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When congestion is given as a reason for speed drops, how much is acceptable?

DocDelete
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Registered: 23-01-2008

When congestion is given as a reason for speed drops, how much is acceptable?

Long story short = 

I experienced some connection drops and raised a ticket.

Visiting Openreach engineer knew nothing of this, but came to check low line speed.

He found nothing wrong at my end, but upgraded my master socket anyway.

Since then I've noted significant speed drops for long periods (hours).

I raised another fault.

A second engineer visited today, and guess what? He found nothing wrong.

He liaised with Plusnet while here and was told all we were experiencing was localised congestion.

Now, here's the rub: DSL connection is 39.99Mbps. BT Wholesale Speed Test has seen 35-38Mbps. Significant periods occur when the test comes back at below 5Mbps, sometimes as low as 1Mbps. At these levels even lightweight web browsing from one client feels like going back to dial-up. (All tests done by the book: wi-fi off, ethernet wired to hub, etc etc)

If localised congestion is indicated (everyone and their dog watching Netflix in my street) then how low is deemed acceptable? Because at the moment I'm experiencing performance worse than anything I've ever had from Plusnet, all things being equal.

The first engineer said I should ask for a replacement router. This comment was ignored by Plusnet.

The second engineer said I should request a move to a less-populated card in my local fibre cabinet. I have mentioned this in a current ticket. When he left late afternoon today we had 36Mbps. Now it's at 5Mbps. Ouch.

Moderator's note by Mike (Mav): Post released from Spam Filter.

102 REPLIES
Plusnet Help Team
Plusnet Help Team
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Re: When congestion is given as a reason for speed drops, how much is acceptable?

Hi there,

 

If agreed to and is appropriate we can request that the line is changed to an alternate line card or a different port on the same line card, however we can't specifically request a move to a less populated one.

 

It's up to Openreach to maintain capacity across the ports available. I do feel it's worth us trying to request a move to a different line card at least so I'll get in touch with our suppliers now.

 

With regards to replacing your router we'd only look at doing that if we had reason to believe there's an issue with that which I don't personally think there is from your description of the issue.

 

I'll come back with an update as soon as I've spoken with BT Wholesale about this.

If this post resolved your issue please click the 'This fixed my problem' button
 Adam Walker
 Plusnet Help Team
DocDelete
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Re: When congestion is given as a reason for speed drops, how much is acceptable?

Thank you Adam - do you need any more info from me?

 

It's worth noting that the Openreach engineer said it was the ISPs responsibility to request such changes, and not something he could do. He also mentioned 'swapping the line' - which I guess is physically renewing what we used to call the telegraph wire.

 

The router: I agree. My gut instinct is that if it was failing in some way it would fall over completely, or in the case of thermal failure, the router would soft fail and remain that way.

 

For information of the larger community, the BT Wholesale test states that the /acceptable/ range of speeds for my service are "20 Mbps - 38.71 Mbps". Clearly, at under 5 Mbps for extended periods I am falling far short of that /acceptable/ level.

Plusnet Help Team
Plusnet Help Team
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Registered: 27-04-2007

Re: When congestion is given as a reason for speed drops, how much is acceptable?

Just a quick update to say that we've started the ball rolling with the request for a move to another line card.


We'll keep adding updates to ticket 156827953

If this post resolved your issue please click the 'This fixed my problem' button
 Adam Walker
 Plusnet Help Team
DocDelete
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Re: When congestion is given as a reason for speed drops, how much is acceptable?

Thank you Adam. Fingers crossed.

RealAleMadrid
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Re: When congestion is given as a reason for speed drops, how much is acceptable?

@adamwalker When you refer to a line card, do you mean in the FTTC cabinet because I have never heard of congestion at the cabinet level, as the fibre links usually have adequate capacity. I believe the problem is more likely to be the exchange backhaul links which can get congested. These can take a long time for BT to add more capacity. I hope the OP is not disappointed if a line card swap does not solve his problem. I am surprised that BT Wholesale agreed to this, presumably they actually believe it is the problem.

DocDelete
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Re: When congestion is given as a reason for speed drops, how much is acceptable?

Hi RealAleMadrid,

 

The card in the cabinet is the one the engineer referred to. To be absolutely honest, he was in 'what's the next straw we can grasp at' mode, and a big question mark was floating over his head.

 

He also suggested REIN may be the problem. I hope not.

 

No-one yet has been drawn to answer my original question: is an extended drop to <5Mbps /acceptable/ on a line that syncs at nearly 40Mbps?

RealAleMadrid
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Re: When congestion is given as a reason for speed drops, how much is acceptable?

I would say it's not acceptable and PlusNet should be pressing BT to sort it out. As for the engineer's comments I doubt if he had any idea what was really the problem, the line engineers will have no knowledge of the exchange backhaul situation. I assume your sync speed is not changing from the 39.99Mbps when you see low throughput speeds which rules out REIN. The only time I have seen reports of connections to line cards being changed is if one is found to be faulty. Hope you can get this fixed without to much hassle.Smiley

DocDelete
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Re: When congestion is given as a reason for speed drops, how much is acceptable?

@RealAleMadrid Correct - the sync speed remains a steadfast 39.99. Hopefully with @adamwalker 's help we've moved the problem along, and will ultimately push this to where the fault actually lies. The frustration is being told that "it's just congestion" as if that's the end of the process.

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Re: When congestion is given as a reason for speed drops, how much is acceptable?

I wouldn't have thought a different line card would have a different fibre link back to the exchange anyway, so if the problem is congestion, changing to a different port on a different line card would make no difference.

According to a report by Cartesian for Ofcom calculating the cost of every part of the FTTC network, all FTTC cabinets except two have a single 1 Gigabit connection back to the exchange.

Probably the swapping of line port/card is to see if the current port/card is somehow faulty.

DocDelete
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Re: When congestion is given as a reason for speed drops, how much is acceptable?

Openreach engineer visit no.3 = waste of time

 

@adamwalker The visiting engineer refused to change anything at the cabinet. He simply did all the same checks in the house as the other two engineers.

 

In his words, the problem is with Plusnet and throughput. Openreach considers its responsibility discharged as the line has tested okay, syncs well and is capable of syncing at 70+Mbps.

He's just left - and a wired test at this non-peak internet time is 17Mbps. He said this was 'an unnacceptable drop from 40Mbps on a line that is actually syncing correctly".

 

The ball is back in your court. Ticket 156827953 will have this message copied into it.

DocDelete
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Re: When congestion is given as a reason for speed drops, how much is acceptable?

And here we go again. Down to 6Mbps. This is getting to be like clockwork. Grrrrrr.

 

Hey people, it's a good job I've not taken up Netflix, Amazon Prime and NowTV subscriptions on this service eh?

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Re: When congestion is given as a reason for speed drops, how much is acceptable?

Have you checked that there isn't a lot of uploading going on when the download speed is slow?

Have you managed to do the subsequent speed tests on the BTWholesale speed tester which involve changing the PPP login?

Otherwise you might have to consider getting your own VDSL2 modem/router that works with the DSLstats program and monitoring the DSL stats to see if there are any indications of REIN / interference.

DocDelete
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Re: When congestion is given as a reason for speed drops, how much is acceptable?

Yes, no uploading, no other usage.

 

At the time of testing I'm the only person in the house, wi-fi disabled, wired connection only. If you read the OP I think I mentioned (I may not!) that I pushed through to subsequent BT tests where you connect directly to a speedtest domain. The notable speed here was 0Mbps and a big red warning!

 

(For the sake of this discussion please assume I'm not a noob - I've been an internet user since 1992 - so also assume the obvious things have been done.)

As I type this I'm down to 3Mbps. I just chucked my son off his PS4 to run this test Wink

 

Sync speed via the Plusnet Hub One front end says 39.99Mbps. Someone else mentioned that this would drop if REIN were indeed the issue.

The way I see it is that the ball is in Plusnet's court. If they want to support this complaint with another router then I'll test it. Failing that I won't be renewing at contract end and I'll give in to the gentle embrace of Virgin for a period, so I can remove copper from the equation.

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Re: When congestion is given as a reason for speed drops, how much is acceptable?


DocDelete wrote:

Sync speed via the Plusnet Hub One front end says 39.99Mbps. Someone else mentioned that this would drop if REIN were indeed the issue.


No, it would not, not necessarily. The REIN may cause a lot of errors, which would cause packet loss resulting in low throughput speeds, but the REIN may well not cause the VDSL2 link to drop. Also, if your line is capable of 70Mb but it's limited to 40Mb due to the service you've chosen, it'll be even less likely to drop the connection.

What does ping testing from a command prompt indicate? If the ping times increase, that would indicate congestion. If there's packet loss, but with normal response time from packets that don't get lost, that would look more like REIN (especially with worse packet loss for larger packets, sometimes the very small default ping packet size makes the packet loss unrepresentative for the level of packet loss affecting the throughput speed).