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Using DirecTivo over Vonage (VoIP) - a solution

Discussion in 'DirecTV TiVo Powered PVRs & Receivers' started by RedGrey, Oct 2, 2003.

  1. Oct 2, 2003 #1 of 634
    RedGrey

    RedGrey New Member

    4
    0
    Oct 2, 2003
    I am successfully using Vonage for both my DSR6000 and my HDVR2. I'm making daily TiVo calls from both, as well as the DirecTV calls so I can order PPV via remote, and subscribe to Sports. Getting it to work took a lot of research and most of the pieces came from other posts on TiVoCommunity. I just wanted to share my complete solution in one place (and document it myself in case I ever need to re-do it.)

    Here is what my Voip Phone Line setup looks like:

    - Cable Modem internet connection connected to the Cable modem
    - Cable Modem connected to Cable/DSL router (I've successfully used both Linksys and NetGear)
    - LAN port on router connected to the Vonage ATA (Cisco 186)
    - ATA connected to the base unit of an RCA "Wireless Modem Jack"
    (uses power lines to create a phone jack from a power outlet -
    be sure to get one that specifies it is for modems)
    - Phone connected to Output on RCA base unit
    - RCA Wireless Modem Jack remote units behind each TV

    (Some people have had success connecting the ATA to the home phone wiring, but I never tied since
    I don't have phone jacks behind my TVs anyway)



    For the DSR6000:

    This one is easy, just connect the phone jack on the back of the UNIT to the phone jack. Then go into:

    DirecTV Central > Messages & Setup > Recorder and Phone Setup > Phone Connection > Change Dialing Options

    Set the Dial Prefix to ",#019" without the quotes. This tells the modem to use 19.9 kbps
    (slow enough to work over Voip)

    Make a test call..... occasionall the call will fail for me, but it works about 9 times out of 10.



    For the HDVR2:

    This is more complex because the modem in the HDVR2 does not support the ,#019 prefix so you cannot slow it down below 56k. To make it work consistantly, you will need to use an external modem and a custom cable.

    I picked up a 28.8 modem on e-bay for about $10.

    To connect to the modem you will need to use the serial port on the back of the DirecTiVo - it looks like a headphone jack. You can use the "TiVo Serial Cable" and a DB9 to DB25 adapter for this, but I don't recommend it because this will require you to pre-program your modem using a computer in order to get it to work. I prefer to make a custom cable and use 2 cross connects to force the modem into the proper mode. The wiring chart is attached.

    To make my cable, I cut and stipped the cord from an old pair of headphones and crimped on an RJ45 connector using the first 3 pins on the RJ45. Then I picked up an RJ45 to DB25 adapter and did my custom pinouts, including the cross-connects. I found this to be easier than trying to wire the stereo plug directly to the DB25.

    Connect the serial port to the modem, and the modem to the phone jack. Then go into:

    DirecTV Central > Messages & Setup > Recorder and Phone Setup > Phone Connection > Change Dialing Options

    Set the Dial Prefix to ",#319" without the quotes. This tells the reciver to use the external modem.

    Make a test call..... occasionall the call will fail for me, but it works about 9 times out of 10.

    Now, to keep ordering PPV by remote working on the HDVR2, you also have to use a separate connection (turns out that the HDVR2 has 2 modems in it - one for Tivo and the other for DirecTV) The DirecTV one does not support using an external modem, but it only runs at 9600 baud so it will work over Voip without a problem. To set it up, use a phone jack splitter to make 2 wall jacks available. Connect the external modem to one, and the built-in modem port to the other. The TiVo calls will use the external modem, and the DirecTV calls will use the internal one.

    Kudos to everyone that has posted their own solutions in this forum and the Underground forum!!!

    Hope this helps!!
     

    Attached Files:

  2. Oct 2, 2003 #2 of 634
    davsherm

    davsherm Indian Rider

    2,127
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    Feb 23, 2003
    Central Mass
    Nice work!! Thanks for the write up Red.

    :up:
     
  3. Oct 2, 2003 #3 of 634
    qposner

    qposner New Member

    236
    0
    Sep 28, 2003
    Vancouver, WA
    I have all the phone jacks in my house wired for Vonage. I assume the wireless modem adapter is not necessary if I run a phone cord to a nearby jack (either from the DSR6000 or external 28.8 modem)? Let me know if I am missing something!

    BTW--Which model is dtv sending out with the ffdvr deal? I called and asked, but they don't know which model will go out.

    Thanks,
    Quinn
     
  4. Oct 2, 2003 #4 of 634
    RedGrey

    RedGrey New Member

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    Oct 2, 2003
    Correct, if you have your ATA connected to the house wiring and you have jacks neat your DTivos, you don't need to use the Wireless Jacks. You'll still need a splitter if you get an HDVR2.
     
  5. Oct 2, 2003 #5 of 634
    mjh

    mjh Re: Member

    613
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    Dec 19, 2002
    This is a fantastic post! This needs to become sticky and put into a tips/tricks thread.

    Thanks for this. I've been looking for something like this.
     
  6. Oct 16, 2003 #6 of 634
    qposner

    qposner New Member

    236
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    Sep 28, 2003
    Vancouver, WA
    On the Rj45 to DB25 adaptor, do I want a male or femal DB25? I am not familiar with cables so I want to make sure I get the correct adapter.

    Thanks.
     
  7. Oct 16, 2003 #7 of 634
    SteakMan

    SteakMan New Member

    789
    0
    Nov 26, 2001
    Chicago
    That depends on what your modem has on the back, but 999 times out of 1000 you'll want a male DB25.
    -SteakMan-
     
  8. Oct 16, 2003 #8 of 634
    qposner

    qposner New Member

    236
    0
    Sep 28, 2003
    Vancouver, WA
  9. Oct 17, 2003 #9 of 634
    epsilondelta

    epsilondelta New Member

    101
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    Feb 25, 2002
    Bloomington,...
    Sorry to be both skeptical and stupid -- I don't know how Vonnage works.

    Does your phone number get passed to DTV via caller ID over Vonnage? Does DTV see it as a "land based" phone number?

    DTV's reason for using monthly call-ins is overwhelmingly to prevent commercial fraud.

    Has anyone checked with DTV customer service to see if their units have truly completed calls using Vonnage?

    Since it's the internet, how long could it be before people are able to spoof fake telephone numbers?

    I am really sincere here in being ignorant of the workings of VoIP, but I would hate to see folks get rid of their land line, only to find that DTV suddenly "cares" about the agreement they signed.

    epsilondelta
     
  10. Oct 18, 2003 #10 of 634
    directivoetherne

    directivoetherne New Member

    46
    0
    Oct 18, 2003
    This is a fantastic very helpful post.

    Question, Can I use the code ",#019"-- adding the comma for the directivo unit to reduce the modem speed. I am able to do a test call with that code entered but I have not gotten my Vonage adapter yet to test it.
     
  11. Oct 19, 2003 #11 of 634
    Consigliere

    Consigliere New Member

    2
    0
    Oct 19, 2003
    Olney, MD
    RedGray:

    Are the modem pinouts and cross-connects fairly standard from modem to modem?

    Thanks!

     
  12. Oct 21, 2003 #12 of 634
    RedGrey

    RedGrey New Member

    4
    0
    Oct 2, 2003
    Yes, the pinouts on the modem should be standard so the cross connects will set flow control and DTE correctly.
     
  13. Oct 21, 2003 #13 of 634
    mjh

    mjh Re: Member

    613
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    Dec 19, 2002
    As a non-hardware geek, how are you specifically setting flow control and DTE? In other words, if I wanted to make these settings by programming the modem, how do I need to be setting these features?
     
  14. Oct 22, 2003 #14 of 634
    bonscott87

    bonscott87 Done.

    2,748
    17
    Oct 3, 2000
    No need to check. I have ordered a couple PPV's via remote on my T-60 since I've gotten Vonage. They both have shown up on my bills the day I start seeing the 888 number being dialed in my Vonage call screen.

    Thus the T-60 at least connects to DirecTV just fine to report PPV's and such. Also I have NFL ST and have had no problems with it all season.
     
  15. Oct 27, 2003 #15 of 634
    rogo

    rogo Member

    863
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    Dec 10, 1999
    I don't really believe that having Sunday Ticket = having any practical need for a phone line. I'm sure your unit tries to call in once every month regardless of whether you've ordered PPV on the card or have a sports sub... It appears the only thing that causes trouble is having too many PPVs on the card or having a cranky call with DirecTV's CSRs...

    Mark
     
  16. Oct 30, 2003 #16 of 634
    mjh

    mjh Re: Member

    613
    0
    Dec 19, 2002
    I've managed to get this working... sorta... and I wanted to tell people my experience with it, and maybe see if anyone has any advice.

    I have an HDVR2, so my only solution is to use the external modem as described. I bought a one from ebay (28.8 US Robotics FAX modem). Tested the modem on a PC first. It worked just fine. I built the 1/8" headphone to DB25 cable that he described, basically exactly the same as he described. I happened to have a RJ45 to DB25 dongle. I wired it exactly as described, carefully noting which DB25 pins mapped to which RJ45 pins. I cut off 4 of the unused pins inside the DB25 dongle, stripped the ends and wrapped them together to make the cross connects on pins 4&5 and 6&20. I took an unused CAT5 cable and cut off about 12" on one end. I then took the wires on the CAT5 cable that were associated with the DB25 pins 2, 3, & 7 and stripped them.

    At first I used an old pair of headphones as RedGrey did. But for some reason I couldn't get this to work. The headphones worked before I cut off the end, but as soon as I did, I'd lose continuity. The headphone cables, as one would expect, had a signal and a ground cable within them. The problem seemed to be that they were in too close proximity to each other and when I cut the cable it was just way too easy for them to contact each other. So I went to RatShack and bought one of their unwired connectors. I made sure to get the Rat Shack folks carefully point out to me which of the three leads on these things were tip, ring and base. I then soldered my stripped cat5 wires to each of those ends, and Voila. The DTiVo was able to make as many successful test calls as I wanted.

    But! That's not the end of the story.

    Right now it appears that my DTiVo is trying to download 3.1.1b upgrade. And this is a problem. When I use vonage, I occasionally get echos on the line. The modem does NOT like that. It starts to download, and then invariably, the RX light will eventually stop blinking. Then eventually, the modem will hangup the phone (probably initiated from the other end) and then eventually the DTiVo will give a status of "Failed. Call interrupted". Sometimes I can get the download to go for 40 minutes. Other times it will only go for 5 mins. But it always ends exactly the same way.

    The end result of this is that, even though I'm able to complete a successful test call, because I haven't completed a successful "daily call" I'm still getting the NAG screens saying that I haven't succesfully completed a call since the ice age. (That's a slight embellishment on my part.)

    I'm thinking of taking my tivo over to a friend's house with a regular phone line and using it just to complete the download. I think once I get past the download it won't be that big of a deal. But it would seem that Vonage does not have good enough sound quality for a 28.8 modem to download a DTiVo software update. I'm sure that it's good enough for much shorter calls.

    I'm thinking of trying to force the modem to a slower speed to see if I can get it to work. Any other ideas as to what I might try?

    The other question I have is will I eventually download the entire update piece by piece, or does the entire software update have to come through in a single phone call?

    Edit: Added NAG screen info
     
  17. Oct 31, 2003 #17 of 634
    directivoetherne

    directivoetherne New Member

    46
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    Oct 18, 2003
    If you needed to program the modem, how would you do it?

    Also, does anyone have a link to a place you could buy a cable that would work off the bat? Is there a specific cable you could buy at Fry's that would work without mods.
     
  18. Oct 31, 2003 #18 of 634
    mjh

    mjh Re: Member

    613
    0
    Dec 19, 2002
    Well, for someone who isn't a hardware geek, I've done a little learning while working on this project. It looks like you could do this:

    AT&R1
    AT&S0

    AT&R1 tells the modem to ignore RTS (which is what the pin 4-5 cross does). AT&S0 tells the modem to override DSR (which is what the pin 6-20 cross does). After you do these, you'll probably want to make it permanant by doing:

    AT&W0

    If you do all of that, you should be able to use the serial cable available at store.tivo.com.
     
  19. Oct 31, 2003 #19 of 634
    mjh

    mjh Re: Member

    613
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    Dec 19, 2002
    As a followup, I forced the modem to a maximum speed of 19200 bps and everything worked. Of course, it was a four hour download to get everything! But it worked. I forced the modem to a maximum speed of 19200 and a minimum speed of 9600 by doing these commands:

    AT&N10
    AT&U6

    Then saved it to NVRAM with:

    AT&W0
     
  20. Oct 31, 2003 #20 of 634
    directivoetherne

    directivoetherne New Member

    46
    0
    Oct 18, 2003

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