The melting Vodafone home broadband network - UPDATED
We missed this in our daily work sifting through speed test results as it was a Bank Holiday Weekend but we have also learnt to not shout about a problem until the data supports that and after a couple of days where the average performance from Vodafone Home broadband customers is down it looks like it is time to shout. Mark of ISPreview has spotted the increased volume of complaints on social media from Vodafone customers.
The chart is pretty clear starting on the 23rd August 2019 there was a big dip in both the median and mean average download speeds we saw from speed test results. The dip on the 23rd is only marginally below the normal range but now with four consecutive days of low averages it is clear something is going on at Vodafone.
The chart is showing the averages for the full 24 hours of each day and the effect is even more pronounced if we look at just speed tests down each between 7pm and 10pm.
|7pm to 10pm||Median download||Mean Download|
|Monday 26th August||6.2 Mbps||13 Mbps|
|Sunday 25th August||9.3 Mbps||16.8 Mbps|
|Saturday 24th August||14.3 Mbps||20.7 Mbps|
|Friday 23rd August||9.4 Mbps||16.8 Mbps|
|Thursday 22nd August||31.1 Mbps||32.8 Mbps|
|Wednesday 21st August||28.5 Mbps||37.5 Mbps|
|Monday 20th August||25.1 Mbps||32.3 Mbps|
We have looked at BT, EE, Plusnet, Sky, TalkTalk and Virgin Media results on a daily basis and there are all staying within their normal pattern, so this does not look to be an effect of people hiding indoors from the hot weather over the weekend, an external factor like that would be expected to show up on all the providers. Of course it may be data usage climbing as people do more online, i.e. combined effect of kids and parents off school and Vodafone has been the only major provider that has run out of capacity on its network. If this is the case then once the results for Tuesday 27th become available we would expect things to improve since most people are back at work today.
We do run automated checking on the speed test results for the major providers with internal alerts to tell us something unusual is happening but these were not triggered since Vodafone Home Broadband is the smallest of the major providers and the volume of tests was below the threshold for sending out the automated alert. Additionally I also am running a Vodafone FTTC connection as my home service and it has been streaming films and gaming without any undue effects, though web browsing was a bit messy on Friday but switching to the second connection with another provider resolved that (the odd slower than perfect web browsing period on Vodafone was not that unusual so did not ring alarm bells).
Update Wednesday 28th August: The performance levels seen across the full 24 hour period and peak time window have returned to normal at Vodafone for the VDSL2 and FTTP customers. The peak time download median was 30.1 Mbps and mean 32.7 Mbps, with the 24 hour averages of median 32.6 Mbps and mean
No information on what the problem was, the simplest explanation seems to be that the weekend was busier than usual and there was not sufficient spare capacity in the core network to cope. Whatever the cause that the Vodafone Gigafast customers were affected does exist to remind everyone that full fibre connectivity to the home solves some problems but does not guarantee a perfect broadband experience.