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Recent Traffic Shaping

evolution
Newbie
Posts: 6
Registered: ‎31-03-2008

Recent Traffic Shaping

Hi I would just like to know why within the last 2 - 3 weeks you have amended the business users to drop off peak usenet to level 3 ?
I have been with F9 now for 3 years 2 years as business customer and within that time I have always found the service fair i.e. traffic shaping on peak times to give all users great speed for web etc so why have you now capped the business users in off peak time to level 3 for most recreational activites ?
I can't afford 2 lines so now it looks as if I will have to migrate to another ISP that does not do this can aonyone recomedn a good one for business and rec use out of ours please.
23 REPLIES 23
James
Grafter
Posts: 21,036
Thanks: 2
Registered: ‎04-04-2007

Re: Recent Traffic Shaping

Hmm.  I'm not aware of any substancial recent changes.  At least nothing to the level that you're reporting.
However, our Business Products will have prioritisation set for business protocols, hence why Usenet would see lower speeds.  I suspect however that this may have something to do with some changes that we will have bmade after dropping a pipe last week to ensure that HTTP traffic is performing adequately.
evolution
Newbie
Posts: 6
Registered: ‎31-03-2008

Re: Recent Traffic Shaping

Thanks can you then confirm that USENET traffic should be set to normal for off peak hours for business users because up until 2 - 3 weeks ago I was able to get full speed in off peak from 3mb line so 330k now I can only get about 30k from usenet in off peak I understand that peak should be shaped for us and I would be the 1st person to complain should it not be but why usdjude the USENET for business users on off peak ?
Please advise.
James
Grafter
Posts: 21,036
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Registered: ‎04-04-2007

Re: Recent Traffic Shaping

What times are you referring to?
Usenet speeds I would expect to be relatively slow on our business services as these products aren't designed for "residential" usage.
zubel
Community Veteran
Posts: 3,793
Thanks: 4
Registered: ‎08-06-2007

Re: Recent Traffic Shaping

This may have been related to the Plusnet network running in High Demand mode since the drop of a central or two in the last few weeks?
As the network has now returned to green status, it may be worthwhile rebooting your router and seeing if there is any difference.
Also, worth running a general speedtester from http://speedtester.bt.com AND http://www.mybroadbandspeed.co.uk  - this could potentially highlight any IP profile issues that you may have experienced.
B.
evolution
Newbie
Posts: 6
Registered: ‎31-03-2008

Re: Recent Traffic Shaping

YEs tried that about 5 times this morning and about 5 mins ago still no change.
I understand at peak times but this moring at 7:00am it should have been fine.
Simon_M
Grafter
Posts: 685
Registered: ‎05-04-2007

Re: Recent Traffic Shaping

I would have thought that a large proportion of business accounts are effectively dual-use. Certainly Tele-worker accounts are, almost by definition. So to provide a user experience between the hours of, say 6pm to 8pm that is worse that that of a standard residential account would seem a little unfair.
I too have noticed that binary newsfeeds have become unusable again over the last few weeks at any time of the day or night. Speeds typically between zero & 20KB/s when they have been around 10 times that since the last such episode around a year ago. All other protocols are operating at normal speed (although I suspect the VoIP identification system for 'private' domains has once again gone a bit adrift).
When I last enquired, I was told that binary usenet traffic from third party news servers was in the bronze queue. Is that still the case?
Leaving aside periods of peak congestion, what sort of speed should one expect for a binary newsfeed on a line that will normally support 500KB/s for an http download? James, would you care to put some numbers on 'relatively slow'?
dave
Plusnet Help Team
Plusnet Help Team
Posts: 12,177
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Fixes: 1
Registered: ‎04-04-2007

Re: Recent Traffic Shaping

Business accounts aren't designed for binary usenet and P2P downloads, this type of traffic gets a low (bronze) priority on the network. The speed you will see will depend first of all on network load but also on how many other business users are also using P2P and usenet at the same time and how many other users are using traffic in that queue because of how the queues operate.
If you imagine when it isn't busy the gold queue isn't full so that spare capacity can be used by silver and bronze, at times when there are rate limits in place individually on BBYW or Premier then that should give each user that speed, it protects the individual experience, on a business account we don't have that individual rate limit in place so the available capacity is split amongst the business users but it may not be fairly done because the rate limit isn't there to protect the experience so one customer may get 100kbps and another 2Mbps. This is particularly true for usenet traffic because someone might be downloading with 1 thread and the other 50 threads and in the mix the 50 outweigh the 1 and so get the lion's share of the available bandwidth. When the gold queue is full there's no extra to go around to silver and bronze so this is just moreso.
Best advice I can give is that if you want the best performance on binary usenet, switch to BBYW Pro.
Dave Tomlinson
Enterprise Architect - Network & OSS
Plusnet Technology
Simon_M
Grafter
Posts: 685
Registered: ‎05-04-2007

Re: Recent Traffic Shaping

Quote from: dave
Business accounts aren't designed for binary usenet

They were fine until about 3 weeks ago - certainly for usenet - can't speak for P2P because I don't use it.
I don't see how it's reasonable to suggest that a tele-worker account in particular shouldn't meet residential standards as a minimum (Mine isn't a tele-worker account, it pre-dates their existance - that's just a general comment).
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Best advice I can give is that if you want the best performance on binary usenet, switch to BBYW Pro.

I don't want best performance, I just want something usable. I'd be quite happy to be rate limited. I'd settle for 100Kb/s.
I also don't want to move to a residential account. Would Plusnet even allow me too, given that it frequently reminds users that residential accounts are not to be used for business purposes? Now you have got the Business Support team in place, it would be a retrograde step.
It would also be £17 a month less for Plusnet, as I could manage most months within the standard included bandwidth of BBYW Pro.
Hmm. When was the last time I rang support? Only once in 5 years.
Is there any perceivable difference in the ticket response time or quality of answer? - not that I've noticed; if there is, heaven help the residential user - I don't think I've ever had a 'first time fix'.
Hmm again - that £17 would go a long way towards a mobile broadband subscription, which I'm going to have to go elsewhere for anyway.
That Business Product review really is getting overdue, methinks.
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on a business account we don't have that individual rate limit in place

Maybe it's time you did?
Mark
Grafter
Posts: 1,852
Registered: ‎04-04-2007

Re: Recent Traffic Shaping

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That Business Product review really is getting overdue, methinks.

It certainly is but this is something my colleagues in the Products team and I are working on currently. (no news yet though Smiley )
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I don't see how it's reasonable to suggest that a tele-worker account in particular shouldn't meet residential standards as a minimum

All of our Business products meet Business standards as a minimum, as that is primarily what they are designed for and indeed used for but I understand your point. By Business standards I mean the higher priority they are given on our network.
Standard Business apps are prioritised on our network to ensure that our business customers receive a gold plated service for the primary intended use. They are not designed with usenet and P2P apps in mind, for the reasons outlined by Dave above although as you have experienced in the past, these should still provide a reasonable user experience. Refresh or not, I dont see this changing.
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Is there any perceivable difference in the ticket response time or quality of answer?

If you are referring to business support, then absolutely, there is a massive difference. Calls to the Business support team are generally answered within 30 seconds and tickets responded to within 4 hours. As for first time fix, again this is something which the CSC as a whole is particularly good at, and the Business support team excellent at. First time fix ratios are highlighted in the Customer sat results published each month to the Community site. However not every issue will or can be fixed on first touch and a wide variety of reasons govern that. I'll certainly look over your account history tomorrow and gain an understanding of your experiences.
From your original post, the comment which concerned me most was this,
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why have you now capped the business users in off peak time to level 3 for most recreational activites ?

I can state that we absolutely havent done that and if you can give me further examples of "recreational" activities which you feel are not performing as expected, I'll be more than happy to examine this further.


Simon_M
Grafter
Posts: 685
Registered: ‎05-04-2007

Re: Recent Traffic Shaping

Mark
Thanks for your reply.
The point I was making is that the business/residential division isn't as clear cut as Plusnet want to make it. One of your three main current business products is the Teleworker account, which you advertise as being suitable for people who work from home. This account must therefore meet both sets of product requirements. It will be in interactive use from 8am - midnight at least & will carry a wide range of different traffic types. These premises will typically only have one landline & therefore only one broadband account which must serve all purposes.
The last quote wasn't from me but was from the OP. I'm not sure what level 3 actually means, but it can't be worse than the currently delivered performance of binary usenet on my account. I've just been onto alt.binaries.pictures.autos on Astraweb & it reached the giddy heights of 25KB/s with 4 connections open before dropping back to single figures interspersed with periods of zero traffic at all. It's currently on 4.61Kb/s & it's not even midnight yet.
Mark
Grafter
Posts: 1,852
Registered: ‎04-04-2007

Re: Recent Traffic Shaping

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One of your three main current business products is the Teleworker account, which you advertise as being suitable for people who work from home.

Absolutely, with the emphasis on work there. Smiley A great many of those accounts are provided by employers for staff who need to work from home and many of those companies do not want those connections used for anything other than business use. One of the main selling points or attractions of our business products is our intelligent traffic management which ensures that VPN traffic, VOIP, HTTP (S) remote apps etc, function at line speed and are not and cannot be impacted by bandwidth hungry applications. If only occaisional work related usage is required or if residential usage is the main requirement then clearly a residential product would suit better.
P2P and usenet will work on our Business products but we will not get to the point where these apps impact the product design and the experience of our business customers. I accept that 25KB/s with 4 connections open isnt a great experience. What do you acheive with more connections opened or is that feasible for you?

Simon_M
Grafter
Posts: 685
Registered: ‎05-04-2007

Re: Recent Traffic Shaping

Quote from: Mark
A great many of those accounts are provided by employers for staff who need to work from home and many of those companies do not want those connections used for anything other than business use.

That makes a case for two different products then:
Teleworker (Corporate) - The current product. Would generally be provided over a dedicated work phone line, also provided by the employer, leaving the employee free to have their own broadband account over their private residential line.
Teleworker (Self-employed) - Probably a business version of BBYW Pro, aimed at the self-employed home based person who may only have one business line that also doubles as their residential line. Even if they have a separate residential line, two broadband connections are almost certainly unnecessary. If BBYW Pro can be done for £20 inc Vat, then a business equivalent should be possible for a sub-£30 + Vat price.
It may be appropriate to have the second of these account types set to switch between different profiles according to the time of day, although many home based people do not work 9-5 office hours. The purpose of switching profiles would be more to protect the experience of other users than any benefit to an individual.
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P2P and usenet will work on our Business products but we will not get to the point where these apps impact the product design and the experience of our business customers.

I agree that this is an essential requirement. I don't want my VoIP or VPN traffic impacted by either my or anybody else's usenet or P2P traffic. If I understand Dave correctly, you are using your traffic management systems to control this much better on a per user basis on residential accounts than you are using on business accounts.
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I accept that 25KB/s with 4 connections open isnt a great experience.

& that's good at the moment - I wish it would maintain that all the time.
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What do you achieve with more connections opened or is that feasible for you?

It probably is, but there are so many dropped packets & complete stops that it's not possible to get complete grabs of anything significant at the moment.
I originally limited my newsreader to 4 threads when the service was operating at line speed as a deliberate policy to avoid impacting on other users. Now it seems to be stuck there & won't open any more, but I'm sure when I find the right spot to hit it with my Dr Who sonic screwdriver, I can make it open more.
It's not really the answer for me though. I don't set it off downloading all articles from selected newsgroups. I download the headers & look for things I'm interested in. I will often only download one article from a related group of articles to see if it is of interest before deciding to download the rest. My use of usenet is therefore interactive, much more like web browsing.
HPsauce
Rising Star
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Registered: ‎02-02-2008

Re: Recent Traffic Shaping

Interesting thoughts re the self-employed home worker, especially as I am one. Many of us have to mix domestic and business use of our facilities and services and sometimes the T's&C's are unclear on whether it's allowed or not. Not to mention the service levels required.... Roll_eyes (which obviously affects the price)
Not sure how big the market is, but hey that's what market research and product positioning is for!  Cheesy
My new ISP have specific T's & C's regarding the use of the package I chose by exactly such people. It was a factor in moving, though as noted elsewhere the main reason was ADSL2+. If you're a proper dedicated commercial location then you have to use a different package and if you're purely domestic you have other options.
Mark
Grafter
Posts: 1,852
Registered: ‎04-04-2007

Re: Recent Traffic Shaping

I think I need to clarify one or two things here Smiley
P2P and Usenet will work on our Business products, all of them, as will all standard applications. Traffic management is not as tight on this product range as it is on the resi product set and there are no set usage limits.
In your case Simon, I take it you have seen better speeds whilst using Usenet on your current product?
I need to emphasise that nothing has changed in terms of traffic management to cause any degradation of usenet or P2P speeds on our side.
There should be no difficulty mixing Business use and residential use on any of our Business products as traffic receives a higher prioritisation than residential products, one of the reasons for the higher cost. P2P and Usenet will still recieve a lower priority, just as it does across our entire product range, but will and should still work, at an acceptable speed especially outside peak hours.
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there are so many dropped packets & complete stops

I suspect a seperate issue is causing your problem Simon. To see a high degree of latency and dropped packets when using usent would mean that we would have to experience a large number of gold drops and potentially silver drops to result in this effect. We arent and as such I believe something else is at play here.
I have checked your line stats and  profile and can see no issues there or on our side.
Do you see latency when browsing or using any other protocols?
As an indication, we do have a couple of customers who are Open source software developers and these guys manage to rack up a fair amount of P2P usage, distributing that software as part of their daily work. They are not experiencing issues right now nor have I seen any other reports of similar difficulties across the product set.