Gold Stars For Motorola, McDonalds; Trader Joes – Vonage Sits In The Corner

Remember this mystery I shared in last week’s blog?

Let me refresh your memory:

Here’s another mystery.  Currently I connect Comcast -> Motorola Surfboard Surfboard SB5101 Modem – > Vonage V-Portal -> Computer

  1. If I try to eliminate the Vonage V-Portal for tests, I can’t connect to the Internet via Comcast -> Motorola Surfboard SB5101 Modem – > Computer, without rebooting the modem
  2. If I perform action #1, then I can’t connect to the Internet via Comcast -> Motorola Surfboard Surfboard SB5101 Modem – > Vonage V-Portal -> Computer, without rebooting the Modem, followed by rebooting the Vonage V-portal.

I did contact Motorola technical support and they shared this with me:

“The SB5101 uses a Lease table to assign IP addresses to devices. When the modem is connected to the internet service provider, it only has one IP address to assign: the IP address that the ISP gives you. Once a device connects to the modem and obtains that IP address, the modem associates the two together in its lease table. The modem will keep those two associated for an unknown amount of time even after the device is shut down or disconnected from the modem. When you power cycle the modem, this clears that Lease table and allows any device to obtain that IP address.”

“This method of assigning IP addresses has been addressed in newer versions of the modem’s firmware so that it will dynamically update the lease table for any device without the need of a power cycle. Unfortunately, the ISP controls the firmware, so you cannot upgrade that firmware yourself. The ISP automatically updates the firmware on all modems installed on their network to be sure they match what their systems support. This also includes downgrading firmware to versions that their systems support.”

“The only thing you could do at this point is to either contact your ISP to see if they will update your firmware for you. If they will not, then we’ll have to stick to power cycling the modem each time you switch the connection.”

“Alternatively, you could also purchase a router to connect to the SB5101. That way, the router would handle all the IP Addressing and the modem would only have to recognize the connection to a single device: the router.”

Vonage Lessons learned:

Time to beat up Vonage…to be fair, I’m not anti-Vonage (companies like Lingo probably wouldn’t fair much better) .  This week, I tested talking to the University of South Africa via Vonage – very nice – when 0% packet loss.  I’ll wait a year and see…do they fix their problems?

At least I give Motorola credit.  They knew what the problem was – shared the current status – then confirmed a firmware fix would arrive, in the near future.

Remember my discovery in last week’s blog with Vonage?

OK Vonage – give me an explanation (Or for that matter, any competitors like Lingo can take a stab):

  1. How come when I run tests with and, they both show a significant packet loss – at the same time I experience voice degradation via Vonage?
  2. How come every time I recycle your device for 30 seconds – then run tests on with and, they both show zero packet loss – at the same time I experience excellent voice quality via Vonage?

“If it looks like a duck, and quacks like a duck, we have at least to consider the possibility that we have a small aquatic bird of the family anatidae on our hands.” –  Douglas Adams

Let me share a cool layman’s article on packet loss at, before I discuss my technology discoveries this week.  Another article by the same author at…,  shares an interesting thought: “In my experience, and that of others I’ve seen on the forums, Vonage devices seem to work better when placed behind a more effective router.”  Would this minimize my packet loss concern?  Maybe I’ll test this with inexpensive routers, like those found at… or…?

  1. Vonage tech support says things like, “it could be anything.  It might be the router, the Comcast connection… blah, blah, blah.”  A former Motorola electrical engineer – who has several patent applications over the years…designed and build cell phones…says it’s the Vonage router.   I also contacted a “computer hardware genius”, studying computer engineering technology at DeVry University…says it’s the Vonage router.   Common sense says that if I power down their device…then power back up…where packet loss is non-existent…it’s the Vonage router.   What do you think?
  2. I had a strange problem this week, where I worked with Vonage level 3 support (normally I get level 2).  The level 3 support person spent 4 hours with me, trying to diagnose the problem.  We came away with a mutual respect for each other.
  3. The problem in item 2 was a Comcast issue.  My Motorola Comcast modem is leased by Comcast.  Guess what they did?  They unregistered my modem on their side.  Why?  They mixed my account up with some other account.   Excuse me?  You win the Curly Stooge tech support award.
  4. I mentioned that Google Voice works well with Gizmo5 (see  Question: If I took a laptop to Mexico and initiated a call to a US number – would that constitute a free call?
  5. I now have Windows 7 running and I’m impressed.  Office Depot will install Windows 7 free in store – regardless of where you brought it…

Or ask this question of Vonage – What is your definition of “unlimited service?”:

I recall seeing some Vonage TV commercials where they advertised unlimited world service.   Yet if you carefully review their terms of service, they state that 5,000 minutes/month  is what they consider normal, for usage with normal residential plans.  Where did they get this number?  Especially when Skype considers 10,000 minutes/month normal for their unlimited plan?

Or things like they can cancel a 30 day money back guarantee any time – without notice?

Suppose you brought sometime from the Internet.  They offered a 30 day money back guarantee (like Magic Jack does).  You  send the product back after 15 days.  They refuse to refund the money, because they claim they can cancel a 30 day return policy any time.

How would you feel?  Tell me!

This is similar to some Magic Jack complaints I found via Google.  Yet Magic Jack has no excuse –  Vonage does – it’s stated in their “terms of service”.

Or (if I read this correctly), if you don’t cancel within a precise time frame – after one year of service – they can automatically renew you for another year?

What?  Come again?  I feel like I’m an actor in the TV series Star Gate – in order to return to earth, I need to enter the Star Gate within a certain time frame.  Else, I’m stuck on a remote alien outpost for another year.

There’s So Many “Loopholes” in Vonage’s “Terms of Service”, an elephant can squeeze through – Lingo probably wouldn’t fair any better – didn’t  they change their contract length from 1 to 2 years a few months ago?

One good thing I did was to buy another surge protector.  Why?  Plug the Vonage device into surge protector 2.  Plug surge protector 2, the Motorola Cable modem, and other electrical components into surge protector 1.  If I need to reboot the Vonage device, I just use the surge protector’s off/on switch.  I can even boot the modem – followed by the Vonage V-portal – all by using surge protectors’ off/on switches.

McDonald’s Now

I’m not sure if you visited the McDonalds’ headquarters in Oak Brook.  I have several times over the years.   There used to be this former Roman Catholic priest (now deceased), who became a spiritual healer.  Someone in his audience worked at McDonalds, so they were able to hold spiritual healing seminars there.

Someone else I knew had a connection with McDonalds.  There were different presenters of homeopathic medical topics, over the years.  It’s interesting that many medical doctors were audience members.  There’s actually no disconnect between homeopathic medicine and spiritual healing.  I find them to be quite complimentary.  You can ever throw in traditional medicine into the mix and I would see them as potentially fitting together.

Speaking of McDonalds – their coffee is very good!  Let’s not forget the excellent price also!  I know some would rather pay he premium prize for Starbucks.  Or buy these very expensive beans, rather than the excellent Trader  Joe  (a grocery store chain) “Joe” variety.  I’ll tell you what.  I rather invest the money I save, not going to Starbucks.  Let me stick with McDonalds and Trader Joes store blends.




5 thoughts on “Gold Stars For Motorola, McDonalds; Trader Joes – Vonage Sits In The Corner

  1. saw your comment on McD. What is up with all the spiritual/holistic connection.. McD is on the other end of the spectrum. As a side note, McD coffee can’t compare to Dunkin Donuts coffee… a world apart.

    1. I’m not saying that McDonalds is spiritual. Nor am I saying that they endorse or approve of either the spiritual healing or homeopathic programs run there. For them, it’s purely a monetary transation. You pay to rent facilities to run programs there. You pay for the meals served and the motel facilities. Having said that…if I was to run a program and money were no option…McDonalds would be a great place to host it – in exchange for the proper monetary payment. Having said that…I’m not sure I would rate Dunkin Donuts coffee over McDonalds. To be fair, I’ll run a personal test this weekend.

  2. I don’t usually post on blogs but had to on yours. You have a very unique writing style. A lot of people don’t have that touch, they just drone on and on in the most boring way. But not you – thanks! I don’t have time to read everything here right now, I found this site when looking for something else on, but I’ve bookmarked your homepage and will check back soon to see the latest news. Please check out my site at when you have time and please let me know what you think. Thanks again!

    1. Paul:
      Thanks for the kind words. I have visited your blog and loved the informative VOIP and technology articles. Keep up the good work.

  3. is very informative. The article is very professionally written. I enjoy reading every day.

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