Upload needs, (c)rap – When will they stop?

I’m surprised at just how far 256k in upload goes when you have VoIP, online radio, updates, and other activity happening.

Our 256k connection is nearly always constantly choked for upload room, and that makes VoIP calls have a little flake in them SOMETIMES.

Today, my partner was a little annoyed with reports that her voice was breaking up.

So, I thought I’d run some tests and dig a little out to find the cause of the issue.

We knew it wasn’t MyNetFone’s fault, as the call was travelling to another extension, so we could easily isolate that it was between our connection and our server, and the connection to the extension.

How do we prove that? How can we be sure its not something weird happening at the other end?

Well, simple really.
I started creating a function on my personal box for a record, and echo back function.

The first function was to take the voice, record it in G729, and the user would hang up when finished.

The user would call back on another number, and listen to the entire stream for any breaks.

Now, you might ask, why not use the “Echo” function?
Easy, Echo “echos”, we don’t want an echo, we wanted a recorded stream, and to listen to that stream for any audio breaks.

And of course, I tested the stream.
First was “Avril Lavigne – Girlfriend” – we wanted to be sure the stream wasn’t breaking, and it wasn’t due to normalised volume, the perfect test for it because Avril’s voice, it doesn’t normalise.

And the stream played back perfectly.

The next test was a test to see if the voice was low and silence suppression was kicking in. The perfect test for this was .. silence, and short, low sounds.

The stream played back perfectly.

The next test was to get my partner to say “This is working perfectly fine”. I couldn’t get her to say exactly that unfortunately, she seemed to have feared my other idea of setting up a Help Extension and sticking her voice there, so I could tell her to call Help’s extension if anything was wrong. Instead however, she tested it with some random chat, and, it worked perfectly fine.

So, I suspect the issue might be related to perhaps upload congestion, and that reduced at some point during testing, but wasn’t noticed, or something else perhaps.

I keep RRD graphs of my connection, and we do need faster upload and better QoS implemented. Looking at the graphs, we use an average of 27kB/sec on our 256kbit connection. I’ve seen it spark up to 30kB/sec though, so our upload demands are a bit high, but with new technology, and monitoring, and so forth, and the fastest, value added connection I’m prepared to pay for and accept is the current connection I’m on (until ADSL2+ comes our way). So, it’s something for QoS, and unfortunately, others also have noticed, the QoS in the DD-WRT isn’t behaving as expected.

I’ve instead moved to a custom tc script, but can’t seem to get pfifo limit’s to work out nicely. Although, we aren’t sitting right on 26 – 30kB/sec all the time now, according to my graphs (taken by SNMP).

On a seperate topic, I want to make mention of the state of the Rap music that seems to be flooding the radio stations of late, to satisfy the 14yo’s desire to hear the words “pimp”, “hoe”, “bitch” and so on.

I find the music tasteless. It’s trash as far as I am concerned, and something that we could use a lot less of on online radio stations.

Finding the right mix on an online radio station isn’t easy (well, if you have last.fm, it is, but no PIPE :(), And as such, you generally have a few radio stations listed in Winamp, in case of emergencies that arise, such as:

Mims – This is why I am hot (and suck so much ).
Akon – Exactly, just a Kon
Mike Jones (just about anything released by him.. sucks).
50 cent (I’m actually still shocked he made much past 50c).
Crime Mob feat. Lil Scrappy (crap).
Whoever sings that “Da Dip” song.. – Get some talent. Try Australian Idol, you hopefully won’t get past the first set of eliminations
Snoop Dogg – Drop It Like it’s Not Hot
T.I. (Does his mum not like him or something?)
Bow Wow
Chris Brown

I don’t want to add Gwen Stefani here, because during No Doubt, and her first few solo releases, they were good, but keep talking trash, and she’ll end up here.
… the list goes on. It’s trash. If you can get this crap away from your kids, please do, I got better things on TV to watch, compared to these idiots being turned into 8Bit ring tones.

And for the music that’s standable, and consists of some talent!!:
Cam’rom – Hey ma
Obie Trice
Nelly, Eminem, and so forth.

They actually had something worth listening to, and come to think of it, some of the music they released (yes, I said music didn’t I), was actually worth paying for.

I think if the MPAA / RIAA whatever, is concerned about falling profits from CD sales, they need to look at the bigger picture, and start giving us something worth buying. Sorry, but I just don’t want to pay to listen to some idiot, think he is so hot, that he could say nothing and make a million dollars, rubbish, because if he could, he’d not be spewing out crap music, and instead actually not say anything, and actually make a million dollars.

Perhaps something for Chasers to put to the test?

Here’s hoping we might get some GOOD music soon enough. I’m not in for censorship, but I totally disagree with having my options for new music some what limited to various styles of crap, or crap, remade into worse crap.

Entertainment value: More than the rap songs listed above.

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