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Standard User clang
(newbie) Fri 18-Jan-13 15:37:36
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Moving over to the UK


[link to this post]
 
Hello there,
I'm new and am moving to the UK shortly.
One of the numerous things I have to take care about is the internet connection though as soon as I took a step into looking at all the offers, I felt overwhelmed.
I know some stuff although I am no expert but I know what I want.

The spec I am looking for is essentially one: unthrottled p2p traffic.
I know this is pretty much impossible but since I am a heavy downloader I would like to find the best performance ISP even with throttled traffic enabled.

My initial thought was Virgin since they have a 100Mb connection and even if they throttle it half the way it's still 5 times faster than what I have now!
I have already lurked some forums and seen that BT has some problems whiel PN has to have the PRO option to get some real benefits.

Before making the decision though I thought I would post to ask your advice.
I have a 50£/mo budget.

Thank you in advance
Standard User Uilebheist
(legend) Fri 18-Jan-13 16:53:40
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Re: Moving over to the UK


[re: clang] [link to this post]
 
It would help to know where you are moving to - in particular, which telephone exchange serves the area, to see what LLU services are available.
As I understand it (not being a Plusnet customer) the Plusnet "throttling" is just giving priority to some protocols over others, so for example a heavy p2p won't slow down an online game. It applies both within your connection (if you do something interactive it will feel faster because the p2p won't be eating all the bandwidth, but if you don't use the connection for anything else p2p will get the full speed subject to the next bit) and within the whole network (but this is only an issue if there is a lot of congestion, and it looks like they are trying to avoid that). You may actually find out that Plusnet works better without the PRO option.
As for VIrgin, what you get would depend on how many other heavy downloaders / p2p users are already in the area. Again, it would be useful to know where you are moving to. In any case, if Virgin cable is not available in the place Virgin ADSL is not a viable option!
Standard User kitcat
(member) Fri 18-Jan-13 17:32:34
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Re: Moving over to the UK


[re: clang] [link to this post]
 
It really matters where you intend to live.

Qustions you need answering for the premises are.

In order of importance

Is it served by FTTP/FTTC
Is it served by Virgin
Does it have Sky LLU
Does it have WBC
Any other LLU


Sky claims no throttling or download limits so Sky FTTC is top choice.
Other smaller suppliers also claim this but tend to be more expensive but higher service levels.
BT may restrict P2P (appears to be Torrents only) but claim no download limits on Infinity.
Virgin has a high claimed speed BUT may suffer from high contention in some places.
Sky LLU claims no throttling but speed more dependant on distance
Smaller suppliers over WBC claim no throttling as above.
Some smaller suppliers use other LLU operators.
last choice is a smaller supplier over 20c but only where there is no other option.

Easy site to see what is in an exchange area is sam knows
If you have an address use the BT wholesale checker this will give you estimated speed for each type of service ( LLU will be similar to WBC)
If you have a telephone number this will be much more accurate

Edited by kitcat (Fri 18-Jan-13 17:35:09)


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Standard User clang
(newbie) Fri 18-Jan-13 19:03:30
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Re: Moving over to the UK


[re: clang] [link to this post]
 
Sorry, I had edited the post but I wonder why it didnt save the changes.
Here is the exchange point:
http://www.samknows.com/broadband/exchange/EMSHRWO

I am quite close (1mile)

Cheers!!!
Standard User adebov
(eat-sleep-adslguide) Fri 18-Jan-13 20:53:56
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Re: Moving over to the UK


[re: clang] [link to this post]
 
In reply to a post by clang:
Sorry, I had edited the post but I wonder why it didnt save the changes.
Here is the exchange point:
http://www.samknows.com/broadband/exchange/EMSHRWO

I am quite close (1mile)

Cheers!!!


Well you're in luck.
That exchange has plenty of providers (with Sky probably being the best for high usage p2p customers). It also appears to have cable TV (so you could also get broadband through that service).

If you go for ADSL (sub 24Mbps speeds) you'll probably get around 10-12Mbps being around 1mile from the exchange, but that figure could be as low as 3-4Mbps if the phone cables take the scenic route.

If you go for "FTTC" with Sky, BT, etc. the distance from the exchange is irrelevant as your broadband will be carried by fibre to the local street cabinetm where the broadband is then carried (as VDSL) over the existing copper phone wires to the home.
FTTC will give up to 80Mbps download / 20Mbps upload, if you're close enough to the nearest green BT street cabinet (less then around 200 metres away should see you getting full 80/20 speed).

Ade

vDSL2 FTTC Infinity with BT
DL Sync 80Mbps
UL Sync 20Mbps
Standard User clang
(newbie) Fri 18-Jan-13 23:47:19
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Re: Moving over to the UK


[re: adebov] [link to this post]
 
All right so sky is the best.
I have also done the test inputting my postcode on the virgin site (just to see what happened) and it said I was covered by the 100Mb. Does that mean that I can use sky at the same speed?
Also I have read a lot of good reviews about Xilo, how is that ISP?

Thanks
Standard User adebov
(eat-sleep-adslguide) Sat 19-Jan-13 00:23:25
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Re: Moving over to the UK


[re: clang] [link to this post]
 
In reply to a post by clang:
All right so sky is the best.

Quite possibly.
You can sign up online http://www.sky.com/products/broadband-talk/broadband... or call them they may be able to arrange for a new phone line (or to take over the old one) - in the UK you must have a phone line to get broadband (unless you go with Virgin Media - more about that later).
All phone lines are owned by a division of BT (called 'Openreach') your teleco (which may be BT's retail division, Sky, or a number of others) then leases the line and the broadband equipment from Openreach.
You won't have a contract with Openreach, just with your chosen provider and so far as 'FTTC' goes (fibre to the local BT green cabinet, then traditional copper/aluminium phone lines to the premises) the best of the bunch seem to be Sky, BT Retail and probably Plusnet, although you'll likely suffer less p2p throttling with Sky.


In reply to a post by clang:
I have also done the test inputting my postcode on the virgin site (just to see what happened) and it said I was covered by the 100Mb. Does that mean that I can use sky at the same speed?

No; Sky uses BT Openreach FTTC/VDSL products so is limited to 80Mbps down / 20Mbps up (although I understand you first get switched on with a 40/10 product then Sky manually switch you to 80/20 if you call them).
Virgin Media (in cable TV areas) use their own infrastructure, which is a combination of fibre and co-ax copper cables. Nobody else uses their infrastructure so the only way you can get 100Mbps broadband via the Virgin Cable TV feed is if you get a cable TV, phone and broadband package direct from Virgin (although I believe Virgin now offer a broadband only package for £35 a month (no TV, no phone) or £42 a month if you want 100Mbps plus phone line rental plus a calls package, then they have their top "VIP" package, which is 100Mbps broadband, phone line, phone calls (unlimited UK landline calls - mobiles and international calls are extra), plus Tivo and about 200 TV channels, for £99 a month!!!
The equivalent Sky package (phone line, calls, 80Mbps broadband, Sky's HD PVR and around 400 TV channels including sports & movies, plus their HD package) is pretty much the same price at £100.50/month - or £1206 a year!!!).

In reply to a post by clang:
Also I have read a lot of good reviews about Xilo, how is that ISP?

I know very little about them.

Just a word of warning (and it may be so in other countries, too) but broadband in the UK is a bit of a mine-field.
Providers often make wild claims about "unlimited" products but then hide "limits" or something called "fair usage policy" deep in their terms & conditions, so all is often not what it seems (and just going by price isn't always an indicator - there are plenty of expensive providers which charge an arm and a leg for very low monthly allowances but you may well get a better service than a cheaper one which claims to be "unlimited").

The UK telecoms regulator (Ofcom) is largely toothless and its bark is definitely worse than its bite.
Every so often they pull an ISP up on claims (normally related to the advertised speeds more than anything else).
So long as an ISP which claims to be "unlimited" doesn't prevent you from downloading once you've reached a level set out in the FUP or terms & conditions, Ofcom seem disinterested (at best).
So the more shady companies (and they include some of the big players and big names - including Talk-Talk for practically everything, BT for peak-time p2p, amongst others) have worked out a system where they limit the download speed on certain protocols (e.g. p2p - some even cap Usenet speeds), rather than simply cut you off when you reach a limit on the "unlimited" package.

The ISPs claim they're still providing an unlimited product. Because they don't stop heavy users from downloading full-stop, and only limit the download speed, the ISPs claim they're still giving you unlimited downloads.

Many users may take "unlimited" to mean you can download at your connection speed 24/7 all month and not get limited.
Unfortunately the ISPs don't agree.
Even BT and Sky have FUP limits on their "unlimited" products, although I've never heard of any customer actually being pulled up on it.
But the FUPs are there, none the less, and all ISPs have wording such as "if you regularly go over an imaginary (and as yet made up) maximum monthly limit, we may reduce your speed and repeat offenders may be cut-off and have their contracts terminated" (or words to that effect).

Virgin are known to have very active capping & speed limiting in place, so despite the 100Mbps claim (they even say "Unlimited downloads no caps no hidden charges") Virgin have very strict traffic management policies.
For example (something I just pulled from a Google search), the 100Mbps "unlimited" product has a daytime period of 10am to 3pm.
If, within these hours you download more than 20GB in one daytime period (easily possible, given a 100Mbps connection can download 20GB in about 30 minutes), they cap your speed by 50% for five hours.
Virgin then have an even stricter "evening" period between 4pm and 10pm.
During these hours, if you download more than 10GB in one evening period they cap your speed by 50% for five hours.
Only 10pm to 10am is allegedly un-throttled.

Effectively Virgin Media's traffic management policy limits a total monthly download (between 10am & 10pm) to 900GB if you want to avoid your speed dropping by half (no apparent limits outside of these hours).

However; it's not so much the total amount (900GB should be enough for anyone), it's the fact that you have to restrict your 10am to 10pm downloads to no more than 30GB a day if you want to avoid losing half your speed.

BT are better (except for p2p use there appears to be no throttling at all and very little evidence of lack of capacity).
Sky are even better (very little evidence of throttling of any kind).

So for heavy users I feel Virgin Media are best avoided like the plague.


Bit wordy, but I hope this helps

Ade

vDSL2 FTTC Infinity with BT
DL Sync 80Mbps
UL Sync 20Mbps

Edited by adebov (Sat 19-Jan-13 00:36:06)

Standard User RobertoS
(sensei) Sat 19-Jan-13 09:40:50
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Re: Moving over to the UK


[re: adebov] [link to this post]
 
In reply to a post by adebov:
All phone lines are owned by a division of BT (called 'Openreach') your teleco (which may be BT's retail division, Sky, or a number of others) then leases the line and the broadband equipment from Openreach.
Just to prevent any possible misunderstanding by the OP, athough you do clarify later, Virgin cable phone lines are not owned by Openreach.
You won't have a contract with Openreach, just with your chosen provider and so far as 'FTTC' goes (fibre to the local BT green cabinet, then traditional copper/aluminium phone lines to the premises) the best of the bunch seem to be Sky, BT Retail and probably Plusnet, although .
I'm not sure you are right about "you'll likely suffer less p2p throttling with Sky" when compared to Plusnet.

Plusnet does not throttle P2P per se. It does however use traffic management to prioritise other traffic types above it.

In particular if a user does anything other than P2P concurrently with P2P then this is advantageous, not disadvantageous as you appear to think. See It's Unlimited! Why is it still traffic managed?

Sky may or may not do the same. I don't think we know. If they don't, then a user could suffer problems where on Plusnet they wouldn't.
...
So the more shady companies (and they include some of the big players and big names - including Talk-Talk for practically everything, BT for peak-time p2p, amongst others) have worked out a system where they limit the download speed on certain protocols (e.g. p2p - some even cap Usenet speeds), rather than simply cut you off when you reach a limit on the "unlimited" package.

The ISPs claim they're still providing an unlimited product. Because they don't stop heavy users from downloading full-stop, and only limit the download speed, the ISPs claim they're still giving you unlimited downloads.

Many users may take "unlimited" to mean you can download at your connection speed 24/7 all month and not get limited.
Unfortunately the ISPs don't agree.
Even BT and Sky have FUP limits on their "unlimited" products, although I've never heard of any customer actually being pulled up on it.
But the FUPs are there, none the less, and all ISPs have wording such as "if you regularly go over an imaginary (and as yet made up) maximum monthly limit, we may reduce your speed and repeat offenders may be cut-off and have their contracts terminated" (or words to that effect).
Ummmm!

Quite a few contentious statements there. For a starter - "Shady".
"when you reach a limit on the "unlimited" package" - BT, Plusnet and Sky do not have limits.

Re the rest of that quote, I think you are years out of date there in relation to BT, Plusnet and Sky. Plusnet as of the announcement of their new unlimited products on 19 December 2012, and BT and Sky long ago, have no such FUP type wording. BT and Sky did have, and removed it. Other ISPs still do have such, I agree.

A bit you missed out re BT Retail P2P smile. It appears from many posts in the BT forum here that upstream P2P throttling is in place possibly 24/7. This of course has the effect of restricting the download speed even when the explicit download throttling is not active.

My broadband basic info/help site - www.robertos.me.uk | Domains,website and mail hosting - Tsohost.
Connection - Plusnet UnLim Fibre (FTTC). Sync ~ 54.0/14.9Mbps @ 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.

Edited by RobertoS (Sat 19-Jan-13 11:32:14)

Standard User RobertoS
(sensei) Sat 19-Jan-13 10:10:21
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Re: Moving over to the UK


[re: clang] [link to this post]
 
@clang (and apologies to adebov if I've unintentionally upset him).

Just to clarify the intent of my recent post.

On re-reading it, it looks a bit like I'm trying to shoot adebov down. My intent was far from that!

I agree with the whole tone of his post, about what you have to look out for. It is just the detail bits to do with what looks like your short list I felt warranted some comment.

My broadband basic info/help site - www.robertos.me.uk | Domains,website and mail hosting - Tsohost.
Connection - Plusnet UnLim Fibre (FTTC). Sync ~ 54.0/14.9Mbps @ 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 adebov
(eat-sleep-adslguide) Sat 19-Jan-13 13:18:01
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Re: Moving over to the UK


[re: RobertoS] [link to this post]
 
I'm not sure you are right about "you'll likely suffer less p2p throttling with Sky" when compared to Plusnet.

Basically I assumed that as Sky claim to have no limits (other than the FUP, which I wasn't aware had been recently removed) and claim to have no traffic management in place, that there's a lesser chance of having p2p speeds affected with Sky than with Plusnet.
True; Plusnet do not apply rate limits to "Fibre Unlimited". However; they have produced a nice table (published, and still live, on their own website) which states they have a "Traffic prioritisation" system in place.
This table shows their unlimited products "standard/fibre" has five different levels of traffic prioritisation (p2p & Usenet occupying the lowest level).
They do say " at busy times, higher priority queues will take bandwidth from the lowest queue(s) currently in use (but never enough to take the lower queue below its minimum bandwidth allowance)." although this is a fairly ambiguous statement...
Where is the "queue"? Is it a per customer queue (i.e. does your p2p traffic take a lower priority over your own streaming traffic), or is it a global queue (i.e. your p2p traffic takes a lower priority over streaming traffic from some family in Devon)?

As for the rest of it, I was aware Plusnet no longer claimed to have an FUP on their unlimited packages, but I wasn't aware BT and Sky had completely removed any references to the usual arbitrary (and unknown) "to the detriment of other users" fine-print (i.e. the unknown usage limit where they decide you're taking the 'P' and decide to cut you loose).

As for the word "shady" - I think it perfectly applies to companies like BT who whilst telling customers there's no limits, no traffic management apart from p2p during peak times, they proceed to throttle p2p downstream at other times, by other methods (i.e. throttling p2p uploads which, as you say, affects p2p downloads without BT having to actually cap them during off-peak) and don't actually define "peak time" and BT still go on to say "you can still download as much as you want without any limitations"...er; no I can't, because you're throttling the speed, which has the effect of placing a limit way below that of the actual broadband connection speed...ergo it is a limited "unlimited" package.
Of course all this is largely irrelevant due to the higher connection speeds available with fibre unlimited packages it's simply not possible to get anyway near the maximum available download per month simply because you'd run out of stuff to download within a few days (something like 24TB a month on an 80Mbps product) with, or without throttling (or "traffic prioritisation" or whatever jazzed up words the ISPs come up with).

As for the effectiveness of BT's "work around" (i.e. a way of reducing p2p download speeds such that they don't actually physically cap the downloads, so can continue to claim it's "unlimited" or "unthrottled"), I can't comment as I don't do the p2p thing.

Ade

vDSL2 FTTC Infinity with BT
DL Sync 80Mbps
UL Sync 20Mbps
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