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Plusnet Usergroup » All Users - The Open Forum » The Business Users Forum » Usenet access via Business premier
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Author Topic: Usenet access via Business premier  (Read 51590 times)
Simon M

Posts: 29

« Reply #15 on: February 15, 2007, 04:59:50 pm »

Usenet traffic on Business accounts has now slipped from gold (Oct 06) to silver (Jan 07) to bronze (sometime Plusnet don't seem to know about).

From an open ticket, 2nd comment dated today:

Code:
I can confirm that Usenet has always been in the Bronze queue for business accounts.
oops!!

Code:
We do not have the date when the change to bronze was made.

ID: 21299943 if any staff member wants to check.
Tam

Posts: 1188


100Mb via Enta.net :D

« Reply #16 on: February 15, 2007, 07:01:07 pm »

BRONZE  angry angry angry angry angry angry angry angry angry angry

PlusNet are a joke.


Ultra

Posts: 777

WWW
« Reply #17 on: February 16, 2007, 12:07:58 am »

Usenet for a business account seems a strange type of use anyway, and seeing the dates from Simon, it has been clearly considered less important than other traffic within PN.  However, it's an area where one has to question whether such information should be on a publicly visible 'change log' or even a PUG-visible log, where PUG has the option to make public the information (if the dates Simon has given were not from widely available statements - eg if the dates shown were in response to tickets querying speed for Usenet traffic).

Maybe Simon could clarify how the 10/06 and 01/07 dates were known?
Simon M

Posts: 29

« Reply #18 on: February 16, 2007, 12:51:18 am »

Maybe Simon could clarify how the 10/06 and 01/07 dates were known?

Sure - I just read this thread from the beginning.  smiley

Remember that a lot of Business accounts are for people who work from home - their level of business use & priorities disqualify them from residential accounts but even self-employed people (who have absolute B*****ds for bosses) get to take some time off & relax.

It's funny how things change. You used to get your wrist slapped for trying to get away with a residential account when you really should have had a business account. Now it's beginning to look the other way round.

I don't want to download huge amounts. What I do want to do is download a moderate account at a reasonable speed (doesn't need to be anywhere near line capacity - in fact I would want to restrict it to background level) at a time to suit me. My use of Usenet doesn't lend itself to scheduling huge overnight downloads. I have had an Astraweb account since Plusnet went to text only Usenet nearly a year ago & I haven't used up my 2nd chunk of 25Gb yet. (I pay by download, not a fixed fee per month).

I can put up with a rate limited service - say 100KB/s or even lower at really peak time. I can put up with a monthly/weekly/daily cap on amount downloaded. I'm not so happy when I get 1 or 2 KB/s for hours on end, especially when it's off peak.
Ultra

Posts: 777

WWW
« Reply #19 on: February 16, 2007, 06:57:22 am »

Thanks Simon.  Had wrongly assumed the dates were from other sources...

Understood on the accounts use/misuse issue...  It's one reason I have had a second ISP so as not to break terms of service, though some time back I recall Eclipse putting the fact they were teleworker friendly on their website, while PN has never, to my mind, been very clear on why they accepted home accounts being used by someone for teleworking (but not the self-employed, even if the former generated more traffic than the latter, if the latter only checked mail and was out working for clients most of the time)

NNTP at 1 or 2 kB/s - I don't think I saw that level when I was on Broadband Plus 15+ months ago, it sometimes went faster, but mostly timed out...   As for Astraweb, I'm in credit to the level of 178 GB (as I moved a line to another ISP, which offers Giganews at a rate-limited speed).  I've also used one of Centaur's services at $2.50/month allowing 5 GB (and managed to go over by 1 GB when I remembered the month was almost up, and queued a chunk of downloads)
« Last Edit: February 16, 2007, 07:01:04 am by NetGuy »
mbeckett

Posts: 388

« Reply #20 on: February 16, 2007, 03:41:54 pm »

Hi there

Usenet on Business products is classed as Silver. I have reinforced this message to our support staff, and apologise for any inconvenience caused.

Kind Regards
Mand

Mand Beckett
Plusnet Comms Team
Service Status :: RSS :: Email
Tam

Posts: 1188


100Mb via Enta.net :D

« Reply #21 on: February 16, 2007, 03:53:36 pm »

Hi there

Usenet on Business products is classed as Silver. I have reinforced this message to our support staff, and apologise for any inconvenience caused.
Should be gold  angry

Simon M

Posts: 29

« Reply #22 on: February 16, 2007, 04:32:23 pm »

Usenet on Business products is classed as Silver.

Thanks for the clarification Mand.

That re-raises the question of why speeds are more indicative of bronze though.

Could you also cast your eye over Q ID: 21299943 & see if you need to add anything to me, or use your famous educational techniques on anyone in particular. If I am being hyper-critical, there are more problems with the track of that ticket than just the uncertainty of what queue Usenet is in.

In the light of what you have said, I still don't have a proper answer to that ticket that takes me forward.
Simon M

Posts: 29

« Reply #23 on: February 16, 2007, 04:43:52 pm »

I have reinforced this message to our support staff.

I've just had a quick look at the web cams & the Tickets desks are nearly deserted.

Do you think Mand is having one of her 're-education' sessions somewhere where the blood doesn't show.

 evil
Tam

Posts: 1188


100Mb via Enta.net :D

« Reply #24 on: February 16, 2007, 04:51:31 pm »

Usenet on Business products is classed as Silver.

That re-raises the question of why speeds are more indicative of bronze though.


Just checked on one of the lines that we (un??)fortunately still have with PlusNet.

The DSCP is 0x40 which is silver queue, however I have to admit I have *never* seen such appalling speeds!

Pinging members.easynews.com [140.99.99.99] with 32 bytes of data:

Reply from 140.99.99.99: bytes=32 time=3127ms TTL=49
Reply from 140.99.99.99: bytes=32 time=2866ms TTL=49
Reply from 140.99.99.99: bytes=32 time=2910ms TTL=49
Reply from 140.99.99.99: bytes=32 time=3216ms TTL=49
Reply from 140.99.99.99: bytes=32 time=3151ms TTL=49
Reply from 140.99.99.99: bytes=32 time=3314ms TTL=49
Reply from 140.99.99.99: bytes=32 time=3044ms TTL=49
Request timed out.
Reply from 140.99.99.99: bytes=32 time=2606ms TTL=49
Reply from 140.99.99.99: bytes=32 time=2678ms TTL=49
Reply from 140.99.99.99: bytes=32 time=2885ms TTL=49
Reply from 140.99.99.99: bytes=32 time=3003ms TTL=49
Reply from 140.99.99.99: bytes=32 time=3391ms TTL=49
Reply from 140.99.99.99: bytes=32 time=3493ms TTL=49
Reply from 140.99.99.99: bytes=32 time=3129ms TTL=49

I wont try a speed test from a download as it will just take me to long to actually navigate to a file to get it.


Simon M

Posts: 29

« Reply #25 on: February 16, 2007, 05:51:53 pm »

The DSCP is 0x40 which is silver queue.

Useful confirmation. Thanks Tam. At least we know what problem we are looking at, which is a start.

Your ping times are slightly better than the ones I'm getting to astraweb.

Pinging pbdl.news.astraweb.com [216.151.153.45] with 32 bytes of data:

Request timed out.
Reply from 216.151.153.45: bytes=32 time=3690ms TTL=57
Reply from 216.151.153.45: bytes=32 time=3789ms TTL=57
Reply from 216.151.153.45: bytes=32 time=3944ms TTL=57

Mind you, I wouldn't expect anything very fantastic at this time of day, particularly with the knock on problems following the ERX card failure.

However, if usenet is silver & can only manage 2KB/s (& I've just tried a very small download to check that's what it still is), then what about all the other things in silver that are more time sensitive?

I've just done another trial download - this time from a non-plusnet FTP server. Also silver presumably (Is that correct? Or is external FTP in gold on business accounts?). Peak speed 611/KB/s. Average about 400KB/s. Perfectly satisfactory.

So is there silver (polished) & silver (tarnished)? Or is usenet just silver plated to make it look good but not really the pure silver that FTP appears to be?

My technical knowledge is limited, but I suspect there is a way to sub-divide the silver queue by source so that any traffic from a known Usenet site, no matter what protocol & what queue it is nominally in, is further throttled.

If this is current policy to cope with the strain on the network, then fine, but I hope Plusnet will be open about it. At the moment I still don't know if I'm chasing a fault or suffering from a 'correctly' applied policy.

jelv1

Posts: 2130

« Reply #26 on: February 16, 2007, 07:12:14 pm »

Have you tried using the other Astranews servers - I've found the pbdl one is usually the worst:

Code:
C:\Documents and Settings\John>ping pbdl.news.astraweb.com

Pinging pbdl.news.astraweb.com [216.151.153.22] with 32 bytes of data:

Reply from 216.151.153.22: bytes=32 time=172ms TTL=57
Reply from 216.151.153.22: bytes=32 time=168ms TTL=57
Reply from 216.151.153.22: bytes=32 time=168ms TTL=57
Reply from 216.151.153.22: bytes=32 time=169ms TTL=57

Ping statistics for 216.151.153.22:
    Packets: Sent = 4, Received = 4, Lost = 0 (0% loss),
Approximate round trip times in milli-seconds:
    Minimum = 168ms, Maximum = 172ms, Average = 169ms

C:\Documents and Settings\John>ping news.astraweb.com

Pinging news.astraweb.com [193.202.122.105] with 32 bytes of data:

Reply from 193.202.122.105: bytes=32 time=24ms TTL=57
Reply from 193.202.122.105: bytes=32 time=22ms TTL=57
Reply from 193.202.122.105: bytes=32 time=22ms TTL=57
Reply from 193.202.122.105: bytes=32 time=22ms TTL=57

Ping statistics for 193.202.122.105:
    Packets: Sent = 4, Received = 4, Lost = 0 (0% loss),
Approximate round trip times in milli-seconds:
    Minimum = 22ms, Maximum = 24ms, Average = 22ms

C:\Documents and Settings\John>ping europe.news.astraweb.com

Pinging europe.news.astraweb.com [193.202.122.101] with 32 bytes of data:

Reply from 193.202.122.101: bytes=32 time=22ms TTL=57
Reply from 193.202.122.101: bytes=32 time=22ms TTL=57
Reply from 193.202.122.101: bytes=32 time=23ms TTL=57
Reply from 193.202.122.101: bytes=32 time=22ms TTL=57

Ping statistics for 193.202.122.101:
    Packets: Sent = 4, Received = 4, Lost = 0 (0% loss),
Approximate round trip times in milli-seconds:
    Minimum = 22ms, Maximum = 23ms, Average = 22ms

I'm on the 65GB (90GB) Astraweb package and I have my newsreader set to use 10 connections on each of the three servers - have you tried with multiple connections (10 is the Astraweb limit per server).

jelv
Tam

Posts: 1188


100Mb via Enta.net :D

« Reply #27 on: February 16, 2007, 07:13:29 pm »

Quote
My technical knowledge is limited, but I suspect there is a way to sub-divide the silver queue by source so that any traffic from a known Usenet site, no matter what protocol & what queue it is nominally in, is further throttled.
Indeed, I'd guess that it is placed in the silver queue so packets are not dropped therefore the service is usable, however total usenet traffic has a rate limit applied to it, something like 500Mb/sec of total network bandwidth. Getting the "open and honest" plusnet to admit to this will be difficult though imho. Especially as this would show everyone that even top payers i.e. 45+ per month accounts only get 2Kb/sec speeds.


Quote
If this is current policy to cope with the strain on the network, then fine, but I hope Plusnet will be open about it. At the moment I still don't know if I'm chasing a fault or suffering from a 'correctly' applied policy.
The speeds you are seeing are not caused by a fault, but in the way the traffic is shaped, sure PN could say that the shaping is faulty as it shouldn't cause that much of speed loss but i'm guessing that they are hoping that people be quiet and put up with it until they enable a whole 300Mb/sec of which they claim is going to solve all the issues (imho they really need 2Gb enabling to bring speeds back up to what people should be getting - i.e. full line speed until you reach your limit allowance.)


Roll on when BT take over all the users and add them to their own network.


Tam

Posts: 1188


100Mb via Enta.net :D

« Reply #28 on: February 16, 2007, 07:14:53 pm »

Have you tried using the other Astranews servers - I've found the pbdl one is usually the worst:

Code:
C:\Documents and Settings\John>ping pbdl.news.astraweb.com

Pinging pbdl.news.astraweb.com [216.151.153.22] with 32 bytes of data:

Reply from 216.151.153.22: bytes=32 time=172ms TTL=57
Reply from 216.151.153.22: bytes=32 time=168ms TTL=57
Reply from 216.151.153.22: bytes=32 time=168ms TTL=57
Reply from 216.151.153.22: bytes=32 time=169ms TTL=57

Ping statistics for 216.151.153.22:
    Packets: Sent = 4, Received = 4, Lost = 0 (0% loss),
Approximate round trip times in milli-seconds:
    Minimum = 168ms, Maximum = 172ms, Average = 169ms

C:\Documents and Settings\John>ping news.astraweb.com

Pinging news.astraweb.com [193.202.122.105] with 32 bytes of data:

Reply from 193.202.122.105: bytes=32 time=24ms TTL=57
Reply from 193.202.122.105: bytes=32 time=22ms TTL=57
Reply from 193.202.122.105: bytes=32 time=22ms TTL=57
Reply from 193.202.122.105: bytes=32 time=22ms TTL=57

Ping statistics for 193.202.122.105:
    Packets: Sent = 4, Received = 4, Lost = 0 (0% loss),
Approximate round trip times in milli-seconds:
    Minimum = 22ms, Maximum = 24ms, Average = 22ms

C:\Documents and Settings\John>ping europe.news.astraweb.com

Pinging europe.news.astraweb.com [193.202.122.101] with 32 bytes of data:

Reply from 193.202.122.101: bytes=32 time=22ms TTL=57
Reply from 193.202.122.101: bytes=32 time=22ms TTL=57
Reply from 193.202.122.101: bytes=32 time=23ms TTL=57
Reply from 193.202.122.101: bytes=32 time=22ms TTL=57

Ping statistics for 193.202.122.101:
    Packets: Sent = 4, Received = 4, Lost = 0 (0% loss),
Approximate round trip times in milli-seconds:
    Minimum = 22ms, Maximum = 23ms, Average = 22ms

I'm on the 65GB (90GB) Astraweb package and I have my newsreader set to use 10 connections on each of the three servers - have you tried with multiple connections (10 is the Astraweb limit per server).

And there speaks a PAYG user.. remeber their 1 or 2 or even 5 payments on top of their 14.99 accounts are worth more to PlusNet than 45+ business users angry


Simon M

Posts: 29

« Reply #29 on: February 17, 2007, 01:12:40 am »

Have you tried using the other Astranews servers- I've found the pbdl one is usually the worst.

Strangely enough, that's marginally the best (least worst) one for me at the moment.

Code:
Pinging pbdl.news.astraweb.com [216.151.153.41] with 32 bytes of data:

Reply from 216.151.153.41: bytes=32 time=1370ms TTL=57
Reply from 216.151.153.41: bytes=32 time=1187ms TTL=57
Reply from 216.151.153.41: bytes=32 time=1309ms TTL=57
Reply from 216.151.153.41: bytes=32 time=1366ms TTL=57
Average = 1308ms

Pinging europe.news.astraweb.com [193.202.122.110] with 32 bytes of data:

Reply from 193.202.122.110: bytes=32 time=1408ms TTL=57
Reply from 193.202.122.110: bytes=32 time=1244ms TTL=57
Reply from 193.202.122.110: bytes=32 time=1262ms TTL=57
Reply from 193.202.122.110: bytes=32 time=1332ms TTL=57
Average = 1311ms

Pinging news.astraweb.com [193.202.122.110] with 32 bytes of data:

Reply from 193.202.122.110: bytes=32 time=1576ms TTL=57
Reply from 193.202.122.110: bytes=32 time=1385ms TTL=57
Reply from 193.202.122.110: bytes=32 time=1564ms TTL=57
Reply from 193.202.122.110: bytes=32 time=1583ms TTL=57
Average = 1527ms

I do use multiple connections when appropriate & yes, it does make it a bit quicker.

Tam, I would think your assessment of the traffic shaping methodology isn't far adrift. I can't see why Plusnet should feel the need to keep quiet about it though. They receive X amount of revenue. That allows then to buy Y amount of capacity. That fitted the demand reasonably well when the planning was done & the majority of people were happy & could download the reasonable amounts they wanted at reasonable speeds. Even then there were those who wanted to download the whole internet onto their hard disk by tomorrow morning & they had to be controlled. Although they squealed pretty loud there was no justification to change the whole package mix to accommodate them - particularly as none of them seemed very keen to have their payments increased in proportion to the capacity they wanted to use.

The changing pattern of internet use means that the demand from the overall Plusnet user base has now risen to (Y + Z) capacity. So Plusnet has to limit what everyone can have until they can move to a new structure. My guess is that the demand for capacity has risen faster among Plusnet users than for the overall average of UK users. This has caught Plusnet on the hop & at the worst possible time. Even if they had realised the problem was looming, it would have been very difficult to finalise a radically different product structure while the BT buy out was in progress.

So there is some more capacity due next month. Realistically, it probably couldn't have been added much earlier. Then there is the fall in price of wholesale capacity due in May. Some ISPs may use this to start another price war, but I doubt it. It would certainly be counter-productive for Plusnet to join in. There are plenty of other, larger ISP brands out there who specialise in a low cost, low service, low requirement model & there is no point in competing. The additional margin must be used to provide more capacity, not lower prices. The Plusnet business model is driven towards value, not lowest cost.

The theory of what Plusnet are trying to do is right. They are still stumbling with the practicalities. One of the good things about the BT takeover is that they are relieved of any obligation to be all things to all men. They shouldn't be competing with BT for the run of the mill mass market. They are ideally placed to provide the sort of user driven, user configured, roll your own service that some staff members have been trailing. Some have expressed doubts about this on the grounds that it's too complicated for the user base. I'll take a leap of faith & assume a decent interface is built, but given that, then the user who finds it all too complicated probably ought to be a BT customer.

If Plusnet is to have a future within BT, it has to differentiate itself. Instead of heading for customer numbers (a perfectly sensible ambition while independent), surely it should now focus on supplying an excellent service to discerning & interested customers who are given good value for money, who are prepared to pay for the service they receive & who are keen to be first with new technologies that BT want to do large scale field trials with. If they do that & do it right, then I think they will still see some growth in customer numbers above present levels.

To return this ramble to the topic under discussion, this means that when a customer asks about the way a particular type of traffic is treated, they should get a straightforward, accurate report on how it's treated & what the effect of that treatment is likely to be. It should be followed up with constructive suggestions of alternatives. I'm on a very old product, which as far as I know has no published guidelines about what I should expect in terms of speeds or daily/monthly throughput. The performance parameters of the product have changed significantly & it has taken a lot of work from me to discover anything meaningful about it.

There is no half-way house on communication. At one end of the spectrum you have the low cost operations where everybody knows there is no meaningful customer service & they are resigned to total frustration if anything goes wrong. If you try & sit in the middle & give an attempt to keep customers informed but insult their intelligence & allow half truths & inaccuracies to be given out, then credibility will be lost & the money spent on customer service will be wasted.

Rant over (for now). Still waiting to know if current levels of usenet performance are what are expected at present & what, if any plans there are to return to the performance of 5 months ago. Ticket remains open for further comment, although officially it's supposed to be my call next.

And then there's VoIP, but that really is a subject for a different thread.

Night night.
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