[Chugalug] [OT] VOIP to both sides of the Great Firewall

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[Chugalug] [OT] VOIP to both sides of the Great Firewall

Chad Smith
Hello all,

Greetings from the other side of the planet.

I'm into my 3rd week in the IT department of an international school in Dongguan, China.  And the big boss asked me at lunch if I had any suggestions about VOIP teleconferencing for people around the world, including inside of and outside of the Great Firewall of China.

I know some of you have a lot of experience working overseas, and since you are the closest thing *I* have to Tech Support, I was hoping to pick your brains on suggestions.

We are not an open source school, (all of the servers I've seen here are Windows servers),  we're not even all that Mac friendly.  So the stuff I can suggest needs to Windows-compatible and very easy to set up and use.  (Most likely, I won't be the one setting it up, at least not for any of the people who aren't physically here.)

We're on a system-wide VPN which defaults our perceived location to Hong Kong.  I don't know anything beyond that of how it is set up.

Also, if it matters, the first language of the people using the software is nearly universally English, so that is one less complication.  But Chinese-friendly would be a plus moving forward.

They've been using WeChat (which, for anyone who doesn't know, is pretty much the biggest app of all in China - it's used for everything, chatting, voice calls, social media, ordering food, ordering taxis, transferring money, and even checking out at a physical store), but the sound quality was not good.



*BONUS QUESTION* - we have several people whose phones, tablets, or laptops either don't connect at all to our WiFi, or are fine until a certain time of day (almost always exactly 1:11 pm China Time) when the internet just stops working.  The devices are still connected to the WiFi, just not the Internet - and other physically nearby devices are just fine (connected to the same router and network, and still accessing the Internet.  Interestingly, the vast majority (if not all) of the devices in question are Apple products.  Android phones and Windows laptops seem unaffected.


Thanks in advance for any and all advice / help / and even any mocking that may come as a result of this.  Funny is always a good answer.

Be well!

- Chad W. Smith

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Re: [Chugalug] [OT] VOIP to both sides of the Great Firewall

Billy
Depending how many folks are on WiFi, maybe your dhcp server is running out of ips around that time? Apple products also do a “phone home” to test for a login screen - so maybe there’s an Internet hiccup around that time that tricks the Apple devices into thinking the WiFi lost its external internet?

--b

On Nov 1, 2018, at 12:46 AM, Chad Smith <[hidden email]> wrote:

Hello all,

Greetings from the other side of the planet.

I'm into my 3rd week in the IT department of an international school in Dongguan, China.  And the big boss asked me at lunch if I had any suggestions about VOIP teleconferencing for people around the world, including inside of and outside of the Great Firewall of China.

I know some of you have a lot of experience working overseas, and since you are the closest thing *I* have to Tech Support, I was hoping to pick your brains on suggestions.

We are not an open source school, (all of the servers I've seen here are Windows servers),  we're not even all that Mac friendly.  So the stuff I can suggest needs to Windows-compatible and very easy to set up and use.  (Most likely, I won't be the one setting it up, at least not for any of the people who aren't physically here.)

We're on a system-wide VPN which defaults our perceived location to Hong Kong.  I don't know anything beyond that of how it is set up.

Also, if it matters, the first language of the people using the software is nearly universally English, so that is one less complication.  But Chinese-friendly would be a plus moving forward.

They've been using WeChat (which, for anyone who doesn't know, is pretty much the biggest app of all in China - it's used for everything, chatting, voice calls, social media, ordering food, ordering taxis, transferring money, and even checking out at a physical store), but the sound quality was not good.



*BONUS QUESTION* - we have several people whose phones, tablets, or laptops either don't connect at all to our WiFi, or are fine until a certain time of day (almost always exactly 1:11 pm China Time) when the internet just stops working.  The devices are still connected to the WiFi, just not the Internet - and other physically nearby devices are just fine (connected to the same router and network, and still accessing the Internet.  Interestingly, the vast majority (if not all) of the devices in question are Apple products.  Android phones and Windows laptops seem unaffected.


Thanks in advance for any and all advice / help / and even any mocking that may come as a result of this.  Funny is always a good answer.

Be well!

- Chad W. Smith
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http://chugalug.org/cgi-bin/mailman/listinfo/chugalug

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Re: [Chugalug] [OT] VOIP to both sides of the Great Firewall

Phil Sieg
My 2¢ worth:

I have been traveling to and doing business in China since 1998.

For much of that time the “Great Firewall of China” was pretty spotty and kind of lame. Very easy to work around in other words.

In the past 5 years it has gotten significantly more robust. Nothing that is google based works AT ALL.

I have had limited success using the following to communicate:

Zello
Skype
Duo
Facetime

I would rate my success to be 80% overall, much of the difficulty can be attributed to the instability of the Chinese internet overall.

I have had the best consistent success with soft phone apps like Bria and Zoiper that were setup to work with an asterisk instance located in USA. One was a cloud instance, the other premise based.

FWIW the last time I checked VOIP was illegal in China, at least for business and residential use. They did not have any VOIP providers (a la Vonage, ring central etc) a couple of years ago.

If your use is minimal you might try https://www1.pbxes.com for free limited use asterisk cloud server, or cheap alternatives for more rigorous use.

Phil Sieg
Founder
ring-u llc
www.ring-u.com
[hidden email]

Phone: 423.567.4888
Mobile: 423.331.0725

"The computer is the most remarkable tool that we've ever come up with. It's the equivalent of a bicycle for our minds."

Steve Jobs, 1955-2011

On Nov 1, 2018, at 7:44 AM, Billy <[hidden email]> wrote:

Depending how many folks are on WiFi, maybe your dhcp server is running out of ips around that time? Apple products also do a “phone home” to test for a login screen - so maybe there’s an Internet hiccup around that time that tricks the Apple devices into thinking the WiFi lost its external internet?

--b

On Nov 1, 2018, at 12:46 AM, Chad Smith <[hidden email]> wrote:

Hello all,

Greetings from the other side of the planet.

I'm into my 3rd week in the IT department of an international school in Dongguan, China.  And the big boss asked me at lunch if I had any suggestions about VOIP teleconferencing for people around the world, including inside of and outside of the Great Firewall of China.

I know some of you have a lot of experience working overseas, and since you are the closest thing *I* have to Tech Support, I was hoping to pick your brains on suggestions.

We are not an open source school, (all of the servers I've seen here are Windows servers),  we're not even all that Mac friendly.  So the stuff I can suggest needs to Windows-compatible and very easy to set up and use.  (Most likely, I won't be the one setting it up, at least not for any of the people who aren't physically here.)

We're on a system-wide VPN which defaults our perceived location to Hong Kong.  I don't know anything beyond that of how it is set up.

Also, if it matters, the first language of the people using the software is nearly universally English, so that is one less complication.  But Chinese-friendly would be a plus moving forward.

They've been using WeChat (which, for anyone who doesn't know, is pretty much the biggest app of all in China - it's used for everything, chatting, voice calls, social media, ordering food, ordering taxis, transferring money, and even checking out at a physical store), but the sound quality was not good.



*BONUS QUESTION* - we have several people whose phones, tablets, or laptops either don't connect at all to our WiFi, or are fine until a certain time of day (almost always exactly 1:11 pm China Time) when the internet just stops working.  The devices are still connected to the WiFi, just not the Internet - and other physically nearby devices are just fine (connected to the same router and network, and still accessing the Internet.  Interestingly, the vast majority (if not all) of the devices in question are Apple products.  Android phones and Windows laptops seem unaffected.


Thanks in advance for any and all advice / help / and even any mocking that may come as a result of this.  Funny is always a good answer.

Be well!

- Chad W. Smith
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http://chugalug.org/cgi-bin/mailman/listinfo/chugalug
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Re: [Chugalug] [OT] VOIP to both sides of the Great Firewall

Chad Smith
In reply to this post by Billy
We think it may be connected to iOSes "WiFi Networking" Location Services "Feature".  Turning that off on one iPhone seems to have solved the problem for now.  We are monitoring it moving forward. I appreciate your help!

- Chad W. Smith


On Thu, Nov 1, 2018 at 7:44 PM Billy <[hidden email]> wrote:
Depending how many folks are on WiFi, maybe your dhcp server is running out of ips around that time? Apple products also do a “phone home” to test for a login screen - so maybe there’s an Internet hiccup around that time that tricks the Apple devices into thinking the WiFi lost its external internet?

--b

On Nov 1, 2018, at 12:46 AM, Chad Smith <[hidden email]> wrote:

Hello all,

Greetings from the other side of the planet.

I'm into my 3rd week in the IT department of an international school in Dongguan, China.  And the big boss asked me at lunch if I had any suggestions about VOIP teleconferencing for people around the world, including inside of and outside of the Great Firewall of China.

I know some of you have a lot of experience working overseas, and since you are the closest thing *I* have to Tech Support, I was hoping to pick your brains on suggestions.

We are not an open source school, (all of the servers I've seen here are Windows servers),  we're not even all that Mac friendly.  So the stuff I can suggest needs to Windows-compatible and very easy to set up and use.  (Most likely, I won't be the one setting it up, at least not for any of the people who aren't physically here.)

We're on a system-wide VPN which defaults our perceived location to Hong Kong.  I don't know anything beyond that of how it is set up.

Also, if it matters, the first language of the people using the software is nearly universally English, so that is one less complication.  But Chinese-friendly would be a plus moving forward.

They've been using WeChat (which, for anyone who doesn't know, is pretty much the biggest app of all in China - it's used for everything, chatting, voice calls, social media, ordering food, ordering taxis, transferring money, and even checking out at a physical store), but the sound quality was not good.



*BONUS QUESTION* - we have several people whose phones, tablets, or laptops either don't connect at all to our WiFi, or are fine until a certain time of day (almost always exactly 1:11 pm China Time) when the internet just stops working.  The devices are still connected to the WiFi, just not the Internet - and other physically nearby devices are just fine (connected to the same router and network, and still accessing the Internet.  Interestingly, the vast majority (if not all) of the devices in question are Apple products.  Android phones and Windows laptops seem unaffected.


Thanks in advance for any and all advice / help / and even any mocking that may come as a result of this.  Funny is always a good answer.

Be well!

- Chad W. Smith
_______________________________________________
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[hidden email]
http://chugalug.org/cgi-bin/mailman/listinfo/chugalug
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[hidden email]
http://chugalug.org/cgi-bin/mailman/listinfo/chugalug

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Re: [Chugalug] [OT] VOIP to both sides of the Great Firewall

Chad Smith
In reply to this post by Phil Sieg
VoiP is illegal?!?

Sheesh, that is weird.  I guess that means all phone calls are bugged.  Great.

Anyway, I believe they've been using some kind of ... er... online solution?  ... already, but it's just poor quality.  I will look into pbxes.com - thank you.

Skype is out because the app is pulled from all non-VPN'ed app stores here.  As is Duo.  Although I'm not really sure if the people involved are making these calls from home / the office / or mobile.  That would be good to find out.

Any additional thoughts / suggestions / comments / snide remarks from anyone is welcome.

Thanks and be well!

- Chad W. Smith


On Thu, Nov 1, 2018 at 8:09 PM Phil Sieg <[hidden email]> wrote:
My 2¢ worth:

I have been traveling to and doing business in China since 1998.

For much of that time the “Great Firewall of China” was pretty spotty and kind of lame. Very easy to work around in other words.

In the past 5 years it has gotten significantly more robust. Nothing that is google based works AT ALL.

I have had limited success using the following to communicate:

Zello
Skype
Duo
Facetime

I would rate my success to be 80% overall, much of the difficulty can be attributed to the instability of the Chinese internet overall.

I have had the best consistent success with soft phone apps like Bria and Zoiper that were setup to work with an asterisk instance located in USA. One was a cloud instance, the other premise based.

FWIW the last time I checked VOIP was illegal in China, at least for business and residential use. They did not have any VOIP providers (a la Vonage, ring central etc) a couple of years ago.

If your use is minimal you might try https://www1.pbxes.com for free limited use asterisk cloud server, or cheap alternatives for more rigorous use.

Phil Sieg
Founder
ring-u llc
www.ring-u.com
[hidden email]

Phone: 423.567.4888
Mobile: 423.331.0725

"The computer is the most remarkable tool that we've ever come up with. It's the equivalent of a bicycle for our minds."

Steve Jobs, 1955-2011

On Nov 1, 2018, at 7:44 AM, Billy <[hidden email]> wrote:

Depending how many folks are on WiFi, maybe your dhcp server is running out of ips around that time? Apple products also do a “phone home” to test for a login screen - so maybe there’s an Internet hiccup around that time that tricks the Apple devices into thinking the WiFi lost its external internet?

--b

On Nov 1, 2018, at 12:46 AM, Chad Smith <[hidden email]> wrote:

Hello all,

Greetings from the other side of the planet.

I'm into my 3rd week in the IT department of an international school in Dongguan, China.  And the big boss asked me at lunch if I had any suggestions about VOIP teleconferencing for people around the world, including inside of and outside of the Great Firewall of China.

I know some of you have a lot of experience working overseas, and since you are the closest thing *I* have to Tech Support, I was hoping to pick your brains on suggestions.

We are not an open source school, (all of the servers I've seen here are Windows servers),  we're not even all that Mac friendly.  So the stuff I can suggest needs to Windows-compatible and very easy to set up and use.  (Most likely, I won't be the one setting it up, at least not for any of the people who aren't physically here.)

We're on a system-wide VPN which defaults our perceived location to Hong Kong.  I don't know anything beyond that of how it is set up.

Also, if it matters, the first language of the people using the software is nearly universally English, so that is one less complication.  But Chinese-friendly would be a plus moving forward.

They've been using WeChat (which, for anyone who doesn't know, is pretty much the biggest app of all in China - it's used for everything, chatting, voice calls, social media, ordering food, ordering taxis, transferring money, and even checking out at a physical store), but the sound quality was not good.



*BONUS QUESTION* - we have several people whose phones, tablets, or laptops either don't connect at all to our WiFi, or are fine until a certain time of day (almost always exactly 1:11 pm China Time) when the internet just stops working.  The devices are still connected to the WiFi, just not the Internet - and other physically nearby devices are just fine (connected to the same router and network, and still accessing the Internet.  Interestingly, the vast majority (if not all) of the devices in question are Apple products.  Android phones and Windows laptops seem unaffected.


Thanks in advance for any and all advice / help / and even any mocking that may come as a result of this.  Funny is always a good answer.

Be well!

- Chad W. Smith
_______________________________________________
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http://chugalug.org/cgi-bin/mailman/listinfo/chugalug
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Re: [Chugalug] [OT] VOIP to both sides of the Great Firewall

Chad Smith
In reply to this post by Chad Smith
whelp.  that didn't last long.  :(

- Chad W. Smith


On Fri, Nov 2, 2018 at 1:58 PM Chad Smith <[hidden email]> wrote:
We think it may be connected to iOSes "WiFi Networking" Location Services "Feature".  Turning that off on one iPhone seems to have solved the problem for now.  We are monitoring it moving forward. I appreciate your help!

- Chad W. Smith


On Thu, Nov 1, 2018 at 7:44 PM Billy <[hidden email]> wrote:
Depending how many folks are on WiFi, maybe your dhcp server is running out of ips around that time? Apple products also do a “phone home” to test for a login screen - so maybe there’s an Internet hiccup around that time that tricks the Apple devices into thinking the WiFi lost its external internet?

--b

On Nov 1, 2018, at 12:46 AM, Chad Smith <[hidden email]> wrote:

Hello all,

Greetings from the other side of the planet.

I'm into my 3rd week in the IT department of an international school in Dongguan, China.  And the big boss asked me at lunch if I had any suggestions about VOIP teleconferencing for people around the world, including inside of and outside of the Great Firewall of China.

I know some of you have a lot of experience working overseas, and since you are the closest thing *I* have to Tech Support, I was hoping to pick your brains on suggestions.

We are not an open source school, (all of the servers I've seen here are Windows servers),  we're not even all that Mac friendly.  So the stuff I can suggest needs to Windows-compatible and very easy to set up and use.  (Most likely, I won't be the one setting it up, at least not for any of the people who aren't physically here.)

We're on a system-wide VPN which defaults our perceived location to Hong Kong.  I don't know anything beyond that of how it is set up.

Also, if it matters, the first language of the people using the software is nearly universally English, so that is one less complication.  But Chinese-friendly would be a plus moving forward.

They've been using WeChat (which, for anyone who doesn't know, is pretty much the biggest app of all in China - it's used for everything, chatting, voice calls, social media, ordering food, ordering taxis, transferring money, and even checking out at a physical store), but the sound quality was not good.



*BONUS QUESTION* - we have several people whose phones, tablets, or laptops either don't connect at all to our WiFi, or are fine until a certain time of day (almost always exactly 1:11 pm China Time) when the internet just stops working.  The devices are still connected to the WiFi, just not the Internet - and other physically nearby devices are just fine (connected to the same router and network, and still accessing the Internet.  Interestingly, the vast majority (if not all) of the devices in question are Apple products.  Android phones and Windows laptops seem unaffected.


Thanks in advance for any and all advice / help / and even any mocking that may come as a result of this.  Funny is always a good answer.

Be well!

- Chad W. Smith
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http://chugalug.org/cgi-bin/mailman/listinfo/chugalug
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