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Virgin Media almost eradicates downstream traffic management
Thursday 24 October 2013 19:45:03 by Andrew Ferguson

While we reported a some minor tweaking to the traffic management policies of Virgin Media back in June, today sees the start of a roll-out of a set of changes that for downloaders should make the throttling back almost invisible. Downloaders who hit the 1 hour threshold will only see a 10% drop in speeds, and things only get slightly worse if you continue downloading and trigger the 2 hour threshold which has a 16% drop in speeds.

The situation on the upstream side remains unaltered, which will suit most Virgin Media customers, as while cloud storage is becoming more popular generally this is a background activity.

Traffic Management Policy for Virgin Media from 24th October
Broadband Package XL30 XL60 XL120
Download speeds 30 Mbps 60 Mbps 120 Mbps
Weekday 4pm - 11pm 4pm - 11pm 4pm - 11pm
1 hour threshold 2750 MB 3600 MB 5000 MB
1 hour reduction 10% 10% 10%
1 hour reduced speed 27 Mbps 54 Mbps 108 Mbps
2 hour threshold 3500 MB 4500 MB 6250 MB
2 hour reduction 16% 16% 16%
2 hour reduced speed 25.2 Mbps 50.4 Mbps 100.8 Mbps
Weekend 11am - 11pm 11am - 11pm 11am - 11pm
1 hour threshold 2750 MB 3600 MB 5000 MB
1 hour reduction 10% 10% 10%
1 hour reduced speed 27 Mbps 54 Mbps 108 Mbps
2 hour threshold 3500 MB 4500 MB 6250 MB
2 hour reduction 16% 16% 16%
2 hour reduced speed 25.2 Mbps 54 Mbps 100.8 Mbps
Upload speeds 3 Mbps 3 Mbps 12 Mbps
Weekday 4pm - 11pm 4pm - 11pm 4pm - 11pm
1 hour threshold 900 MB 900 MB 2200 MB
1 hour reduction 50% 50% 50%
1 hour reduced speed 1.5 Mbps 1.5 Mbps 6 Mbps
2 hour threshold 1200 MB 1200 MB 2950 MB
2 hour reduction 65% 65% 65%
2 hour reduced speed 1.1 Mbps 1.1 Mbps 4.3 Mbps
Weekend 4pm - 11pm 4pm - 11pm 4pm - 11pm
1 hour threshold 900 MB 900 MB 2200 MB
1 hour reduction 50% 50% 50%
1 hour reduced speed 1.5 Mbps 1.5 Mbps 6 Mbps
2 hour threshold 1200 MB 1200 MB 2950 MB
2 hour reduction 65% 65% 65%
2 hour reduced speed 1.1 Mbps 1.1 Mbps 4.3 Mbps

Virgin Media is the last of the large broadband providers with a complex traffic management system and with these now relatively minor drops in speeds, it is going to be difficult for customers to judge whether its throttling or just plain old congestion with other users of the service and the wider Internet that are slowing down their downloads.

Who knows, just maybe the poll we ran back in April 2013 has had some effect over at Virgin Media. In that poll 32.8% indicated that a 10% reduction was what they considered a moderate reduction in speed, following on from an ASA ruling the previous week. Another 23.8% indicated that anything below 20% was moderate, the suggestion therefore being that Virgin Media is now implementing traffic management that the majority of broadband customers will be happy with.

Comments

Posted by nick2xuk over 3 years ago
Seems reasonable.

The big uploaders won't be impressed but for the majority of people this is a decent move.
Posted by evari over 3 years ago
It's such a minor reduction in speed, does it really make that much difference to the overall network impact?
Posted by Kushan over 3 years ago
I think STM in general makes only a minor difference to overall network impact.
Posted by pcoventry76 over 3 years ago
Nice :)
Posted by drteeth over 3 years ago
If the throttle is not noticeable as 'evari' stated, why bother?
Posted by adslmax over 3 years ago
Upload is dreadful by VM.
Posted by Orford over 3 years ago
There is still P2P throttling at the stated peak time, no information on what the speed reduction is. This applies without being in STM. So what is the reduced speed for P2P?
Posted by ukhardy071 over 3 years ago
Orford when I had virginmedia before there was no obvious p2p slowdown. It just seemed like if you hit the limits, everything slowed down to the lower speeds. Other than that I didn't ever notice anything.
Posted by ukhardy071 over 3 years ago
orford, I saw the full 50Mbps speeds on P2P until I reached the download limits.
Posted by Dixinormous over 3 years ago
The major pressure is on the upstream, which is still massively throttled.

Does seem pretty pithy to still run with that level of reduction on the downstream though.
Posted by Orford over 3 years ago
This is a new policy. See section 2, what happens over and above traffic management.
Nothing is said to show what "slowed down" means. http://my.virginmedia.com/traffic-management/traffic-management-policy-30Mb-or-higher.html
Posted by Orford over 3 years ago
Section 2 has no bearing on your download limits and will be in effect for every one during the peak times.
What is the slow down % for P2P and newsgroups? For every one during the time frame.
Posted by huwwatkins over 3 years ago
Have they eliminated the local congestion issues now? I would hope so if they feel confident enough to relax the traffic management rules?
Posted by otester over 3 years ago
Seems VM is moving in the direction of just P2P traffic management, considering that's what the other major players are doing.

Local congestion is still a real issue though.
Posted by dwall over 3 years ago
Check back on the 30th and you'll see the real reason for these changes...
Posted by Joppy over 3 years ago
@otesterm Which of the other major providers manage p2p? BT and Sky are the other 2 major suppliers and neither of these manage p2p traffic on their unlimited products.
Posted by jrawle over 3 years ago
The upload speeds on Virgin Media are pathetic even before they are throttled. That's why it's very hard to find out what they are on their website. Yet they are still saying you can "Upload photos to Facebook faster". But really, upload reduced to 1.1 Mb/s on a 60 Mb/s service?
Posted by otester over 3 years ago
@Joppy

I probably should have added "at most", to my 1st paragraph of my previous comment.

TT/EE do though.
Posted by OnFire over 3 years ago
TT no longer manage P2P. Out of the major providers it is just Virgin Media and EE.
Posted by OnFire over 3 years ago
All about the ASA:
http://www.ispreview.co.uk/index.php/2013/10/virgin-media-uk-softens-broadband-traffic-management-policy.html

Posted by bartman007 over 3 years ago
lol still shitty upload speeds....move along
Posted by snadge over 3 years ago
still no mention of the P2P throttle during peak times or when network load is heavy in your area... only that it applies!!! what good is a 10% reduction if P2P is reduced 99% - they need to publish this information
Posted by roughbeast over 3 years ago
I've never been traffic managed having been with VM for over 8 years. I often exceed download and upload limits with no drop in speed.
VM's network upgrade has certainly alleviated many contention issues so I expect to be even less likely to be traffic managed.
Posted by roughbeast over 3 years ago
I should add that I get 120Mb/11.6Mb 24/7/52. It's a brilliant service. Latency is never higher than 11ms and jitter no higher than 1. Great for gaming.
Posted by OldChapXS over 3 years ago
If they hit their expectation of completing the double speed upgrade in December (for me anyway) I will have been 19 months waiting for a 10% upload speed.... Then I read THIS.

Oddly enough, having had 2 connections at two different houses, my upload has never seemed to be an issue either in use or during speed tests. Download on the other hand can be <3Mb on a 100Mb connection. Buffering has been common.

Just now= 2.85 down 4.85 up and 42ms

I hope I get a similar connection to yours roughbeast
Posted by LeJimster over 3 years ago
One reason I will probably never have a cable line is because the upload speeds suck. I don't have the greatest VDSL line yet I'm still getting twice the uncapped upload bandwidth that a Virgin XL120 connection would give, and it's never throttled.
Posted by pfvincent over 3 years ago
Unfortunately this new policy only applies to 30 Mbps and higher, and although they doubled my speed I'm still only on 20, where the old policy still applies. Roll on FTTC being available in the cabinet that would supply me if left Virgin.
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