Broadband News

Openworld Comes Clean

ADSLguide paid BTopenworld a visit at it's headquarters in London on Tuesday, ready to ask the questions that many of you are perhaps seeking answers for.

This news article covers just a fraction of what was discussed for a full synopsis of what was talked about visit the Announcments Forum

Perhaps the thing foremost in most peoples minds was the situation over the Peer 2 Peer throttling that ran for around one month, and culminated in the BBC Watchdog program last Thursday. We talked to Mike Galvin the Vice President, Operations & Developement, he said that the throttling was basically the result of a 'cock up' and was compounded by very poor communication with customers, their helpdesk and the media. BTOpenworld apologise for the problems this caused and readily admit to the fact they simply got it wrong.

So what really happened, well around a month ago as part of the normal network management that any large ISP has to do to keep the network running the ports 412, 1214, 4662, 6346 and 6699 were allocated a segment in the network, unfortunately due to an oversight/miscalculation the amount of bandwidth allocated to this was too low and resulted in the massive throttling that users saw, the helpdesk did the right thing and contacted BTopenworld for advice, but unfortunately was told 'nothing is wrong', hence the statements to users, then just too late the realisation of what was happening dawned on them and the traffic management was adjusted. Now at this point you may ask why do Openworld need to manage the traffic, well with 45,000 users and multiple paths through the ISP, 5 main input points and 5 main exit points the traffic needs to be balanced to ensure that the protocols using the most traffic do not all switch down a single route and cause congestion and packet loss, so essentially the route given to peer2peer apps was too low. These adjustments are carried out periodically and in fact at current peer 2 peer traffic for the listed ports peaks at 186Mbps, and has path setup for 200Mbps of traffic - this gives you some idea of the popularity of Peer 2 Peer applications. We have been provided with a breakdown of the traffic patterns for BTopenworld, this figures are a snapshot taken from a weekend:

Application Percentage of traffic
Other 33.4%
HTTP 29.1%
Peer2Peer 25.2%
News Server 3.9%
FTP 3.0%
POP3 mail 0.9%
SMTP 0.6%
DNS 0.3%
Telnet 0.03%

Other includes secure sockets, streaming media, unidentified protocols etc. Gaming wont show up, as it's difficult to monitor the UDP traffic patterns due to the nature of UDP.


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