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Contention

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Contention

Hi!

I have a biz connect account which I'm in the process of setting up. I was a bit concerned today that I was only able to connect about 4 times (other times had the BT lady telling me I could not connect to service) - not very viable for an SMTP email server system!. It's vital that I can get a reliable service and was wondering how it would be possible to use even anything near my allocated time at this rate.

Out of interest I can connect to another provider on an 0845 without any problems.

If things don't get better, can someone explain my options (apart from upgrade account). I feel this could be a local problem as we are in a small Norfolk village - could it be an exchange problem ? how would I know ? BT/Plusnet keep pointing at each other. please can someone help!!
65 REPLIES
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Contention

The Connect Biz Lite account has a contention of 8-1 while the Connect Biz has a contention of 4-1 so you should have no problems connecting to the Internet. Sounds to me like there's a problem somewhere either with your local exchange of Plusnet. Can't tell you which but I include the link where you can read about the accounts (you've probably done that already).

http://www.plus.net/info2/faq/index.html#q6

All the best.

Chris.
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We are on the Biz acount, and the dialup has been truely appaling over the last 24 hours. We have had periods of 10-15 minutes where we are unable to get a connection. Out ISDN router keeps retrying, but gets no connection. Manually dialing gets the nice BT lady, saying the call cannot be connected. How many others are having this problem. (Written paying even more money on 0845)

Also posted through Contact us, but expecting the usual 'it's a contended service, you can'y expect to connect all the time'.

Tony Brown
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I'm on Connect Lite User and standard dialup (no ISDN). The following timeouts work for me to automate the retry process. I only rarely don't get a connection when I need it.

In Internet Options -> Connections -> Settings (for the 0808 connection):

a) In Dialup settings -> Properties

(in Windows 2000 / XP) Options -> Redialing options:
Redial attempts = 10
Time between redial attempts = 30 seconds

(in Windows 9Cool Connect using -> Configure -> Connection -> Call preferences:
(Tick) Cancel the call if not connected within = 30 seconds

b) In Dialup Settings -> Advanced

Try to connect = 10 times
Wait = 20 seconds between attempts
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Thanks for this information. It has been known to exacerbate the problem when using a very short redial interval. I would be interested if others in this thread could try using the settings above and let us know if it offers any improvement.
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One of the main problems for us is the change from a busy tone, to the BT lady. The ISDN router can recognise a busy tone, and redial a few seconds later. However, the BT lady is not recognised, so it takes around 30 seconds before it times out and redials. Currently (before I went back onto 0845) it was sat there retrying every 30 seconds.
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Not entirely convinced that changing anything is needed.I have been a Connect heavy account ;which I believe is 5:1,user for almost 12 months now,and even at the busy times it has never taken more than 4 tries to log in,and using ISDN I have had my interval set at 5 secs and until this week have had no problems at all..But I fail to see why after such excellent service it took 32 tries to connect at 1104 this morning (27/08/2003).

Is the movement of the platform not going to plan,but then again I have noticed a general diffuculty as regards the number of dialing retries needed to connect has been especially bad over the last week.The record being 46 attempts

Ian & Linda Jordan
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This is a change BT made some time ago.

It is not just yourself that was unhapy at the decision, however, BT where monitoring customer responce at one time regarding it.

I am guessing this meant "Please shutup and we will pretent to listen".
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Well I tried "cdpsoftware" settings,and all it means now is it takes about 3.5 mins to achieve the same result instead of the 50 secs I have been used to :-(

Ian & Linda Jordan
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3 hours later, and no response to the ticket. I guess I may get a response by tomorrow.

Have given up being caring, and reconfigured the ISDN box to stay on even when idle. I then spent some time manually forcing it to get a connection, which it is now holding.

Somewhat defeats the whole point of a contended service though. It clearly won't work if everyone resorts to the same solution we have had to. We will still be within our useage limits, since it will drop when everyone goes home, but silly we have to do this just to be able to continue our business.

No chance of PlusNet or BT paying for the 2+ hours on 0845 I guess, neither will say it is their problem, and will say we are not paying enough for an SLA.

It guess it is just like the airlines - a ticket may enable you to travel, but they won't guarantee there will be any planes! Whatever happened to the market responding to consumer requirements.
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Quote
Well I tried "cdpsoftware" settings,and all it means now is it takes about 3.5 mins to achieve the same result instead of the 50 secs I have been used to :-(

If you reliably connect using your old settings then there's obviously no reason to change.

I've settled on the one's I suggested because, even if the wait for a connection is sometimes longer than absolutely necessary, the operation normally requires no further input from me. I can get on with something else while I'm waiting.
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It does'nt worry me too much either,can always increase from 10 tries to 100 if need be.The annoying factor is that support are rather conspicuous by their absence,which if I was really a cynical person,would say that may be an indication that there is something wrong........ well I know that already,and thought I left the head in the sand,and hope it goes away syndrome with customer support at my last ISP.

If moving the FRIACO (0808 unmetered) onto your dedicated hardware at Telehouse, London is'nt going too well,and is the cause of these problems.Is there a particular reason you cannot just come out and say?

Ian & Linda jordan


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Well, I finally got a response to my support ticket, and I am pleased to report that my crystal ball is still working fine.

I won't post the ticket content, since I know PlusNet get a bit funny about that. However, it basically says it is a contended service, you can't expect to connect all the time.

Funny that the Wizard prompts on the top of the message include the line
[PSTN fault/Congestion at users exchange. This needs to be checked with BT]

Come on PlusNet Reps, we have a problem with dialup, and your support staff are saying there is nothing wrong, issuing standard replies. We have used the service for the past few years, it is blinding obvious when suddenly the service quality plumets.

At the time of writing, manually dialing 0808.. (Biz number) gets the nice BT lady (I hope she gets paid for overtime!!!)
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My only sugestion is to log down, pen to paper, every time you try and make a connection.

You should note the date time and the status.

This should be done for both connection sucess and failure.

It would take at least a week, however, at the end of the time, you may see a pattern of when it is and isn't available.

The contention is related to how many users per port on the terminating modem. Factors like local exchange capacity (whole new network for the crico platform, so voice and data clog-ups are seperate) and some other affect it seperatly.

BT are nice and famous for saying that you should contact the ISP, and blame it on them. In a way, they are correct, the only sane way of getting BT to regognise a fault is through the ISP.

As duly noted, +Net are not the telecomms company, and they can't see the faults themselves, and may not even be aware you attempted connection. So they can only respond using the standard spat.

Logging the data like this, should help build up a pattern to look at, somthing that even +Net can say looks wrong, even if it is out of there control.

Unless you can produce these proactive responces yourself, there is likely veyr little anybody is going to do.
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Phillip,

I think thee is a difference here between a general level of service, and a step change in availability. I have just tried several times on a voice phone, to hear the delightful BT lady again. There has been a material change in availability at some point in the last 36 hours, to that which we experienced before.

One of the big 'Plus' points that was stated about the Connect accounts, was that there would only be one point of contact (PlusNet), no longer would we have to talk to both PlusNet and BT. That only works if PlusNet are proactive when problems occur.

I guess they are currently working on the basis that if they issue standard responses for a while, the problem may just get better on its own. In the mean time, they are getting their cut of the 0845 dialup.