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Traffic management and product changes a plenty
Monday 02 November 2009 22:36:13 by Andrew Ferguson

The sharing of bandwidth from the telephone exchange and across the various networks out to the Internet is perhaps the biggest reason why broadband is affordable, and while the exact maths vary from country to country the calculations will take place across the world. When providers get these sums wrong you have complaints about slow or broken services, or alternatively you end up with a product that no-one wants to buy, finding the middle ground is a formula that every provider has to find out for itself.

Entanet who act as a wholesale provider to a number of broadband retailers has announced that a three week trial will start on Wednesday 4th November 2009 that uses a different technique to manage traffic volumes across their network. The full announcement has been posted on our forums in the Entanet section. The new system is set to see interactive type traffic be given the priority when the network is busy, currently Entanet run a system known as ALT(Anti Loss Tool) which can see speeds at peak times drop to 2Mbps. The idea behind the new system is to improve factors like latency which can affect many interactive services such as web browsing, video streaming, VoIP and hosted application access.

The statement reveals that Entanet are seeing around 10% of their users consuming capacity to such an extent it affects the other 90% of users. The applications cited are non-interactive bulk services, for example news groups and peer-to-peer. The trial is planned to last three weeks at which time feedback will be sought from partners and a decision made to return to the current system or adopt the new system.

Entanet is not the only provider that has been implementing changes as customers change how they use their broadband services, O2 announced the use of traffic management on its off-net products back in October 2009. Additionally Plusnet changed its product range when it launched its WBC based up to 20Mbps products towards the end of October 2009, by changing its Premium package from an 'unlimited' label to an 80GB usage allowance (overnight usage is not metered).

Some people had perhaps hoped that the new 21CN WBC products with the reductions in the cost of bandwidth at the wholesale level would be enough to see usage limits relaxed. Alas it seems perhaps the changes in prices are not enough to see a return to when broadband in the UK was almost all unlimited, which was the case several years ago. One problem is that the WBC products have limited coverage across the UK still, and there can be substantial costs for providers moving across to adopt the new products.

Another big factor is that usage by consumers keeps on growing, and while the numbers of people consuming 1000GB a month is very small (this was impossible with the broadband of 2000). What is happening is that websites are changing. Almost gone are the days of simple static webpages. Dynamically updating content is more common which can mean latency is more of an issue for web browsing and the rise of adverts with video embedded means a slow growth in usage even for those who have not started to use things like the various catch-up TV services. Another ongoing issue is the dependence on Internet delivered updates for operating systems, as anyone who has re-built a computer from the original manufacturer media will testify too, to get all the service packs and security fixes may consume 0.5GB or more.

Of course unlimited is not dead in the UK, there are a number of providers offering unbundled solutions where usage figures well above the UK average are still acceptable. This is currently down to a mixture of providers having access to cheaper bandwidth in the areas they have unbundled, and the original network investment may have scaled for a network of X million customers, and as they are not at that level yet there is still slack in the system.

Comments

Posted by RepairExpert over 7 years ago
Same old problem that has bugged us for the past few years.
Extra services coming available with a complete lack of infrastructure to cope with them.
I'm a low user, around 3Gb per month, but the other week I tried a program from one of the catch-up TV services; 45mins used 750mb of download capacity. Little wonder there's a problem at peak times.
Posted by TonyHoyle over 7 years ago
The infrastructure exists - good ISPs have no problems at 'peak' times or at any other times.

The reason some ISPs have problems is the whole thing has become price driven rather than quality driven - people are buying broadband at £5 a month then wondering why the customer service is crap/nonexistant and they can barely get any speed out of it in the early evenings.
Posted by RepairExpert over 7 years ago
Can't agree there, my ISP Virgin Media charges enough (£17.61, because I won't let them get at my telephone service as well) and although speeds are very good when I use it most, off peak; around 5.5Mb-6Mb, peak times can be very poor. Yes the £5 a month suppliers can be poor but some of the other higher price ones can still have problems at peak times if they use BT pipes.
Posted by otester over 7 years ago
@RepairExpert

I wouldn't call £17.61 "very high", under the BT system you're looking at paying all the way up to £180 for unmetered + full speed.

Parents pay £32 for 'up to' 8Mbps 100GB + 832Kbps upload and the throughput speed is consistent with the IP Profile even during what many ISP's consider "peak times" and get 3Mbps (line length).

At my actual residence I pay £25 for unmetered 24Mbps LLU marketed as 16Mbps for honesty and get 14Mbps due to aluminium network - BT Openreach guy told me, over copper I would get ~18Mbps+.
Posted by Dawn_Falcon over 7 years ago
*looks at the list*

So basically gamers get the shaft as usual. Sigh.
Posted by ian72 over 7 years ago
@repairexpert
As otester says that isn't a lot. I first started with broadband on 512Kb, paid £150 to get it installed and paid about £50 per month rental. The amount charged now does not provide a service that matches expectations (barring any arguments about excessive profits/shareholder payouts/etc).
Posted by jcp8161 over 7 years ago
Time mandelson & co fixed the state of the country and leave this alone.Whats in it for them???????
Posted by Dawn_Falcon over 7 years ago
Um, Entanet | Mandleson
Posted by otester over 7 years ago
@jcp8191

Power, not just for Mandelson, but Rothschild and the other elite people he's been "having dinner" with.

As soon as people see the real puppet masters, we will be free.
Posted by chrysalis over 7 years ago
the key sign an isp has 'lost it' is when they start to blame the top minority of its heaviest users. Entanet you messed up pure and simple, products too cheap to buy adequate capacity.
Posted by CARPETBURN over 7 years ago
LOL
QUOTE"The new system is set to see interactive type traffic be given the priority when the network is busy"

Considering everything from viewing a web page to listening to music, watching video or gamin is "INTERACTIVE" i have a feeling this is going to be another case of an ISP gone down hill and worthy of nothing more than pointing at their pathetic play on words. Still i like the way they are going to see for a period of 3 weeks how it performs, or in English how many people jump ship
Posted by CARPETBURN over 7 years ago
quote"Some people had perhaps hoped that the new 21CN WBC products with the reductions in the cost of bandwidth at the wholesale level would be enough to see usage limits relaxed. Alas it seems perhaps the changes in prices are not enough to see a return to when broadband in the UK was almost all unlimited, which was the case several years ago. One problem is that the WBC products have limited coverage across the UK still, and there can be substantial costs for providers moving across to adopt the new products."

Nah the problem is all down to 2 things, greed and BT
Posted by chrysalis over 7 years ago
well the isps messed 21cn up as well, yes the backhaul costs are lower, but instead of profiting the difference they lowered retail prices leaving themselves in the same mess with lack of revenue for capacity.
Posted by paulgeaf over 7 years ago
'Power, not just for Mandelson, but Rothschild and the other elite people he's been "having dinner" with.

As soon as people see the real puppet masters, we will be free.'
Can't I get away from dumb conspiracy theorists even here?
Get back in your box please and keep on the topic which is the systematic eradication of what used to be a great service..entanet is now crap.
It's official.
:(
Posted by otester over 7 years ago
@paulgeaf

In google type: "mandelson dinner with rothschild".

Almost all sources listed are mainstream.

Better luck next time eh? ;)
Posted by Dawn_Falcon over 7 years ago
If by "luck", you mean that you need to study the difference correlation and causation, yes.

Cum Hoc Ergo Propter Hoc.
Posted by otester over 7 years ago
@paulgeaf

By definition its a conspiracy.

@Dawn

If 2 like-minded people get together and result is Mandelson wanted to screw with the internet. That's enough causation for me.
Posted by Dawn_Falcon over 7 years ago
otester - "Result", right. It's an initiative which had to have been worked on for quite some time before the annoucement.

Do you wear a tinfoil hat, srsly?
Posted by David-Park over 7 years ago
Well I booted out Entanet a year ago due to rubbish being provided to me at high price. I will not be returning to them.
Posted by doughnut77 over 7 years ago
Well, I have Be - consistent 14M down, 1M up, even at peak times, unlimited usage, no throttling, great customer service - all for £17.50/month. Had it for over 2 years, but how long can it last?
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