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Author Topic: OpenEIR and its broadband network  (Read 5913 times)

NewtronStar

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OpenEIR and its broadband network
« on: November 23, 2015, 08:57:37 PM »

open eir's VDSL2 network.

Indeed that looks like a nice setup low INP in the thirties and G.INP on the upstream yet the downstream sync seems capped at 71000 kbps and yet your attainable is way bigger than WWWombat he is now in second place  ;D
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condi

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Re: OpenEIR and its broadband network
« Reply #1 on: November 24, 2015, 11:44:14 AM »

Unfortunately I think it's a non-runner for the reason you stated - the timing of uploads. Of course, in principle these things could be dealt with but it would require redesign at both ends, and at the moment I'm struggling to find the time to do the jobs which are already on the todo list

Understood roseway and thanks for clarifying. Again, I'm certainly not requesting it... it's mere curiosity

Keep up the great work!


open eir's VDSL2 network.

Indeed that looks like a nice setup low INP in the thirties and G.INP on the upstream yet the downstream sync seems capped at 71000 kbps and yet your attainable is way bigger than WWWombat he is now in second place  ;D

Certainly is a nice setup! I'm not sure how familiar you all are with eircom open eir in Ireland but I'll give a small run-down (in my words) on the company and there current progress in the broadband sphere. I think there may be some other Irish users on MDWS also and hopefully there's a few posting here

The structure is similar to BT in the UK in that there's a retail division called eir (previously eircom) and a wholesale division called open eir (previously eircom Networks or eircom Wholesale... or just eircom depending on who you spoke to!). The eircom group was formed from the disastrous sell-off and flotation of the previous state-owned Telecom Eireann in the late 90's. What followed this was years of woeful management, asset stripping by it's various owners and all out neglect of the national telecoms infrastructure... and the various governments of the time can take a fair share of the blame. By the late 00's, eircom was swamped with billions of debt that they couldn't afford, their network was crumbling and many parts of the country were without even basic ADSL broadband service. Further, the likes of cable operator UPC (now Virgin Media), with their modern, high-speed coax network, were taking customers from eircom hand over fist in the urban centres - which in itself was a major problem as customers in the urban areas tend to subsidise provision to the large swathes of rural Ireland. In 2012, the group went into adminstration (or declared bankruptcy... take your pick!), their debt burden got a nice haircut and I think since this they've really turned a corner

Granted, from my somewhat vast experience in dealing with all the Irish telcos, the retail division (eir) was and still is a shockingly incompetent outfit, they're bad value for money and dare I say they shine the entire group in a bad light... which probably explains the recent €16M re-branding exercise! However, the wholesale division (open eir), who provide national backhaul and connectivity solutions and resell xDSL to the likes of Vodafone, Sky, etc... they seem to have gone through something of a transformation of late. They appear much more transparent than their previous uncompetitive ways, information is flowing freely from them around network upgrades, timelines and product roadmaps and on the ground, they're blazing something of a trail in upgrading their networks

Since about 2013, open eir have been rolling out a brand new Huawei VDSL2 network nationwide. The speed at which this was undertaken, their willingness to adopt new technologies on a large scale such as vectoring and G.INP and the leaps in available end-user speeds are to be commended. From my (admittedly light) following of BT's VDSL rollouts in the UK, it seems open eir had the advantage of being late to the game. They were able to proceed with one provider (Huawei) at a national level, the upgrade path for resellers and hence customers was pretty simple and they were able to define upfront, suitable CPE's for end users - which means most of the resellers chose to supply end-user kit with the sturdy Broadcom BCM63168 chipset - allowing G.INP and vectoring support from the get go (if I'm not mistaken, BT are having issues with mixed-bag end-user equipment and ECI DSLAM's??)

The VDSL2 rollout is still on-going at a good pace and after some complaints from LLU operators and the ensuing regulatory delays, many smaller areas which wouldn't have localised cabinets in the network are now getting VDSL2 kit installed in the exchange itself. The last step that I'm aware of will be to enable vectoring in the exchanges and also in cabinets containing more than one DSLAM... but I believe this is something of a technical hurdle to overcome and would likely need oversight from the regulator Comreg. That said, there's rumours that they are already trialling system-level vectoring in some exchanges so it's all good

I'm wildly off topic but just to finish... it doesn't end here!! The next stage now is FTTH and recently, our beloved electric wholesaler, ESB, have teamed up with Vodafone to create SIRO - a company who aim to bring FTTH to every home in Ireland. They've earmarked 50 or so larger areas in Ireland for phase one FTTH rollout (which I think is under-way) and they currently have some trial users on a new, GPON FTTH network. Not to be left behind, open eir have also begun FTTH rollouts in some areas and they now have users connected to a new GPON FTTH network - with many more areas across the country earmarked for rollout. While open eir have the advantage of network experience and the existing networking, duct and cabinet infrastructure to support FTTH, they simply don't have the financial muscle of the ESB / Vodafone mega-consortium. Behind all of this then, our government has recently unveiled a new National Broadband Plan which, for all intents and purposes, is talking about subsidising the rollout of a national FTTH network (which has the crappy WISP's up in arm!!). It is somewhat obvious that both open eir and SIRO (and possibly others) are getting the boot in early with their fledgling FTTH networks in the hope of securing future subsidy handouts to bring FTTH to a much larger user-base across the more rural divide. Granted, we've had National Broadband Plans come and go before which left large parts of the country with sub-standard 3G dongles and heavily contended satellite connections... and we've had many, many failed and broken promises from our telcos so there's still an err of caution about the whole thing (added to this, the proposed subsidy was recently halved by a silly government minister!). All said, it's a very exciting and positive time in the broadband sphere in Ireland and long may it continue :)
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condi

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Re: OpenEIR and its broadband network
« Reply #2 on: November 24, 2015, 12:21:01 PM »

Indeed that looks like a nice setup low INP in the thirties and G.INP on the upstream yet the downstream sync seems capped at 71000 kbps and yet your attainable is way bigger than WWWombat he is now in second place  ;D

Apologies for my wandering, off topic post above... I'll delve a little into the details of the VDSL2 network itself for the curious

  • National (or almost national) network using Huawei gear
  • DSLAMS are installed primarily in localised cabinets at housing estates, etc and more recently in the exchanges themselves
  • G.INP on the up/down seems to be enabled as standard on all connections
  • Vectoring is enabled on the majority of cabinets, with the exception of, I think, those with 2 or more line-cards or due to other proximity factors
  • Vectoring in the exchange (and possibly the above mentioned multi-card cabs) is rumoured to be in trial... we'll know more in the new year hopefully
  • The max-available or "sellable" speed downstream is capped at 100 Mbps when vectoring and 70 Mbps without vectoring (max attainables can show much higher than this)
  • The max-available upstream is capped at 20 Mbps upstream - regardless of vectoring or not
  • I believe some areas are capped at 50 Mbps downstream due to noise / interference factors
  • The speed falls off quite rapidly with distance - about 1500 to 2000 metres and it's no better than ADSL2... okay better ping and higher upload maybe
  • There was rumour of a low speed (4 Mbps downstream) profile being tested to extend the distance beyond the 1500-2000 metre mark
  • Profiles are rate adaptive as standard up to a pre-tested (pre-qualed) estimation (there's no DLM over here :) )
  • Fixed rate profiles (a safe margin, slower profile) is used if the user has IPTV

Any other questions, feel free to ask and I'll try answer best I can
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NewtronStar

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Re: OpenEIR and its broadband network
« Reply #3 on: November 24, 2015, 05:33:51 PM »

What happens to a line which has stability issues be it big HR faults with out the DLM being inplace to stabilize the line IE lower the sync rate to lower the errored seconds.

PS thanks for your info it was a very interesting read  :thumbs:
« Last Edit: November 24, 2015, 05:39:37 PM by NewtronStar »
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WWWombat

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Re: OpenEIR and its broadband network
« Reply #4 on: November 24, 2015, 07:00:55 PM »

It is very informative comparing the Irish experience with ours...

  • Profiles are rate adaptive as standard up to a pre-tested (pre-qualed) estimation (there's no DLM over here :) )
  • Fixed rate profiles (a safe margin, slower profile) is used if the user has IPTV

As I understand it, the "pre-qualification" uses a pre-determined attenuation value to decide what profile a line should be given. If, once live, the attainable speeds suggest a different profile can be used, it can be requested by contacting support from the retail ISP. Even though it is a manual system, it seems quite flexible.

What happens to a line which has stability issues be it big HR faults with out the DLM being inplace to stabilize the line IE lower the sync rate to lower the errored seconds.
One major difference that I noticed about the Irish deployment, perhaps because DLM doesn't exist, is that there is a target SNRM of 9dB (compared with BT's target of 6dB). This higher target gives extra margin, reducing the need for automatic stabilisation techniques.

For lines capable of getting 70-80Mbps, that 3dB is worth an extra 10-11Mbps (less for slower lines); If DLM is actually the key that enables this lower SNRM value, and faster speed, it is perhaps earning its keep - especially now that G.INP is the main intervention option.

The reduced profile speeds when IPTV is ordered also plays a part. The higher expectations for a broadcast-quality TV experience (ie reduced error rates) are met by the additional margin that will come about from the lower sync speed.

  • The speed falls off quite rapidly with distance - about 1500 to 2000 metres and it's no better than ADSL2... okay better ping and higher upload maybe

At some point (IIRC, in a response to the Irish government's rural subsidy programme), Eircom as-was published a rate vs reach graph, showing speeds being achieved (with vectoring) in the Irish network.

Because vectoring is in place, the distances are better than here, at least for downstream.

I took the data from that graph, and added a line that estimated what speed would be available with a 6dB target SNRM (attached below)

That graph suggests Ireland suffers the same problem as here: that, ultimately, the longest reach of VDSL2 is most governed by the point at which upstream speeds give out.
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WWWombat

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Re: OpenEIR and its broadband network
« Reply #5 on: November 24, 2015, 07:27:48 PM »

The comparison with Ireland for the recent past (vectoring and VDSL2) makes me wonder about comparisons for the near future, and this part becomes interesting:

Not to be left behind, open eir have also begun FTTH rollouts in some areas and they now have users connected to a new GPON FTTH network - with many more areas across the country earmarked for rollout.

While open eir have the advantage of network experience and the existing networking, duct and cabinet infrastructure to support FTTH, they simply don't have the financial muscle of the ESB / Vodafone mega-consortium.

The usual argument (over here) is that FTTH is expensive to deploy, especially if you have competitors that can steal your market with a cheaper product that offers speeds that are good enough for now. A network can be brilliant, but near-zero RoI isn't a good business model.

Vodafone (over there) obviously thought there was market share to be grabbed through FTTH, even with OpenEir's VDSL2 deployment.

In the UK, Vodafone have obviously thought about a similar position. They've been heavily involved in diss'ing BT's ownership of Openreach ... and I'm sure they want to figure out a business case where FTTH is viable.

However, BT not only have their FTTC deployment extremely widespread (including the rural parts subsidised by BDUK), but they are heavily invested in G.Fast. It gives BT two separate prongs to fight off a potential from someone attempting to deploy FTTH - at least as long as that rival needs to make a profit from it.

As time goes by, it'll be interesting to see if Vodafone attempts any steps to bring FTTH over here. And whether Open Eir will see any advantage to deploying G.fast over there instead of FTTH.
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NewtronStar

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Re: OpenEIR and its broadband network
« Reply #6 on: November 24, 2015, 08:15:12 PM »

As time goes by, it'll be interesting to see if Vodafone attempts any steps to bring FTTH over here. And whether Open Eir will see any advantage to deploying G.fast over there instead of FTTH.

This is a great thread and excellent info from WWWombat into the comparisons and tbh G.FAST on a longer line looks more beneficial and affordable to me than FTTH as the longer your line is the FTTH costs escalate.

So again it all comes down again to distance rural vs urban or large towns,
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condi

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Re: OpenEIR and its broadband network
« Reply #7 on: November 25, 2015, 02:13:55 AM »

I think WWWombat has it covered better than I can :)

Re. stability issues NewtronStar... WWWombat is correct in that it's up to the user to raise it with the ISP. Having raised more line faults than I care to count, the process becomes quite monotonous! You call the ISP, mention stability issues and request a line test. Depending on the agent - they'll either run through the script of "have you reset the modem, are there any other devices plugged in", etc... or with a good operator, they'll tell you to yank out the modem and they'll conduct a live line test there and then. On detecting a fault, you wait patiently for the magic phrase of "we'll request an engineer callout" and bingo!!

OK... a little over-enthusiastic maybe but that's basically it. An engineer will call out from either open eir or from KN Networks (our equivalent of Kelly's). They'll ignore the notes from the ISP (they're usually all wrong anyways) and they'll go to work. A good engineer will come equipped with a fancy meter of some description, will usually start in the premises and work backwards. I've found most fixes are completed in an hour but some can take weeks if there's repair work needed on the network but generally, once it's in the hands of the line techs, it'll be fixed and you don't have to waste time arguing with the ISP. That said, it can be hit and miss. I've personally never experienced a bad engineer but others have been let down by missed appointments, non-fixes, bad workmanship, etc... Also, some of the ISP's, resellers in particular, can be a bit miserable about sending an engineer and will instead swamp you with replacement modems for fear of costing the company money I guess. It's flexible though in that if you don't like what a particular support agent is saying, you hang up, call back and talk to someone else!

Behind all this madness, I live in fear that open eir would consider DLM sometime in the future. The introduction of DLM probably wouldn't bother the vast majority and perhaps would save money at the ISP support desks but I guess our days of tweaking SNR's ever lower, swapping this modem for that modem, trying this firmware then that firmware... those ever enjoyable days would be over :o... or just less enjoyable  :P

---

Re. pre-quals and target SNR's... I'm not sure on the exact science behind the pre-qual tests but yes, it seems open eir run a rule to gauge attenuation for every line and then, if it's a go, they list suitable profiles to the ISP's based on this. I don't know how often the pre-qual tests are run either but the frequency seems to have increased lately, I guess on account of all the VDSL kit coming on-stream. Also, there are method for extracting the results from various public sources using cURL commands which has become a hobby for some! Anyway, for lines passing for VDSL, they suggest both a High Speed profile and a also Non Rate Adaptive for IPTV. For ADSL lines, they'll list a suitable profile which can include additional recommendations for the like of High Interleaving on the downstream, Fixed Rate profile, etc. In exchanges with both ADSL and ADSL2 or 2+ gear, sometimes there'd be 2 sets of profiles listed for the different gens

Again, all of this tends to be flexible and usually you can call the ISP and request to be bumped up or request things like fastpath or higher interleaving on older ADSL connections. Some support agents will decline, others will be happy to bump you up or tweak you and let you decide yourself if it's stable or not. One particular pain point though was requesting a swap from ADSL to ADSL2 / 2+ in exchanges where it was available. Again, miserable ISP's it seemed, refusing to pay for an engineer to nip out and switch the pair between racks but thankfully with the VDSL upgrades ongoing, this type of request isn't as common

Just a note on target SNR's too... I'm not overly familiar on this but I believe the ISP's are following target SNR's but it's not something you hear mentioned too often. AFAIK, some ISP have their own, safer target that they aim for too besides what open eir have advised. That said, on ADSL connections and with a modem with SNR adjustment, you could freely drop the SNR to the floor to get more from your allowable profile speed... or you could raise it to make the line more stable!

---

Re. FTTH... I'll develop a little on the prospects of national FTTH, of which there is much discussion on the various Irish forums. My understanding is merely what I've gained from the very informative postings and work of others (who'll hopefully join in here in time)... so it might be patchy or down-right incorrect!

Most of our ISP's submitted proposals to the government last year for the National Broadband Plan. Those ISP's who made serious submissions were touting FTTH as the most feasible solution for a national broadband network. I understand our topography, our one-off housing problems and generally non-clustered population layout in large areas means rolling out FTTH is more economical in the long run, perhaps more expensive up front. Some have rightly pointed out that to cater for the national need using VDSL or (God forbid) fixed-wireless is simply un-feasible due to the sheer number of cabinets or mast sites, planning permission, power supply and civil works that would be required... plus it leaves huge amounts of active equipment to be maintained. This against FTTH where it's run once, forget about it for the next 20 years!

G.Fast is certainly interesting but I haven't heard of any trials or developments around it over here. Have there been any G.Fast deployments in the UK? In my own view, I can't see it coming on-stream here. Others have stated that to go the full slog and drop in FTTH is only slight more expensive if not on-par with mounting G.Fast nodes, powering them and ongoing maintenance. Either way, open eir are well placed to expand with FTTH or even G.Fast as for every VDSL cab they installed, they left 20 or so spare fibres sitting under it for future expansion out to GPON nodes perhaps
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Weaver

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Re: OpenEIR and its broadband network
« Reply #8 on: November 26, 2015, 12:19:55 AM »

That sounds like something that could come from someone who understands the geographical realities of the Scottish Gàidhealtachd. If only that kind of understanding were to be had in Scotland.
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NewtronStar

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Re: OpenEIR and its broadband network
« Reply #9 on: November 27, 2015, 08:20:04 PM »

You can see the difference between G.INP BT OR and OEir one thing that stands out is any mention of the HH5a this is the sole cause why G.INP was switched off as standard on the Upstream on the OR FTTC network in the UK that must be an  :-[ state for BT OR or who ever gave this device the go ahead.

Just wondering what Modem/Routers OpenEir supply's to their new FTTC customers
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ejs

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Re: OpenEIR and its broadband network
« Reply #10 on: November 27, 2015, 08:37:55 PM »

I think it's more likely that the reason was the ECI cabinets which won't be able to do upstream G.INP, rather than the HH5A and ECI modems for which firmware updates could enable upstream G.INP, but evidently they haven't bothered to make any.
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condi

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Re: OpenEIR and its broadband network
« Reply #11 on: November 27, 2015, 09:49:19 PM »

You can see the difference between G.INP BT OR and OEir one thing that stands out is any mention of the HH5a this is the sole cause why G.INP was switched off as standard on the Upstream on the OR FTTC network in the UK that must be an  :-[ state for BT OR or who ever gave this device the go ahead.

Just wondering what Modem/Routers OpenEir supply's to their new FTTC customers

EDIT: Open Eir (wholesale) don't supply modems, they only draw up the minimum spec AFAIK. The resellers can then choose their own units based on this


There are 3 devices rolled out to VDSL subs that I'm aware of...

eir:

> The first gateway issued to eir VDSL subs was the eircom F1000 (a re-badged Zyxel VMG8324-B10A)
> As of about 4 months ago, new VDSL subs are issued the eircom / eir F2000 (a re-badged Huawei HG659B)


Vodafone, Imagine, Three:

> Vodafone and some smaller resellers issue all customers (ADSL & VDSL) with a Huawei HG658c



All the above units use the popular Broadcom BCM63168 chipset

The F1000 (Zyxel) has been discussed on these forums before as while it shipped with a locked-down and buggy eircom branded firmware, a few users discovered a hack to flash the much newer firmware images from Zyxel onto it. Some users noted large gains in connection speed from replacing the eircom firmware as, IIRC, it was almost 20 versions behind the latest Zyxel release

The newer F2000 (Huawei) seems to be getting better reviews. It also has eir branded firmware but I don't hear many complaints. It has 5Ghz AC wifi too where the F1000 didn't

The Huawei HG658c is Vodafone's current unit for all customers. Vodafone ship a branded version with branded firmware while Three (previously o2) and I think Imagine ship stock. The firmware on these, both Vodafone's branded version and the unbranded Huawei version is rather crap... but otherwise, the unit performs well without any notable issues


Vodafone (and possibly eir too) ship their units pre-configured for both VDSL and ADSL. They all support vectoring out of the box
« Last Edit: November 27, 2015, 09:56:52 PM by condi »
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NewtronStar

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Re: OpenEIR and its broadband network
« Reply #12 on: November 28, 2015, 01:28:37 AM »

ECI modems for which firmware updates could enable upstream G.INP, but evidently they haven't bothered to make any.

Oh gezz I nearly forgot about the ECI modems thats an other reason for lack of G.INP as standard on the upstream on FTTC OR UK.


All the above units use the popular Broadcom BCM63168 chipset


Well there you go not an ECI cabinet or Modem with a Lantiq chipset to be seen in Ireland its all Broadcom  :)
« Last Edit: November 28, 2015, 01:30:38 AM by NewtronStar »
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condi

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Re: OpenEIR and its broadband network
« Reply #13 on: November 28, 2015, 10:09:20 AM »

Well there you go not an ECI cabinet or Modem with a Lantiq chipset to be seen in Ireland its all Broadcom  :)

Actually, I just remembered that re-seller and LLU operator Digiweb supply a Fritzbox 7360 which has a Lantiq chipset as it happens! I recall there being issues with this unit's vectoring support in the early days of rollout but I believe it was quickly sorted with a firmware release from AVM. Some also use their own Draytek gear (not sure of chipsets... but Draytek isn't usually Broadcom) and others choose to use their own TP-Link units

If one good came from the VDSL rollout it was that the ISP's were forced to up their game and supply a half-decent CPE. In the days of ADSL, eircom in particular were notorious for supplying bug-ridden junk from Zyxel. In fact, they still supply these (the eircom D1000 / Zyxel P660-HN...) to non-VDSL subs!
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WWWombat

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Re: OpenEIR and its broadband network
« Reply #14 on: November 28, 2015, 04:13:29 PM »

ECI modems for which firmware updates could enable upstream G.INP, but evidently they haven't bothered to make any.

Oh gezz I nearly forgot about the ECI modemscabinets thats an other reason for lack of G.INP as standard on the upstream on FTTC OR UK.

Try to remember that BT SIN 498, that documents how VDSL2 modems must behave, explicitly allows modems to not implement G.INP upstream - and has always allowed this.

The problem encountered by BT wasn't because of an incompatibility of the HH5. It was because the implementation of DLM that made use of G.INP didn't properly allow for such modems (of any make).

The choice BT made to have a default where G.INP is turned off upstream is a consequence of the SIN, not the HH5. Even if the HH5 were all-singing, all-dancing, G.INP wonder-machines ... DLM would still have to behave the same way.

But I agree - having an ECI cabinet that doesn't support upstream G.INP either is another thing that make's BT "new" choice for DLM-defaults to be the obvious choice.
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