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Standard User funkydan
(learned) Thu 09-Apr-20 10:31:25
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What backhaul am I on?


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Can some kind person point me to where I can see what backhaul I am on with Zen?
I have searched on my customer portal. Looked at the line data page and broadband technical detail page but can't see it anywhere.
Thanks

Edit: I have also looked the the data on my Fritzbox 3490 and can't see any mention of it.
I am thinking of moving from Zen as I'm on the out of contract rate. I don't want to take out a new 1 year contract as I don't know how long I will be in my property for (it's a long complicated situation) and might have to move in with family and don't want to be tied in and have to pay an early cancellation fee.
I was thinking of taking out the monthly contract with Pulse8 as it cheaper than my contract rate now. I have read that Pulse8 use TT backhaul and Zen use either BTw or TT. I want to see if i'm on the TT backhaul as my FTTC service is solid and I have no complaints.

Edited by funkydan (Thu 09-Apr-20 11:58:27)

Standard User andew
(member) Thu 09-Apr-20 15:39:27
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Re: What backhaul am I on?


[re: funkydan] [link to this post]
 
Hi

You should be able to see which backhaul you are using on the line data page. For example mine says:
Your current maximum download speed is 66031Kbps.
Your current line technology is GEA FTTC. (which i believe is zen's own backhaul)

Regards

Andrew
Standard User witchunt
(experienced) Thu 09-Apr-20 18:14:29
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Re: What backhaul am I on?


[re: andew] [link to this post]
 
Surely GEA FTTC is just the openreach broadband product, nothing to do with the backhaul


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Standard User andew
(member) Thu 09-Apr-20 18:32:33
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Re: What backhaul am I on?


[re: witchunt] [link to this post]
 
I had a connection at my previous property, the line stats for that property said it was BT WMBC which i believe is BT backhaul. That exchange was Perranporth ( no ZEN LLU available there ). I know the head end exchange i'm connected to now has a ZEN LLU available, truro in my case. From reading other threads on this forum, the other connection type is TT Business.
Standard User funkydan
(learned) Thu 09-Apr-20 19:41:20
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Re: What backhaul am I on?


[re: andew] [link to this post]
 
From a quick Google search GEA stands for Generic Ethernet Access which is just another way of describing FTTC.
In my customer portal there are readings for Line Rate Data. In this section it shows up and down sync speeds.There is also a reading for my BRAS Profile which displays as N/A.
In the Synchronising Data section MSR, FTR and MSR Reset Status display as "No record available".
In the Service Profile Data section Noise Margin Reset, Run Mode, Run Mode Changed and Interleaved also display "No record available".
Standard User Woolwich
(committed) Thu 09-Apr-20 21:44:17
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Re: What backhaul am I on?


[re: funkydan] [link to this post]
 
In reply to a post by funkydan:
Can some kind person point me to where I can see what backhaul I am on with Zen?
I have searched on my customer portal. Looked at the line data page and broadband technical detail

Mine is on the line data page just above the Line Rate Data table. "Your current line technology is Talk Talk Business".
Standard User funkydan
(learned) Fri 10-Apr-20 09:35:26
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Re: What backhaul am I on?


[re: funkydan] [link to this post]
 
Thanks all for your replies.
My line technology is GEA FTTC.
I didn't do thorough enough googling. It looks like Andrew is correct that it is Zen's own backhaul.
I found this post from 2016. https://forums.thinkbroadband.com/zen/f/4499216-zen-...
It was a bit confusing as doing a Google search for GEA FTTC shows results saying it is just a generic term for FTTC connections.

Edited by funkydan (Fri 10-Apr-20 09:56:44)

Standard User RobertoS
(elder) Fri 10-Apr-20 10:26:40
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Re: What backhaul am I on?


[re: funkydan] [link to this post]
 
Zen is a confusing ISP as it is listed by some sites, particularly samknows, as being an LLU supplier. It isn't. LLU means a provider has its own ADSLx MSANs or DSLAMs in the actual exchange. As far as I know Zen does not have any.

I'll outline the basic principles, and will probably get some correction of detail by more knowledgeable people.

Zen used to be purely BT Wholesale based, but some years ago set up a smallish, (now almost certainly expanded), backhaul network of its own with a number of Points Of Presence (POPs) (nodes?) around the country.

It had these fed from its "LLU" exchanges by one or other true LLU provider. At others it continued to use BT Wholesale.

On FTTC things are a bit different as there is no such thing as LLU FTTC. Though the term LLU supplier is often used for convenience. There is only Openreach GEA, which is the Openreach product that implements Ofcom's specification of VULA. (Virtual Unbundled Loop/Local - I forget which - Access).

All the DSLAMs are in the cabinets, and are owned and managed by Openreach. From the cabinets there are fibre links back to relatively few headend exchanges, (not necessarily the one the phone line goes to).

At the headend exchanges the fibres terminate on Openreach kit. BT Wholesale, Sky and TalkTalk then rent "cablelinks" of varying throughput capacity to connect from that into the enhanced backhaul they had installed for their LLU MSANs/DSLAMs.

AIUI, for FTTC Zen either use BT Wholesale backhaul, or TalkTalk backhaul, and - guessing completely now - perhaps at some headends having a similar feed from one or the other to their existing POPs as they do for ADSLx.

Confused now? I wouldn't be surprised, but I've done my best. It's quite a complex subject.

My broadband basic info/help site - www.robertos.me.uk. Domains, site and mail hosting - Tsohost.
Connection - Three 4G, tbb tests normally 35-45Mpbs down, 65Mbps off-peak, 9-24 up.
==================================================
"Democracy means simply the bludgeoning of the people by the people for the people." Oscar Wilde
Standard User zzing123
(regular) Fri 10-Apr-20 12:53:53
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Re: What backhaul am I on?


[re: RobertoS] [link to this post]
 
This page from Kitz shows what goes on in an Exchange. It's pretty complex as it depends entirely one what tech your using (ADSL has the DSLAMs in the exchange, but FTTC has fibre from the cabinet. It also matters if you have voice from the same ISP as you have data (that's the difference between MPF and SMPF).

With FTTC and FTTP, it pretty much just requires a cable link to the appropriate backhaul (effectively just a patch cable between a switch). With ADSL it's a bit more complex.

In essence there are several products from Openreach used:

1. Line is rented from Openreach
2. A Service Level for the line is bought from Openreach. This ranges from 1 to 4. All consumer lines are SL1 (72 hour clear), most business lines are SL2 (48 hour clear). SL3 (24 hour clear) is hardly used and SL4 is what EFM and EoFTTC use which is 7 hour response time.
3. FTTC capability is bought from Openreach
4. A cable link is bought from Openreach to connect to either BT Wholesale or Talk Talk Business (in most cases). There are other ISPs that run leased lines to exchanges.
5. For consumer grade connections, BTW and TTB offer a highly regulated product that essentially bundles bandwidth for a number of lines. This bandwidth is very expensive, so ISPs contend customers on this backhaul to keep prices down. For 'Ethernet' connections, you can buy this bandwidth directly and have 1:1 contention. Ironically, this bandwidth is MUCH cheaper than the consumer bundle because leased lines are so competitively priced, but as you aren't sharing the bandwidth it's more expensive individually.
6. The backhaul provider also provides the bRAS which controls the lines characteristics and responsible for the IP profile (in BTW terms). This is what you're talking to when you use the BTWholesale speedtest - however your traffic doesn't go through it, it's more of an orchestration device. bRAS's are a bit shady and not much is known about them or where they are.
7. After the bRAS, you're then finally handed over to the ISP's network who you have the contract with, and they're now responsible for routing your packet through their peering agreements to wherever that traffic needs to go - only at the edge of the core router are you finally on the Intertubes proper.

FTTP is just using a GPON OLT (back to having equipment like a DSLAM in the exchange) which is connected to a fibre that is spliced to all the properties (usually up to 32), which each have an ONT in them. The OLT then just uses a cable link to the backhaul.

A leased line is simpler still by just being a fibre directly to the cable link and on to the backhaul.

All of these are a mix and match of different products between Openreach and the backhaul provider, and you can theoretically pick and mix. In practice, only the LLU ISPs that operate kit in the exchange do this picking and mixing and create a product which is then resold to other ISPs on a wholesale basis.

The key price differentiators are only what backhaul you use, what SL you have. TTB is a bit cheaper than BTW. But for example, an EoFTTC line with TTB 1:1 contention and SL4 costs £75/mth. With BTW it is £5 more at end ISP prices. For consumer grade broadband, the cheapest service I know of is £18/mth which is used as backup line to an Ethernet product.

Therefore you can determine if you're on a BTW backhaul, as the BTWholesale speedtest will test your line. It won't recognise your number if your on another backhaul like TTB.

Although it's highly likely the backhaul is using MPLS, meaning you won't necessarily be able to know what the hops are in a traceroute, they may offer a clue.
Standard User RobertoS
(elder) Fri 10-Apr-20 13:12:52
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Re: What backhaul am I on?


[re: zzing123] [link to this post]
 
I know all that. I thought that would be obvious.

I was trying to explain simply just the necessary part of it.

My broadband basic info/help site - www.robertos.me.uk. Domains, site and mail hosting - Tsohost.
Connection - Three 4G, tbb tests normally 35-45Mpbs down, 65Mbps off-peak, 9-24 up.
==================================================
"Democracy means simply the bludgeoning of the people by the people for the people." Oscar Wilde
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