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Standard User Domsy
(member) Tue 19-Mar-13 01:44:12
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Thinking of Unlimited Fibre: Questions on Traffic Management


[link to this post]
 
Hi all,

I'm currently with Be, and while I've had great service with them, I want to get fibre now (my line is estimated at 69/20), and I've been looking at Sky, BT, and now Plusnet. I was close to going with BT (I've just got issued my MAC from Be so I only have 30 days to use it!), as they're cheaper than Sky and do not throttle anymore; however, I just saw Plusnet's offer and it seems very appealing. I'm interested in the Unlimited Fibre Broadband and calls package, as I like the Line Rental Saver, and like even more that it's a bit cheaper than BT's version.

My concern, though, is Plusnet's traffic management. At first I thought, "No, I'll just pay the extra with BT and avoid it", but on further investigation I see this may not be the typical 'throttling' that BT was terrible for (my friends on the older Infinity get about a maximum of 30 KB/s on P2P). I have read this thread and this article, but I'm still quite confused. Many of the posts seem to claim that Plusnet's traffic management is not throttling; you get full line speed, but traffic is prioritised to prevent degradation of more important services. Is this the case? Can I still torrent/P2P at my full line speed without being throttled if nothing else is being used on my line?

This makes it seem that the traffic management only applies to your own connection and not everyone else? Is this the case? If so, I can see that's actually a real benefit. I've actually wished I had prioritisation on mine, as when I'm downloading games on Steam, for example, I can't watch YouTube or iPlayer. Or is it the case that the traffic management is shared with all Plusnet customers, and if everyone is P2Ping, everyone will get slowed down?

I'd really appreciate some clarification. I really don't want to find that my P2P and other services get throttled to hell and I get speeds less than what I did on ADSL with Be.

Also, I've heard a lot of good things about Plusnet, and they have a lot of awards to back that up. Any opinions?

Thanks very much!
Standard User Apprentice
(knowledge is power) Tue 19-Mar-13 08:43:19
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Re: Thinking of Unlimited Fibre: Questions on Traffic Manage


[re: Domsy] [link to this post]
 
An easy to grasp explanation here from jelv with regard to the PN Unlimited product, it's worth a read.

Alastair

omadasafisho
Standard User kasg
(fountain of knowledge) Tue 19-Mar-13 09:19:52
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Re: Thinking of Unlimited Fibre: Questions on Traffic Manage


[re: Domsy] [link to this post]
 
In reply to a post by Domsy:
Can I still torrent/P2P at my full line speed without being throttled if nothing else is being used on my line?

Short answer: Yes.
In reply to a post by Domsy:
Or is it the case that the traffic management is shared with all Plusnet customers, and if everyone is P2Ping, everyone will get slowed down?

Short answer; No, subject to overall capacity being adequate (which it usually is).

If you've read the article you linked to and jelv's post you've pretty much got it all.

Kevin

plusnet Unlimited Fibre
Using OpenDNS
Domains and web hosting with TSOHOST


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Standard User Magsy
(committed) Tue 19-Mar-13 09:25:18
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Re: Thinking of Unlimited Fibre: Questions on Traffic Manage


[re: Domsy] [link to this post]
 
I have 60mbit FTTC, 3rd party ISP with no throttling. Even with several things 'maxing' out the link it still performs really really well. This is not like 2mbit ADSL where one torrent brings it to its knees or when your sister starts a download your video buffers; cmon it is a massive size link.

QOS is not needed unless you have a house full of students anymore. The PN stuff is all overboard IMO. Choose an ISP that doesn't throttle/limit/qos at all if that is what you want.
Standard User Bright
(member) Tue 19-Mar-13 09:29:32
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Re: Thinking of Unlimited Fibre: Questions on Traffic Manage


[re: Domsy] [link to this post]
 
In reply to a post by Domsy:
Many of the posts seem to claim that Plusnet's traffic management is not throttling; you get full line speed, but traffic is prioritised to prevent degradation of more important services. Is this the case?
Yes. Although it depends what you think "throttling" is (there seem to be a lot of different interpretations!). If you are running a p2p download at the full line rate and you then start eg iPlayer streaming as well, then clearly you can't get this extra data stream through the line as well - it's already running flat out. So something has to be slowed down. With Plusnet, that will be your p2p, since that traffic is classed as a lower priority.

In reply to a post by Domsy:
Can I still torrent/P2P at my full line speed without being throttled if nothing else is being used on my line?
Yes.

In reply to a post by Domsy:
This makes it seem that the traffic management only applies to your own connection and not everyone else? Is this the case?
Yes, sort of. No shared network can isolate one customer from all the others. But provided that Plusnet's network as a whole is not congested, you should experience little interaction. Their strategy seems to be to maintain capacity above the normal peak demand, so congestion should only occur if there is a failure somewhere, or some unusual event such as a DDOS attack. Also, like many other ISPs Plusnet uses BTW's network to get your traffic between your exchange and Plusnet's network. Plusnet doesn't control that network, so there are no guarantees that you won't fall foul of congestion, for example, at your local exchange. But if you sign up to BT Infinity you'll be on the same BTW network and have the same problem.

Also, note that Plusnet can prioritise traffic it sends down the line to you. It has no control over the traffic you send up the line to it. So if you want that to be prioritised too, you'll need a router that can do suitable QoS.

In reply to a post by Domsy:
Or is it the case that the traffic management is shared with all Plusnet customers, and if everyone is P2Ping, everyone will get slowed down?
But everyone never will be p2p-ing! As explained above, provided there isn't some unusual event, your traffic shouldn't be noticeably affected by other users' traffic, as long as Plusnet manages to get its forecasting right and keeps capacity ahead of demand, and doesn't change its strategy.

The only other thing to note is that Plusnet has had some problems with their network over the past 6 weeks. They seem to be getting to the bottom of the problems now and it seems the majority of customers are now seeing their service return to normal. If you have a lot of time, you can read about it here. But don't think this is a uniquely Plusnet problem and be put off. BT Infinity customers have been suffering similar problems too.

Robert

PSS/BT Gold > Compuserve > Netscalibur > Dircon > Zen > Be > PlusNet Unlimited Fibre
Standard User Bright
(member) Tue 19-Mar-13 09:48:52
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Re: Thinking of Unlimited Fibre: Questions on Traffic Manage


[re: Magsy] [link to this post]
 
In reply to a post by Magsy:
QOS is not needed unless you have a house full of students anymore. The PN stuff is all overboard IMO.
Everyone said that when they stopped using dial-up and got 512kbps ADSL. Plenty of bandwidth for sending as many plain text emails and downloading as many 56kB images as you could possibly want! smile
Although strangely that didn't stop engineers from developing traffic prioritisation strategies for IP networks, router and switch manufacturers from building QoS into their products and BT from building a national IP-based network (21CN) with traffic prioritisation.

In reply to a post by Magsy:
Choose an ISP that doesn't throttle/limit/qos at all if that is what you want.
If which is what you want? Throttling, limiting or QoS? They are different things.

Robert

PSS/BT Gold > Compuserve > Netscalibur > Dircon > Zen > Be > PlusNet Unlimited Fibre
Standard User T_Bag
(newbie) Tue 19-Mar-13 09:55:45
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Re: Thinking of Unlimited Fibre: Questions on Traffic Manage


[re: Domsy] [link to this post]
 
Plusnet's traffic management is not throttling; you get full line speed, but traffic is prioritised to prevent degradation of more important services.*
... * traffic is prioritised to prevent degradation of more important services on your connection

That is indeed the case. I moved from BE recently, been with them for donkeys, excellent service, but then BE do not seem to be too keen on going Fibre soon. My download speed with BE in the beginning was about 14 meg, that during those many years deteriorated to 12 meg by the time I made the move to Plusnet. Now I get about 67 meg down and 17 meg up. During the evening the speed sways between 64-67 meg.

Plusnet service has been great. Their support is very good too. The switch was flawless, and I was kept in the loop by PN support guys. One support chap actually took the ownership of my move and followed it until it was all done. All in all a good move. Well that's my experience. You have to make up your own mind, but from my experience so far, it ain't bad at all.

My speed now

Edited by T_Bag (Tue 19-Mar-13 10:19:10)

Standard User driz
(regular) Tue 19-Mar-13 10:18:34
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Re: Thinking of Unlimited Fibre: Questions on Traffic Manage


[re: Bright] [link to this post]
 
In reply to a post by Bright:
In reply to a post by Magsy:
QOS is not needed unless you have a house full of students anymore. The PN stuff is all overboard IMO.
Everyone said that when they stopped using dial-up and got 512kbps ADSL. Plenty of bandwidth for sending as many plain text emails and downloading as many 56kB images as you could possibly want! smile
Although strangely that didn't stop engineers from developing traffic prioritisation strategies for IP networks, router and switch manufacturers from building QoS into their products and BT from building a national IP-based network (21CN) with traffic prioritisation.

In reply to a post by Magsy:
Choose an ISP that doesn't throttle/limit/qos at all if that is what you want.
If which is what you want? Throttling, limiting or QoS? They are different things.


I'm with Magsy on this. Plusnet's approach is unique I guess, but I think that the way it's been marketed is an excellent exercise in doublespeak.

Comparing this back to 512k ADSL days...

A 1500byte packet would take 93ms to send on a 128k upstream - and about 20ms to receive. If you were trying to game while people were uploading/downloading, you were probably in for a bad time with a lot of jitter. Even if trying to browse, you'd find things very slow to respond.

On an 80meg/20meg connection though, 20meg will send 1500bytes in 0.6ms and receive in 0.15ms, so general responsive will be much much better even under load.
Standard User RobertoS
(sensei) Tue 19-Mar-13 10:36:46
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Re: Thinking of Unlimited Fibre: Questions on Traffic Manage


[re: Domsy] [link to this post]
 
To add my bit to what has been said.

The article by Bob Pullen that you read does say the system applies to the network as a whole, as well as the individual connection.

In terms of the individual connection I don't se how anyone can possibly question that it must be beneficial. Specifically addressing "Can I still torrent/P2P at my full line speed without being throttled if nothing else is being used on my line?" and "when I'm downloading games on Steam, for example, I can't watch YouTube or iPlayer". Having said that, on your likely FTTC speeds there's probably plenty anyway and the prioritisation won't be relevant. What's FTTC speed does this checker suggest?

The issue of the effect others may have on you has been mentioned by a few. I don't think you will have see this post by KellyD who is the guy in charge of making sure overall capacity is adequate. We also frequently get Service Status emails with this sort of information:-
Subject: Increase in 21CN Broadband Capacity - Tuesday 5th March

We will shortly be increasing the capacity of our WBC(21CN) broadband host links by a further 5.11Gbps. It's these host links that we use to deliver bandwidth to the majority of customers on our 21CN and Fibre services.

We're activating this extra capacity in line with the current budget, our new products, customers' usage habits and our projected growth in customer numbers.
Subscribe to it if you wish. How many other ISPs apart from AAISP keep customers (and anyone) so well informed about both the good and the bad?

So in all normal circumstances you should have nothing to worry about. But something else hasn't really been mentioned. That is if there is a major problem somewhere, be it within Plusnet, or quite frequently within the BT Wholesale (WBC) network. Main fibre cables getting cut and the like.

When that happens, P2P within Plusnet will indeed get caned in favour of VOIP/gaming/browsing and so on. As it will be badly affected anyway by the major problem, that seems sensible in order to keep "more important" services running.

My broadband basic info/help site - www.robertos.me.uk | Domains,website and mail hosting - Tsohost.
Connection - Plusnet UnLim Fibre (FTTC). Sync ~ 54.2/15.2Mbps @ 600m. - BQM

"Where talent is a dwarf, self-esteem is a giant." - Jean-Antoine Petit-Senn.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Allergy information: This post was manufactured in an environment where nuts are present. It may include traces of understatement, litotes and humour.
Standard User Bright
(member) Tue 19-Mar-13 11:01:48
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Re: Thinking of Unlimited Fibre: Questions on Traffic Manage


[re: driz] [link to this post]
 
Yes indeed. I don't disagree with your calculations. But I was trying to make a more general point about expectations. When people started getting ADSL they were amazed at how fast and responsive it was compared to dial-up. At that time 80/20 FTTC wasn't available for comparison and nobody was streaming live TV while you were trying to game.

If you're concerned about minimum latency and jitter I'm surprised you seem to think traffic prioritisation is a bad thing, since it would allow your gaming traffic to leapfrog other lower priority packets (eg p2p) in the output buffer and achieve a lower latency for your gaming packets than you would have with no prioritisation. I'm not sure what this "doublespeak" is, that you mentioned...?

Robert

PSS/BT Gold > Compuserve > Netscalibur > Dircon > Zen > Be > PlusNet Unlimited Fibre
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