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The Sermon.

Community Veteran
Posts: 2,322
Registered: 01-08-2007

The Sermon.

The opening gambit
I have posted a similar statement/question over on AG in a thread discussing slow usenet access - however I feel that this question topic should be raised here.

The message
Would it be possible to get a concise answer on this subject from Plusnet, and perhaps one of the mods here could sticky the answer? It seems that these forums and the ones over at AG are starting to become swamped with threads discussing various speed related issues.

Brief interlude:
Before I continue I would like to ask that any responses connected to individual applications (usenet or P2P) be posted on the relevant threads, not this one.

Back to the message
I personally am not affected by these current speed issues as I rarely use P2P, never use Usenet and the last time I played a network game was moons ago, however it would seem that a large portion of the userbase is being affected. We see various threads about usenet speed, P2P speed and now game pings at peak time.

Forming my own personal opinion I believe that capacity is now starting to run desperately short at Plusnet, and the massive influx of customers (primarily on the BB+ product) has now started to take its toll on the central pipes. In effect meaning at peak times everyone is on a BB+ type profile.

It would appear that the introduction of the ellacoyas has been used to make way for a higher number of users per pipe, or indeed their effect has been far greater than the user manual would have led PN to believe. Either way speed is now fast becoming, or has become, the main issue being discussed.

We have seen statements about contention increasing across the BT network, and undoubtedly in some cases this could reduce the speed for a select number of customers, however given the number of people experiencing these problems it would seem that a finger can quite rightly be pointed at Plusnet's network for a fair proportion of recent issues.

The time is now for an official statement from PN on what has happened, and what is being done to rectify it. If this is the service levels for P2P, gaming and usenet that can be expected from here on in, then someone at PN needs to have the testicular fortitude to say so. That way the customers who are affected can deal with it in the manner they feel is appropriate, by moving or by living with it.

It is clear that the promised 10% reduction at peak times, and the introduction of measures designed to only affect the bad boys has simply not materialised. Recent changes are now affecting the whole userbase and forgive me for being blunt, but PN seem to have their head well and truly in the sand here.

Please can a senior manager address this now?

The userbasse deserve to know the whole truth here. If it is not forthcoming then the reputation of PN will suffer tremendously - we already see ex customers spouting off in other forums about their hardship with PN - we see articles on the register, here and in various other publications. How long will this continue for before someone at PN takes the bull by the horns to sort the mess out?

Over my time here I have seen many areas where PN have been a little lacking in communication, this simply serves as fodder for the trolls and allows a multitude of posts and topics to spring up all bashing Plusnet or bashing each other. This serves no good purpose what so ever.

In my opinion Plusnet need to put all these issues to bed in one foul swoop. Release a frank, open, honest, warts & all statement of what has gone wrong and what is being done to fix it. If there is not enough capacity, say so. If it is simply that someone got the programming wrong on the ellacoyas, say so. But for goodness sake say something.


The Plea
Can I make a plea for people NOT to use this thread for having a pop at PN. It is clear that there is an issue, and it is clear that it needs correcting. I would hope to see this thread turn into an open discussion between customers and PN, in a concerted effort to clear this place up, and if we can the AG forums up.

Enough is enough
We have seen enough of two warring factions in threads here (PN vs. customers) or (pro vs. anti). The only way things will ever move forward is if this stops. Now.

The decision
We are all still customers of Plusnet and as far as I see it we are at a fork in the road here. We have two options. We either leave, or we try to fix it.
Those who choose to leave - that is their choice, and we should respect this. Similarly those who choose to stay and make things better have made theirs. Neither one of those sides should condemn or ridicule the other for making their choice.

I choose to stay.


How to help
Think. Plain and simple. Before you post, think. Do I feel this will help make things better? Am I helping someone? Am I being constructive?

Nobody wants the mods to have to resort to a zero tolerance policy, and by moderating ourselves before we click submit; we can help them.

Want to help Plusnet, then if you can carry out more "scientific" tests - i.e. if you have the ability, then compare your speed or issue with someone else connected to the same newsgroup or torrent or game, at the same exchange at the same time, record your results in a format that may help PN take to the developers of network engineers.

How’s about having a go at writing a flowchart so customers can work out for themselves what they will be liable for if they leave? It may be down to Plusnet to do this, but why not offer one up to the staff and see if they like it?

Cooperation
Plusnet need to start answering these issues with a "warts and all" approach, and the community needs to start providing more information than simply "my speed sucks".
If we cooperate we can fix this, if we carry on how we are, then the animosity will grow, new users will be put off joining the forums, possibly depriving us all from some great talent and support, and everyone will suffer.


Leave or help fix it. By all means sit on the fence, but if you get splinters in a nasty place, don't heckle at those of us that want to help.

I'm sorry if this seems above my station, but I’ve made my choice. My flag is planted in the lets fix it camp.

Where's yours...
64 REPLIES
Plusnet Staff
Plusnet Staff
Posts: 12,169
Thanks: 18
Fixes: 1
Registered: 04-04-2007

The Sermon.

Hi,

I'll reply with a couple of posts I've made over on AG.

Quote
I personaly am not affected by these as I rarely use P2P and never use Usenet - however it would seem that a large portion of the userbase is beiong affected.




Like yourself most of our customers rarely use P2P and don't use Usenet. We are probably talking about 1-2% of the customer base that use usenet on a regular basis, so we aren't talking about a large proportion, plus the decrease in speeds is only seen during peak hours.

We are also in the middle of making changes to our Usenet platform by setting a 15GB monthly limit and moving it to the silver traffic queue. For the majority of Usenet users this will mean the service is significantly improved.

Even with that change we have yet to complete all of the profiling work, there is still further development work to do to make further improvements for customers just like yourself. As I said above we've addressed speeds to our Usenet platform and work to make changes is being done as quickly as possible. In the last couple of days we've moved a number of text based news servers such as news.individual.net into the silver queue to improve the speeds to these. We are looking at other things too.


Quote
Forming my own personal opinion I beleive that capacity is now starting to run desperately short at Plusnet




Not at all, the provision of central capacity is based on the revenue levels we have and the number of pipes is correct for the current revenue streams. We have a capacity management programme in place which we use to analyse our revenue streams to decide at a what point further capacity is required. Remember also what we've said, BT Wholesale aren't the only wholesale broadband provider.

Quote
the massive influx of customers (primarily on the BB+ product) ha now started to take its toll on the central pipes.



Take a look at the graphs

http://portal.plus.net/support/adsl/adsl_utilisation.shtml

Broadband Plus peaks around 400Mbps which is less than 1/6th of our total capacity and yet the growth in Broadband Plus customers is huge. The capacity is there and our accounts designed for the majority of our customers and their usage patterns. Where we can we are making improvements for those minorities with different requires as part of the ongoing profiling work. As I've said above, the text groups have already been done, moving Usenet/P2P to silver for PAYG/Lite accounts has been done and moving our Usenet traffic to silver is in progress.


It means that when creating and managing our platform we create the products and design the profiles with the majority of customers in mind. Because changes can't just be made overnight and need to be planned out some work takes longer than others and some work can only be started when other things are complete.

When managing our platform do which should be done first looking after web browsing and email, used by 10's of thousands of customers daily or external usenet services used by 400?

As we are only talking about peak time management we are ensuring that the applications used by the majority and latency sensitive applications are looked after first so they don't see problems at busy times (which is probably the easiest oif things to manage) and then look at other things which take longer to do due to the amount of development work and analysis that needs to be done.

So we are now at a position where we have in the gold queue email, web browsing and plustalk, silver now also includes external text news servers, and for PAYG/Lite P2P and all Usenet, it will also shortly included 15GB of traffic to our news servers. When this work is done we can also look at external binary servers to see if we can do anything with peak time performance there.
Community Veteran
Posts: 2,322
Registered: 01-08-2007

The Sermon.

Dave, having just totted up the figures for peak time (midnight fri night/sat morning) it looks like about 3.02GB/s is being used - with a total of 3.11GB available, I would still say that is sailing very close to the wind.

Can we take it that the current speeds being experienced by customers using external newsgroup services and P2P at peak times are here to stay for the foreseable future? There seems to be a lot of discussion around changes, and "please run a BT speed test" etc etc. Can you provide a clear answer as to what those people using external news resources and P2P should do?

While I appreciate that these customers are a minority, it would appear that the majority of posts etc on this forum are eminating from that majority - therefore it would be appropriate for some clear direction and insight to be given to these people.

What is the reason for speeds being throttled to the extent we see? Many are reporting speeds of well below what they were expecting given the widely banded 10% reduction at peak times.

Is there any planned work around re-evaluating the revenue levels at which new segments can be opened? Forming an opinion from the multitude of posts, it would appear someone may have the figures wrong, as in order to acheive the revenue per pipe, or customer numbers per pipe - the 10% reduction figure seems to have gone out of the window.
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The Sermon.

Quote
Hi,

As I've said above, the text groups have already been done, moving Usenet/P2P to silver for PAYG/Lite accounts has been done and moving our Usenet traffic to silver is in progress.

When managing our platform do which should be done first looking after web browsing and email, used by 10's of thousands of customers daily or external usenet services used by 400?


Hi Dave

Does this mean then that the Premier accounts will soon benefit from having p2p and usenet moved to the silver queue. If so what will be left in the Bronze queue?
Community Veteran
Posts: 14,469
Registered: 30-07-2007

The Sermon.

No, premier will still have P2P in bronze as Daves post indicates 'usenet traffic to silver' only states usenet to silver not usenet/P2P to silver.
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The Sermon.

Hi

On the premier account its Only plusnets usenet servers that will move to silver any external usenet servers will stay in the bronze along with p2p

thxs
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The Sermon.

@petervaughan
Sorry peter but it clearly states

Quote
As I've said above, the text groups have already been done, moving Usenet/P2P to silver for PAYG/Lite accounts has been done


If the payg accounts can have it moved then why not premier?
Ben_Brown
Grafter
Posts: 2,839
Registered: 13-06-2007

The Sermon.

It says for PAYG/Lite accounts, these are not Premier accounts.

Peter is correct.
Community Veteran
Posts: 2,322
Registered: 01-08-2007

The Sermon.

I have just posted on AG that I may have got my figures some way off. I misinterpreted the data from Kitz's web page.

It would seem that at peak times there is 400mb/s spare capacity for downloads.

This does however raise another question, if there is this ammount of spare bandwidth at peak times, why are people seeing such a drastic reduction on their usenet and P2P speeds?

Are the elleacoyas working as expected?
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The Sermon.

My question was if payg can have it moved then why not premier?
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The Sermon.

Hi

Long time lurker, first time poster!

What about external Usenet servers that offer web access to their resources?

If that would come under Gold or Silver, I might swap onto one of these, and others should consider it.
Ben_Brown
Grafter
Posts: 2,839
Registered: 13-06-2007

The Sermon.

Usenet servers that offer web access are still identified as usenet traffic.

PAYG accounts have the usenet/p2p traffic in the silver queue as they pay per GB for their usage and they have a much lesser impact on our network.
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The Sermon.

Thaks Ben

I could probably have worded it better but got there in the end.
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The Sermon.

Hi,

Firstly, Chesterfield I was deeply moved by your Sermon, brilliantly spoken.
Smiley

Ok Dave having read what you replied with and also going on your breif uotline of what PN are hoping to acheive can we, as the customers, expect to see an improved level of performance in the future.
Please dont mis-understand me, as I am not wanting to get into arguments about any of this, I like so many simply wish to obtain a few clear and concise answers.
I have been looking at the offerings for BB that PN currently offer and was in particular looking at this:



PN have openly stated on there that if customers would like to see peak time performance they ought to use the premier package, and should a customer opt for the BB+ option then this would not be a guarantee.
My point of view is (although my personal situation currently seems to be going in roundabouts) that customers who signed up onto the premier account did so expecting peak time performance.
In some respects, and depending on the individuals goal or actions, this no longer seems to be the case. When can we expect to see everything going back to normal?

Thank you. (Sorry if I have spoken in rddles, I am on the phone while writing this post).
Community Veteran
Posts: 38,215
Thanks: 912
Fixes: 54
Registered: 15-06-2007

The Sermon.

Quote
As I've said above, the text groups have already been done, moving Usenet/P2P to silver for PAYG/Lite accounts has been done and moving our Usenet traffic to silver is in progress.

I normally watch ADSL forums as well as here but the sheer volume of trolling etc means that is easy to miss things.
As a PAYG user this statement is very positive but where on the PlusNet forums has it been posted as I knew nothing about it until now.
As far as I can tell this means that for low usage customers who want to use it for P2P occasionally the PAYG account is by far the best.
Also for an average usage below 6GB per month it can be about the same cost as Premier and given the usage previously quoted of less than 10GB per user (for the vast majority of customers) one can almost have an unthrottled/unshaped product for not much more than the Premium product.