closest to them for the most responsive online gaming experience, for a very good reason.


Fongo Mobile is in Ontario and uses SIP protocol.
For jitter, ping, and traceroutes, test to 208.85.216.36

Anything over 200ms is unacceptable. You'll begin to encounter crosstalk, even if an untrained ear doesn't notice. So, if you're getting really high pings and jitter, I would avoid the service you're testing.

What you don't want to see is 40, 45, 50, 35, 500, 40, 30, 45, 700. That's bad jitter.
You want relatively consistent pings without a lot of variation.

Bad jitter can produce broken up audio or choppiness during phone calls. Severe jitter/ping spikes can cause calls to drop and for incoming calls to not be received. Ping affects delay from the time someone speaks until the time it's heard.


Whether you have a strong cellular data signal matters if you're using cellular data to place VoIP calls."


1.Use winmtr http://winmtr.net/download-winmtr/. Ping about 200 times.
When using WINMTR, look at the very last line or hop when checking your pings.

If you're on a Macintosh, maybe this helps: https://www.reddit.com/r/TagPro/comments/2j6qx7/how_to_run_an_mtr_on_mac/

When using WinMTR, look at your average ping and then maximum ping. Although WINMTR doesn't provide a jitter value, you can get an idea of what yours is by subtracting maximum ping from your average.
Jitter is the difference between each successive ping.
The bigger the difference, the bigger the problem.

Same with ping, which represents lag or delay. The lower your ping and jitter, the better.


There are iOS apps, such as Net Analyzer, that allow users to run ping tests to IPs, which would probably be a better idea since the problem is on a smartphone.
Please do not send me emails; I do not work for nor represent Freephoneline or Fongo. Post questions on the forums so that others may learn from responses or assist you. Thank you. If you have an issue with your account or have a billing issue, submit a ticket here: https://support.fongo.com/hc/en-us/requests/new. Visit http://status.fongo.com/ to check FPL/Fongo service status. Freephoneline setup guides can be found at viewforum.php?f=15.
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Re: Fongo App Call Drops at 20 minutes

Postby Simon nomiS » 11/27/2020

Hello Liptonbrisk and sincere thanks for your extensive replies! It was a lot of technical stuff for me to decipher but after doing my best (unsuccesfully) here is where I'm at:

I am calling land lines so the call drops are definitely coming from my end.

I enabled "Alternate Fongo Connection" and this had no effect on the quality or duration of my calls. I am using a brand new SMART/RG modem/router, and if "Alternate Fongo Connection" didn't work then attempting to change SIP ALG settings in my modem/router would also have no effect, right?

I could not find "Allow IPv6 Connection" in Fongo Settings to ensure it is enabled, but if it is by default then I have certainly never changed it otherwise. I am running the latest Fongo mobile app version 3.11.14.18

I read that I should have a router that does not have a full cone NAT. I have no idea what this means, and all I could find on the SMART/RG spec sheet is:

Routing and Networking
NAPT and NAT
RFC3489 (STUN) Port-restricted Cone NAT

In response to setting QoS on my router, I am the only one using it so not competing for space. I just tested 28.9 Mbps download and 2.57 Mbps upload. It has been steady and glitch-free for any streaming I have done.

The quality of Fongo calls (to Canada land lines) I have made have been very good, without audio distortion and very little delay. The only thing is that they get dropped at 18-20 minutes. I just made an international paid call and it dropped out 3 times consistently at the 15 minute mark.

The Fongo phone app is useable under these limitations, but it is frustrating to have it dropping out at regular intervals.

Again, thank-you for your time and effort in responding!

Simon
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Re: Fongo App Call Drops at 20 minutes

Postby Liptonbrisk » 11/27/2020

Simon nomiS wrote:
I am calling land lines so the call drops are definitely coming from my end.


Yes

There's a Re-INVITE and an acknowledgement (ACK) between Fongo's server and Fongo Mobile application that needs to occur that I suspect is failing. In turn, the calls drops. I've requested in the past to have reinvites/session timers disabled before to no avail.

If SIP ALG is not the culprit, you may need to enable UPnP or port forward, but those are both security risks, especially port forwarding.
These are the ports that Fongo Mobile uses: https://support.fongo.com/hc/en-us/arti ... obile-Use-
Do not port forward any TCP ports, and do not forward 4000. You would only need to forward the UDP ports listed. If you’re using Alternate Fongo connection,
you shouldn’t need to forward UDP 5060.




I am using a brand new SMART/RG modem/router


What specific model? Do you have a link to the manual?

That SMARTRG gateway is the problem (in conjunction with the manner that Fongo's service is configured). It's the router portion of the gateway that's causing the issue. I know how to work around it if you have your own router (you would stick the modem/router combo you were issued in bridge mode), which is preferable for SIP services, as mentioned at the bottom of the first post. You would enable "Bridge PPPoE Frames Between WAN and LAN Ports" in the SmartRG and perform PPPoE login in the separate router to bypass potential issues caused by SmartRG. Doing so would work with an Asus router running Merlin firmware, for example.



if "Alternate Fongo Connection" didn't work then attempting to change SIP ALG settings in my modem/router would also have no effect, right


In theory, but not necessarily.
I would get it disabled.
Visit https://help.ncf.ca/SmartRG_SR505N_Configuration.
Take a look at the pics associated with steps 14 and 20 for examples (I don't know what type of service it is that you're using).
Contact your ISP if you need help disabling it.

viewtopic.php?f=8&t=15926&p=75818&p75810#p75810
Unfortunately, the links to the guides appear to be outdated or dead.

I would keep SIP ALG off.

Also, after testing again with SIP ALG off, if you still have the same problem, you can try enabling UPnP, but only do that as a last resort since enabling UPnP is a security risk.
Take a look at step 23 for an example: https://help.ncf.ca/SmartRG_SR505N_Configuration.


I could not find "Allow IPv6 Connection" in Fongo Settings to ensure it is enabled, but if it is by default then I have certainly never changed it otherwise. I am running the latest Fongo mobile app version 3.11.14.18


I'm guessing you're on Android. I'm using iOS.

I read that I should have a router that does not have a full cone NAT.


That's more for your own protection, and I don't feel it's related to this specific issue.

I have no idea what this means


Rats, I discovered the first link under that section that explains everything is no longer valid.
You can take a look at https://dh2i.com/kbs/kbs-2961448-unders ... -punching/
or https://badmodems.com/Forum/viewtopic.php?t=21


In response to setting QoS on my router


Yes, that's not the issue here.

You can also submit a ticket to Fongo Support to see if they have any suggestions: https://support.fongo.com/hc/en-us/requests/new.
Please do not send me emails; I do not work for nor represent Freephoneline or Fongo. Post questions on the forums so that others may learn from responses or assist you. Thank you. If you have an issue with your account or have a billing issue, submit a ticket here: https://support.fongo.com/hc/en-us/requests/new. Visit http://status.fongo.com/ to check FPL/Fongo service status. Freephoneline setup guides can be found at viewforum.php?f=15.
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Re: Fongo App Call Drops at 20 minutes

Postby Simon nomiS » 12/09/2020

OK I'm back! Deciphering technical stuff takes time and life is a busy place!

Once again, sincere thanks to Liptonbrisk for your help! I am glad to know the cause of the problem (the Re-INVITE time-out thing that is happening) and that I made a reasonable effort and it is not "just a simple fix". I think I will leave it be at this point because:

I did figure out how to log in to my SMART/RG SR808ac and confirm that "NAT ALG Status:SIP" is not enabled by default.
I also tried "UPnP Enable" after doing my best to understand the nature of that security risk. Phone calls were still dropped around the 18 minute mark. I then disabled UPnP again.
I will take your advice that port forwarding is a heightened security risk and leave that alone.
I do not want to buy another router to bridge.
It is a little bit less annoying to just call the person back every 15 minutes before the call drops than to have the call drop mid sentence and realize the last chunk of conversation was not heard. It does break up the flow, but I am grateful for the technology despite its limits. Won't be using it for any business calls, that's for sure!

And by going through this process, I have also been able to assign a witty WiFi network name! Bonus!

Warm wishes to you and yours,
Simon
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Re: Fongo App Call Drops at 20 minutes

Postby Liptonbrisk » 12/10/2020

Out of curiosity does putting the call on hold (the pause button) and then returning to the call at 13 minute intervals (before 15 minutes) stop the call from dropping? If that works, you'd have to put the caller on hold every 13 minutes. Note that the person on hold will hear music.

Putting the call on hold and then resuming the call will force a Re-INVITE with most SIP apps.
Please do not send me emails; I do not work for nor represent Freephoneline or Fongo. Post questions on the forums so that others may learn from responses or assist you. Thank you. If you have an issue with your account or have a billing issue, submit a ticket here: https://support.fongo.com/hc/en-us/requests/new. Visit http://status.fongo.com/ to check FPL/Fongo service status. Freephoneline setup guides can be found at viewforum.php?f=15.
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Re: Fongo App Call Drops at 20 minutes

Postby Simon nomiS » 12/31/2020

I was hopeful about the pause button re-invite solution you proposed, but for some reason it does nothing on my phone. Loudspeaker works, mute button where they can't hear me but I can hear them works, but the pause button somehow does nothing. I am fond of my smartphone and it is well taken care of, but alas, it is 7 years old and possibly that is why.

Thank-you Liptonbisk and best wishes for 2021!
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Re: Fongo App Call Drops at 20 minutes

Postby Liptonbrisk » 01/01/2021

That might be a bug with Android app. I can't test it.

You might want to report that the pause function isn't working for you: https://support.fongo.com/hc/en-us/requests/new.
Provide the app version and the brand and model of your smartphone in the ticket.

I wish you a Happy New Year as well!
Please do not send me emails; I do not work for nor represent Freephoneline or Fongo. Post questions on the forums so that others may learn from responses or assist you. Thank you. If you have an issue with your account or have a billing issue, submit a ticket here: https://support.fongo.com/hc/en-us/requests/new. Visit http://status.fongo.com/ to check FPL/Fongo service status. Freephoneline setup guides can be found at viewforum.php?f=15.
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ISP Name: Cable
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Router: Asuswrt-Merlin


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