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Poor data transfer rate in general, streaming issues in particular

mikeb
Grafter
Posts: 367
Registered: 10-06-2007

Poor data transfer rate in general, streaming issues in particular

OK ... it's déjà vu time and all that:
As a fully paid up member of the Very Small Number of Customers Club who is once again experiencing regular unexplained performance issues despite absolutely no changes, faults or indeed any other seemingly relevant issues at my end of the line, I doubt very much that anyone else is and I'm sure you're all enjoying stellar performance  Roll eyes  However, PN apparently up to their age old tricks of tweaking something and screwing up my 'service' to the point of being almost unusable is seriously p***ing me right off yet again I'm afraid  Angry
Every evening for around a week if not a bit longer now it's been much the same. Sluggish performance in general and ridiculously poor streaming performance meaning vids are often totally unwatchable.  Very roughly speaking, practically everything has been limited to an absolute max of ~2Mb/s (on average but often less) during peak hours and the transfer rate is generally totally erratic into the baragin.  Even speed tests various almost always average out at ~2Mb/s despite the often highly erratic rate ... apart from the BT one of course which is no doubt severely fiddled and generally given preferential treatment in any case so it comes out near to what it ought to be, although still not exactly brilliant TBH.
As per usual, rebooting and/or terminating PPP then obtaining a different gateway makes little difference but has on rare occasions been helpful. For instance, here's the result of a few gateway swaps the other night whilst trying to find a way of watching something sensibly on iplayer:

195.166.130.122 lo0-central7.pcl-ag05.plus.net 81ms/1.9M
195.166.128.243 lo0-central3.pcl-ag04.plus.net 106ms/2.5M
195.166.130.112 lo0-central4.ptw-ag02.plus.net 76ms/1.9M
195.166.128.227 lo0-central2.ptw-ag01.plus.net 78ms/1.9M
195.166.130.23 lo0-central2.ptn-ag04.plus.net 72ms/1.9M
195.166.130.108 lo0-central6.pcl-ag08.plus.net 120ms/2.0M
195.166.130.73 lo0-central4.ptn-ag01.plus.net 70ms/1.9M
195.166.130.12 lo0-central3.ptn-ag03.plus.net 72ms/1.9M
195.166.130.82 lo0-central4.ptn-ag04.plus.net 69ms/6.6M

The latency/speed figures above were results from speedtest.net and all the gateway swaps and associated tests were done over a period of just a few minutes. In almost all cases, UL speed was between 0.1 and 0.2Mb/s so also ridiculously low and once again somewhat erratic.  On an ~8Mb/s connection with a consistent and quite intentionally very high SNR (~15dB) that is also consistently stable to within ~0.5dB with no significant number of  transmission errors, real-world DL should be ~7Mb and real-world UL ~0.4Mb
As can be seen, after ~10 attempts, I finally ended up with a gateway that provided something remotely close to what I should be getting and it allowed iplayer to stream reliably without major issues. In all other cases, performance was dire and packet loss (as indicated by a remote test running 24/7) was significant whenever attempting to stream data or make reasonable use of my connection but not otherwise. To all intents and purposes, data rate was being capped at ~2Mb/s on average but it was also going up and down like a fiddler's elbow so there were often long(ish) breaks or periods of near-zero rates stalling playback.
NEEDLESS TO SAY, everything returns to being almost exactly as expected at midnight so don't even think of suggesting that it's a problem with my equipment, setup, phone line or indeed anything else at my end of the wires because is quite clearly isn't !!!!!
Just by way of a little demonstration of that fact, here's a typical iplayer diagnostic performed just prior to midnight this evening:

And here's the very same thing repeated less than a minute later at just after midnight:

Earlier in the evening the results were significantly worse than as shown above at just prior to midnight.  iplayer was pretty much unusable all evening (with a very erratic often sub 1Mb/s never mind sub 2Mb/s average data rate) as was just about anything involving streaming data such as 4oD, youtube, just about every advert on any website and especially anything involving Akamai servers of course.
As further evidence, here's a typical netmeter graph from yesterday:

The initial data transfer shown is iplayer streaming data (or at least trying to) at somewhere around 2000 hours, then a BT speed test  (relatively low result at ~5.5Mb/s) then a couple of other speed tests (typical results ~2Mb/s) in an attempt to find out why streaming problems were being experienced. The only relatively good thing is that the iplayer data stream was on this particular occasion unusually consistent.  Until this most recent problem started and apart from during previous similar problems of course, iplayer data streams were almost without exception at or very close to maximum line speed.

So much for the alleged priority given to time-sensitive or interactive data and streaming at line speed and all that guff !

I don't expect for one minute that anyone else is seeing anything untoward or has been experiencing very similar issues to me just recently ... but just in case anyone is PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE provide some data from your connection to help back me up here by showing that I'm not the only one with problems Smiley

PS: No, my connection should NOT be being restricted in some way due to over-use as I'm still somewhat below even the very miserly BW allowance on my expensive A/C.  No, I haven't as yet been able to drag out Ye Olde Ethereal either to see what i(f anything) is going on regards traffic management classification etc.  Yes, it's only a significant problem during the peak hours for my A/C at all other times it's generally OK.  
56 REPLIES
jojopillo
Grafter
Posts: 9,786
Registered: 16-06-2010

Re: Poor data transfer rate in general, streaming issues in particular

Hi mikeb,
Sorry to hear you're having problems. I'd be interested to see the results of a packet capture if you could.
Jojo Smiley
mikeb
Grafter
Posts: 367
Registered: 10-06-2007

Re: Poor data transfer rate in general, streaming issues in particular

Sooooooo ... do I take it that absolutely no one else has noticed that their service stops working sensibly at EXACTLY 1600 hours and will be almost unusable now for anything much except very simple and mostly text-based websites until EXACTLY midnight then ?
Because that's definitely what it looks like from a PC near me again tonight just as it has done for around a week or so   Angry  Streaming data of just about any flavour plus just about any other form of non-text media is yet again being intentionally or otherwise throttled to death by PN on my connection.  In fact most data, if not everything, appears to be rate-limited to ~2Mb/s (at best) on average and data flow is highly erratic.  On past experience, the average data rate will fall well below 1Mb/s and get even more erratic as the evening goes on.  UL data rates are at best 50% of what they should be and often below 25%. Significant levels of packet loss obviously become quite apparent whenever tying to use the connection, particularly if trying to watch streaming data, conduct a speed test or load some large(ish) website. OH AND BTW, DID I MENTION THAT ALL OF THIS MYSTERIOUSLY STARTS AT EXACTLY 1600 HOURS AND STOPS AT EXACTLY MIDNIGHT  !!!!
How can a problem no matter how seemingly weird or unusual and no matter how few customers are actually complaining about be anything other than 100% down to PN to investigate and resolve as a matter of urgency when it repeatedly starts at exactly 1600 and ends at exactly midnight but is 100% conspicuous by it's absence outside of these hours  Roll eyes  And not to mention that it's by no means the 1st, 2nd or even 3rd time that something remarkably similar has happened and I'm beginning to lose count of the number of occasions that I've been here bashing my poor old head against the brick wall and spending several days/weeks trying to get a screwed-up service restored to some semblance of normality.
Packet captures as/when I get the opportunity but captures of what because it all looks screwed up and non-BT speed tests various appear to be reporting similar excessively rate-limit DL speed,  often ridiculously low UL speed and a highly erratic flow. In addition external monitoring of packet loss clearly shows each and every occasion I try to use the connection for streaming or speed tests etc in particular between the hours of 1600 and midnight:

I'll update the above sometime later on when there will almost without doubt be another spike of packet loss when I do the 1800 hours speed test plus a few other checks and likewise on every other occasion thereafter up until midnight when 'normal' service resumes.
Community Veteran
Posts: 1,850
Registered: 04-04-2007

Re: Poor data transfer rate in general, streaming issues in particular

Hi Mike
Really sorry to see that you're having these problems. I think I can be pretty confident that it's not widespread or the forum and the support team would be inundated.
That doesnt help you and I agree that it certainly looks strange. I've flagged this to Tommo (formerly of the old school comms team fame) as he is our resident traffic management guru and I'll catch up with him tomorrow. He'll quickly work out if it's TM related and if not we can start looking on the BT network side.
We'll update tomorrow. Cant do it sooner unfortunately as Dave is core hours only.
M
mikeb
Grafter
Posts: 367
Registered: 10-06-2007

Re: Poor data transfer rate in general, streaming issues in particular

Right then, here are tonight's results. Kinda difficult to argue against proof almost beyond doubt that my connection is being quite intentionally and inexcusably rate limited to <2Mb/s between 1600 hours and midnight every day (except for the 1 lucky find of a 'good' gateway allocating an 'honest' TM profile on Sunday evening) isn't it:


By far the worst iplayer performance seen this evening, captured at around 2000 hours:

All other iplayer diagnostic tests showed typically between 1 and 2Mb/s, much the same as the results posted previously.

The packet loss graph:

clearly shows spikes every hour between 1600 and 2300 hours when I did the monitoring tests. The identical tests conducted between midday and 1500 hours and those after midnight caused no such spikes of course because the problems quite simply don't occur between midnight and 1600 hours.  The other period of packet loss at around 2130 was when trying to watch something on iplayer. There was no packet loss of course when watching the same thing immediately after midnight or indeed when doing anything else at any other time over the 24 hour period.

Boooiiinnngggg, time for bed said Zebedee and all that ... which seems like a jolly good idea to me as I'm way more than a bit fed up with playing yet another round of this stupid game of who's murdered Mr.Bandwidth Cluedo that's for bl**dy sure !!!  Is it "Mr.Plusnet in an Ellacoya with another bit of well dodgy untested code" perhaps ?  Quite possibly methinks which almost certainly means that "mikeb behind PN Towers with a baseball bat" is highly likely to be the correct answer to the next game once we've identified the culprit other participant  Wink

PS: Anyone even vaguely thinking of saying "Ah, but My Broadband Speed is currently experiencing technical difficulty and may display misleading test results" should note that each individual test result on the above graph was near identical to the test result obtained from speedtest.net  It was just a very quick and convenient means of getting a pretty graph without much in the way of effort. Manually plotting the speedtest.net results would have given a virtually identical graph in all respects.  BTW, I actually think that note should really read "My Broadband Speed is currently showing real-world results and not the misleading results normally obtained by giving the test data an unrealistic higher priority than normal data, sending it via an uncongested data highway rather than the slow and congested scenic route that real-world data travels down and generally massaging the test results prior to displaying them"  Tongue
Community Veteran
Posts: 1,850
Registered: 04-04-2007

Re: Poor data transfer rate in general, streaming issues in particular

As per earlier post. This is in no way intentional, deliberate or otherwise.
We'll look into it this morning and update you.
M
Community Gaffer
Community Gaffer
Posts: 5,004
Thanks: 268
Fixes: 4
Registered: 04-04-2007

Re: Poor data transfer rate in general, streaming issues in particular

Clues may have been discovered.  Update soon.
Kelly Dorset
Broadband Service Manager
Community Veteran
Posts: 26,528
Thanks: 766
Fixes: 9
Registered: 10-04-2007

Re: Poor data transfer rate in general, streaming issues in particular

Like another user on here who complained about exactly the same thing?
Can't find the post for the moment.
Edit: http://community.plus.net/forum/index.php/topic,103823.msg884526.html#msg884526
jelv (a.k.a Spoon Whittler)
   Why I have left Plusnet (warning: long post!)   
Broadband: Andrews & Arnold Home::1 (FTTC 80/20)
Line rental: Pulse 8 Home Line Rental (£13/month)
Mobile: iD mobile (£4/month)
Plusnet Staff
Plusnet Staff
Posts: 17,641
Thanks: 535
Fixes: 159
Registered: 05-04-2007

Re: Poor data transfer rate in general, streaming issues in particular

They are on a different product, therefore a different traffic management profile. We want to see what happens after 4pm to mikeb's profile as that's when restrictions come into place on his account type (which is why when we've checked during the day we haven't seen any issues with the profile). We'll update this thread after 4.
If this post resolved your issue please click the 'This fixed my problem' button
 Chris Parr
 Plusnet Staff
jojopillo
Grafter
Posts: 9,786
Registered: 16-06-2010

Re: Poor data transfer rate in general, streaming issues in particular

Hi mikeb,
We've identified what we think the issue is and fixed it. Can you let us know how it goes tonight?
Jojo Smiley
jojopillo
Grafter
Posts: 9,786
Registered: 16-06-2010

Re: Poor data transfer rate in general, streaming issues in particular

Hi mikeb,
I'm hoping with you not posting last night it means everything was ok?
Jojo Smiley
baker2009
Dabbler
Posts: 13
Registered: 12-04-2012

Re: Poor data transfer rate in general, streaming issues in particular

OK - Lets add some more evidence to this one - I have EXACTLY the same problem on plusnet Pro.
See my thread - http://community.plus.net/forum/index.php/topic,103946.msg884925.html#msg884925
And we are not the only ones.....I hope this can be fixed once and for all.
Gavin
mikeb
Grafter
Posts: 367
Registered: 10-06-2007

Re: Poor data transfer rate in general, streaming issues in particular

Well ... after keeping a very close eye on things over the weekend and late yesterday evening, I was very much hoping to wander in tonight to say "thanks" as things had seemed reasonably OK(ish) .  I did however note that my usage got unexpectedly reset several days earlier than it should have last week mind you although that really shouldn't have had any effect at all of course because as I said previously, I was still somewhat within the very meagre allowance on my A/C. I also note that (presumably) BT had been playing silly b*ggers at stupid o'clock this morning as well (between approx 0300 and 0400) resulting in the usual bunch of disconnects, inability to restart PPP sensibly, being assigned highly dubious IP and gateway addresses etc and seeing various unexpected LCP requests/responses as per usual when they're messing around
The 'interesting' thing after whatever you did late last week was that there was a totally obvious significant improvement in performance without terminating the existing PPP connection, re-connecting to a different gateway and being assigned a (maybe) different TM profile. Despite still having the very same PPP connection and the very same gateway that was showing such dire performance last week, everything looked near 'normal' so to speak.  I did however terminate PPP and reconnect at some point over the weekend for other reasons though.  
HOWEVER, the bad news is that tonight everything appears to be very much back to the same old problem(s) as last week ... if not worse TBH  Angry

Over the weekend, iplayer (and performance in general) was reasonably OK(ish) and speed tests various definitely didn't indicate severe and most certainly inappropriate rate-limiting. I did find that iplayer quite often stalled though and there were definitely signs of what appears to be some unexpected intermittent rate limiting on various occasions:

but iplayer diagnostics and speed tests various didn't show anything particularly interesting:

The initial data transfer shown on the above graph is 2 sets of 3 iplayer diagnostic tests (the test was run twice) followed by a BT speed test followed by a couple of other speed tests.

Tonight, however, it's a quite different story and iplayer really only wants to keep on showing me this after trying to play just about anything for a short while:

which is primarily because the data stream is looking something like this:

and iplayer diagnostics and speed tests various are looking something like this:

The initial data transfer shown on the above graph is 1 set of 3 iplayer diagnostic tests followed by a BT speed test followed by a couple of other speed tests.  The iplayer diagnostic tests are showing pretty variable results as they were last week. Iit always seems to indicate < 1.5Mb/s and, on occasions, < 0.5Mb/s which results in the random but persistent error messages seen whilst trying to stream a programme.

Severely unimpressed and mighty p*ssed off to find this happening again tonight is a bit of an understatement to say the least but I haven't been able to do any further digging around as yet to try to ascertain what might be going on. I'm not going to be terminating PPP and finding a new gateway at this point in time either as I really want to see what happens during the rest of the evening and in particular around midnight of course.  I don't really have the time or patience for all this b*ggering around right now, I just want to use the service I pay handsomely for as and when I happen to find the time to do so  !!!  
Whatever the problems you found last week were, whoever was responsible for them and whatever you did to alleviate them at the time did apparently sort of work for a while but it sure isn't looking very fixed tonight is it ?  Maybe whatever went on overnight and the subsequent new PPP connection has simply meant whatever you tweaked last week has now been reset back to exactly how it was before  Undecided
Plusnet Alumni (retired) orbrey
Plusnet Alumni (retired)
Posts: 10,540
Registered: 18-07-2007

Re: Poor data transfer rate in general, streaming issues in particular

Hi mikeb,
Sorry to hear it's happening again. We'll take a look at your account after 4pm and see what profile's been assigned, then take things from there.
On another note, we've tried to contact you by phone but had no joy - there's an LLU cease been placed on your account. Not sure if this is deliberate or not, but if not and you don't want it to go ahead please state as such on a ticket and we'll get it cancelled for you. I believe it's due to complete in 5 days.
Plusnet Alumni (retired) orbrey
Plusnet Alumni (retired)
Posts: 10,540
Registered: 18-07-2007

Re: Poor data transfer rate in general, streaming issues in particular

Right - checked the profile and it's still correct after 4pm on the service offer for Premier, so it's not that. We'll keep looking.