PlusNet has announced to its Broadband Plus and HomeSurf account holders the intention to start implementing 'idle timeouts' on these packages. This affects around 50,000 customers, and emails should have gone out, or are being sent out now informing customers of the change. For those not sure what it means there is an FAQ on the PlusNet portal here. The 'idle timeouts' were originally mentioned back in August 2005, but no confirmed date was given then for when PlusNet would implement them.
The idea of timing out an otherwise idle connection, is that it frees up resources on the broadband home gateways that PlusNet run. This allows the ISP to run its network in what it considers a more efficient manner. The need for an idle timeout was not originally part of the BB+ product, but since the launch of the PlusNet Plus product BT Wholesale withdrew its plans to increase the number of user sessions possible on the gateways PlusNet use.
A general worry from users is what does PlusNet consider an idle connection, well any traffic in the 30 minute period will be enough to keep your connection active, so for example your email program looking for email on a mail server will be enough to keep you active. Even for those that do end up disconnecting, with ADSL most USB ADSL modems will reconnect with 2 to 3 seconds, and if using an ADSL modem/router many of these should handle the disconnect seamlessly. For those on BB+ who do not like the idle timeout idea at all, an opt-out option is in development and should be available by the end of November 2005.
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