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Pain of change felt by some Plusnet users with network migration
Tuesday 20 September 2016 11:51:19 by Andrew Ferguson

Others have already reported on problems with the network migration that has been underway at PlusNet for sometime and we've been trying to find a way to quantify both the numbers affected and what evidence is present in our various tools such as the broadband speed test and our ping monitoring and unfortunately while individuals can show issues on their connections, spotting blocks of people affected is proving harder.

For those not aware the network migration at PlusNet is due to the provider starting to commission and move users to what should be a more scalable and cheaper to operate in volume WBMC network. The move is not something customers request, so it is often difficult to tell an everyday change in performance apart from issues arising from the move to the new network, or put another way even when people identify their connection as being on the new network symptoms such as packet loss, disconnections, video buffering, DNS problems and other issues can just be a coincidence.

Some hardware changes at PlusNet such as the Hub One (which is a BT HomeHub 5) makes it impossible to observe latency performance using external ping tools since this router cannot be configured to respond to pings, which when added to the default dynamic IP addresses at PlusNet makes spotting whether its 1 in 1000 or 1 in 3 affected is proving very difficult. Additionally PlusNet is mitigating some of the problems for some people moved to the new network by providing a static IP address via a tunnel across the new network.

Click image for full size version

The above chart shows one of the metrics we produce from the speed tests results with the stability measure looking at the variability of the speeds during each test. Results of 0.9 to 1 are what in an ideal world one should see and as one would expect BT WiFi which is by its wireless nature and contended environment has highly variable results shows how bad things can be. If we eliminate mobile phones and tablets from the PlusNet result it does drop to a figure of 1.2, but similar drops apply to all the large providers. PlusNet is performing in the same band as its main competitors and the trend over time is pretty stable, suggesting that the new network problems of packet loss, variable speeds, disconnections and DNS issues while seriously impacting those afflicted are not yet affecting the majority of customers. If we take the performance of BT Wi-Fi as been bad (i.e. stability more than 2.6), then PlusNet shows around 15% of those testing on a PC with similar or worse stability, BT Consumer ranks at 12%, TalkTalk 16%, Sky 17% and Virgin Media 20%. We will keep more of an eye on this split as time passes when doing our monthly speed test round-up.


Posted by jelv about 1 month ago
Anyone wanting to see the sort of issues Plusnet some users are seeing have a look at
Posted by ianbb about 1 month ago
To put things into context regarding Jelv's comment there are more than 40,000 members of the PlusNet Community.
Posted by gsmlnx about 1 month ago
Also to help the context, the issue was first raised on the 2nd August and the first partial solution was 12th September. 41 days for a first attempt to fix.
Of course, the problem still exists.
How long for the next "fix"? And the next?
Posted by robinm0 about 1 month ago
I've just complained to Plusnet about a drop in speed from around 24Mbps to less than 19 in the last 2 weeks. I've been told that my 'profile is being reset' and to reboot my router (I use an Apple Airport Extreme, latest generation & firmware) later today. Note that their website & BT Wholesale both say that the range should be 22 to 32 for my location. They also can't offer the 'Extra' product (up to 76Mbps) - again, this should be available here.
Posted by andrew (Favicon staff member) about 1 month ago
If line estimates are 22 to 32 Mbps, then no point in ordering any up to 76 Mbps service, since it has no impact on connection speeds.

You need to check whether your modem is connecting at a lower speed in addition to speed test results.
Posted by DrMikeHuntHurtz about 1 month ago
You get what you pay for, Pussnet is el cheapo.
Posted by gsmlnx about 1 month ago
Plusnet are now claiming that the final fix to the issue linked to by Jelv has gone live today (24th September).
Time will tell.
Posted by rongtw 29 days ago
WELL final fix ,,, Hasnt worked .
Still ongoing MEGGA thread
Posted by uniquer 29 days ago
In early September I had an issue with my download speed dropping From 38 megs to 1.8 megs.Also e-mail was timing out It took 3 weeks to fix and an engineers visit but fingers crossed it is now back up to between 34 & 38 megs after aggreeing to drop my static IP address. My line is shown as able to get up to 52mbs.
Posted by FINCASTLE84 29 days ago
I'm a Plusnet customer & I certainly suffered all of the above symptoms, particularly massive packet loss, upload halved & very high latency. It suddenly settled down a few days ago & appears to be working better than ever.
Re the comment by Dr MHH, yes PN is cheap but in my experience provides an excellent product with good customer support (6 years a member.)
Posted by momist 27 days ago
I too think that Plusnet give a good service, especially in relation to how cheap they are. I still think this even after more than six months of recurrent problems and 18 OpenReach engineers visits to the premises (yes eighteen - not a typo!). My connection is still not 'stable' by any means, but it is far better than it has been, and I will continue to monitor the service closely. All my problems seem related to the line quality, not PN at fault there.
Posted by johnclarke12 27 days ago
I was unaware of this migration and probably explains why I have been experiencing problems over the last month and having experienced a total disconnect for a number of days, a service that is up and down despite a visit from a BTOR engineer. Plusnet have refunded the payments for the days that I have been down and given two months free rental but why don't they just admit that they are working on their network rather than just lying to their customers.
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