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Who's Getting Geared Up?

Who's Getting Geared Up?

Who's Getting Geared Up?

It's an interesting job sometimes working in traffic management. Sometimes I have a legitimate reason for watching TV or looking at the Radio Times. Have to make sure the football's working for you all on Sky Player or the Grand Prix on iPlayer Smiley This Sunday is going to be a big day for TV, at 7pm there's the new episode of Doctor Who, at 8pm X-Factor and at 9pm a choice of the new series of Top Gear and the new series of I'm a Celebrity Get Me Out of Here amongst others. Both Doctor Who and Top Gear will be in HD too. So how is this going to affect us? Well in the past we've seen a little dip in traffic when Doctor Who is on then traffic starts to rise again while there's a sizeable increase in iPlayer traffic, especially the last special as that was the first in HD. Top Gear we saw a massive increase in iPlayer for the last series so we're expecting even more this time around. With it being in HD and an hour later and with I'm a Celebrity on at the same time we're expecting as much if not more so on Monday as people watch it the next day rather than staying up. Whatever happens, it's going to be interesting. We've made some backend changes to our network configurations so that we're prepared. The changes mean that network can allocate the bandwidth in the most appropriate way depending on how much demand there is for iPlayer to ensure the the streams work OK. The changes will also mean that at the same time ensure for those people browsing, using VPN or other interactive traffic also don't see any major issues either. Some people may see a reduction in speeds particularly downloads or from speedtests but the priority will be to ensure that interactive traffic like browsing and streaming will be fine. We'll post an update on Monday or Tuesday showing what we saw and how much traffic everything did. Dave Tomlinson Plusnet Network Transformation

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Not applicable
How come Virgin cable face the same challenges but don't have to discriminate against what traffic they want to allow to make sure everything works (i.e. Plusnet feel customers paying their subs and want to use peer2peer can't because PN's network is so over utilised and it's "not a priority").
Grafter
You cant compare Virgin cable to (what is essentially) A BT reseller - or even LLU for that matter. Virgin manage their own network (nationally) not just a link into BTs network - which PN have no control over. - PN manage this in a smarter way than virgin, who once you've downloaded your quota for the day - they cap your service, PNs way at least you get decent email and browsing speeds all the time, regardless of whats going on.
Not applicable
"once you've downloaded your quota for the day - they cap your service" yes but even when capped it's quicker than PN so what gives.
Grafter
You ought to have a read up on bandwidth charges that ISP's pay. Broadband is a contended service... you share the network with others... if you wanted the ability to be able to max out your line at any time (even when everyone is trying to do it at peak time) then you're going to need to pay 100x what you do right now. Usually, on a contended or congested network (i.e. where all available bandwidth is in use) then traffic dropped is random. This results in a connection that slows down, whatever the protocol and an increase in latency. Plusnet deal with this differently, by essentially giving priority to the applications that are 'interactive' (i.e. web browsing, having a voip conversation, watching an iplayer video) - thus meaning these applications get the bandwidth they need to be responsive even when the network is busy. In simple terms, anything else is then left to use up whatever is left. Virgin do use traffic management on their network but they limit the whole connection once a user has used up a given amount of usage within a specific timeframe (I don't know the numbers). Entanet also do a similar thing whereby once the network becomes full they simply step down customers' available broadband speed in steps. However, this results in slower web browsing, less bandwidth available for video streaming etc.. etc.. and these are all applications where you're sat in front of your PC - so it's more important that these 'real-time' uses are given priority. Cable uses an entirely different charging model, as does LLU to some extent. Most ISPs, though, have to buy their backhaul bandwidth from BT Wholesale and it really isn't cheap. Sadly, customers are demanding more than ever for less money so something has to give!
Not applicable
I guess the penny will drop with PN top bods when people start leaving and they say to themselves "if only we'd have just lit a few full 622meg pipes in one hit and been done with it to keep them happy"...
Grafter
A few 622mbps pipes? If a few is 3, that would be half a million quid installation cost and another £3million per year to provide. Ignoring the installation charge, at £1m per 622 each that's over £83k per month. And if you want guaranteed bandwidth available on a 20meg product you can only get 31 customers on a single 622. And we certainly ain't paying £2600/month for broadband. Even if Plusnet spent the whole of the £17 (ex. VAT assuming Premium) on bandwidth that equals 4,882 customers per 622 giving guaranteed throughput of 128kbps each. The reality is far different because they have to pay their bills, their staff etc... and make a bit of money too.
Grafter
I've just realised that bandwidth for 20mbps products (21CN) isn't provided on the standard 622mbps pipes but you get the idea. The problems faced are the same. Something has to give when the network is busy - and the way Plusnet do it is, in my opinion, the best way.