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back to article Plusnet goes titsup for spectacular hour-long wobble

Plusnet's broadband and phone service is slowing coming back to life, after the telco's network suffered a nasty hour-long outage this morning. The BT-owned firm did not cough to the cause of the downtime, which struck customers at 9:30am, but it did confirm that subscribers would struggle to get online. Anecdotal reports on …

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Filter

Filter 100% working then ?

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Filter

More like filtering out 100% of traffic :).

I'm presently staying at a place that made the mistake of choosing Plusnet, and it's been a while I've been exposed to such a heap of crap. Having said that, that may be caused more by the shoddy router they supply, though - it is unable to support more than about 4 concurrent WiFi connections.

Thankfully I'm moving this week :)

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TRT
Silver badge

Re: Filter

I very quickly replaced the wireless access point at my mother's Plusnet equipped house. Went for WiFi Powerline LAN back to a base-station wired into the Thompson router. Good coverage now, even in the outbuildings. Previously, when my son with his laptop and me with my iPodTouch and my brothers with their laptops and my step-father with HIS laptop, and the wireless printer... well, let's just say it wasn't pretty. Now, it copes well and I've not had an issue in the last 18 months.

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Re: Filter

Um, perhaps you're confused about the difference between the broadband connection and the wifi provided by plusnet?

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Filter

"Went for WiFi Powerline LAN back to a base-station wired into the Thompson router. Good coverage now, even in the outbuildings, and none of the neighbours can listen to any DAB station"

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Re: Filter

"Went for WiFi Powerline LAN back to a base-station wired into the Thompson router. Good coverage now, even in the outbuildings, and none of the neighbours can listen to any DAB station, but that's not a problem because they don't even know what DAB is"

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Am with Plusnet here and not noticed any problems at all.....

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Here too.

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Been with Plusnet and one of their subsidiaries now for 14 years. Didn't notice any problems this morning.

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Meh

My connection seems fine. Perhaps as others have said it was a DNS outage.

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I did have issues this morning, it seemed more like a DNS issue - except that I don't use their DNS servers. I couldn't connect to any websites or my vpn provider, however my torrent client was still happily transferring data.

Since it happened immediately after I had to repair a win XP VM which could no longer update having had BITS borked by a previous update, I thought the machines had turned against me.

All back to normal now.

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ditto.

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Switched from Talk Talk to Plus Net

They made TalkTalk look good, I shall switch back once my contract is up.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Switched from Talk Talk to Plus Net

Talk talk have been crap in my experience. Only company I know who instigated a legal action for non payment when they actually owed my parents money.

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Re: Switched from Talk Talk to Plus Net

The mark of a good service is not an absence of problems, but rather the company's response to problems. Plusnet (and Force9) have always been very transparent in my experience. I've used their phone support and their support-ticket system, and both have always been very acceptable, to say the least.

I'm possibly one of their oldest customers. Been using them since 14k modem days.

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Thumb Up

Ahhh...

...Good ol' Pusnet

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Spectacular?

Nothing particularly spectacular about it; I'm getting almost constant evening and weekend issues in my (city centre) apartment.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Spectacular?

Might be something to do with your exchange (or another localised issue)..? I've never had any problems with them (and I tend to only really use the home connection out of office hours).

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Other than a single drop out I've had no issues. Restarted modem and router and all has been fine since.

I don't think Plusnet are any better or worse than any other provider - most times their customers have no problems, occasionally they're struggling. How is that different to BT, TalkTalk, Virgin, etc.?

Admittedly the router I had supplied to me is pretty basic and probably not up to making many connections (i.e., more than a couple or three wireless connections at once), but it works for most usage scenarios. In the case of needing lots of wireless connections, it's up to the user to look into their usage patterns and find something after-market that works for them. How is that different than any other provider?

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Meh

More users means news outlets more likely to notice

I use them for ADSL (GIVE ME FIBRE DAMN YOU) and its fine for the price

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Anonymous Coward

Re: More users means news outlets more likely to notice

"(GIVE ME FIBRE DAMN YOU)"

I'm being punted fibre but I don't want it!

I have no need, my current 4mbps connection supports my needs. I dont torrent as I have no need for bootleg versions of anything!

Keep your expensive fibre.

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Bronze badge

Re: More users means news outlets more likely to notice

Hmm can I slap a laser link on the side of your house?

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no problems for me

no problems on Hayling Island - the usual robust and speedy service has been fully operational as usual.

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Anonymous Coward

All OK here

Been on conference call all morning through PC - all working fine

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Had dodgy connection this morning - was showing as could not connect to the 2 DNS servers (202.159.6.9 & 10). Seems to be back now.

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DNS

I think it must have been DNS - I don't use the plusnet DNS servers, relying upon OpenDNS instead.

That said, they had BT Openreach problems yesterday, so maybe this is related?

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Re: DNS

Sounds like a possible explanation. As anecdotal evidence to back that up; I've been working from home all day on my Plusnet and it's been exactly the same as usual - but I use the Google DNS.

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Re: DNS

I use opendns too, but did suffer an outage for about 20 minutes this morning. Although my torrent client was still connecting to peers OK, couldn't make any http connections. So it felt like DNS, but I triple checked that the router hadn't decided to use plusnet's on it's own cognizance

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Plusnet aren't perfect, but their customer support is generally good, and calls get answered by people whose first language is English (well, Yorkshire)...

The wires are still BT, of course, but that's the same for almost everyone on copper.

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Happy with Plusnet

Hi,

I've been with plusnet for 12 years or more (from when they were Force9), and currently getting genuine 73mb downloads, and paying £22.50 a month, which I'm very happy with. I'm not aware of any reliability issues, and would forgive them if they've had one after so long without trouble. As long as they get it fixed before I get home from work!

- Rob

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Bronze badge
Meh

Re: Happy with Plusnet

Yes, similarly a long standing customer here. I did get concerned a while back when they mucked around with my domain and actually removed my MX records, then claimed they didn't do it, then claimed that the original MX records caused unspecified problems for their systems, and admitted fiddling with them. The overall response was the first really poor bit of service I've had from them, and I was so rattled I moved my domain management elsewhere.

Having said that, the boot is occasionally on the other foot. Our connection was increasingly flaky, an after a cursory local check, I contacted them to find out what was going on. "Looks OK from here. Have you checked your connections?" was the techie's opening. Of course I got all high handed, but checked again anyway and found a lump of green gunk* behind a bookcase where an ethernet extender ought to have been. Hard to convey red face on the support ticket, but I did own up.

S

*- and me without a Vogon poetry book either.

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Moved from BE to plusnet, and the speed has been fine. Not had to call or had any problems. I did replace their crappy router though. I still would rather have BE back.

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Bronze badge

I'm Mr Angry, from Birmingham...

How dare a network provider have an unexpected outage. Especially as I pay £4.99 (plus line rental) for that service every single month.

I'm outraged that without my regular supply of cat videos I'm having to face up to the gaping chasm that's appeared in my life.

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Re: I'm Mr Angry, from Birmingham...

To mention nothing of the gentle irony of people taking to the internet to moan that they can't get on the internet...

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Re: I'm Mr Angry, from Birmingham...

Or of help desks telling you to go to the web site because they're busy when you've phoned up to find out why you can't get on the web.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: I'm Mr Angry, from Birmingham...

Indeed, how dare a service provider who are "providing" a "service" at a cost of thousands per year completely and utterly fail to provide any semblance of "service" for the term of that contract. At all. Then try and blame their failings on a third party network provider (Then telewest). PlusNet are the absolute worst kind of shoddy, they know it, don't care and sure as hell won't rectify real issues - even for business customers. Hell, they even employed a "customer service" manager whose sole role in life was apparently to stonewall unhappy corporate customers - a shower of sh*t whom I shall never recommend again.

The service I received from KC after kicking them into touch (even though they [PlusNet] failed to provide the contracted bandwidth, ever, they insisted that early termination would result in court proceedings) was a breath of fresh air. Reliable, consistent, service - UK based call centres and, moreover, when my employer was completely flooded in 2007 we had engineers on site the following day rerouting service over spare fiber to alternate business locations. I sincerely doubt I'll ever get that quality of service from a telco ever again and I certainly don't think I'll ever see an Openreach engineer turning up on time, in waders, to sort out customer issues.

AC Because my employers (past and present) would most likely not like to be associated with my views (both personal and professional) of aforementioned local ISP...

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DNS problems likely

I'm not at home right now. But I have had internet supplied by PlusNet and their predecessors since the days of dialup. I have had sporadic problems for a while now and I strongly suspect that they are DNS-related. When the problem occurrs I can view simple web sites and ssh into work as long as I use the numerical IP address. Usually, the problem only lasts a few minutes. I keep meaning to nag PlusNet about it but I have been too busy. Today's fracas seems like a more widespread version of the ongoing problem I have been observing.

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Headmaster

Re: DNS problems likely

I get spasmodic problems, but not sporadic ones because I'm normally accessing the internet from one place.

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Not sure if I'd notice

Not sure if I'd notice any reduction in speed that Plusnet provide, below the 1.5mb/s.

Might be fine in 1998, but in 2014 it is shockingly slow.

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Re: Not sure if I'd notice

@sir Wiggum:

Oh come on!

That sort of speed has to be down to your geographic location & the method of transmission. They provide me 76mbps / 16mbps is that because they like me better? No it is because we're on FTTC. However ADSL on our street can't get above 4mbps. Is that the providers fault? Nope just the length of copper between us & the exchange.

Hardly plusnet's fault you only get 1.5mbps

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Not sure if I'd notice

as janimal said, when I was on ADSL i could barely get 1Mb (but all other ISPs were also only willing to offer the same ... due to proximity etc). Now on fibre and 30Mb+ no problem. ISP independent feature that speed thing.

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It wasn't just plusnet

BT Infinity was stupidly slow last night - so slow in fact that speedtest.net stalled out halfway through and wouldn't complete a run. When it showed anything, it showed peaks of around 1.1Mb - average about a third of that at best, with lots-o-nothin (tm) in between :(

Roll on the cable guys - they're coming on Monday...

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Been with PlusNet for around 18 months and so far they've been fine. I had a few issues with a dodgy profile after they switched me to unlimited but the support was excellent and got things sorted in a couple of days.

The router they supplied is a bit basic (though still WAY better than the one TalkTalk provided) but what can expect for under £7/month for an unlimited, 12.5mbps service? I keep meaning to buy a better router but I somehow never seem to get around to it.

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It's only the wireless bit of it that I've found to be a bit lacking. The wired connections work fine, the ADSL works well... setup could be a bit hairy at times.

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Would rather have 4g than have talk talk as one commenter has said, how about getting yourself a new router (or move) then you might not have any problems

FTTC has been great with a decent router 45/11 on a 40/10 capable line, some niggling DNS issues at the back end of last year, but very minor, hopefully they have been pushed into sorting this out if it is still a problem for some

I long for the day when people making purchase decisions on routers at ISP's actually know what they are buying

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And now this :-

In order to us to maintain a high level of service, and protect our network against potential attacks, we need to make a change which affects your account.

This change is related to the broadband firewall which all of our customer accounts have access to.

We'll be making a change to block incoming traffic on ports 53, 111, 135, 137, 138, 139, 445, 515, 1080, 1433, 3128, 3306, 6000.

In most cases these ports will already be blocked by your local firewall however in the event of a compromised router, the ports may be unblocked or used in a potential attack.

It is unlikely you will need these inbound ports open, if you do you please visit http://contactus.plus.net and let us know by responding to this support ticket.

There's nothing you need to do, and your connection should continue to work as normal apart from a brief disconnection whilst we make these changes. In the vast majority of cases your router will automatically reconnect. If you experience problems getting reconnected following this maintenance please try a single reboot of your router.

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DNS was the problem

I experienced the problem this morning. I quickly realised that I could reach cloud hosted servers by ip address and so it must be a DNS problem.

Switching to OpenDNS resolved the problem immediately.

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Gold badge
WTF?

Stalk Stalk is better than Plusnet?

Hmm.

I smell BS.

But in all honesty I don't think I'd trust either of them given PlusNet is now part of BT

OTOH aren't there about 400 ISP's in the UK?

Perhaps it's time people looked at some of the smaller ones?

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A one hour outage aint bad. With VM it'd probably be half a day!

As long as the comms are good and they seem to be acting quick to resolve (eg have competent engineers) then what more can you want?

If you want a 100% reliable service, either pay a fortune or have an ADSL line, a cable line and a mobile service plumbed into a fancy router (or two)!

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That's not the whole of it!

For some time, yesterday evening, their DNS servers were rerouting web requests for "www.google.co.uk" to a phishing website purporting to the the download location for something called "Flash player pro". I kid you not.

After determining that it was not my router, that had joined all the other stuffed-up routers across the world, or the computer itself, I reported the matter to Plusnet. I got no acknowledgement, but I shall be reconfiguring my router to use OpenDNS from now on.

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