Can Hotels Block VoIP Access?

Discussion in 'VOIP' started by Jeremy, May 24, 2005.

  1. Jeremy

    Jeremy Guest

    I would think that it is only a matter of time before hotels, and any other
    business that derives revenue from customers' use of their telephone
    facilities, decides to block VoIP on their data networks, forcing us to pay
    them when we make calls.

    Are any hotel chains already doing this?
     
    Jeremy, May 24, 2005
    #1
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  2. Jeremy

    Rick Merrill Guest

    A few chains in the US are starting to offer broadband, and many offer
    internet service (for a charge) - VoIP would ride on the latter - so
    they get their cut.

    Besides, how would they 'block voip'?
     
    Rick Merrill, May 24, 2005
    #2
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  3. Jeremy

    Ivor Jones Guest

    The same way some telcos and ISP's have been accused of doing so - by
    blocking the ports used.

    Ivor
     
    Ivor Jones, May 24, 2005
    #3
  4. Jeremy

    Rick Merrill Guest

    Like this?
    http://www.vonage-forum.com/ftopic4184.html

    But I don't think hotels have that much sophistication in internet!
     
    Rick Merrill, May 24, 2005
    #4
  5. Jeremy

    Rick Merrill Guest

    Actual ports appear to be

    TCP & UDP 5060/5061 for SIP

    UDP 10,000 to 20,000 (range) -- these ports are chosen dynamically
    during call initiation.
     
    Rick Merrill, May 24, 2005
    #5
  6. Jeremy

    Vox Humana Guest

    Does anyone know if a hotel that offers internet access is considered an ISP
    and therefore regulated by the FCC?
     
    Vox Humana, May 24, 2005
    #6
  7. Does anyone know if a hotel that offers internet access is considered
    Probably not, but it doesn't really matter.
    Why do you think that ISPs are regulated by the FCC? They aren't.

    Hotels usually charge enough for Internet access that they're not
    hurting even if you did make VoIP calls. What they really would like
    to block, of course, is mobile calls.
     
    John R. Levine, May 24, 2005
    #7
  8. Jeremy

    John Nelson Guest

    The market will quickly sort this out. I don't patronize hotels that
    don't provide broadband. If I discover that they are blocking VOIP over
    the broadband that they provide, I will inform them that they have
    placed themselves on my "do not patronize" list.

    Actually, I don't believe this will ever be a serious problem. Most
    hospitality operators are far to savvy to think that they could get away
    with this. Moreover, the use of cell-phones has pretty well gutted the
    revenue from hotel phones anyway.
     
    John Nelson, May 24, 2005
    #8
  9. Jeremy

    Rick Merrill Guest

    Vox Humana wrote:
    ....
    The chains I've used are NOT an ISP, but contract with one. The
    physical setup however LOOKS as if the hotel is an ISP (T1 line, etc).
     
    Rick Merrill, May 24, 2005
    #9
  10. Jeremy

    Ivor Jones Guest

    How much revenue do they get anyway..? I assume we're talking about the
    USA here..? All the recent hotels I've stayed at in California provided
    free local calls within the same area code anyway, and as all I used them
    for were just that, I didn't pay any extra.

    Ivor (UK)
     
    Ivor Jones, May 24, 2005
    #10
  11. I don't think any hotel chains are smart enough to do so. If they do
    so, its probably by accident. They usually just drop in a DSL connection
    and NAT everybody behind whatever router the IP provider gave them and
    forget about it.
     
    Doug McIntyre, May 24, 2005
    #11
  12. Jeremy

    Jeremy Guest

    I can easily block it by changing the port settings on my router.
     
    Jeremy, May 24, 2005
    #12
  13. Jeremy

    Jeremy Guest

    I remember AT&T taking out ads in travel magazines, back in the 1980s,
    warning Americans to beware of heavy hotel surcharges on phone calls back to
    the US.

    Some foreign hotels were tacking on a US$10 surcharge!

    AT&T recommended using public telephones rather than making calls from the
    hotel room. They also inaugurated a service where you could go to a
    payphone and dial an access code to be connected to a US operator, who would
    complete the call and bill your AT&T card at US rates. I cannot remember
    the name of the service. They provided you with a pocket card listing the
    access numbers to dial for each country that you were in.

    I have even heard of hotels that jammed cell phone signals so that guests
    were forced into using the hotel's phone system, and paying the hotel's
    exhorbitant rates. That practice is illegal in the US, but some posters in
    the cellular NGs have noted that they've experienced it.

    Telephone revenue was a big moneymaker for hotels--I don't know what the
    current state of affairs is though. It seems to me that a hotel would try
    to get you to use their own lines, if they could possibly get away with it.
     
    Jeremy, May 24, 2005
    #13
  14. Jeremy

    Ivor Jones Guest

    I've never had the problem. In any case, at the last motel I stayed at in
    San Diego, there was a payphone around 30ft from my room door..! I never
    needed it as the room phone gave free calls within the 619 area code and I
    had two mobile (cell) phones (one US, one UK) with me anyway.

    Ivor
     
    Ivor Jones, May 24, 2005
    #14
  15. Jeremy

    Garry W Guest

    "forcing us to pay them when we make calls" ???

    How?? Even without broadband, it's only a rare (or rich) goofball that pays
    hotel phone charges. Hotels are why god originally invented calling cards!

    But assuming that there =are= some rich goofballs out there who are paying
    hotel phone charges... would such a person also be doing a frugal thing like
    using VoIP?

    As for the rest of us... the hotel will lose no money by allowing a frugal
    calling-card user to switch to being a frugal VoIP user. (Matter of fact,
    they free up phone lines.)

    (For the sake of the argument, perhaps hotels exist that charge for
    calling-card calls... I haven't seen any... If so, would a hotel that is so
    rude as to charge for 800 numbers be caught dead providing broadband for
    free?)

    Garry
     
    Garry W, May 25, 2005
    #15
  16. Jeremy

    Miguel Cruz Guest

    If this becomes commonplace then people will quickly sort out ways around
    it.

    More troublesome is the possibility of adding heavy jitter, which won't be
    noticed by web and email users but which will play havoc with VoIP call
    quality.

    miguel
     
    Miguel Cruz, May 25, 2005
    #16
  17. Jeremy

    wkearney99 Guest

    But assuming that there =are= some rich goofballs out there who are paying
    VoIP isn't always just about being cheap. It's also potentially about being
    portable. Being able to have your calls follow you is a handy feature of
    VoIP.
    An important distinction some don't realize is phone calls require a fixed
    number of trunk lines. That is, in a hotel of 200 rooms you don't have the
    ability to make 200 outgoing calls all at the same time. More like about 20
    or so. Same thing does in office environments. That handset on your desk
    does not have it's "own" outside line but shares one of the many outside
    trunks. (yes, technically, a PBX could be configured to dedicate a trunk
    line to just one handset but that's tangental). Some PBX systems can
    support use of PRI, BRI, fiber or other types of lines that don't require
    one pair per trunk. But the channel bank will still have a limit on the
    number of simultaneous calls that can be handled.

    This is part of the reason why hotels hated modems and are offering free
    broadband. Having 200 guests try to make 200 modem calls immediately
    overloads the PBX and ties up the lines. Moving to shared broadband lets
    them all share just ONE connection. This is a HUGE win for the hotel.
    It's all a matter of balance. I'm sure somewhere there's a hotel manager
    too stupid to realize that nickel-and-diming the customers for these things
    is a bad idea. But just as there are far too many stupid manager, so too
    are there enough customers gullible enough to go along with it.

    -Bill Kearney
     
    wkearney99, May 26, 2005
    #17
  18. Jeremy

    BlueRinse Guest

    I'm pretty sure whole ISP in some countries are doing this! Further,
    they'd love to do it in most places if they could get away with it, but
    they can't for now.
     
    BlueRinse, May 26, 2005
    #18
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