Update on PlusNet Issues - Nov 06

Article posted on Wednesday, 29-Nov-2006 17:04 PM

Over the past few months the users and customers of the PlusNet family of ISPs have experienced a lot of issues that have caused problems and inconvenience.

The PlusNet UserGroup have been actively talking to PlusNet about all of these, and more, but due to several issues we have not always been able to provide updates here.

Nobody in the PlusNet UserGroup, nor indeed within PlusNet, see these as acceptable and there have been many phone calls, chats, emails and posts made about them.

Here is a very brief summary of some of the issues we are pushing hard with PlusNet. We are also pursuing issues such as PlusTalk, Broadband Phone and DNS. We appreciate this isn't a full update, nor a complete one, but we will be providing more information as an when we can and there are several discussions taking place in our forums which PlusNet are monitoring and participating in.

Email
In August, PlusNet acquired a set of Sun hardware with the intent of utilising to upgrade the mail storage platform. Over the next few weeks, mail was migrated across from the existing platform with it due to be completed by late September.
On November 15th, one of the Sun storage volumes failed, leading to Free-Online and about half of F9 losing access to email. As a temporary solution, PlusNet moved mail back to the NetApp platform.
The email platform has regularly been affected by issues including inaccessibility, webmail issues, delays and more and we are awaiting updates on all the email issues from PlusNet.

Spam Filter
In October, PlusNet introduced a new spam platform to act as a second layer alongside the existing setup. Although training of the filter using known quantity emails took place, this appears not to have had quite the desired effect, with increasingly large proportions of legitimate mail (including communications from PlusNet themselves!) to be identified as spam.
PlusNet have indicated that they will be changing the methodology for training to using the false positives only.

Speeds
On Friday 24th November, PlusNet introduced some measures intending to limit the impact of a small number of users who had been identified as utilising their connection outside of its advertised parameters. These measures were intended as a temporary "fix" until the root causes could be dealt with appropriately.
Unfortunately, the measures led to a serious degradation of the basic experience for a large number of users across many applications and protocols including YouTube, RapidShare, FTP, HTTP downloads and even Web Browsing.

Following discussions with PUG, PlusNet informed us that the temporary measures had been regressed. However, it seems that whilst some users have reported improvements, a significant number are still receiving an internet experience far below that of the advertised package.

Although we have been given some reassurances from PlusNet that these issues are being addressed, we are pressing for information on the cause, timescale and resolution to restore the user experience.

Capacity / Traffic Management
In addition to the above speed issues, we are in strong (and heated!) discussions with PlusNet about the levels of traffic management being implemented and the amount of network capacity. Whilst we understand some of the economics behind the reluctance to purchase further BT Centrals (see the PUG Report published earlier this year) we also believe that the threshold for further capacity has long since been reached and that customers are being adversely affected by the lack of capacity.

We will continue to make representation to PlusNet on each of these issues and will update as we know more
Article last edited on Monday, 20-Aug-2007 22:30 PM