monowall Screencast Tutorials

m0n0wall-160Rarely do I profess as much devotion to a piece of software as I have for m0n0wall. I’m told that it’s one of the single most successful open source projects and it’s easy to see why. It’s been my primary router for over four years. It’s never let me down, and the user community is very supportive.

I am happy to see that Phillip Cooper has recently created a series of “screencasts” documenting it’s basic setup and configuration. This should help new users a lot. I wish they’d been around when I got started. I further wish that I’d thought to do the screencasts myself. It’s a good idea.

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What Interests You?

I must admit that I’m more than a little surprised a what people read around here. The single most popular article is the one I wrote back in January 2006 about Building An Embedded Asterisk Server Using Astlinux On a Soekris Net4801. I would have thought that would have less appeal since it was published elsewhere over two years ago.

The next most popular articles are the series called A Beginners Guide To Successful VOIP Over DSL, most especially the posts on QoS and traffic shaping. People come by and read these things every day.

Hardware reviews are something that I’ve done many times over the years. Although deep in my past they were not technology related. These I will be doing again beginning with the Snom M3s. I need to be disciplined about using the phones for long enough to really learn about them in depth, and not just go with my first impressions. Even though the phones are in daily use the review will is a few weeks away.

Amongst my next topics I think I’ll be trying a SIP-to-GSM gateway. I’d like to provide my own 911 and 411 service by bridging calls over to my cellular account.

If you’ve got any ideas for topics or items for review let me know. I’m always open to suggestions.

A Beginners Guide To Successful VOIP Over DSL

For the past ten years I have worked from a home office full time. This has been the major motivation for my education in networking, and onward into VOIP technologies.

Since the middle of 2005 we have not used traditional land-lines (POTS) for either our home or office phones. Our transition to VOIP was not flawless, but with some lessons learned along the way the system has proven very reliable. Over the course of several posts I hope to pass on those lessons that have served us well so that others may also benefit.

The topics in the series are at present as follows:

In the telling of this tale I will mention a number of devices many of which are not the current state-of-the-art. This doesn’t matter. I’m relating to you the actual devices I used. The principles will hold true for any similar current device.

Successful VOIP Over DSL, Part 4: Traffic Shaping

My experience has been that the QoS mechanisms covered previously don’t provide a complete solution to the need for assured bandwidth when using VOIP over DSL. When the connection to the ISP becomes saturated for any reason VOIP traffic can be delayed which is always a problem. When managed QoS was combined with “traffic shaping” our VOIP phone service became much more reliable. This has proven to be true even on a very busy connection to my ISP.

Like the QoS mechanisms covered previously, traffic shaping is an edge process that occurs in your router. Traffic shaping is actually a process of reserving bandwidth specifically for selected applications. That bandwidth will not be used for other forms of internet access. As before, this tends to be most critical with outbound traffic where available bandwidth is most limited. It’s also true with inbound traffic, but this tends to be less of an issue.

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