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Change package? Advice please.

Officerdribble
Grafter
Posts: 49
Registered: ‎24-07-2007

Change package? Advice please.

Hi,
I'm on a legacy PAYG package, but I'm thinking of changing over to Plusnet Value; as it's a couple of quid a month cheaper, with 10 GB thrown in.
I've noticed that neither YouTube HD nor BBC iPlayer HD work with Plusnet PAYG, nor do software updates come in at full-rate usually. I've been informed that all Plusnet bandwidth is managed even if PAYG is supposed to come in at 'Line Speed'. So I conclude I currently have a bandwidth-restricted product that doesn't offer full speed as compensation.
I wondered if anyone out there who made the same transition had any thoughts about performance comparison. Obviously, having gone this long on 2 GB per month I'm not worried about bandwidth, but I do like to get the maximum download speed where possible (although it seems the idea of full line speed is illusory) . Anyway, before I ditch PAYG I'd like some assurance that I won't be getting a lesser experience.
Thanks in advance.
23 REPLIES
Community Veteran
Posts: 38,460
Thanks: 1,031
Fixes: 62
Registered: ‎15-06-2007

Re: Change package? Advice please.

Someone is talking rubbish - everything on PAYG is unthrottled.
The only reason why you may have trouble with HD streams is the IP profile - quickest way to check is to report the current line speed from here https://portal.plus.net/my.html?action=data_transfer_speed
Software update AKA Windows very rarely come down at full speed because of restrictions at the server end.
I am on Value and can stream iPlayer HD and YouTube HD without problems - IP profile 4000kbps
Officerdribble
Grafter
Posts: 49
Registered: ‎24-07-2007

Re: Change package? Advice please.

Thanks for replying.
This from Plusnet (edited only for identity):
Quote:
Date: 09/01/10 08:25:09
The following comment was added to the Question [number  31470789 ]
Thanks for getting in touch.
We do traffic shape all traffic but saying that iPlayer is rated the highest but in honesty to stream HD content you need not only a good connection and speed but an excellent I have on one of my connections 7mb throughput and some days HD still does not work great. Please see the link for various traffic shapes on old and new options.
http://www.kitz.co.uk/isp/plusnet_shaping2.htm
Please do not hesitate to get back in touch online at http://contactus.plus.net or by phone on 0845 140 0200 if we can be of further assistance.
Kind regards,
[removed]
End quote.
(I didn't edit for punctuation and grammar.)
As you can see, the Plusnet operative says, "We do traffic shape all traffic ", so I take a weird kind of comfort in knowing that the rubbish comes direct from Plusnet.  Wink, and his frank reply about shaping corresponds more closely with my experience than the proposition that PAYG is entirely unthrottled.

I'm sorry, I'm not sure what you mean by IP profile.
This is what I get when I follow your link:
Estimated line speed:
   7Mb (Accurate to within +/- 1Mbit) - Checked on 2011-04-22 03:23:55
Current line speed:
   8 Mb
Most of my software updates are for Linux, so possibly the lack of speed is server-end restriction. Nonetheless, very few of my downloads, even in the small hours, come in at anywhere near the 7Mb speed.
However, if you can get HD on Value, whilst I can't get it on PAYG, you've probably answered my question. The only puzzle that remains is why I've been paying the premium price all these years. Maybe it was PAYG dial-up  Undecided
Thanks.
[Moderator's note by Jim (Oldjim): CSA name removed as per the forum rules.]
Community Veteran
Posts: 38,460
Thanks: 1,031
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Registered: ‎15-06-2007

Re: Change package? Advice please.

PAYG was an old product which was replaced yonks ago. I was actually on it.
With respect to traffic shaping - yes all traffic is shaped but on your present product it should all be gold - hence no real restrictions.
On Value streaming is gold so you shouldn't have any problems but given that you are at present with a profile of 8000kbps there is no reason why you should have problems unless something in your setup is causing the problem. Are you using wireless or wired to connect to the router.
What does the Bt speedtest give.
Another possible advantage, given your speeds, is that on Value you can go on to ADSL2+ if your exchange supports it with a significant increase in speed.
Officerdribble
Grafter
Posts: 49
Registered: ‎24-07-2007

Re: Change package? Advice please.

Firstly, apologies for naming the Plusnet operative. I didn't realise I shouldn't do that. I've further edited my post to remove the second instance of his name.
This is a hardwired connection. Speedtests show more or less what a 7 Mb connection should, and some things download at full whack (750+ Kb) - just not many.
I have numerous bits of A/V equipment that should theoretically be able to stream from iPlayer, but I have literally not bothered to experiment with them because I assumed that they just wouldn't work (according to Plusnet).  I must admit I did wonder if anyone in the country was routinely streaming HD over the Internet.  Roll eyes and why reviews of A/V equipment put iPlayer capability so high in their checklists of desirable options if the bandwidth to run it doesn't exist. Actually, I wondered if some of the BT broadband/TV packages were a joke.
As far as other parts of my setup are concerned, I can watch iPlayer HD - just not uninterrupted. The cache will fill to a certain level, then I get a few moments of the programme, then it stops while the cache refills. I put this down to the stream not downloading fast enough to keep up; I have no problem with standard resolution.
The fact that I'm still on PAYG shows that this is not massively important to me, but it was my way of highlighting the limitations of my connection as part of my query about whether I should switch to a more economical package.
My exchange doesn't support ADSL2+, nor is it ever likely to unless Fujitsu take a hand in the matter.
Now I'm interested. Should Plusnet customers expect to be able stream uninterrupted from iPlayer HD? Maybe we need a poll to find out who can and who can't, and if not, why not.
You've lit a (small) fire under me.
David_W
Rising Star
Posts: 2,300
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Registered: ‎19-07-2007

Re: Change package? Advice please.

If you have a look http://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/diagnostics]here you can run the BBC diagnostics which will tell you how fast your streaming speeds are.  I'm on an 8Mb line too (7k profile I think) and can stream HD so can't see any reason why you can't (although with a 2Gb cap watching HD would quickly get you over 2Gb!).
Superuser
Superuser
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Registered: ‎06-04-2007

Re: Change package? Advice please.

@Officerdribble.
I've just been streaming HD on PAYG with a 6Mbps IP Profile (on ADSL2+). No buffering and downloads were at 5.7Mbps.
The BBC IPlayer diagnostic result is attached.
Congestion can sometimes slow down PAYG (as it would Pro). This was pretty bad around 8:15PM on Friday night when mybroadbandspeed gave

Trying to stream HD from iPlayer at that time would almost certainly have lead to buffering.
Present result is

The 8Mb Current line speed value you posted seems wrong. The maximum value for 20CN should be 7.15Mbps. Just wondering if that could point to the performance profile assigned to your connection being incorrect?
David
Officerdribble
Grafter
Posts: 49
Registered: ‎24-07-2007

Re: Change package? Advice please.

Okay, so I saw the dawn in tinkering with the HD problem. I took on board the possibility that the sub-par performance was due to my equipment. Here are the results of my experiments:
(Hopefully, I'm going to get attached images at the foot of this post, which show iPlayer diagnostic output.)
Given the apparent high speed on the first test, I thought maybe something other than line speed was cramping performance. - maybe it was because of the age of my desktop computer (ancient). Nonetheless, graphics card and monitor should support 720p, and I can view downloaded files at that resolution. However, streaming Dr Who HD was so choppy it was unwatchable (at 4 a.m.!).
Then I thought maybe it was to do with the fact that I'm running Linux, so I booted my laptop into Windows 7. This has HD graphics and HDMI, and has no problem running 1080p on my TV. There was an improvement, to the extent that the programme was just about watchable, but you certainly couldn't call the streaming fluid; it remained jerky.
In fact, I dimly recall that the couple of times I wanted to catch up on programmes by watching iPlayer full screen, the only way I could achieve this was by downloading the entire programme, and watching it as an archive. Streaming just didn't work. And I think the reason for this is summed up by the second diagnostic test. For some reason, there's an intermittent drop-off of speed.

David W,
Yes, I agree that I should be able to stream, but I can't (not smoothly, anyway). Of course, as I've already said, HD streaming isn't all that important to me, otherwise I would already have changed to a higher-bandwidth package. Currently, on PAYG, I would only attempt streaming during the night when bandwidth is free.
spraxyt
The line speed always shows the same top speed, more or less. I'm about 900 metres from my exchange. I should get near the maximum available.
However, you'll notice (if the attached images show up) that I get speed drops. Snapshot 1 shows all tests consistently over 6000. Snapshot 2 shows a third test that drops to 3000-odd. Maybe this is the source of the inconsistency, because snapshot 3 of a different external test shows the speed up, down, then up again in the space of 3 minutes.
Anyway, I don't think I'll lose anything by changing my package - which was the original reason for starting this thread.
Thanks to everyone who looked in.



Superuser
Superuser
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Registered: ‎06-04-2007

Re: Change package? Advice please.

It was the Doctor Who episode that I streamed in HD without problems. The content buffered in blocks (at line speed) with regular pauses of several seconds between the blocks, but displayed without interruption. I assume that's how the BBC deliver it.
Do the VPs in your exchange show any history of being overloaded? (Exchange status checker).
David
Officerdribble
Grafter
Posts: 49
Registered: ‎24-07-2007

Re: Change package? Advice please.

Hi spraxyt,
VP shows green. I don't think it's that sort of problem, and I don't think it's the BBC's delivery rates. As I said in my last post, iPlayer HD is completely unwatchable in Linux on my desktop, and so choppy you couldn't define it as HD quality on my laptop running Windows 7; however, I'm pretty sure I can download at reasonable rates on both systems. I don't understand why I can download, but not stream.
Okay, I tried again just now on my desktop and it was like a slide show with sound. The attachments I think show what's going on in the background. The diagnostic shows well in excess of 6000 kbps, but the BBC Media Player info shows 3200, which is below the 3500 level necessary for HD. Maybe it's a pixie.
Community Veteran
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Registered: ‎15-06-2007

Re: Change package? Advice please.

This is my result on Value when streaming HD - constant 4Mb while I was doing it
Community Veteran
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Registered: ‎29-01-2009

Re: Change package? Advice please.

Quote from: Officerdribble
but the BBC Media Player info shows 3200, which is below the 3500 level necessary for HD. Maybe it's a pixie.

If you mean the number displayed in image 2 - the pop-up box when you right-click - then the 3200 is the bitrate of the stream you are currently connected to, not the best speed you are achieving.
I'm on an "8Mbps" line (full speed, with interleaving off so I get 8128 sync and 7150 profile). The iPlayer diagnostics show in the region of 6700-7100.
I've recently changed from an old product, that worked as "Premier", onto the current "Extra" package. iPlayer in HD has worked on both.
I just tried with an episode of Doctor Who, using Firefox on Windows 7. By default, it picks the 1500kbps stream at 832x468. If I switch to small size, I get the 796kbps stream at 640x360. If I switch to HD, i get the 3200kbps stream at 1280x720 (all figures from right-clicking on the video to get the flash menu).
HD works almost fine. A very occasional pause, but it seems to be more when I activate a menu, rather than there being a glitch in the stream.
Plusnet Customer
Using FTTC since 2011. Currently on 80/20 Unlimited Fibre Extra.
Wheel_nut
Grafter
Posts: 886
Registered: ‎03-08-2007

Re: Change package? Advice please.

If everything on PayG (and Pro) is "Unthrottled", How can some streams be "Prioritised"?
Isn't it impossible to "Prioritise" a stream without "Throttling" everything else?
.... or have I misunderstood something.  Huh
Community Veteran
Posts: 38,460
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Registered: ‎15-06-2007

Re: Change package? Advice please.

Everything on PAYG and Pro is gold or titanium (PAYG didn't have titanium at all) but just a few extremely time critical applications are Titanium - these are completely unthrottled but gold could suffer a bit.
As I understand it when a connection is being used for more than one activity such as VPN or VOIP and also streaming for example streaming can take a lower priority to ensure that the really time critical applications still work properly.
I could of course be completely wrong  Roll eyes
Community Veteran
Posts: 26,744
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Registered: ‎10-04-2007

Re: Change package? Advice please.

Sounds right to me.
Technically Plusnet have to say that all the traffic is managed because they differentiate between Titanium and Gold. However in practice, because it is very rare for Plusnet to drop Gold packets, Pro and PAYG is actually line speed for all traffic.
jelv (a.k.a Spoon Whittler)
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