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Standard User jimbof
(newbie) Sat 06-Feb-21 13:54:16
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FTTP 900-1000/115 experiences / Zen / any others


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FTTP has just reached a neighbour's flowerbed and lit up for ordering. I have a copper line with EE I don't want anything to happen to at the moment as it is critical for home working, so I've ordered 900/115 with Zen @£63/month, which seemed like a good option. Currently got 80/20 FTTC which performs great, my office has 80/80 via building ethernet (fibre) which again is great.

Gone for 900/115 as I want a fast VPN between home and office primarily, with then more than enough download capacity for everyone in the house (lots of 4k streaming etc).

Where I am in Norwich City Centre I have great ping times both in my office and via existing EE FTTC line (typically 7-9ms to the various ping testing sites) and will probably be a bit miffed if I lost this, I've read some posts about odd routing on the Zen network with Manchester in the frame, which I must admit has got me slightly concerned.

Also see reports of FTTP throughput in general not being very consistent throughout the day.

So I guess the post is canvassing opinion from anyone who's on one of these ultrafast 900/115 packages to see how they're getting on with it, whether it is good value for money, or whether the reality of the backhaul / ISP infrastructure means it is hard to achieve the throughput advertised.

Thanks for any responses.

Edited by jimbof (Sat 06-Feb-21 14:28:02)

Standard User CarlTSpeak
(committed) Sat 06-Feb-21 14:33:17
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Re: FTTP 900-1000/115 experiences / Zen / any others


[re: jimbof] [link to this post]
 
In reply to a post by jimbof:
Currently got 80/20 FTTC which performs great, my office has 80/80 via building ethernet (fibre) which again is great.

Gone for 900/115 as I want a fast VPN between home and office primarily, with then more than enough download capacity for everyone in the house (lots of 4k streaming etc).


Might see some benefit to uploads to home office VPN, none to downloads as throttled by office building connection, presuming that you are connecting to the office not some VPN endpoint elsewhere. There's also the matter of sharing with the other people on the VPN - they'll be wanting some bandwidth too! smile

In reply to a post by jimbof:
Where I am in Norwich City Centre I have great ping times both in my office and via existing EE FTTC line (typically 7-9ms to the various ping testing sites) and will probably be a bit miffed if I lost this, I've read some posts about odd routing on the Zen network with Manchester in the frame, which I must admit has got me slightly concerned.


Should be fine. Will see a marginal improvement over FTTC but not life-changing. Will very likely be routed via Telehouse North, London.

In reply to a post by jimbof:
Also see reports of FTTP throughput in general not being very consistent throughout the day.


I have never seen performance issues. I guess there may be the odd very local issue but no the whole it's fine. I share 2.4 Gbit down and 1.2 Gbit up with 31 other properties, occasionally I chew 1.9 Gbit/s of it myself and it mostly produces a flat line.

There are issues with specifically upload capacity on Virgin Media and other cable companies during business hours in some areas, however this isn't an issue for the FTTP supplied by Openreach.

In reply to a post by jimbof:
So I guess the post is canvassing opinion from anyone who's on one of these ultrafast 900/115 packages to see how they're getting on with it, whether it is good value for money, or whether the reality of the backhaul / ISP infrastructure means it is hard to achieve the throughput advertised.


The servers and wider Internet infrastructure are going to be a far bigger bottleneck than the connection between your home and the Internet. Even large companies with huge bandwidth can and do limit bandwidth.

As far as value for money goes that's a subjective not objective measure that only you can decide based on your use case! You will very, very, very rarely even get close to maxing out the 900 but might find the extra upload very useful indeed.

In reply to a post by jimbof:
Thanks for any responses.


You are very welcome - have a pleasant weekend, and I hope it's less rainy down there in beautiful Norwich! There's a book shop there I must visit again. Picked up some absolute gems last time!

Building better networks, not just faster ones.
Standard User jimbof
(newbie) Sat 06-Feb-21 14:55:22
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Re: FTTP 900-1000/115 experiences / Zen / any others


[re: CarlTSpeak] [link to this post]
 
In reply to a post by CarlTSpeak:
Might see some benefit to uploads to home office VPN, none to downloads as throttled by office building connection, presuming that you are connecting to the office not some VPN endpoint elsewhere. There's also the matter of sharing with the other people on the VPN - they'll be wanting some bandwidth too! smile

Not a problem, it's my own office and the sole employee is offsite (me again!) so it's all mine. The 80/80 I run it on is supposed to be a shared "premium" tier from the building, but as far as I can tell I'm the only one who has ponied up for it so I'm basically on 80/80 for £30/pm...

In reply to a post by CarlTSpeak:
Should be fine. Will see a marginal improvement over FTTC but not life-changing. Will very likely be routed via Telehouse North, London.

Sounds re-assuring, I had read in another thread though of seemingly different results for not obviously hugely different routes (though I have no idea on the details).
https://forums.thinkbroadband.com/zen/t/4673157-re-z...
In reply to a post by CarlTSpeak:
I have never seen performance issues. I guess there may be the odd very local issue but no the whole it's fine. I share 2.4 Gbit down and 1.2 Gbit up with 31 other properties, occasionally I chew 1.9 Gbit/s of it myself and it mostly produces a flat line.

Wow, you really do want all the bandwidth! Do you have 2 lines then? Nice.
In reply to a post by CarlTSpeak:
There are issues with specifically upload capacity on Virgin Media and other cable companies during business hours in some areas, however this isn't an issue for the FTTP supplied by Openreach.

Seen some shocking looking connections on VM. They've not been allowed to dig up our courtyard to date so luckily it's not a thing for me. BT were able to get FTTP to neighbour's flower bed via existing ducts and installed a spiffy new chamber there, just need that final few metres now (about 6m)...
In reply to a post by CarlTSpeak:
The servers and wider Internet infrastructure are going to be a far bigger bottleneck than the connection between your home and the Internet. Even large companies with huge bandwidth can and do limit bandwidth.

As far as value for money goes that's a subjective not objective measure that only you can decide based on your use case! You will very, very, very rarely even get close to maxing out the 900 but might find the extra upload very useful indeed.

Yes, I get that. To be honest if I get the 115 up and the ping doesn't take a hammering, and I'm getting at least 200+ down reliably I'll be happy as I'll have gained a 95 symmetrical addition over what I have for beer money. It's really the up that I wanted more than anything.

I guess the VFM was more likely whether the underlying ISP network might result in little observed benefit from the 900 package over lower level packages, at which point it might be considered poor VFM. Though so long as the up is very unlikely to be a problem, that is much mitigated.
In reply to a post by CarlTSpeak:
You are very welcome - have a pleasant weekend, and I hope it's less rainy down there in beautiful Norwich! There's a book shop there I must visit again. Picked up some absolute gems last time!

There's a few good ones within a couple of minutes walk of the house, It certainly is a fine City, all the better with the arrival of screaming broadband! smile We've always been pretty lucky to be fair, VDSL was quick to arrive and 80/20 a formality with the cabinet almost next door... We're right in the centre which isn't very residential so the services aren't very contended, whereas folk out in the more residential areas aren't having such a good time of it in the current crisis.

Thanks for taking the time smile

Edited by jimbof (Sat 06-Feb-21 14:58:01)


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Standard User candlerb
(fountain of knowledge) Sat 06-Feb-21 16:04:23
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Re: FTTP 900-1000/115 experiences / Zen / any others


[re: jimbof] [link to this post]
 
In reply to a post by jimbof:
I guess the VFM was more likely whether the underlying ISP network might result in little observed benefit from the 900 package over lower level packages, at which point it might be considered poor VFM.


I'm on 300/50 (with Cerberus), and I find most remote sites can't fill the 300 down for a single download. Apple software updates are one of the few places that can; I enjoy watching the download progress at 40MB/sec. If you have multiple people in the household using the Internet concurrently, there will be tons of download bandwidth to go around.

For me, the 50 upload is "good enough". 110 would be nice-to-have, but for me it's not worth either paying double or switching to a residential ISP. I can upload 2.5GB in 6 or 7 minutes; I'm not sure that 3 minutes would feel that much faster, and I can be doing other things in the mean time anyway.

But compared with FTTC at 30 down 4 up, it's amazing.
Standard User jimbof
(newbie) Sat 06-Feb-21 16:19:42
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Re: FTTP 900-1000/115 experiences / Zen / any others


[re: candlerb] [link to this post]
 
In reply to a post by candlerb:
I'm on 300/50 (with Cerberus), and I find most remote sites can't fill the 300 down for a single download. Apple software updates are one of the few places that can; I enjoy watching the download progress at 40MB/sec. If you have multiple people in the household using the Internet concurrently, there will be tons of download bandwidth to go around.

For me, the 50 upload is "good enough". 110 would be nice-to-have, but for me it's not worth either paying double or switching to a residential ISP. I can upload 2.5GB in 6 or 7 minutes; I'm not sure that 3 minutes would feel that much faster, and I can be doing other things in the mean time anyway.

But compared with FTTC at 30 down 4 up, it's amazing.

Thanks for your reply. I hadn't realised Cerberus weren't considered a residential ISP - I had only come across them when looking at FTTPoD - which I very quickly decided wasn't going to be the way forward for me with a very large construction charge (and glad I didn't go any further, as it looks like I've got it for free only a year later).
Out of interest, what do you see as the benefits of Cerberus over a residential ISP?
Standard User candlerb
(fountain of knowledge) Sat 06-Feb-21 16:33:16
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Re: FTTP 900-1000/115 experiences / Zen / any others


[re: jimbof] [link to this post]
 
Indeed I went with Cerberus because I took FTTPoD. I probably wouldn't have heard of them otherwise.

I stick with them partly in support of their FTTPoD activities. I'm very aware how time-consuming it is for them to administer, and hardly anyone else offers it. Partly it's because I want to keep my IPv4 and IPv6 static allocations. And partly because they're a good bunch of people who respond immediately to E-mails.

As a business grade service, I am possibly also getting a better service maintenance level - although to be honest I don't actually know what level they buy.

I note that Zen's business services are substantially more expensive than their residential ones - e.g. £90+VAT for 900/110 on 12 month contract, or £85+VAT on 24 month, plus an extra £20 for critical care. This takes them to the same price as Cerberus (£110+VAT on 12 month)
Standard User Pheasant
(committed) Sat 06-Feb-21 16:34:34
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Re: FTTP 900-1000/115 experiences / Zen / any others


[re: jimbof] [link to this post]
 
In reply to a post by jimbof:
Out of interest, what do you see as the benefits of Cerberus over a residential ISP?

Business level SLAs...as close to leased line for SLA response/fix time when it does break. Nothing is infallible. My personal experience is that they are excellent at get OR on site in hours - report at 4pm fixed by 10am next day.

A better class of service with less contention in the backhaul.

Infinitely better customer service, based out of west London. Quite important if you’ve ever tried getting an intelligible person / fast resolution with the likes of Virgin Media or TTB by way of comparison.

They aren’t perfect of course. A couple of us had a gateway slow down a few month ago, and it took them a while to get to the root cause but it wasn’t at all a showstopper and improved their public fault reporting too.

For those reasons I re-contracted when my FTTPoD was up.

My Broadband Speed Test
Standard User jimbof
(newbie) Sat 06-Feb-21 16:49:27
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Re: FTTP 900-1000/115 experiences / Zen / any others


[re: Pheasant] [link to this post]
 
In reply to a post by Pheasant:
Business level SLAs...as close to leased line for SLA response/fix time when it does break. Nothing is infallible. My personal experience is that they are excellent at get OR on site in hours - report at 4pm fixed by 10am next day.

A better class of service with less contention in the backhaul.

Infinitely better customer service, based out of west London. Quite important if you’ve ever tried getting an intelligible person / fast resolution with the likes of Virgin Media or TTB by way of comparison.

They aren’t perfect of course. A couple of us had a gateway slow down a few month ago, and it took them a while to get to the root cause but it wasn’t at all a showstopper and improved their public fault reporting too.

For those reasons I re-contracted when my FTTPoD was up.

Thanks for the info.

How do they fare with consumer oriented streaming services? I know a lot of the larger ISPs are in programmes to have content provider servers co-located within their network - do you know if they have those sort of links?
Standard User jimbof
(newbie) Sat 06-Feb-21 16:53:05
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Re: FTTP 900-1000/115 experiences / Zen / any others


[re: candlerb] [link to this post]
 
In reply to a post by candlerb:
Indeed I went with Cerberus because I took FTTPoD. I probably wouldn't have heard of them otherwise.

I stick with them partly in support of their FTTPoD activities. I'm very aware how time-consuming it is for them to administer, and hardly anyone else offers it.

That's commendable, but given the pricing of the works etc I was quoted for FTTPoD, and the ongoing service price, I'm sure they're not in it to make a loss! smile smile Probably just see it as a niche they can make good money out of.

I see what you mean though about the pricing vs other business offerings, so it does look par for the course.
Standard User Pheasant
(committed) Sat 06-Feb-21 16:53:44
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Re: FTTP 900-1000/115 experiences / Zen / any others


[re: jimbof] [link to this post]
 
No affiliations of that sort that I'm aware of. They are a relatively small quite business-oriented service provider.

My Broadband Speed Test
Standard User CarlTSpeak
(committed) Sat 06-Feb-21 17:09:01
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Re: FTTP 900-1000/115 experiences / Zen / any others


[re: jimbof] [link to this post]
 
In reply to a post by jimbof:
Wow, you really do want all the bandwidth! Do you have 2 lines then? Nice.


Yes to both - this was done yesterday as a test to try and expose a BT Wholesale bug - the part where it dropped from 1.9 to 0.9 was actually that bug happening.

It works fine. The capacity is shared fairly equitably - in the linked image you'll note where a 300 Mb customer was using their service and it, rightly, impinged on my usage alongside various other small inconsistencies where the total usage maxed out.

Even shared with 31 other premises, which it actually shouldn't be, as you can see most of the time even at peak I was able to max both 900s, so I certainly wouldn't worry about capacity as far as either the local network or the exchange goes.

https://i.imgur.com/esJlExH.png

Building better networks, not just faster ones.
Standard User candlerb
(fountain of knowledge) Sat 06-Feb-21 18:37:54
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Re: FTTP 900-1000/115 experiences / Zen / any others


[re: jimbof] [link to this post]
 
In reply to a post by jimbof:
given the pricing of the works etc I was quoted for FTTPoD, and the ongoing service price, I'm sure they're not in it to make a loss! smile


They make very little actually. They pass on the Openreach installation cost, and then for the first 12 months they charge a £35+VAT premium over their standard monthly FTTP prices. This means they get £420 for the overhead of managing the FTTP survey and delivery process with Openreach - which in my case took 17.5 months.

I suspect they do it mainly as a way to acquire customers like myself, who wouldn't otherwise have heard of Cerberus.
Standard User ft247
(learned) Sat 06-Feb-21 20:19:15
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Re: FTTP 900-1000/115 experiences / Zen / any others


[re: CarlTSpeak] [link to this post]
 
In reply to a post by CarlTSpeak:
a test to try and expose a BT Wholesale bug - the part where it dropped from 1.9 to 0.9 was actually that bug happening.


How does the bug present itself?
Standard User jimbof
(newbie) Sat 06-Feb-21 21:20:14
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Re: FTTP 900-1000/115 experiences / Zen / any others


[re: CarlTSpeak] [link to this post]
 
In reply to a post by CarlTSpeak:
Yes to both - this was done yesterday as a test to try and expose a BT Wholesale bug - the part where it dropped from 1.9 to 0.9 was actually that bug happening.

Very neat.

In reply to a post by CarlTSpeak:
Even shared with 31 other premises, which it actually shouldn't be, as you can see most of the time even at peak I was able to max both 900s, so I certainly wouldn't worry about capacity as far as either the local network or the exchange goes.

I'm onto a pretty good thing around here for the forseeable. A few of my neighbours are still happily chugging along on ADSL still as it meets their needs (we get 17Mb/s still on that old tech and FTTC does 80/20 easily on this street), so I think I'll have most of it to myself for a while.

32 is an interesting number, could be coincidence but I can see literally only 32 CBT ports in the area. 8 in my neighbour's flowerbed, 16 on the building infront of my courtyard and a further 8 on the wall of a small housing block near the underground splice point for the CBTs.

Neat thing is I can actually see who's had it activated as other that the one in the flower bed they're all surface mounted to buildings.

Maybe all the years hammering the availability checker with mine and my neighbour's post codes has paid off...
Standard User PianSomB
(learned) Sat 06-Feb-21 21:54:47
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Re: FTTP 900-1000/115 experiences / Zen / any others


[re: jimbof] [link to this post]
 
In reply to a post by jimbof:
Also see reports of FTTP throughput in general not being very consistent throughout the day.

So I guess the post is canvassing opinion from anyone who's on one of these ultrafast 900/115 packages to see how they're getting on with it, whether it is good value for money, or whether the reality of the backhaul / ISP infrastructure means it is hard to achieve the throughput advertised.

Thanks for any responses.


Hi there

I have been on BT's Fibre 900 for just under a year now (upgraded from 300 in Mar 2020, which I had had only for about 6 weeks). My experience has been that the service is faultless. Speed tests show consistent upload speeds of 120ish. Downloads speeds have been limited only by my hardware (Ubiquiti's UDM-Pro still has outstanding issues with PPPoE). I have not noticed a single service fail.

There are very few of us sharing the CBT here, I would suspect - a very rural location, just outside the M25. I have seen no variation in consistency through the day. On the few occasions I have suspected a dl issue a quick check has shown issues at the other end or over the interweb generally.

Like you, upload was what I was after (much shifting around of large brain scans, in my case). 100-120 is just great. And consistent.

Good value for money? Well, I am paying £57/m, which is a lot. But given that I signed up just pre-Covid, I have not regretted it at all. High family contentment while everyone was around. That said, a 300 connection is more than sufficient for multiple 4k downloads - though of course won't give you the upload pipe.

Summary - no regrets, happy punter

Edited by PianSomB (Sat 06-Feb-21 21:56:56)

Standard User jimbof
(newbie) Sat 06-Feb-21 22:23:18
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Re: FTTP 900-1000/115 experiences / Zen / any others


[re: PianSomB] [link to this post]
 
In reply to a post by PianSomB:
I have been on BT's Fibre 900 for just under a year now (upgraded from 300 in Mar 2020, which I had had only for about 6 weeks). My experience has been that the service is faultless. Speed tests show consistent upload speeds of 120ish. Downloads speeds have been limited only by my hardware (Ubiquiti's UDM-Pro still has outstanding issues with PPPoE). I have not noticed a single service fail.

Thanks for taking the time to reply. I'm also a Unifi user (USG-4-Pro here at home). I'm not sure this will be able to max out the connection at all with the options currently used, will have to look into that later. I think the upload will be a bit of a gamechanger for me.
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