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Which Gateway?

passer
Grafter
Posts: 381
Registered: 06-04-2007

Which Gateway?

One of the positive things I have gained from all of the recent problems is the discovery that I can improve my speeds by "hopping" from one gateway to another. I do this by simply disconnecting and reconnecting my router until I get a decent one.

Is this a practise which is approved of, or is it discouraged?

How are connections to the different gateways managed - are they round-robined or are they load-balanced?

Do PlusNet introduce a new gateway (if they have a spare) when the others are creaking?

Does the gateway I'm on gradually slow down as more people attach to it, and others get faster as users log off?

Is traffic-shaping applied individually or across all gateways simultaneously?

Are some gateways in some way better than others? I get that impression following the recent issues. Is there a list somewhere of the gateways, indicating which are better?

Sorry if some of these questions are a bit obvious - just trying to work it all out.

I use the link
http://usertools.plus.net/@gateway
which I found on another thread, to determine which gateway I'm on.
10 REPLIES
Plusnet Staff
Plusnet Staff
Posts: 12,169
Thanks: 18
Fixes: 1
Registered: 04-04-2007

Re: Which Gateway?

Quote
Is this a practise which is approved of, or is it discouraged?


Neither really, this is probably something that will always happen due to how a central pipe is constructed.

A 622Mbps pipe is split into 4 155Mbps segments, and each segment is split into 3 LTS's. So when you connect up you could connect to any of 12 LTS's on each a 622Mbps pipe. Because of this it's possible that one LTS is carrying a lot of active customers and another a lot of idle customers. If you connect to an active one your speeds might not be as good as the quiet one just simply because of the customer mix on it. The idle timeouts have helped here to get the mix of active to idle customers better, but it's really only a short term measure.

Quote
How are connections to the different gateways managed - are they round-robined or are they load-balanced?


At the moment it's round robin, but because of the issues above BT are introducing session steering. This will better allocate customers to the gateways and combined with the increased session trial means that the need for the idle timeouts isn't there.

Quote
Do PlusNet introduce a new gateway (if they have a spare) when the others are creaking?


If you mean on a given day, then no. We have 5 active gateways and all 5 are always on. Through natural growth of the customer base then yes we will add extra gateways, as with the recent addition of thn-ag1.

Quote
Does the gateway I'm on gradually slow down as more people attach to it, and others get faster as users log off?


Tough to say really. Each gateway will have around 20 -30,000 customers connected at any one time, depending on time of day, day of the week, how busy it is, etc. As more customers connect then the traffic levels go up, as they disconnect they go down. The Ellacoyas identify the traffic they use and the ERX queues control the flow with the intention of prioritising the real time traffic as they get busier. So in a way some traffic will slow and speed up as people log on and off but other traffic shouldn't be affected.

Quote
Is traffic-shaping applied individually or across all gateways simultaneously?


There's an Ellacoya connected to each of the gateways, each has the same configuration and the queues on the ERX's are setup the same, but they operate independantly of each other. So if for example the traffic on pte-ag1 gets to a maximum P2P may slow a little to keep up the performance for the web browsing, whilst over on thn-ag1 there's plenty of spare bandwidth and everything runs through at full speed.

Quote
Are some gateways in some way better than others? I get that impression following the recent issues. Is there a list somewhere of the gateways, indicating which are better?


Each of the gateways should be the same, they all have the same hardware and same configuration with one exception, two of the gateways have been added to the extended session trial, a third gets added in the morning. Some of the latency issues seen have been because we've needed to do some extra tweaking on the hardware.
passer
Grafter
Posts: 381
Registered: 06-04-2007

Which Gateway?

@dtomlinson

Thanks very much for a comprehensive and informative response. Appreciated.
Ommin
Grafter
Posts: 356
Registered: 04-08-2007

Re: Which Gateway?

Quote
Neither really, this is probably something that will always happen due to how a central pipe is constructed.

What about those of us who are on the last remaining Metronet 155 pipe? Are we restricted to a single gateway ( ptn-ag1 ) as I cannot remember the last time I connected to anything other than ptn-ag1?
James
Grafter
Posts: 21,036
Registered: 04-04-2007

Which Gateway?

If you were on one of the old MEtronet gateways, you wouldn't be getting ptn-ag1. You would be getting something along the lines of adsl-2.parbin. All of the Metronet customers have been moved over to Plusnet pipes.
Plusnet Staff
Plusnet Staff
Posts: 12,169
Thanks: 18
Fixes: 1
Registered: 04-04-2007

Which Gateway?

Yes, that 155Mbps pipe terminates on ptn-ag1 only. The plus.net realm has been pointed at that pipe only for time being to avoid the issue of having a mix of 622's and 155's together. A 155Mbps pipe is made of 2 LTS's (whereas each 155 segment on a 622 has 3) hence the issue with a mix of sizes. The session steering trial should allow the 2 differently sized pipes to co-exist.
Ommin
Grafter
Posts: 356
Registered: 04-08-2007

Which Gateway?

Quote
Yes, that 155Mbps pipe terminates on ptn-ag1 only.

I assume that means if and when things go wrong ( as they did a week or so ago ) those of us who are on ptn-ag1 are prevented from moving to another gateway? That being the case it appears to me that you are discriminating against certain customers.
Ommin
Grafter
Posts: 356
Registered: 04-08-2007

Which Gateway?

Quote
If you were on one of the old MEtronet gateways, you wouldn't be getting ptn-ag1.

I am not a Metronet customer. I am a Plusnet customer who has been moved over to the last remaining Metronet 155 pipe.
N/A

Which Gateway?

There used to be a nice breakdown of all the gateways, possibly on the usergroup site somewhere, although I guess it's a bit out of date with recent additions. There's also some info here about the setup.
Community Veteran
Posts: 26,357
Thanks: 607
Fixes: 8
Registered: 10-04-2007

Which Gateway?

Quote
There used to be a nice breakdown of all the gateways

Was this what you were thinking of?
jelv (a.k.a Spoon Whittler)
   Why I have left Plusnet (warning: long post!)   
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Ommin
Grafter
Posts: 356
Registered: 04-08-2007

Which Gateway?

Quote
There used to be a nice breakdown of all the gateways, possibly on the usergroup site somewhere

I am familiar with the breakdown of the various gateways. What is annoying me is that, having been pointed at the last remaining Metronet 155 pipe, I am limited to the ptn-ag1 gateway. If I was on the Plusnet 622 pipes then I would be able make use of various gateways. This would mean that if a problem arose on a certain gateway, I would have the opportunity to connect to another. When ptn-ag1 experienced problems a week or so ago ( which took 48 hours to acknowledge and almost 72 hours to fix ) those of us on it were left out on a limb as we were unable to connect to any another gateway. In my case, my connection dropped every 10/15 minutes for two days. As far as I am concerned, those of us on the Metronet 155 pipe are receiving a poorer level of service than Plusnet/Metronet customers on the 622 pipes.