Netgear TA612V VoIP Router Guide

TA612V ImageThe Netgear TA612V Broadband Voice Adapter is an ideal Voice over IP (VoIP) Analogue Telephone Adapter (ATA) delivering superior voice quality and great performance for home networking environments. The TA612V works seamlessly with many of the leading VoIP service providers giving users an excellent plug-and-play experience. It is ideal for Cable and ADSL broadband connections where you have an existing modem.

Select one of the options below for more information on the Netgear TA612V VoIP Router/ATA.

Introduction

The Netgear TA612V is not generally available as a standalone retail VoIP device. Instead it is offered as part of a promotional package by VSP’s and therefore offers a cost effective introduction to the world of VoIP. The TA612V provides 2 VoIP phone/Fax lines as well as QoS although it only supports one VoIP Service Provider.

The ideal situation for a Netgear TA612V is if you have a single computer and it is currently connected to a single port Modem, such as a SpeedStream 4200. In this situation you would set the Modem into Bridge Mode (See the How To Setup a BigPond SpeedStream 4200 Modem in Bridge Mode video which shows you exactly how to do this) and enter your ISP Username and Password into the Netgear. In this situation it sits in between your Modem and Computer and you would be up and running again in a very short time.

The way netgear have “added” the VoIP component to this Router means no matter what configuration you use the device in; it will always act as a VoIP Router rather than an ATA. If you use it as and ATA and attach it to another Router, then attach another device to the LAN port of the Netgear it will be “double NATed”.

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Router Attributes

According to WinStun the Netgear TA612V has the following NAT attributes:
Nat with Independent Mapping and Dependent Filter
Preserves port Number
Supports Hairpin of Media

For a Router to perform well as a VoIP router it should be UDP Port Independent which it is, unfortunately there seems to be a fault with the Dependent Filtering which I will explain below.

Performance
When tested with an ADSL2+ connection (Annex A using a Telstra DSLAM) the device performs very well. The following tables shows the results of several tests using different configurations including various QoS setups.

Benchmark SpeedTest Results connecting using a 2Wire 2071-a in Bridge Mode connected directly to a Laptop performing PPPoE login. (ie No Router)
Reported Stats are:
Download: 20,971 kbps (theoretical maximum 17,825kbps)
Upload: 1,023 kbps (theoretical maximum 870kbps)

Benchmark Speeds - As there is No Router involved this is the Maximum that could be achieved.
Test
Download (kb/s)
Upload (kb/s)
Server
Average 17,750 852 Big Air Wireless Broadband
Average 17,695 846 Intervolve
Average 16,756 854 Mammoth Media

Results with QoS disabled and normal MTU - Shows slight degradation in performance due to “Router Overhead”
Test
Download (kb/s)
Upload (kb/s)
Server
QoS
MTU
Average 16,847 865 Big Air Wireless Broadband - 1492
Average 15,959 854 Intervolve - 1492
Average 13,684 858 Mammoth Media - 1492

Results with Maximum QoS and normal MTU - Shows minimal degradation due to QoS being enabled
Test
Download (kb/s)
Upload (kb/s)
Server
QoS
MTU
Average 16,982 864 Big Air Wireless Broadband 1024 1492
Average 15,552 856 Intervolve 1024 1492
Average 11,838 858 Mammoth Media 1024 1492

Results with Optimal QoS and normal MTU - Shows slight degradation due to reduced QoS bandwidth
Test
Download (kb/s)
Upload (kb/s)
Server
QoS
MTU
Average 16,782 829 Intervolve 864 1492

Results with Optimal QoS and Compromise MTU for VoIP - Shows impact of reduced MTU size
Test
Download (kb/s)
Upload (kb/s)
Server
QoS
MTU
Average 13,132 803 Big Air Wireless Broadband 864 768
Average 13,642 790 Intervolve 864 768

Results with Maximum QoS and Optimal MTU for VoIP - Shows small MTU size reduces throughput significantly
Test
Download (kb/s)
Upload (kb/s)
Server
QoS
MTU
Average 11,078 799 Big Air Wireless Broadband 1024 576
Average 10,138 779 Intervolve 1024 576

Just as a comparison, I also tested a Linksys SPA 2102 to see how it would perform as a combined Router ATA on an ADSL2+ connection. The results below clearly demonstrate they are not suitable although you should note this is more a result of the 10Mbps WAN port rather than processing power.

Performance of a SPA 2102 - Sipura devices are not suitable as routers on an ADSL2+ connection!
Test
Download (kb/s)
Upload (kb/s)
Server
QoS
MTU
1 Test 7,481 851 Intervolve - 1492
Average 7,480 850 Mammoth Media - 1492
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TA612V Phone Compatibility

As a result of testing with this device I found that there were compatibility issue with the Netgear TA612V and Telstra TouchFone T200 corded phones. In addition the following Panasonic Cordless phones are also known to cause issues. Model KX-TGA582AL & KX-TG5632. The best phones I have found for the Netgear TA612V is a Telstra 6100 or 7100 series cordless phones. You should be able to pick up a two handset model of these phones for around the $70 to $80 mark.

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TA612V Firmware

I have installed approximately 70 of the Netgear TA612V VoIP routers and generally have been impressed with their reliability and performance. They are easy to configure and have Good VoIP quality. (better that the Linksys and Billion VoIP devices in my opinion) However, I did notice a few issues with the early Firmware versions...

V1.2_44 - Comes setup with USA settings which can not be changed, all the tones were wrong and it did not respond to incoming calls after 120 seconds had elapsed from the initial Registration event or after making a call. A Telstra TouchFone 200 will not work in the device (it appeared that it did not always hang up) And the default configuration would not allow you to dial any numbers with less than 5 digits!

V1.2_54 - Have not bothered to use it.

V1.2_62 - This version introduced DNS SRV records and also enabled you to select AU for the Region. The Progress Tones were better but when you dial VoIP to VoIP the Progress Tones sounds like the engaged tome. However, it is not engaged and calls would connect correctly... The Telstra TouchFone 200 still did not work.

Another issue that became apparent during testing appeared only if you used certain Voip Service Providers. When your Netgear TA612V registers, a SIP “200 OK” message is received by the device. When you are using an Outbound Proxy, the Outbound Proxy server would send an alternate Registration Expiry period.

This time would dynamically change until the device eventually registered every 60 seconds. The reason for the 60 second Registration period is 2 fold. First it designed so that there is a “high level of availability” which means you know within 1 minute if there are any issues with the Service Provider. Additionally this would act as a “NAT Keep Alive mechanism” which ensured that a Router did not close the port allocated for the VoIP SIP connection.

Unfortunately the TA612V would ignore the change to the Registration Expiry time and the only way to emulate the correct behaviour was to manipulate the “Expiry Time” and the “Expiry Head-Start time:” fields. Basically, you set the Expiry to 900 and the Head-Start to 843 which meant it would register every 57 seconds.

V1.2_65 - this is the Locked Version used by Service Providers. A Locked TA612V can be unlocked but only by receiving a Password from Netgear that is specific to the MAC address of your device.

V1.2_73 - This is the latest version I have been able to find. It fixes the SIP Expiry issue and also improves (but not totally fixes) the Progress tones associated with dialing VoIP to VoIP. This is the Version I using in setting up clients with a Netgear TA612V.

You can download a copy of Version 1.2_73 firmware from here.

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Netgear TA612V Incoming Calls and 5 Minute Dropout issue Fix

The only major issue I have experienced with the Netgear TA612V is due to the implementation of the NAT Dependent Filter in the Router. Either it does not work correctly or it is too efficient. Either way if you experience any of the following symptoms then you should watch the video below and implement the fix. Note this fix can be applied to both locked and unlocked devices. It also applies if you are using the Netgear TA612V as your main Router or as an ATA attached to another Router.

Symptoms:
1)  When someone dials you DID (VoIP phone number) your Phone does not ring.
2)  Your calls are disconnected after 5 minutes and 32 seconds
3)  One way Audio - either party can not hear the other one

The following Video will show how to set up the Port Forwarding Rules to prevent the Router from blocking the SIP and RTP packets destined for the VoIP component on a Netgear TA612V.

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Previous tests indicated that this fix does work with version 1.2_62 and the Locked Version of the Firmware as well.

The TA612V Port Forwarding rules when set up correctly

TA612V Port Forwarding Setup

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