VoIP Network

What can I do if I have a Virgin broadband connection and can't make or receive calls and/or call quality is bad?

The router that Virgin supply with your service is likely to be what Virgin call a "Superhub". However, VoIP providers don't think they are all that super!

That's because most of Virgin's Superhubs have a very poor implementation of "SIP ALG" running on them. Its turned on by default and is designed to inspect and modify SIP packets (You can read more about SIP here).

In reality, if implemented poorly, it simply interferes with SIP and by nature your VoIP traffic. We strongly recommend turning it off in all cases. However, as of writing (Aug 2015), Virgin have 3 possible Superhub's that they may have provided you with. The Superhub 1, 2 & 2ac. They are running software version's 2.39.02, 2.01.03 and 1.01.11 respectively. Once logged into your Superhub, you can check your "Software" version by clicking the large "Superhub Settings" icon in the centre on the home page.

You can only turn off "SIP ALG" if you have a Superhub 1, as only this firmware has the option available to turn it off. All other Superhub's do not allow you to configure "SIP ALG" and as a result these routers are incompatible with VoIP services at present. It's a very well documented issue amongst the Virgin broadband community. Please see below a picture of the base of a Superhub showing exactly where you can determine which Superhub you are using.

Virgin Superhub

However, we have some options to get you up and running with VoIP and your Superhub. Firstly, if you are running a Superhub 1, its really quite easy as you have the option to turn off "SIP ALG". You just need to do the following.

1) Login to your Virgin Superhub by accessing it at its IP Address with your favourite browser and using the Username and Password that Virgin have supplied you with. If you are unsure of you're IP address we recommend using AdvancedIP or Lanscan to find it first.

2) Once logged in, click on "Advanced Settings" in the bottom right corner and accept any warnings that may present

3) Scroll down to the Security section and click on "Firewall"

4) Scroll down to ALG and untick "SIP ALG" below that. Save your changes and once the router has rebooted you should be in good shape.

If you are running a Superhub 2, 2ac or 3, then you have a few choices of how to resolve.

1) You can turn on TLS (Encryption) on your hardware phone or softphone. How you configure this varies from phone to phone, so please get in touch with our friendly support team if you need some help with it. By encrypting your VoIP traffic, your Superhub can no longer modify the VoIP data as your call passes through it, so by virtue, you will bypass the issue. Remember if you are turning on TLS on your device or softphone, you must also turn on encryption for the relevant SIP User in your Dashboard under My VoIP > Users. Please note, none of the phones in the Siemens Gigaset range currently support TLS encryption.

2) A little more drastic, but seemingly popular in the Virgin broadband community, is to simply turn your Superhub into modem only mode and use it in combination with your favourite router instead (One that handles VoIP traffic properly!). If you do this, all traffic will pass through the Superhub in both directions and it will become simply a dumb modem to connect you with Virgin. Needless to say, we thoroughly recommend if you are going to do this, that you do so in combination with a router so you protect your network adequately. Virgin provide an article on how to switch to "modem" mode here.

3) You can also make sure that you have the NAT Keep Alive setting enabled in your device. This would be configured in the Web Configuration for your device. By setting a NAT Keep Alive interval, this will allow your connection to keep sending packets to each other to make sure the connection is still available, which would prevent calls dropping, as well as keep the connection stable. An example of this can be found here, which has been set up on a Grandstream GXP2130: Grandstream GXP2130 Keep Alive settings

If you need any further help today, please don't hesitate to contact our friendly support team on 0330 122 6000 or by email!

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