Dec 21, 2015

High-Tech Holiday Gifts for Fellow Geeks

Getting the right gift for that tech geek in your life can be a challenge. Holiday shopping can get expensive, which is why it's important to shop smart when shopping high-tech — after all, the National Retail Federation recently released a study that found the average American would spend approximately $463 on family members and a whopping $805 total on gifts this holiday season. If you are looking for the perfect gift to give to the tech-obsessed friend or family member this holiday season, here's a look at some of the best high tech gifts out there.

Samsung Gear VR

Powered by Oculus technology, the Samsung Gear VR is an affordable entry point into the world of virtual reality. Compatible with all of the latest Samsung Galaxy line of phones, the Samsung Gear VR has a rapidly expanding selection of games, apps, and virtual experiences all designed specifically for this affordable VR headset. You simply drop your phone into the portable headset, load the app, and begin experiencing 360 degree virtual reality. Proximity and gyrometric sensors in the headset help make the experience feel more immersive, and with a $99.99 price tag it makes the perfect gift for that geek in your life who can't stop talking about the coming VR revolution.

Lenovo Ideapad Y700

Gaming rigs for geeks are often a personal thing, built from cutting edge parts and customized to run high-end games at incredible framerates but all that fails to matter when you are on the road. Enter the Lenovo Ideapad Y700 series of gaming laptops, which allow you to experience immersive high end gaming wherever you might be. Quad-core power from a 6th generation Intel i7 processor gives you the grunt power to run even the most processing-intense modern games while the AMD Radeon R9 M375 2GB graphics card insures that your rig can handle high end graphics without lagging. Finally, thermal cooling systems make sure that your Ideapad doesn't overheat during a long bout of slaying dragons or crawling through the radioactive wasteland. With discounted prices starting as low as $799, the Ideapad Y700 series is an affordable gaming rig for the geek on the go.

Neato Botvac

You may have seen vacuum robots in the past, but they pale in comparison to the automated cleaning beast that is the Botvac. Powered by a lithium ion battery, the Botvac uses real-time object detection technology to scan the floor of your home, build a map, plan a route and then methodically clean — other automatic vacuums simply bump around and scare the cat. Best of all, you can clean anytime and anywhere with the Neato app, which allows you to schedule, start, stop and remote control your Botvac wherever you might be. It even sends notifications to your smartphone. The Botvac can be easily quarantined from any part of your house with a simple boundary marker that you place on the ground that alerts the Botvac that it isn't welcome. Easy to use and program, the Botvac feels less like an RC car and more like a tiny industrious robot for your home.

Dec 17, 2015

Top Five Countries with Highest Percentages of Cybercrime

Often labeled white collar crime, cyber crime takes place in the intangible, online web-scape of the Internet, and is generally related to any activity that breaches or violates the rights or personal information of another online environment member. Since billions of dollars in online transactions take place every day along the path of the World Wide Web, even more so during holiday seasons, it is no surprise that cyber bandits have become all too prevalent in modern life.

Cybercrime is not isolated to one single group, ethnicity, gender or race. These faceless outlaws do not discriminate, and though this is a global problem, some countries are more likely to suffer the wrath of cyber thieves more so than others. So which countries in the world community make the top five list of most likely to be hacked, what kinds of cyber crime are rampant in these nations, and most importantly, what can online community members do to protect themselves and their information while connected to the web?

In the Top 5

Coming in at No. 5 is the country of Brazil. According to Symantec's ranking of the top 20 countries experiencing cybercrime, based on the percentage of malicious computer activity detected in each country and other telling variables, Brazil topped at four percent in the malicious computer activity arena.

Notably, Brazil has more phishing website hosts than any other country in the top five list. These phishing websites obtain and store personal information, making identity theft more likely to occur. To guard against such cyber offenses, online users should not offer up any personal information to any unauthorized webpage, nor should users store and save passwords on their computers.

Sneaking into the No. 4 spot was Great Britain with five percent of the recorded malicious computer activity tracked globally, and Germany, with six percent, settled into the rank of No. 3. Germany is also ranked 12th in 20 in the prevalence of malicious code within their online environments.

Malicious code is computer language designed to steal personal information. This kind of malware snakes its way into users' computers or electronic devices through opening unsolicited emails and clicking suspicious links. Once they have installed, opened and begun to run, this malware transmits your personal information through the open channels of the Internet computers that are normally located thousands of miles away from your location, where your information is stored and later sold to counterfeiters. Protecting against such aggressive violations involves close monitoring of your identity details and setting up credit alerts in case of infraction.

Battle for No. 1

From here the cyber criminals favorite playgrounds become obvious. Jumping up three percent to a total of nine percent malicious computer activity, China slides into the runner-up ranking, and finally, with a whopping 23 percent of recorded cybercrime activity based on percentage of recorded malicious computer activity: The United States of America. Ironically, the U.S. is also ranked No. 1 on the list of countries in which cybercrime originates.

Notice that the list of nations experiencing the highest levels of cybercrime are not third-world countries; these are first-world, wealthy, highly established nations. This just goes to show the undeniable reach of cyber criminals and the great need for protection from white collar crime in the modern age.

Dec 7, 2015

More reliable free alternative to mRemoteNG

I have been using mRemote and mRemoteNG for a long time now. It is just way easier to keep all of your remote server connections in one place if you manage a lot of servers like I do.

Well there has been something with mRemoteNG that has been bothering me since I started to manage more and more Windows 2012 R2 servers, and that's the fact that if you have five RDP connections open you can't open any more to Windows 2012 R2 servers. You can open Microsoft Remote Desktop and connect fine, but it will fail with mRemoteNG and it's a known issue that won't be fixed anytime soon.

Since they aren't fixing it, and people have been bitching since at least 2013, I thought I'd check out a different tool to use instead. I found Terminals!

From their page:
Terminals is a secure, multi tab terminal services/remote desktop client. It uses Terminal Services ActiveX Client (mstscax.dll).

The project started from the need of controlling multiple connections simultaneously. It is a complete replacement for the mstsc.exe (Terminal Services) client.
Here is a list of protocols Terminals supports:
  • Windows Remote Desktop (RDP)
  • VNC
  • VMRC
  • SSH
  • Telnet
  • RAS
  • ICA Citrix
  • HTTP and HTTPS
Here is a screenshot:

I blurred out my connections, but you might be able to see that you can group your connections easily, which was a feature I liked in mRemote as well.

So far, I haven't had any issues with multiple RDP sessions and Windows 2012 R2, So I think I will stick with this for the foreseeable future.

What do you use to manage multiple RDP/SSH etc sessions? Let us know in the comments!

Dec 2, 2015

The Best Features Inside the iPhone 6s

The iPhone 6s has been in stores and online for several months now, so you don't have to wait in line or order one at 12:01 a.m. to get your hands on the world's most popular smartphone. In case you're not up to speed with what Apple improved on the latest generation iPhone, here are the most popular features that set the iPhone 6s apart:

3D Touch

When Apple added Force Touch to its MacBook Pro trackpads earlier this year, experts predicted the same technology would come to the iPhone, and they were right. Like Force Touch for the trackpad, 3D Touch adds an extra dimension to your iPhone's screen by responding to the pressure of each press from your finger or thumb. Tap on the Mail icon and it will open the app. Long-press and it will give you the option to move the icon around your home screen. And now a hard press opens a quick menu outside the app. While Apple launched the iPhone 6s with a myriad of 3D Touch features, it's the developer community that will really make this new technology come to life.

Improved Cameras

Apple is always striving to house the best smartphone camera on the market inside the latest iPhone, and the 6s makes great strides in this area. The newest rear-facing camera captures stunning 12-megapixel photos and can now shoot video in full 4K resolution — a feature more common on a GoPro than a smartphone. The front camera is also beefed up to 5 megapixels, so your selfies can be more vivid than ever. And like the iPhone 6, the Plus version carries a few optical features that the regular 6s does not have.

A9 Processor

The 64-bit A9 processor teams up with the new M9 motion coprocessor to bring speeds 70 to 90 percent faster than the iPhone 6, according to Apple. If all you do is check email and Facebook, you probably won't notice a difference between the 6 and 6s. But if you love the latest mobile games and multitasking apps (which has greatly improved in iOS 9), then this new processor is a treat for your speedy thumbs.

New Materials & Internal Design

The #Bendgate scandal is over. While the outside of the iPhone 6s looks nearly identical to the iPhone 6, the inside features a new architecture made of a higher grade of aluminum and glass that prevents the unfortunate bending in the pocket. You should still use a case, as the iPhone 6s is incredibly thin, but this new structure should save you a trip to the Genius Bar.

Faster Wi-Fi and LTE

You may not think much about the antenna in your phone that affects Wi-Fi and LTE speeds, but Apple is always improving them to speed up your signal and capacity to download data. Depending on your home Internet connection and carrier signal, this might not make any difference. But for some, the new iPhone means faster Internet.

Rose Gold

And, of course, how will anyone know you have the new iPhone if it looks just like the old one? Apple has you covered there, too. The iPhone 6s comes in white, black, gold and now rose gold, which means your iPhone can be both a smartphone and a fashion statement.

Nov 13, 2015

Vitamin E: A Natural cure for stomach ulcers?

My six year old son has spent the last two years of his life suffering from stomach ulcers. Last year my ex-wife took him to see a pediatric gastroenterologist in Denver to have his stomach scoped to see the ulcers and to take a biopsy to test for H. Pylori, but he came up negative. It turns out his ulcers are caused by stress.

You might be asking how a six year old boy can be stressed out, but the answer is pretty simple when you realize that his mother and I moved him away from his home in California to be closer to his mom's family, and then just a few short months later his mom filed for divorce.

This sort of thing has really affected our young son, and because it is stress related we have had multiple doctors say that the only thing we can do is give him lansoprazole and ranitidine to keep his stomach acid in check. Well, it's not working.

There is hope though. I recently came across a study that tested the comparative effect of palm vitamin E and ranitidine on the healing of ethanol-induced gastric lesions in rats. The study showed a significant effect of vitamin E in the fight against ulcers. From the study:

We found that the mean ulcer index obtained after 1 week and 3 weeks of treatment with palm vitamin E and palm vitamin E Plus ranithidine (sic) were significantly lower compared to control and group treated with ranitidine alone. This finding suggests that palm vitamin E given alone or in combination with ranitidine is able to promote the healing of ethanol induced gastric lesions.

I started my son on vitamin E this past Monday and in just two days he had marked improvement in the pain he was reporting to me. I give him one tablet in the morning with his other medications, and one in the evening. We use the "needles" scale to determine his pain level. He tells me how many needles it feels like he has in his stomach. Well after a couple of days using vitamin E he regularly reported ZERO needles! It's easily the most improvement I've seen in two years!

If you are in the fight against stomach ulcers, you might want to incorporate vitamin E supplements into your medicine program. So far it's looking promising for my son. I only hope his mom agrees with me and continues giving him his supplements when he is at her house.

Oct 27, 2015

What Power Sources Are Available for Electric Cars?

Transportation contributed to over half of carbon monoxide and nitrogen oxides emitted into the environment in 2013, according to the Union of Concerned Scientists. It also contributed to a quarter of hydrocarbons emissions.

Driving a traditional gas-fueled vehicle is a reliable way to travel with plenty of refueling stations, but it’s harmful to the environment. Electricity is a secondary energy source that is becoming increasingly more popular in vehicles. However, it can cause more pollution than gas and fossil fuels depending on its energy sources.

Before investing in your next car, get a better understanding about your options and what is truly best for the environment.

Solar Power

All light contains energy, but when it hits certain materials, it can be turned into an electrical current. To simplify the explanation, as the light gets absorbed by materials like silicon crystals, an electrical current is generated. Solar energy can power solar charging stations for electric vehicles. According to Revision Energy, just nine solar panels can power an electric car for roughly 12,000 miles of driving every year.


In theory, charging an electric car has less of an impact on the environment than a gasoline-fueled car. But in reality, the power source behind the charging station matters. According to a study by the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, if the electricity is generated from a coal-fired power plant, your clean-energy Chevrolet Volt may be polluting the environment as much as 80 percent more than driving a gasoline-powered vehicle.

If you know your electricity comes from solar, wind, hydro, nuclear or other clean energy sources, an electric vehicle is better for the environment because it doesn't emit tailpipe pollutants. But if it's powered by coal, it might be best to stick to a gas variety until you can identify the best electric power source.

Nuclear Energy

Believe it or not, nuclear energy does not produce harmful polluting emissions. A nuclear-fueled power plant turns water into steam and drives a turbine generator to make clean electricity. Despite being an undervalued and underused energy source, nuclear energy is predicted to become a major source of power for electrical cars and hybrids. The government's Freedom Car and Fuel Partnership is working to develop affordable cars and trucks that reduce the country's dependence on oil and harmful emissions.


Flowing water can be harnessed into electricity without emitting harmful emissions into the environment. The falling or flowing water helps churn a turbine that spins a generator that converts mechanical energy into electrical energy. This method is used for electric cars like the Nissan Leaf. One of the powerful benefits to hydropower is its reliability. While solar power requires a certain amount of sunlight and wind turbines require enough wind, hydropower is not intermittent because flowing water always flows. However, there are potential downsides, such as disturbing ecosystems.
Your journey to a clean energy source for your electric vehicle doesn't have to be complicated. Use a site like to find over 17,000 alternative fuel stations in the United States. This site also can help you plan a route to see what types of stations can fuel your hybrid or electric car along the way.

Oct 26, 2015

How to contact AWS support without knowing your account login information

I hate these cloud companies that offer a service, but make you jump through ridiculous hoops to speak to someone in customer support. Amazon's AWS is no different. If you click on their Contact Us page you are presented with this gem:

Where is the phone number!?

This sort of thing is all well and good if you know your account information, but if you are a company and the person who setup the account is no longer with the company, and you don't know the account login information this does you no good.

Well, there is a way to get a hold of AWS support without having to login first. Just dial Amazon's customer support phone number which is 1-866-216-1072. Politely ask to be transferred to AWS support and you will be good to go.

This worked for me to get access to a company AWS account. They couldn't tell me anything which is nice for security purposes, so I had to track down an account number, but once I had that I was able to verify the email address associated with the account and get the password reset using their password reset process.

I hope this helps you out if you have a similar AWS issue.

Oct 7, 2015

Trying out a new Adsense Alternative

Dollar (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Like many of you out there that have been screwed over by the mighty Google and their flagship monetization platform, Adsense, you are always looking for a good alternative. The last one that I felt was promising was Amazon's Affiliate Ad program, and for a while it was really good and I was making some decent money (Although nowhere near the numbers I was making with Adsense) then out of the blue Amazon dropped me too. They said my site didn't meet their standards. Fuck them!

Some other ones I've tried are, and Technorati and neither of those perform at all. I mean, my year to day revenue for each of them was less than $2.00! I literally have thousands of visitors every month here at Bauer-Power, and all I made was $2.00? Nonsense!

Anyway, I'm trying a new network called RevenueHits and I've heard some good things. I put a few ads on my Bauer vs Wild page yesterday and already I've made $0.10 which is all I made last month with Technorati and it's only been one day!

Today I'm placing their ads on Bauer-Power to see how it goes. If you are looking for a new ad network, click here and try them out!

Aug 21, 2015

The Next Frontier in Space: Necessary Technology

There is a difference between science and engineering. Nothing illustrates this better than the Manhattan Project, where some of the greatest minds of the century turned theoretical physics into an engineering reality. Space travel is currently undergoing the same disruptive shift in technology. Some things sit on the science side and others are now on the engineering side. The new version of space travel needs to be able to sit firmly on the fence between the two.

3D Printers And A Scoop

Carrying all of the supplies that may ever be needed is a problem for space travelers. It gets worse the farther from Earth we travel. A trip to Mars would take nine months one way, making a trip home to grab things that were forgotten out of the question. So manufacturing what we need while away is mandatory for space travel. Engineering has caught up with science in the form of 3D printing.

According to an article for manufacturer Apple Rubber, the international space station will be receiving a portable 3D printer and raw materials that will allow the astronauts the ability to create almost any device that they may need. For longer trips, like a Mars mission, harvesting raw materials from the planet’s surface will let would-be terraformers create structures and machines without needing a propulsion payload.

Field Propulsion

Warping space, faster-than-light travel, and worm holes are all theoretically possible deep space travel methods that are a long way off of the practical engineering front. Field propulsion systems look like they may make the cut into engineering practicality. Following the same idea of using the resources available in space, field propulsion moves a spacecraft by riding the high and low cosmic pressure waves like a surfer on the ocean. This reduces the need for solid propellant which is heavy and non-renewable.


Humans are social creatures, so communication is obligatory to tether space travelers to their home planet. We are already accustomed to social media networks to make friends and stay connected with loved ones. The problem is that, as we get farther away, it takes more time for the messages to get to the intended target. An engineering solution is to use quantum communication and a trail of bread crumb style relays. Quantum communication uses paired vibrations between quantum particles to transmit a message at instantaneous speeds and the relays help reduce degradation of the signal.

Somewhere To Sleep

For travel into deep space, some crew may live, breed, and die in space during a normal life cycle. Others may need to sleep for a good portion of the dull travelling part. Hibernation technology is becoming more and more realistic, both for space travel and Earth-bound medicine. Scientists have found that animals that hibernate have built in approaches to prevent bone loss, muscle atrophy, and cardiovascular issues.

A Really Good Doctor

Systems theory is applied over the sciences from psychology to biology to physics. The concept is that we are part of a system and that tweaking any one part will affect all of the others. In a confined space where gravity, environment, and nutrition are altered, there will be natural stresses on the system, especially the organism of communicable disease. Like any pioneer, the greatest technology that we will bring with us is our human ingenuity and the ability to fix problems when they happen.

Aug 14, 2015

How to turn off the annoying Facebook Browser on the Facebook App in Android

If you are like me you find the built in Facebook browser on the Android Facebook app annoying and buggy as hell. It doesn't load pages correctly, and trying to watch embedded videos on it makes me want to kick a cat across the room. Well, it turns out you don't have to put up with it!

If you click on the three horizontal lines on the top right of the app and scroll down to app settings you can set the option "Links open externally".

Once that is on, all links will either open in your default browser, or the appropriate app (Like Youtube for example).

Now if only we could get rid of Facebook Messenger!

Aug 7, 2015

Keep That Off the Cloud: 5 Things That Require Secure Local Storage

From it inception in the 1960s to now, cloud technology has evolved into a ubiquitous beast that few understand but most use. Smartphone packages automatically come with cloud storage and an app to help you upload files and images easily. This simplicity is not always to the user’s best interest. From the advent of central servers, the hacker is born, making some items best kept locally and in paper form.

Star Pics

Intimate pictures and videos have made some people famous but, unless you want this kind of fame, dirty pictures should never be uploaded to your cloud. In an article by the Washington Post on sexting, the moral and ethical ramifications of digital intimacy are pushed aside, leaving only the practical advice on how to send a risqué photo. These kinds of pics should be sent one-to-one using a system that will destroy the image after a period of time and should never be stored on permanent storage like a cloud server. The CoverMe app works well for this purpose.

Jackpot PINs

Storing passwords and personal identification numbers on the cloud is akin to writing your PIN on the back of your ATM card. According to identity theft protection company LifeLock, staying proactive about security breaches is one step to keeping you data safe. A little rational paranoia goes a long way. When uploading files to the cloud, assume that hacking is a possibility. By placing passwords on the cloud, you turn one hack into a very lucrative score. Instead, memorize your passwords, having different ones for various situations, and change them regularly.

A Treasure Trove of Info

Think of the cloud like a bank vault. The vault that is most at risk is the one with the most valuable goods. Account numbers are the diamonds of the Internet world. In a worst case world, the theft of your account numbers and your passwords could strip you of your money and your identity. Account numbers are hard to remember so store them locally one your computer. Make sure that your computer is locked, encrypted, and protected with a strong and up-to-date virus security program.

Anything HIPAA

Medical records can be incredibly damaging in the wrong hands. The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) was created from the understanding that medical records carry a huge amount of important data, often including a social security number, age, and illnesses that a person may want to keep secret. Cloud facilities are not bound by HIPAA but your doctor is. Instead of maintaining these records yourself, let the doctor’s office hold them as well as the legal ramifications of proper storage.

Things You Need Now

Some of us rely on cloud storage to do business. If your company depends on the information that is on the cloud to do business then make sure to have a backup on hand. Cloud storage services go down from time to time. You can see these online on the cloud research site Cloud Harmony which offers the user real time statistics on cloud server outages across companies. Most servers have a 98 percent up rate but that two percent downtime can kill a business meeting. Always carry a flash drive with mission crucial documents in the event of a cloud outage.

Jul 24, 2015

5 big name websites who use round-robin DNS and their TTL values

There are many ways to make your websites redundant. The best way to do that is by using multiple websites with a load balancer, or with load balancing built in (Microsoft Load Balancing for instance). I've written about using HAProxy in the past for a cheap alternative to something like a Barracuda 340 Load Balancer.

Another popular method for load balancing is round-robin DNS. If you are unfamiliar with it, Wikipedia describes round-robin DNS as:
...a technique of load distribution, load balancing, or fault-tolerance provisioning multiple, redundant Internet Protocol service hosts, e.g., Web server, FTP servers, by managing the Domain Name System's (DNS) responses to address requests from client computers according to an appropriate statistical model.

In its simplest implementation, Round-robin DNS works by responding to DNS requests not only with a single IP address, but a list of IP addresses of several servers that host identical services. The order in which IP addresses from the list are returned is the basis for the term round robin. With each DNS response, the IP address sequence in the list is permuted. Usually, basic IP clients attempt connections with the first address returned from a DNS query, so that on different connection attempts, clients would receive service from different providers, thus distributing the overall load among servers.
In short, instead of adding one IP address for a website in DNS, you add multiple IP addresses for a website.

There are some that don't like this method for load balancing, and rightfully so. For instance, Bob Plankers from The Lone Sysadmin writes:
On paper, round-robin DNS seems like an easy way to spread the load between multiple servers, but if one of those servers is down some clients will see outages as they are told to connect to the unavailable host. Round-robin DNS only works well with protocols and applications that have robust failover capabilities built in, and frankly, that isn’t too many of them.
He is not wrong there, but there is a way to fix, or mitigate that problem by lowering your TTL value. According to
We set the TTL low (to 60 seconds) to prevent any intervening caching DNS servers from hanging onto one sort order for too long, which will hopefully help keep the number of requests to each host more or less equal.
Setting the low TTL number also makes it so that if one site is down, it only takes a few seconds or minutes for the client to clear their DNS cache and try another site that might be up.

So now you get the idea, you might be thinking that round-robin DNS still might not be a good solution. Well, there are several big name websites that currently use it, and use it effectively. Here are some of them:
  1. Twitter (TTL 30)
  2. Google (TTL 278)
  3. Reddit (TTL 300)
  4. Yahoo (TTL 382)
  5. Outlook (TTL 300)
As you can see above, all of these guys use a TTL value of 382 (~6 minutes) or less.

If you want real redundancy, I wouldn't recommend relying totally on round-robin DNS though. You should have multiple web servers per site and have load balancing configured there. Using that in conjunction with round-robin DNS should give you considerable redundancy, and I'm sure that is exactly what the above sites are doing.

What do you think about round-robin DNS? Do you use it? Why or why not? Let us know in the comments.

Jul 17, 2015

How to hack VMWare ESXi 4.1 to run Windows 2012 R2

Before we get too far, you are probably asking, "Why not just upgrade to VMWare 5.5" or something right? Well, there could be a number of reasons why someone wouldn't want to upgrade from VMWare 4.1 to 5.5. Maybe they have a budget issue. Who knows? Maybe stop judging!

Anyway, we have the need for Windows 2012 R2 virtual servers in my environment, and we're currently running VMWare 4.1 still, and can't upgrade to the latest and greatest until next year. The problem is that Windows 2012 R2 isn't currently supported in VMWare 4.1. If you are in a similar situation, don't dispare. There is a hack that works to make Windows 2012 R2 run in VMWare 4.1.
  • Create a new VM using the Windows 2008 R2 template but don't power it on
  • Download this bios.440.rom file, then upload it to the same directory where your new VM files are located on the ESXi server.
  • Now edit the vmx file for your new VM using your favorite text editor, and add the following lines to the bottom of the file:
bios440.filename = "bios.440.rom"
mce.enable = TRUE
cpuid.hypervisor.v0 = FALSE
vmGenCounter.enable = FALSE
  • Now power on your VM and you should be able to install like normal!
Here is a screenshot from a test VM I made:

Officially this is unsupported by VMWare, but if you need Windows 2012 now, it will work and it's a lot easier than upgrading your entire environment.

Jul 10, 2015

VoIP calls dropping after two minutes over a Fortigate 100D firewall

A Cisco 7960G IP telephone
A Cisco 7960G IP telephone (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
This past week has seriously made me want to drown my sorrows in alcohol. One of the issues we had was all of a sudden users phone calls would drop after 2:30. We just couldn't figure it out. We called our hosted VoIP provider and they double checked that we had SIP ALG and SIP Session Helper disabled on our Fortigate 100D firewall. That didn't help.

Well, after being on the phone with Fortinet support for about three hours the other day my Systems Administrator and Fortinet tech support found out that it was the timeout setting in our traffic shaper for VoIP!

By default the session-ttl timeout is set for 150 seconds (2:30), which is why out calls were dropping out. We increased that number to 14400 (4 hours) and calls stopped dropping!

To configure that from the command line interface (cli) in FortiOS 5.2 run:
  • config system session-ttl
  • set default 14400
  • end
I hope this helps you out because troubleshooting VoIP issues is enough to make you want to kick a cat, drink nine beers out of a funnel then punch someone in the mouth!

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