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back to article Virgin Media to deploy performance monitoring tech

Virgin Media will install specially-adapted kit in some of its customers' homes, to monitor and report the performance of its network. The move takes place against a background of increasing regulatory scrutiny of the discrepancy between advertised and real world speeds. The firm will use the same technology as Ofcom, supplied …

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Grenade

but.....

only if you're on fiber - which I'm not - bugger!

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W

Worth it?

"you will automatically be entered into a draw to win a prize as notified to you in the trial update e-mails... In addition, all applicants for participation in the Trial by the closing date will be entered into a prize draw to win one of 20 £100 gift vouchers."

Potentially not bad. Anyone know what the notified prizes (aside from the 20 vouchers) are? If they were doing a prize draw for a year's free bills or something, I might have found the motivation to dig around for the account and reference numbers required for sign up.

But I'd also need more reassurances of this not being in any way some sly Phorm-esque shenanigans. Trust is easily lost, but hard won.

Besides, my D-Link router falls into the 'other' brand category, which doesn't bode well.

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Fibre-optics only

It appears from the signup page for this monitoring that it only applies to customers using fiber optics, not for the much hated and far more widely used ADSL offering.

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Wonders

If will get some cash knocked off my bill for using my electritcy/ storage space.

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Anonymous Coward

Finally...

Trying to convey to a customer supportard that the line has latency spikes due to an overloaded UBR is actually physically impossible.

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Silver badge

Call me a cynic but...

I'd like to bet diamonds that the homes selected for these trials - and there will be more people volunteering than there are places on the trials - will, purely by coincidence, be ones attached to low-contention UBRs. Come to EH11 in Edinburgh, wall to wall Victorian tenements, where each front door hides 16 residences, and measure the speed there.

That is, if the signal/noise ratio actually allows you to make a sufficient connection to measure anything more than 10MB/s of random static.

Yeah, yeah - I can change - (I can see the local exchange less than 500m away so ADSL is a viable alternative) but that means dealing with BT to get a line installed - they have problems when I say "I just want the line, not a telephone connection"....

Hmm, it must be Thursday...

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FAIL

Virgin + BT = Crap. Bet they don't need monitoring tech for that.

It's a shame they aren't doing the same trial for their ADSL service which is crap. I've lost count of the amount of times I've reported the same fault to them now. They use the good old "it's a problem with BT, we'll log it and be in touch". Fair enough, BT being involved they could be the cause of me never ever being contacted about the fault again, but we all know Virgin Media are just as bad.

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Big Brother

I've got one installed.

It's been 'installed' for about a week now and hasn't appeared to have slowed my transfers down at all. The 50Meg customers get a seperate box from the Linksys ones that Samknows trumpets.

The only downside is that if you use all the switch ports on your router then you will have to get a switch to sit between the Samknows box and yourself because the Samknows box, at least the 50Meg one, only has 2 switch ports on the back.

The setup is as follows:

Modem --- Router --- Samknows Box --- Computers

It's not all take though. On the Samknows site you get a page with a number of the stats that the box from latency to download speed so at least you get to see how your connection is doing.

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Anonymous Coward

fibre === copper

Lets get it straight the NTHell part if V is *copper* to the home NOT FTTH.

Ok not even FTTC in this area and cabs open to the elements as the local kids like to strip the covers and use them as skateboard ramps.

Lets stop this fibre talk - NTHell still use (very old copper) and thier service is dog poo

with at least one day a month outage - usually while they replace a street cab.

Jacqui

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Utter Rubbish

they the ISP's already slipstream allmost all broadband test sites, so that they will always get the highest speed rating report, and after, the lowest port 80 html rates that we really get.

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Stop

Inaccurate web-based speed testers?

So when we check with two or three of these, which all broadly agree, but not with VM's claims, we should nevertheless accept some bollix VM feed us as the truth?

I think not.

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Anonymous Coward

Virgin prioritise certain traffic to make them look better

I had virgin over ADSL. For the first month the speed was a blistering 8Mbit (the same as my line speed), but once the first month was up the speed dropped to dial up speeds (even thought the line remained at 8Mbits).

An FTP transfer from a virgin.com FTP server of Ubuntu came down at an average 4.8KBps. However when ever I transferred from a speed test website, the speed some how raised much higher rate (circa 5Mbps). General surfing was nearly impossible with page time outs on load etc...

Once I obtained my MAC code, the speed increased up to match my line speed (which by then was 4.5Mbps due to moving house mid-term) (so yes the problem persisted between exchanges, thus proving it was not a line issue).

Conclusion: Virgin ADSL priorities traffic to websites which would make them look bad if speeds were poor, and generally shaft the rest of the internet, including their own servers to save money.

Question: What makes anyone think that the people who "sign up" for this equipment won't be given the same priority treatment?... the only method to prove anything is anonymously, in which case SamKnows should not inform virgin of which lines are being tested.

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Joke

Phorm ...

... in a box ?

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FAIL

And will the box ...

take into account when you've exceeded your down limit for the day and place itself in throttled mode?

VirginMedia ... 1 epic fail after another.

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Virginmedia are great...

In Belfast. 20MB line here and I get 17MB off speedtest.net. Unfortunately not all sites are as generous as speedtest.net, so 20MB is overkill most of the time.

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That's funny...

As I recall, there is such a thing called "Guaranteed Bandwidth" or "Committed Information Rate" / "CIR" and is available to business customers (unless you're in Canada, as I recall, the main/major ISP don't give an @ssh@t and throttle EVERYTHING). If they are really serious of offering accurate speed, they don't need all of these devices. Even if they did for troubleshooting purposes, they'd only be brought along and used by technicians doing a visit.

The way they are doing things now are no different than before: their bandwidth are purely/mostly burst, kind of like "driving on petrol fumes". Probably the setup they have is like (for example) having a line (or bundle) with a total 100/100 mbps up/down for a given area, shared by 1000 customers. They'll say you have 10/10mbps but in reality (in terms of HONESTY) each customer will only have 100kbps.

If they are going to be honest about about offering, say 10/10mbps, they probably setup a line (or bundle) of 100/100mbps LIMITED only to 10 customers (or 1/1gbps LIMITED only to 100 customers). Then setup their network appliances/routers/smart switches to limit each customer to 10/10mbps. Plain and simple.

Ofcourse they won't do it that way since that'll cut on their profit, which means less bonus for the CEO's. Poor them.

I wish consumers wise up more and crucify these kind of companies. Either they advertise their CIR (and not the "fumes") or provide the infrastructure and setup to match what they are advertising.

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Anonymous Coward

Tempted, but....

I'm tempted, and like EddieD I agree EH11 is variable!

Questions I should really be asking VM, but lets go anyway :)

What's this Fibre Thing? Surely it must be against the Trades Description Act since it is copper all the way into the building up to modem. (OK, its Fibre so far, but then so is BT to the Exchange)

Also, Michael B said:

The setup is as follows:

Modem --- Router --- Samknows Box --- Computers

Should it not be :

Modem -- SamKnows - Router -- Computers.

If the SamKnows box is between the computers and the router then all traffic through the router will be monitored ? If you want to monitor the broadband it would make sense to me for it to be in line directly connected to the modem.

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Megaphone

I must be one of the lucky ones

Despite living in Student Central, I get 1.2 megabytes/sec off my 10 meg NTL connection, consistently. Well, except when I hit the daily throttle. The only bad thing I've found (aside from the instability that lasts a few weeks after a network upgrade every couple of years) is the farking tech support.

They all have their faults, pobody's nerfect, but I wouldnt touch anything with BT near it.

Megaphone - because it would be more effective for every time I skype my family and their dsl drops.

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SamKnows box

I'm part of this trial and have been for a while now

i'm on 20meg and usually get a speed somewhere between 17 and 19meg which i'm happy with

my setup with the SamKnows box is:

modem -> SamKnows -> Router -> computers

which i'm fairly sure is how it tells you to set it up :)

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