QoS in the router and Gotomeeting

As I mentioned in my last post I’ve bought a new router for home, installed Tomato on it, and, in itsy-bitsy writing at the end, noted that I’d turned on Quality of Service (QoS) on the router. All was good.

ASUS RT-N16 routerFast forward to this afternoon when I chaired a Gotomeeting conference call with the DXSquad. These guys are the unpaid volunteers who help DevExpress out on the forums and in the Support Center. We’d not chatted together for a while, so this was an opportunity to catch up.

Anyway, the call started and it soon became apparent that I was having some remarkable problems with my audio. Apparently, it was as if they could only hear short bursts of my voice with intervals of silence. I was wearing my headphones (with mic) that our youngest cat will chew on if I’m not careful. Using the laptop microphone instead seemed to help. Not for long: again the same problem. I switched to the big ol’ Samson I use for recording videos: again the same thing happened. I rebooted while the rest of the DevExpress crew continued with the call. Still the same issue: it seemed to work and then staccato audio would ensue. We did notice that it seemed to be worse when I was showing something off in Firefox.

Anyway, after the call, I tested out my microphones with the Windows mixer console and everything was hunky dory. So, not hardware, but something to do with Gotomeeting. Mehul and I chatted about the possibilities. Two things came up: either I didn’t have the latest Java installed (Gotomeeting uses Java, and I did have the latest release – it’s one of those bits of software I’m religious about updating), or there was something up with my internet connection. Suddenly it came to me: when I installed the new router I’d turned on QoS and left it at that.

Mehul found a post that led me to this document from Citrix (pdf) about which ports they use. I fired up the Tomato control panel to check it out. It turns out that with the default QoS configuration (HTTP/HTTPS connections have a high priority, etc) all other ports were deemed the lowest priority and therefore used the smallest bandwidth. Including port 8200, the port used by Gotomeeting. My router was throttling my conference call audio when I was using HTTP in the browser.

It was the matter of moments to add a configuration item to include port 8200 at an equal priority to HTTP/HTTPS and test it in a quick Gotomeeting call. Everything worked perfectly.

The moral of this tale is: if you change something and something else suddenly doesn’t work, then it’s the thing you changed that is probably the culprit. I’ve another example of that next time.

Album cover for Pop!: The First 20 HitsNow playing:
Erasure - Love to Hate You
(from Pop!: The First 20 Hits)

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