Home Lab Update – Japan Edition


Some small part of my time spent here in Japan, outside of my working hours, has been making some changes/improvements to the home lab (it’s a global network, after all ;).

While is was living here, I had a lab in the server closet in my house. It consisted of a VPN firewall, a couple switches, a NAS, and a couple of ESXi servers. You may have seen a post detailing the hardware in a previous entry (it has been a great while, though!) In the US, I had a smaller version of this setup, all of it connected via VPN to Japan. This time I am turning the tables.

I don’t have any lab gear here (yet), persay, but I did bring along a Watchguard XTM to create a “branch office” VPN here. At the very least, this makes it easier for me to troubleshoot issues with my parents’-in-law computer. I may add to this infrastructure in the future as a DR site, given the availability of extremely low-power PCs such as the Intel NUC. Despite the cheap & fast bandwidth here, the latency remains a hurdle to any useful viability.

In addition, I brought along a Cisco SPA303 SIP phone. This is part of an experiment that I started a while back to get free long distance between the US and Japan (mainly between my wife and her parents). As such, and in preparation for this, I have installed and configuredAsterisk 11.x on 2 of my cloud servers inside the Rackspace Cloud. I have configured a softphone on my home PC and my iPhone to connect into my Asterisk server in the cloud. In addition, I have configured the Cisco SPA303 to connect into this Asterisk instance.

Which brings me to my issues… NAT (I suspect) is causing me headaches. Despite the fact that the connection works, whenever I make a call, the audio disappears into oblivion before I can finish saying hello. What’s worse, is that the audio only works from the iPhone softphone side, not from the Cisco SPA303. I can’t get any audio from that at all.

Does anyone have any suggestions for how to resolve this? I have a couple of options, both of which I have tried on the VPN side. 1) NAT port 5060 to the internal IP of the phone. 2) Set-up a SIP application-layer gateway on the Watchguard (not exactly sure I am doing it right). It doesn’t sound like I can do both at the same time; have to choose one or the other.

Any help would be greatly appreciated. Thanks for reading!

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