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Standard User ijustwantiplayer
(newbie) Fri 07-Apr-17 13:02:45
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I just want iplayer!


[link to this post]
 
I've been a customer of Zen's for 10 years. In the last month or two, I have noticed an increasing number of problems with my fibre connection - most notably at peak times.

At peak times, streaming services like iplayer, Netflix etc really struggle and often become unusable.

A snapshot of a speed test at 8pm wired connection direct to my router:

Avg Custom Download: 4.18mbps
Burst Download: 6.40mbps
Avg HTTPx6 Down: 26.30mbps
Burst HTTPx6 Down: 40.57mbps
TCP Latency: 37ms

The above speeds marginally (and I mean marginally) improve if I run the speed test wired direct to the BT modem.

Zen's sales page tells me I should be getting a min of 49mbps and an average of 69mbps.

I have spent many hours on the phone to support who are not helping me at all. Just endless testing and emailing of results. I'm fed up.

One of the support guys mentioned that I have a 'single thread issue' on my line, but quickly back tracked and now tells me they believe some internal interference is causing packet loss. I do see 1% packet loss when I run tests, but at zen's IP addresses. Nonetheless, I have replaced all cables, filters and the router. I have tested via the BT test socket. Line tests are all clear.

The final straw was Zen asking me to replace the BT openreach modem that they supplied me but is now out of warranty. If I don't do this, they won't escalate the fault. I am loathe to spend any more money on kit for a fault I am becoming very dubious relates to anything in my home setup.

I asked Zen, as a 10 year customer who pays them just shy of £50 a month, could they please send me a new modem to test with? I would return it. The answer was a categoric: no - go and borrow one off your neighbours. I'm not sure Tony next door wants his connection cut off for a day while I test mine.

I guess I am going to cut my losses and leave which is such a shame. Even if the problem follows me, I hope my new ISP will get to the bottom of it.

I have recommended Zen to friends, colleagues and on Twitter/internet forums over the years. Feel really miffed they are letting me down like this. I get the impression that the support guys *want* to help me, but their hands are tied further up the chain.

If there is anything anyone can suggest to help me get to the bottom of the above, please let me know? From what I understand, I am entirely on Zen's back haul.

My parents, who I also signed up to Zen about 10 years ago, cannot stream video anymore either - constant buffering etc. I can only imagine the fun they would have getting anywhere with Zen support. Mum gets confused turning on the TV.

Edited by ijustwantiplayer (Fri 07-Apr-17 13:22:26)

Administrator MrSaffron
(staff) Fri 07-Apr-17 14:56:13
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Re: I just want iplayer!


[re: ijustwantiplayer] [link to this post]
 
Best to just share the link to the test results, as the graphs can be informative beyond just the summary numbers.

The question is really whether the difference in speeds is 24/7 or only at peak times, and as day light goes later into the evenings now, there is a bit of peak time during day light hours to test in too (important as sometimes noise that causes slow downs can be worse once the sun has set)

The author of the above post is a thinkbroadband staff member. It may not constitute an official statement on behalf of thinkbroadband.
Standard User David_W
(knowledge is power) Sat 08-Apr-17 00:06:33
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Re: I just want iplayer!


[re: ijustwantiplayer] [link to this post]
 
In reply to a post by ijustwantiplayer:
The final straw was Zen asking me to replace the BT openreach modem that they supplied me but is now out of warranty. If I don't do this, they won't escalate the fault. I am loathe to spend any more money on kit for a fault I am becoming very dubious relates to anything in my home setup.
When you switched to FTTC, Openreach provided a modem as part of the product and the customer handover point for the FTTC was the Ethernet socket of the modem. This meant that a problem with or failure of the modem and/or its power supply was a fault that Zen could report on your behalf and Openreach would provide any necessary replacement.

After pressure from ISPs who wanted "single box" solutions and no need to visit customers upgrading to FTTC, Openreach started to offer "wires only" FTTC. More recently, Openreach notified CPs such as Zen that "wires only" would remain but the only engineer install option going forward would be a "managed install" using CP provided equipment (I believe all new Zen installs are "wires only"). As more than 12 months (the minimum contract period for the FTTC circuit) has elapsed since Openreach issued any new modems, all fielded modems have gone out of warranty and have been abandoned by Openreach to the end users as an unsupported product.

The effect of all this is that the modem is now your modem - and like all other customer owned equipment is your responsibility to replace if suspect or defective. Basic FTTC equipment (a modem or simple router) is now inexpensively and readily available - it's worth having a spare on hand as these devices do fail. Zen will want you to test with another device before calling an engineer, as a problem with your equipment (which includes former Openreach owned modems) will result in them being charged a visit charge by Openreach.


In this case, it sounds somewhat unlikely that the modem is defective in a way that causes packet loss and speed issues at peak time only - if that is a full and accurate description of the fault. It sounds more likely to be congestion somewhere, though it is important to remember that packet loss and congestion have very similar effects.

You need much more than a single data point to show evidence of congestion. Run thinkbroadband Speed Tests at different times of the day (including when your congestion seems to be working normally) and post the links, ideally annotating them with any operational problems you noted around the time you ran the test. If you can configure your router to respond to pings, set up a thinkbroadband Broadband Quality Monitor, and post that link, too.



ZeN Unlimited Fibre 2 with native IPv6
thinkbroadband speed test : speedtest.net : thinkbroadband quality monitor IPv4 IPv6


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Standard User ijustwantiplayer
(newbie) Sat 08-Apr-17 11:47:00
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Re: I just want iplayer!


[re: David_W] [link to this post]
 
Thank you David_W and MrSaffron. Noted about posting graphs.

For clarity, I have done numerous speed tests / pathpings / tracerts over the course of the last week or so for Zen, at different times of day. Line quality will be much better at say 10am than at 8pm, or over the weekends.

Incidentally, the graphs are looking much better than they have been, from yesterday. Here's one just done (though I suppose it is still quite early in the day):

http://www.thinkbroadband.com/speedtest/results.html...

I think my main frustration with this whole modem thing is that Zen would supply a new customer who has never paid them a penny with a free VDSL router. But for me, a customer of many years standing, who would invariably stay with them for the rest of my life if the connection was stable, they won't help with equipment at all, even temporarily. Instead, I am being asked to pay for more kit so they can potentially avoid an openreach charge.

I can't keep up with all this fault checking and hours on the phone. I think this has reinforced to me that I need to move and pay more to have far more comprehensive support. I do feel Zen have been lacking transparency with me on what is going on here. As friendly as the support guys are, I (rightly or wrongly) don't have much confidence any more.

I will come back and update when I have moved supplier. If it does turn out to be something as simple as the modem with a fault then - as you say - an inexpensive bit of kit sent to me by Zen would have kept me with them.

Thanks again both for taking the time to reply.

Edited by ijustwantiplayer (Sat 08-Apr-17 11:54:47)

ISP Representative jongreen84
(isp) Sat 08-Apr-17 20:13:36
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Re: I just want iplayer!


[re: ijustwantiplayer] [link to this post]
 
Hi,

I'm really sorry to hear about the issues you're experiencing. Could you PM me your Zen username please, and I'll get someone to check up on things and make sure we're progressing things as efficiently as we can.

Thanks,

Jon
The above post has been made by an ISP REPRESENTATIVE (although not necessarily the ISP being discussed in the post).
Standard User David_W
(knowledge is power) Sun 09-Apr-17 10:14:01
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Re: I just want iplayer!


[re: jongreen84] [link to this post]
 
I highly recommend you follow up on Jon's invitation to PM, as he works for the technical side of Zen. You don't seem to want to move ISP and moving ISP might just take a technical issue with you to a less tech-savvy provider.

It is always frustrating and disappointing when a genuine technical issue gets lost amongst the procedure driven operation that is first line tech support, but outside special cases such as AAISP (who set out to provide highly technically skilled staff in customer facing positions but have to charge accordingly), it isn't possible for an ISP to have highly technically skilled people answering routine support calls. Hopefully Jon can resolve your issue, or at least give you a greater understanding of what has gone wrong which will give you a reasoned basis to choose a new ISP.



ZeN Unlimited Fibre 2 with native IPv6
thinkbroadband speed test : speedtest.net : thinkbroadband quality monitor IPv4 IPv6
Standard User techguy
(experienced) Sun 09-Apr-17 15:34:08
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Re: I just want iplayer!


[re: ijustwantiplayer] [link to this post]
 
Having used a number of ISPs myself, I've found Zen to be the most willing to try to help out with issues when I have had them.

They will ask the same if you were using ADSL due to the reasons that have been explained.

If Openreach come out and find it's your kit that's causing the issue, they will slap the ISP with a £100+ bill which the ISP has no choice but to pass onto you.

You can get relatively cheap ADSL/VDSL routers these days so it's worth having one and look at it this way, if it is what was Openreach's modem, you can get rid of that ugly box on the wall

Virgin (ADSL) => Namesco => Newnet => O2 => Plusnet => Zen => Newnet => Zen => Freeola => Vivaciti (using O2 Wholesale DSL) => Xilo (C&W Wholesale) => Xilo (O2 Wholesale) => Xilo (TT Wholesale due to O2 Wholesale closure) => Zen LLU
Router: Billion 8800NL
Note: I don't lay turf for anyone. astro or otherwise, all views and opinions expressed are my own based on experience.
Standard User ijustwantiplayer
(newbie) Mon 10-Apr-17 11:59:37
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Re: I just want iplayer!


[re: techguy] [link to this post]
 
I have relented and bought a VDSL modem/router today - I still think Zen should be sending me this kit but i'll stop going on about it now.

Now looking at: OpenReach BT Master Socket NTE5C + VDSL MK4 New 2016 Faceplate on eBay - yay or nay? I need the additional filter with my current setup.

My quality monitor is setup if anyone is interested: http://www.thinkbroadband.com/ping/share/77f24a88458...

That horrendous packet loss at the crack of dawn was me trying to watch Madagascar 2 on iplayer while feeding my baby. It's since stabilised and run without issue.

Jon - thank you for replying to this thread. I am going to setup the new VDSL modem/router when it arrives tomorrow. If it solves the issue, happy days. If not, I will PM and give you the opportunity to investigate before jumping ship.

David - you are right I don't really want to leave Zen. If I do, AAISP will be my next port of call.
Standard User David_W
(knowledge is power) Tue 11-Apr-17 07:26:49
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Re: I just want iplayer!


[re: ijustwantiplayer] [link to this post]
 
I would strongly recommend you do not fit a new NTE5 yourself. The NTE5 is Openreach property and you will be charged for tampering with it if you change it yourself and make some sort of error. If you want a faceplate filter - which is recommended - try to find a MK3 filter, which will fit on your current NTE5. The MK4 filter only fits on the new style NTE5.

I'm rather surprised you have an Openreach FTTC modem but not a faceplate filter; if you were an engineer install, a faceplate filter should have been fitted. Is there definitely only one socket on the NTE5 stack?


Your BQM currently shows not only the effects of the morning use of iPlayer but also a small amount of packet loss at all times up to midnight, even when the connection appears relatively lightly used. By comparison, my BQM (links in signature for both IPv4 and IPv6) shows no packet loss. After midnight, there is essentially no visible packet loss on your connection. It will be interesting to see how things shape up later today.



ZeN Unlimited Fibre 2 with native IPv6
thinkbroadband speed test : speedtest.net : thinkbroadband quality monitor IPv4 IPv6
Standard User ijustwantiplayer
(newbie) Tue 11-Apr-17 09:49:09
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Re: I just want iplayer!


[re: David_W] [link to this post]
 
I have ordered the MK3, should be here tomorrow. Modem/Router will arrive today - i will update this thread when baby has allowed me to set it up.

Yep definitely only the old style one socket in my house and it was a BT engineer install. Just checked my emails and I was upgraded to fibre in 2012.

Marked improvement in iplayer/netflix use yesterday after say 10am. I was actually using it in the evening and though iplayer was still buffering every now and then, it wasn't to the extent that it became unwatchable. If it's the modem on the blink, it's very much picking and choosing its moments to be a pain.

Zen Support rang me yesterday and are monitoring the connection while I make these changes.
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