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Anonymous
(Unregistered)Thu 15-Jul-10 02:24:18
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Best non-LLU provider for me?


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I live in a fairly remote village with absolutely no LLU services available and I am in need of a new ISP. I am currently with Orange, however after being hit with their FUP and the painfully slow and frankly unacceptable speeds that resulted I have decided to leave.

The maximum speed I can receive on my line is just 3Mb/s, but despite that I am a fairly heavy user.

From a new ISP I require:
- High usage allowance; 40GB+. I am aware that many providers impose a higher limit (or even no limit at all) at off-peak times, I try to keep my heavy downloading to off-peak times... but it really depends what they define as off-peak. I'm not deluded enough to think I could get true unlimited broadband with Non-LLU.

- Ideally, no traffic shaping/management or throttling. I use the bitorrent protocol a lot for downloading and uploading, I might be okay with traffic shaping if it is only during peak time.

- Speed is not a huge issue for me because the maximum I can receive is only 3Mb/s... but seeing as that is the case I would like to be receiving my full 3Mb/s.

- I do require a broadband/phone bundle with line rental and inclusive anytime calls included.

- A new router included would be very nice, as I have no idea if the Orange Livebox will work with another provider... and to be honest I despise the stupid thing anyway.

- Customer service is not essential for me, I can almost always diagnose and solve any problems I encounter myself and after having to deal with Orange's horrendous customer support, I'm pretty sure anything is an improvement.

- As for price, of course as low as possible but I would pay up to £40 a month or so for a service that fits my requirements.

Here is my exchange...

I have heard a lot of bad things about the bigger providers non-LLU packages; O2 Access, Virgin National, Sky Connect etc.
But most of the bad press I hear is about very poor speeds, and the reasoning always cited seems to be congestion.

Now, using this tool tells me that my exchange is uncongested (it's green), does this mean that I would be able to obtain my full 3Mb/s speed on the bigger providers?
Because aside from the speed issues people are complaining about and poor customer support (which I don't really need that badly) their packages seem very enticing. Is there anything else I should be warned about with them?

So far, from browsing around IDNet and Plusnet seem to be the best options available to me.

Any advice anyone can give me is most appreciated, I already have my MAC so I am looking to find a new provider soon so it doesn't expire.

Thanks.
Anonymous
(Unregistered)Thu 15-Jul-10 03:14:35
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Re: Best non-LLU provider for me?


[re: Anonymous] [link to this post]
 
Oh, there is also just one other quick thing that is bothering me...
I apologize if this isn't the correct place to post this.

I previously mentioned that I know the maximum speed my line can support is only 3Mb/s. I have used countless line checkers on many different sites and they all report a maximum available speed of usually either 2.5 Mb/s or 3Mb/s. Also, the highest download speed I have ever achieved is 409 KB/s.

Now when I use the speed checker on speedtest.net, something very curious happens. Whenever I run a speed test, this always happens:
Initially it will ping between 75-145ms and then start the download test, now this is where it gets weird... at first everything runs as expected, the meter hovers around 1.2-2 Mb/s it will hover fairly stable around that area for a few seconds and then it will just suddenly jump to a MUCH higher speed and the test immediately finishes and it will report a download speed of anything from 5-10Mb/s. This happens without fail every time no matter what server I select.
I'm using the chrome browser, I'll give it a try in firefox.
Anyone have an explanation for this?
Standard User sjr
(knowledge is power) Thu 15-Jul-10 09:29:53
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Re: Best non-LLU provider for me?


[re: Anonymous] [link to this post]
 
Do you have Kaspersky Internet Security installed? That often causes the weird speed test behaviour you report so if you do have Kaspersky try disabling it temporarily while you run a speed test.
As for the big prooviders you mention, congestion is usually on their network rather than at the exchange, there's a reason why they are cheap wink
I'm not a great fan of phone/broadband bundles; the savings (if any) on the phone over BT are often tiny and you're severely limiting your choice of ISP. If you really want to stick with a bundle then Plusnet Extra is probably your best bet but they do shape traffic aggressively at peak times, see download speeds for details. If you can schedule your downloads for the overnight hours it could work out quite well.

PS If you do go with Plusnet don't forget to sign up through a cashback site like Topcashback and blag £38 back smile

Regards,
Steve

Edited by sjr (Thu 15-Jul-10 09:42:34)


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Standard User RobertoS
(legend) Thu 15-Jul-10 11:44:23
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Re: Best non-LLU provider for me?


[re: Anonymous] [link to this post]
 
Just to add to what sjr said, then some of my own.

Speedtest.net and all the other Ookla engine speed testers, that's most of them, are well know for behaving like this. I can get readings in tens of thousands from it on a 7Mbps connection, and others do too. It seems to be to do with your AV buffering it at the start of the test. Kaspersky was the first one widely reported, but I now have Avira and get the same effect.

I recommend the BT Performance Tester as that also gives an important figure - the IP Profile which is important on non-LLU ISPs as it actually determines your maximum speed.

Regarding your actual speeds, to achieve 409KB/s you must have had a connection speed of over 4Mbps for several days at that point. The BT tester above also tells you the connection speed smile.

It can be a bit cumbersome. For a quicker test the one on tbb Main Site is normally reliable and doesn't have the over-reading problem.

Re an ISP, I agree with sjr is a reasonable option. However the severe traffic management he linked to, and the fact you will be paying the full broadband price of £19.99 after the first 3 months isn't so good.

A bit more expensive but streets ahead in terms of quality is IDNet Home Max, or if you really can manage with 40GB, (and note they don't count uploads, I think Plusnet do), the Home Lite is cheaper than Plusnet after the first 3 months. I link to IDNet which you have already said is short-listed in case you have been looking at the ADSL2+ packages.

Congestion!

It isn't exchange congestion that is the problem with the poorly-reported ISPs you mention. It is mainly congestion at the handover point from BT Wholesale to the ISP, at the ISP end. Those connections on 20CN are through BT Centrals. A single Central has a maximum throughput of 622Mbps, so clearly a few heavy downloaders at 8Mbps soon kill it considering it is expected to service several thousand customers.

A Central costs over £1m per year rental. So are frequently obtained on the basis of users averaging just a few hundred kbps on browsing, emails etc. And these days TV catchup, which if a few hundred normal users are doing that is just as harmful.

In particular, it is the big mass-market providers that are the worst in this respect, as per your list. They have hungry share-holders to satisfy and stock-market values to maintain. The smaller ones such as IDNet have more flexibility in that respect, merely wanting a decent profit for their owners, and getting higher-paying customers who value the better performance.

Again, these smaller ones tend to get a fair proportion of businesses paying premium prices, and provide greater capacity per customer because of this. Then at the end of the working day a lot of the businesses go off-line and all that capacity is released just as domestic demand goes up. Win-Win!

Plusnet do manage a good compromise but at the expense of that traffic management to reduce the Central requirement.

21CN handovers are a bit cheaper than Centrals, which is why for example you will see the IDNet ADSL2+ packages are more generous than the ADSL Max.

My broadband basic info/help site - www.robertos.me.uk
My domains,website and mail hosting - Tsohost. Internet connection - O2 Standard.
Anonymous
(Unregistered)Thu 15-Jul-10 12:08:14
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Re: Best non-LLU provider for me?


[re: sjr] [link to this post]
 
Yep I'm using Kaspersky Internet Security so that must be the problem, thanks for that. I'll give it a go after turning KIS off.

I assume the 20GB usage allowance on Plusnet Pro applies to all times and not just on peak?

What options would you advise without a phone/broadband bundle? And if I were to take a broadband package without phone included, what would be my best option for phone? Stick with BT or can someone offer a better deal on phone?

Thanks for the cashback tip!
Anonymous
(Unregistered)Thu 15-Jul-10 12:25:44
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Re: Best non-LLU provider for me?


[re: RobertoS] [link to this post]
 
Thank you RobertoS for all the great info, really is a big help.

I don't have Java installed on this computer (not through choice, I just cannot install it as it gives me an error that I once spent a week trying to fix to no avail.) so I'll give it ago on one of the other computers in the house. Thanks.
Only ever had 400KB/s+ speed once in three years, usually get 280 max although it does occasionally rise to 350.

I did look at ADSL24 and made sure I wasn't looking at ADSL2+, if I decide to keep phone and broadband separate I'll definitely give them strong consideration.

Thanks for the details about congestion, makes a lot more sense to me now.
Standard User sjr
(knowledge is power) Thu 15-Jul-10 12:53:31
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Re: Best non-LLU provider for me?


[re: Anonymous] [link to this post]
 
Plusnet Pro gives you free usage between midnight and 8am so any usage then wouldn't count towards the 20GB limit.
As for broadband without a phone bundle, other than Plusnet I'd be looking at IDNet, Zen, Xilo or Vivaciti for 40GB usage. LLU options where available give fast, cheap broadband with either generous or no download limits. Without LLU options being available you have to perm 2 out of those 3 attributes I'm afraid.

Regards,
Steve
Standard User RobertoS
(legend) Thu 15-Jul-10 15:11:54
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Re: Best non-LLU provider for me?


[re: Anonymous] [link to this post]
 
In reply to a post by Anonymous:
I did look at ADSL24 and made sure I wasn't looking at ADSL2+, if I decide to keep phone and broadband separate I'll definitely give them strong consideration.
????
I didn't mention ADSL24. But seeing as you do I would recommend against them.

Their non-LLU is through Murphx, but from some reports we see it appears to be an inferior quality service compared to the ones through xilo/uno and vivaciti. The latter two offer 50GB and seem to be good, the ADSL24 ones copy the Enta packages they used to provide and I don't think that can be done realistically.

As vivaciti has been mentioned by sjr as well, if you look at them note that the Family packages are Enta based, so performance is heavily affected by your location. In fact more specifically by which IPSC node your particular exchange DSLAM is connected to. The 5OGB package I have covered. The 100GB package is Surfwise. Initially very good and not seen any complaints recently but I don't think (purely half-remembered from posts months ago) that it will have quite as good performance consistency as 50GB one, due to the customer gain when vivaciti and at least one other ISP moved some Enta-based customers to them.

Unless you have already sorted your internal phone wiring, have a look at the Ring/Bell wire and Miscellaneous Nasties pages in my Troubleshooting section. You may be able to improve your line more than a little. If you can find and post your full line stats, in particular connection speed, attenuation and noise margin, taken just before a reconnection and again immediately after one, we could tell a lot about your line. See here for help.

My broadband basic info/help site - www.robertos.me.uk
My domains,website and mail hosting - Tsohost. Internet connection - O2 Standard.
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