back to article BT to end traffic throttling - claims capacity is FAT

BT has claimed that it will kill off traffic management on its broadband service and stop capping usage limits on all but its entry-level products. From now until early June, its "Totally Unlimited Broadband" offering will be applied to BT's 16Mbps copper service for £16 a month, while Infinity customers can get their mitts on …

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Anonymous Coward

Liars

So by increasing the prices and locking into another 18 month contract, they offer unlimited. (implicitly acknowledging their previous claims were a pack of lies) and let the exisiting customers suffer.

Isnt this discriminatory?

Wankers.

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MrT
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What gets me...

...is if someone is paying the top price already, why bother with the new contract thing? They should remove the throttling from those customers as a default - there's no extra cash to be gained by insisting on a new contract now, and they may generate goodwill to ensure said contract comes up for renewal.

I guess that unless a customer requests the new contract, regardless of the price paid, the old one will just roll on unchanged after it finishes anyway. It looks like a nice way of ramping up the load gradually, rather than suddenly hitting a cliff-face and having to either back-peddle on the promise or hurriedly install a lot of new equipment.

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Meh

Unlimited until...

People start maxxing out the bandwidth with streaming HD film services.

I give it a year.

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Re: Unlimited until...

streaming HD doesn't even make my 73 meg connection blink

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Re: Unlimited until...

"streaming HD doesn't even make my 73 meg connection blink"

Enjoy it while it lasts...

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Pint

Re: Unlimited until...

Is this an epeen willy waving exercise?

http://www.speedtest.net/result/1554849439.png

Granted it was at work not at home. It had no problems streaming anything. Shame my new job after relocating has a 100th of that.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Unlimited until...

"streaming HD doesn't even make my 73 meg connection blink"

You wait untill everyone in your street starts streaming HD on a few devices. Contention is the bane of all networks...

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Boffin

Re: Unlimited until...

In throughput as seen at your premises, no. HD streaming as offered by Sky and BBC is only a few megabits a second so barely raises a sweat for a 76Mb/s connection. Even broadcast quality HD streams are only a dozen Mb/s so again would not bother your connection.

However this article is basically about congestion and the impact on it of HD streaming. That isn't down to your specific circumstances. It's down to the local and/or national usage patterns. You have to realise that if BT know that 1,000 people have 76Mb/s connections on your exchange they won't have allocated 76Gb/s of backhaul (76Mb/s * 1,000). That would be 1:1 contention and you're not going to get that on a residential service.

No BT will have provisioned somewhat less than that. The trick for them is to decide how much less. It's very much a black art. Just working out the current requirements is tricky. Then you have to account for growth patterns and spikes in usage. This is where ISPs control their profit margin. You never want to have spare capacity but equally you have to accept that for large parts of the day the network will be underutilised. It's a nightmare shared by road planners.

You wait untill everyone in your street starts streaming HD on a few devices. Contention is the bane of all networks...

Since the poster appears to have FTTC other people on the street are not the problem (setting aside minor crosstalk impact). It's other people on their exchange (ie; anyone else in the town) that matters. And of course everything from there on back to the ISP. And the ISP interconnects.

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Re: Unlimited until...

I also assume that infinity will suffer the same as cable in that if the local cabinet has a couple of permanent heavy hitters then you'll get little to no bandwidth out of the cab. The exchange might have the bandwidth but I bet each cab is substantially less.

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Joke

"I give it a year."

I don't think many people will be streaming that film in HD.

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Coat

Re: Unlimited until...

downvoters, IANA network engineer, but I do understand that I'm sharing a network...

Didn't realise it was such a contentious issue... I hear the steak is good, don't forget to tip your waitresses...

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Thumb Up

Re: Unlimited until...

The exchange might have the bandwidth but I bet each cab is substantially less.

Hmm, that's a good point actually so I'll correct what I posted. You could be impacted by other users in your immediate neighbourhood. But it's unclear I think. Everyone has to use the cab to exchange link (even LLUOs) and BT at one point stated that they would guarantee the bandwidth from cab to exchange. But they have also put a 'best efforts' figure on it. With FTTP on demand being released this year I assume they are confident that the cab to exchange link can easily be upgraded.

Looking here shows the cab to handover as being 'Direct fibre multiple GigE links' so that's a lot of capacity.

Didn't realise it was such a contentious issue

Was that supposed to be some kind of geeky, engineer in-joke? It's not bad if it was :)

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are they still using 50:1 contention ratios?

So how much contention are BT planning for? On dialup and when ADSL started 50:1 was widely believed... don't need traffic throttling when you've oversold that much bandwidth ;)

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Re: Unlimited until...

It's just BT slagging off Virgin and Virgin's 'yeah, but no, but yeah, but no, but . . .' reply to throttling.

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Re: are they still using 50:1 contention ratios?

I think they gave up having a specific target figure when ADSL Max was released. Now they just provide 'sufficient'. Of course whether that's 'sufficient for the users' or 'sufficient for the accountants' is the tricky bit :)

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Re: Unlimited until...

Its not actually a black art. You simply look at traffic stats and when the peaks start clipping, then it time to add more.

One of the better features of online video, is that you don't HAVE to download it in real time. That only happens for stuff like sporting events. That spreads the peaks out a bit.

And another option exists for real -time traffic of that sort: proxy serving from the exchanges or multicasting.

The technology is mostly there. By wont deploy it until it needs to. though.

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Happy

Re: Unlimited until...

Waiting for peaks to clip - I suppose that's okay if the lead time is short but it usually takes time to enable capacity during which your customers start to get arsey. I'm not sure about being able to spread it out either as that's reliant on the public being prepared to watch that way. The stats on PVR usage suggest most people don't want to record things first and would rather watch it immediately.

Multicasting would help with the current situation where most people watch live and BT have built it into FTTC which is good but I don't think any ISPs are using it at the moment. But time will tell. The indications are that broadcasters want to switch to IPTV and shut off transmitters (even Sky seem keen on the idea).

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Unlimited until...

Agreed. Why should I, as a relatively low bandwidth user, subsidise the guys who spend their lives downloading ripped-off movies or running BitTorrent services.

Would an electricity supplier consider offering an "unmetered" service? Of course not we all know some customers would leave the heating on full blast day, night and when on holiday.

A smart ISP should try competing by advertising on that basis - promoting "the service for the rest of us" instead of the vocal minority who, frankly, abuse the capacity available and causing slow access for the rest of us. Whan I was getting speeds that ranged from as fast as advertised to so slow you think the line has dropped Virgin Media told me "someone else on your street is downloading movies". To which my response is "throttle their service so we all get a fair share".

BTW, I've not read the small print but what's the upstream link like? Can I move my websites into the back bedroom instead of paying a lot for high bandwidth commercial servers?

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Re: are they still using 50:1 contention ratios?

50:1 on dialup was all about avoiding busy tones - not an issue in the UK where you were paying through the nose per call.

In other countries with flat rate calling (or free calls), contention ratios of 8:1 were still resulting on busy tones on flatrate ISPs (20:1 was ok on non-flatrate ISPs and it takes a lot of dialups to make a dent in even modest uplink bandwidth)

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Re: Unlimited until...

until the peaks start clipping or the average b/w hits 30% of link capacity.

The really hard part with "peaks clipping" is that unless you're sampling every 1-5 seconds you'll never see congestion until it's severe.

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Re: are they still using 50:1 contention ratios?

BT seem to have decided that contention isn't something we should be worrying about anymore: on the business broadband pages they've replaced the term with "throughput" that you measure with their speedtester!

http://btbusiness.custhelp.com/app/answers/detail/a_id/11592/

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FAIL

A nice lady rang me up the other day...

offering the infinity service.

"Have you checked the line?" I asked.

"But we've got fibre now," she said.

"Iit's copper from the cabinet to me. Have you checked my line?"

taptaptaptap

"Yes sir, we think you'll be able to get 3.6Mb/s..."

"Call me back when you have fibre to the doorstep."

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Re: A nice lady rang me up the other day...

BT infinity (FTTC) - coming to me in next three months - just like the last eighteen months or so! I need to move out of London for a better connection...

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Anonymous Coward

Re: A nice lady rang me up the other day...

How far are you from your cabinet?!?!?! 4 miles? Well if you will live in the sticks......

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Re: A nice lady rang me up the other day...

600 metres from the cabinet. Versus the Virgin fibre at the end of the garden.

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Boffin

Re: A nice lady rang me up the other day...

Virgin fibre at end of garden? You mean you have an actual VM node outside your house? Or were you not aware that VM's offering is no more 'Fibre to the premises' than BT's? Both services terminate the fibre some distance from your property then rely on copper to connect to your premises.

VM's uses a coax loop which is good because it can carry more data but bad because it's shared by multiple properties.

BT's uses twisted pair which is bad because it is more bandwidth limited but good because you're not sharing it with anyone.

VM's system also has issues with upstream signalling and that's why they can't compete with FTTC on upload.

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Re: A nice lady rang me up the other day...

^^ That is soooo correct.

I'm sure BT and others are trying to make everybody believe that because they're installing fibre to cabinets. This then is the best broadband possible, when it's not! Until BT gets their thumbs out of their butts and start installing FTTP problems will arrise for those that have long lines, degraded copper and in out case copper, or a cabinet that is affected a couple of days after rain.

FTTC is just a temporary measure, until they can be bothered to spend some of their massive profits renewing copper wire that the dinosaurs connected up!

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Re: A nice lady rang me up the other day...

^^ That is soooo correct.

I'm sure BT and others are trying to make everybody believe that because they're installing fibre to cabinets. This then is the best broadband possible, when it's not! Until BT gets their thumbs out of their butts and start installing FTTP problems will arise for those that have long lines, degraded copper and in out case copper, or a cabinet that is affected a couple of days after rain.

FTTC is just a temporary measure, until they can be bothered to spend some of their massive profits renewing copper wire that the dinosaurs connected up!

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Anonymous Coward

Re: A nice lady rang me up the other day...

"Well if you will live in the sticks......"

Well BT gave me a max of 1Mbps on ADSL and promised me a max of 15Mbps on Infinity. The exchange is half a mile away and the area is about 5 miles north of M25, about a mile east of the main A10 trunk down from Cambridgeahire, that's a 25 min drive to central London. Hardly the the sticks for me and it's still utter shite! When I complained all I got was the "Sorry, the exchange has been over sold, nothing we can do."

Virgin gave me 60Mbps to my door on 20:1, for an extra £25/month they can give me 120Mbp ( my old man has seen 132mbps to his desktop on one occasion ).

BT you ain't got a Snowball's chance of even playing on the same field let alone the same game!

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Re: A nice lady rang me up the other day...

id rather have 10mb that works then 120mb that doesnt. Virgin are shite.

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Re: A nice lady rang me up the other day...

It's a virgin coax delivery to the house. The terminating cabinet for the area is at the end of the garden - all of ten metres.

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Re: A nice lady rang me up the other day...

"VM's uses a coax loop which is good because it can carry more data but bad because it's shared by multiple properties."

Don't know where you are, but most of the cable network deploys from cabinet to house through SID (string in Duct). That SID carries my coax - it isn't shared with anyone.

Back at the cabinet: That's the fiber connection. So at no point do I share Coax. All I do share is the fiber.

The bulk of this infrastructure was put in the ground by separate cable companies (Telewest where I am) which later got bought up and merged into Virgin Media, but it all seemed to be following the same basic design philosophy so I can't see how you get this 'shared coax' from. Unless you're in flats?

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Unhappy

Re: A nice lady rang me up the other day...

>"Yes sir, we think you'll be able to get 3.6Mb/s..."

I dream of getting anything faster than 1Mb/s.

Living in the heart of Sussex and sod all bandwidth:-(

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Anonymous Coward

Re: A nice lady rang me up the other day...

Time for some fact busting. Bandwidth to exchange is a non issue, you are on your own copper pair to the exchange (or to cab for FTTC). There is no contention or oversubscribing here and your connection speed is entirely dependant on the copper quality and distance from cab/exchange. BT contention only comes into it on the handover from the exchange to the ISP own network. (Bt broadband itself does not have its own network and instead throws its customers from the RAS server straight out into the core BT network.)

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Re: A nice lady rang me up the other day...

Time for some fact busting.

- ?

Bandwidth to exchange is a non issue,

- so the characteristic impedence of the line has no effect on sync speed of the ADSL modem? Sync speed is an absolute bandwidth limit. Weather you are rate-limited internally to the ISP is dependant on your connection speed. If you are connected at 1M, and a great many people are, you will likely never see a rate-limit as there would be no point.

you are on your own copper pair to the exchange (or to cab for FTTC).

- a large proportion of the country is on aluminium, a piss poor conductor compared to copper but installed when the GPO sold the copper lines after the war.

There is no contention or oversubscribing here and your connection speed is entirely dependant on the copper quality ( or aluminium) and distance from cab/exchange,

- and joint quality and weather shielding quality, and modem compatibility and the quality of the cable run i.e. how close to inteference etc.

BT contention only comes into it on the handover from the exchange to the ISP own network. (Bt broadband itself does not have its own network and instead throws its customers from the RAS server straight out into the core BT network.)

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Anonymous Coward

Re: A nice lady rang me up the other day...

Virgin are great - fastest speed you can get on a standard connection and minimal contention - you can max out the connection even at peak hours if you make sure you encrypt all your traffic and use the right port numbers to avoid shaping.

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Bronze badge

Re: A nice lady rang me up the other day...

If you follow the co-cx back to the cabinet - you will find that it goes to an amplifier that also feeds all your neighbours - and that has one co-ax input back to the headend splitter - so you do share co-ax.

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Childcatcher

Re: A nice lady rang me up the other day...

(Telewest where I am) which later got bought up and merged into Virgin Media,"

FWIW, Virgin Media is just a trading name of NTL:Telewest.

IIRC, NTL:Telewest paid Virgin Holdings £10m + shares for a 10 year licence to use the name, branding and Branson.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: A nice lady rang me up the other day...

I think you understood just fine what I meant by bandwidth. Hence why I mentioned connection rate. The copper, or Ali if you want to get into it dictates the connection rate to the exchange. The bandwidth as people are talking about it here is actually throughput. There is no point thinking in terms of contention and overbooking when talking between the modem and dslam. Its not applicable.

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Joke

1pt *

I'm desperately looking for the * for the further terms and conditions attached to this 'unlimited' allowance. Have they put it in 1pt white font somewhere?

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Go

Re: 1pt *

No, it's hidden in a comment in the source of the web page.

So people place your bets, how many weeks before we have an article of "ASA sinks gums into BT over Unlimited offerings!"

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Re: ASA sinks gums into BT over Unlimited offerings

Ahh!!! but the term is "Totally Unlimited". The lawyers would argue that it's a special BT term, because we all know that Unlimited is, err, unlimited, and the addition of the word 'Totally' would be redundant in normal circumstances. What "Totally Unlimited"(tm) can mean is anything they want it to mean as it's just the product name. (a bit like Fairy washing up liquid, or Flash).

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Windows

The only reason

they can offer this is because people are leaving BT in their droves due to poor fair use policies, poor service and guesstimations of download speed. Thats why they suddenly have more bandwidth.

Oh, lets not forget the cost of the bloody thing....

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Thumb Down

Re: The only reason

"plus line rental".

So add £15 to whatever the bastards are quoting you.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Re: The only reason @dogged

And add an extra £4.80 a quarter if you do not pay by DD for 'payment services by BT Payment Services' or some such.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: The only reason @dogged

And add another £7 a month if you don't make 12 outbound qualifying calls on the line per month, because you had the line installed under one of their "installation offer" schemes, which wasn't actually a scheme as such, it was just that was the terms when you installed.

Well, I say installed. The line was already there. It had been used. It had dial tone. They just had to reactivate it.

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Meh

data may go up as well as down

No point talking about cloud storage without giving the upload speed available.

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Just so we're clear then, BT are really worried about Sky?

Sky have a few temporary capacity issues in a few areas which they're working to improve, for the rest of us, for £7.50 or less in some cases, we get unlimited broadband without any shaping etc etc etc. And always did.

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BT were the worst, I tried to get round their throttling only to find on forums that they throttled anything that wasn't port 80, even 443 SSL!

It's a minefield trying to find a decent provider who doesn't throttle. I'm coming to the conclusion that paying extra for a VPN with real unlimited bandwidth may be the only way to go to get past the deep packet inspection throttling on certain protocols. That still leaves the data caps though, but at least they are some what known entities.

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Mushroom

Forcing encryption on and using Port 554 works for me on 120Mb/s Virgin Broadband - I can max out the connection most of the time without difficulty.

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