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[OT] VOIP to both sides of the Great Firewall

2018-11-01 by: Chad Smith
From: 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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=============================================================== From: Billy ------------------------------------------------------ Depending how many folks are on WiFi, maybe your dhcp server is running out o= f ips around that time? Apple products also do a =E2=80=9Cphone home=E2=80=9D= to test for a login screen - so maybe there=E2=80=99s an Internet hiccup ar= ound that time that tricks the Apple devices into thinking the WiFi lost its= external internet? --b ngguan, China. And the big boss asked me at lunch if I had any suggestions a= bout VOIP teleconferencing for people around the world, including inside of a= nd outside of the Great Firewall of China. u are the closest thing *I* have to Tech Support, I was hoping to pick your b= rains on suggestions. indows servers), we're not even all that Mac friendly. So the stuff I can s= uggest needs to Windows-compatible and very easy to set up and use. (Most l= ikely, I won't be the one setting it up, at least not for any of the people w= ho aren't physically here.) ong. I don't know anything beyond that of how it is set up. s nearly universally English, so that is one less complication. But Chinese= -friendly would be a plus moving forward. uch the biggest app of all in China - it's used for everything, chatting, vo= ice calls, social media, ordering food, ordering taxis, transferring money, a= nd even checking out at a physical store), but the sound quality was not goo= d. s either don't connect at all to our WiFi, or are fine until a certain time o= f day (almost always exactly 1:11 pm China Time) when the internet just stop= s working. The devices are still connected to the WiFi, just not the Intern= et - and other physically nearby devices are just fine (connected to the sam= e router and network, and still accessing the Internet. Interestingly, the v= ast majority (if not all) of the devices in question are Apple products. An= droid phones and Windows laptops seem unaffected. t may come as a result of this. Funny is always a good answer.

=============================================================== From: Phil Sieg ------------------------------------------------------ My 2=C2=A2 worth: I have been traveling to and doing business in China since 1998. For much of that time the =E2=80=9CGreat Firewall of China=E2=80=9D 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 phil@ring-u.com 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 running out of ips around that time? Apple products also do a =E2=80=9Cpho= ne home=E2=80=9D to test for a login screen - so maybe there=E2=80=99s = an Internet hiccup around that time that tricks the Apple devices into = thinking the WiFi lost its external internet? 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. since you are the closest thing *I* have to Tech Support, I was hoping = to pick your brains on suggestions. 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.) Hong Kong. I don't know anything beyond that of how it is set up. software is nearly universally English, so that is one less = complication. But Chinese-friendly would be a plus moving forward. 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. 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. mocking that may come as a result of this. Funny is always a good = answer.

=============================================================== From: Chad Smith ------------------------------------------------------ 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* =E2=80=9D to test hat time he , , n

=============================================================== From: Chad Smith ------------------------------------------------------ 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* retty spotty and s =E2=80=9D to test hat time he , , n

=============================================================== From: Chad Smith ------------------------------------------------------ whelp. that didn't last long. :( *- Chad W. Smith* em e=E2=80=9D to test that time the g, i, e in