BT Exchanges - over 2000 now red!

Article posted on Friday, 03-Nov-2006 20:48 PM

The PlusNet Usergroup has provided up-to-date exchange capacity information, through our exchange checker tool for several years now. This tool shows the amount of IPstream capacity available at each BT exchange as either a Red, Amber or Green status. Exchanges marked as Red indicates that some of the virtual paths at the exchange are not operating within BT Wholesale's planning guidance. Customers connecting via one of these exchanges will often notice the connection may operate at a reduced speed at busy times (Which on some exchanges could be from 9AM to 2AM!).  PUGs latest analysis shows that BT are currently reporting nearly half of all their exchanges with a 'Red' status. This means potentially half of all UK IPStream ADSL provided users may be experiencing slowdowns as a result of under-capacity in the BT network.

The following graph shows the change within the status reports over the last 5 months. As can be seen the latest update does show a reduction in the number of Red exchanges, but the fact remains that 40% of BT exchanges are not performing as they should be.

BT Exchange -- Red/Amber/Green Graph up to the 23rd October 2006

It can been seen in the various forums that many have been quick to blame PlusNet and their Ellacoya based traffic management for recent slow connections, and PlusNet have acknowledged that since the recent upgrade of the Ellacoya Software there has been a number of issues which they are still working to resolve. However, it seems likely that at least some of the speed issues customers have reported are in fact due to these exchange problems. PUG's view is that given how much PlusNet spend on the bandwidth within BTs network (£316,200 per year for each 155Mb/s segment), BT should ensure that the capacity is available to all customers at all times.

PUG intends to maintain pressure on both BT and PlusNet over this issue, and over the general speed issues that customers are currently reporting within our forums.

A good test as to whether you are being affected by exchange contention is to run the BT Speedtester. If you follow the instructions carefully, you can connect directly to the BT network and in many cases prove whether there is a speed problem within your local exchange.

You may have to be patient thought, as the speed tester is currently suffering from heavy use, this could be an indication of the size of the problem as users try to track down slow connection speed issues.
Article last edited on Monday, 20-Aug-2007 20:23 PM