Q

Getting around VoIP ports

I am among the 25,000 citizens that live in Qatar in the area where Qtel has blocked the VoIP ports. All of us lost VoIP connections -- no Vonage, no Skype. Question is very simple -- in practical terms, can a workaround be found (for every lock there is a key) so we can continue using VoIP, and if yes, where can we find guidance to build that workaround?

I am among the 25,000 citizens that live in Qatar in the area where Qtel has blocked the VoIP ports. All of us lost VoIP connections -- no Vonage, no Skype. Question is very simple -- in practical terms , can a workaround be found (for every lock there is a key) so we can continue using VoIP, and if yes, where can we find guidance to build that workaround?
If traffic is being blocked on the port level it is typically not so easy to work around this. Sometimes there are alternative ports that can be used (e.g. If the ISP blocks traffic to destination port 25 for SMTP traffic some mail services allow SMTP traffic on port 1025.) Even if the alternative ports can be offered by the VoIP providers, those can also be blocked by the ISP.

If you have friends with access to other ISPs in other regions, another option could be to both get a box supporting VPN and build a VPN tunnel between you and your friend. You could then access the Internet through their ISP (assuming that the ports needed to establish the VPN are not also blocked by your ISP).

The best approach here is probably not a technical one, but rather one of petitioning your ISP along with a team of angry citizens to get the ISP to reverse this port blocking.

This was first published in January 2006
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