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Author Topic: Great - not!  (Read 9679 times)

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Great - not!
« on: October 16, 2007, 08:23:42 AM »

UKOnline have just revamped all their products so now I have no idea what I'm migrating to on Thursday.

I don't mind if they do limit speeds to 16Mbps (usenet is the only thing I've found that will saturate the connection and losing 2Mbps is no biggie) but the static IP business is ticking me off as I'd already started moving my mailserver to another location.

Oh well I guess I'll find out what their support is like today then. Can't possibly be worse than Be - who have now applied/refunded a charge to my CC 5 times in the last week for no apparent reason (well not one that anybody there can explain  ;D)

1Mbps upstream is a bit more like it though. The one thing I will miss about Be is the 1.3Mbps upstream - there's no valid reason for limiting upstream to less than adslmax premium levels IMHO.

Now to summon up the will to call up support - at least I will be able to understand the accents with UKOnline (probably) :)
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kitz

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Re: Great - not!
« Reply #1 on: October 16, 2007, 09:54:15 AM »

At first I wondered what you were on about - because I just checked their site and couldnt see any changes...
Then I realised I'd used a link direct to their home packages and look what's still up on the site.
http://www.ukonline.net/home/?sso_auth=0

After checking out the new packages they look very sky like to me - (ie the 2/8/16Mb offering) - and we know who theyre owned by anyhow.
So out of curiousity I put my details into their checker and guess what? 
As from today (ok probably it should have been yesterday)..  I can get "UK online" at this exchange - when I couldnt previously. 
Therefore theres no doubt that they are now using the SKY LLU dslams to sell products from their site.

If you signed up to one of their 22Mb products then surely that is what they should be provisioning you at.  The UKO dslams have still got to be in place so wonder what they are going to do with those... surely they just cant simply downgrade those existing customers that they do have on the 22Mb package.


IMHO theyre "widening" the areas of where they can offer UKO LLU, by further integration with Sky, and although I see that the UKO product offers some extras aimed at the more "techy type" user ie domain name and static IP, £24.99 could be considered expensive for some when you can get what amounts to the same connection from sky as part of your package for £10 per month.

Be interesting to see what they connect you at though.
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Re: Great - not!
« Reply #2 on: October 16, 2007, 10:08:18 AM »

Interesting. I'd assumed that Sky/UKOnline used the same DSLAMs anyway. Seems rather bizarre installing a DSLAM for Sky and another for UKO unless one is full?

I've emailed them so we'll see what they say.

PS - I don't have Sky TV installed (nor do I want it) so the discounts don't apply to me.
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kitz

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Re: Great - not!
« Reply #3 on: October 16, 2007, 10:29:30 AM »

>> Interesting. I'd assumed that Sky/UKOnline used the same DSLAMs anyway. Seems rather bizarre installing a DSLAM for Sky and another for UKO unless one is full?

Yes you would think so..   but my line of thinking was that UKO already had a pile of dslams anyhow before they were taken over - and those seem to the ones where you can get (or more correctly could get) the 22Mb product.

Sky has been at this exchange for > 6 months - but previously I couldnt get a UKO LLU product and if I signed up with UKO then the products they were offering me were the standard Max ones.
Admittedly I havent tried within the past couple of weeks..  but I do know for certain that when I was coding the exchange checker not so very long ago (weeks)  that UKO wouldnt offer me one of their LLU products and it would have to be BT IPStream if I wanted to go with them.

So this change has only happened within the past few weeks - IMHO most likely to have co-incided with the new product launch yesterday.
Why are UKO only now offering me a product , when a few of weeks ago they wouldn't? - despite that same dslam already being in place for many months.
The only conclusion is they didnt want to offer a 22Mb product on it.

If there was already a "UKO" (Easynet) dslam/msan in an exchange then yes it would make sense to put sky users on that dslam/msan rather than install a brand new one.  It would be stupid if they didnt really.
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Re: Great - not!
« Reply #4 on: October 16, 2007, 10:54:06 AM »

I don't know who enabled this exchange - samknows just says "Sky/Easynet:Enabled as of 07/05/2007" so I'd assume it was Sky with that date. Thing is that I specifically checked that 22Mbps was available - UKO told me the line was capable of a minimum 16.5Mbps. I told them that I knew 16Mbps Sky was at the exchange but I'd rather go with UKO and the guy said "yeah we get most of the people who have good lines as we can give them faster broadband than Sky".

Hmmm wait a sec. When I signed up all their website would offer me was 8Mbps (and 1, 2Mbps obviously) so I rang and queried this. The guy I spoke to talked me through the process, but basically I had to click on the 8Mbps service and then something on the backend of the website would run a test and offer 22Mbps if available/suitable - as it did. From what you're saying (if I have you right) that shouldn't happen on a "Sky" DSLAM? In which case it must be UKO but why would they be enabling an exchange (98% residential) in May 2007?  ???

Is it just me or does this "limiting" of linespeed get very confusing? Be/O2 are now advertising 20Mbps rather than 24Mbps although its the same service as before. Sky actually do limit it to 16Mbps apparently but UKO don't. Mess or what?

Oh well I think I'll postpone moving the mx for today. There seems little point if I'm going to get a static IP (by default) anyway.
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kitz

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Re: Great - not!
« Reply #5 on: October 16, 2007, 11:00:12 AM »

btw - just noticed this

UKO will let me sign up today proudly telling me I can get 16Mb  - however this is what sky is reporting

Due to high demand, Sky’s Base Mid & Max broadband products are currently sold out in the area where you live. Sky's broadband network continues to roll out across the country and as soon as it reaches your area, you'll be able to get our full range of broadband products.

You already have broadband
Before you can order Sky Broadband, you will need a ‘MAC code’ to switch your broadband to Sky smoothly and with minimal disruption to your service. Click here for further advice in switching to Sky.

Until then, you can get Sky Broadband Connect which at £17 per month is less than the equivalent BT product.


So UKO would be able put me on LLU whilst sky would want me to pay £17 and stay on BT IPStream whilst they stick some more line cards in the dslam.
Somehow I dont think so do you?




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Re: Great - not!
« Reply #6 on: October 16, 2007, 11:10:02 AM »

Gods alone know kitz. Perhaps UKO get to reserve some cards as they are the "business arm" of Sky and they charge more? I can't see it myself but I suppose its possible.

Are you on a big exchange or something? With the exception of the original DSLAM here (the one I went LLU to get off, if you remember?) there is space on every single service. Admittedly you wouldn't want to be on half the services (AOL, CPW, Tiscali, Bulldog) but that's a different story :D
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kitz

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Re: Great - not!
« Reply #7 on: October 16, 2007, 11:11:27 AM »

>> "Sky/Easynet:Enabled as of 07/05/2007" so I'd assume it was Sky with that date.

Me too

>> I told them that I knew 16Mbps Sky was at the exchange but I'd rather go with UKO and the guy said

Must admit I didnt try that so cant comment

>> Is it just me or does this "limiting" of linespeed get very confusing?

Yep... but then again depends where they are doing the limiting - really have to go out know - but one thing does occur - back in the days of old - way prior to max dsl - remember how BT used to set the line speed on the line cards?  
hmmm   I wonder if they do have separate line cards for sky and the UKO users - and in which case that may explain why UKO is saying Yes to me and sky is saying NO.
I'm theorising - and dont honestly know - but its the only possibility that I can think of.  (unless the UKO site is fobbing me off when they say YES and I'd still have to wait for a new rack or something)

Okies need to go out now.

[edited to add your post and mine crossed]



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Re: Great - not!
« Reply #8 on: October 16, 2007, 11:26:55 AM »

Well I know Be/O2 have only changed their marketing to stop people whinging about not getting 24Mbps*, so perhaps (with the recent Ofcom consumer panel request**) UKO are doing the same thing? I was under the impression that Sky limited their speed to 16Mbps specifically to minimise support calls - things can get VERY flakey up around 20Mbps on "fastpath" (which is really just an interleave depth of 4) on Be and I assume Sky is just the same. On Be you have (well you would if you left the BeBox "open" on the WAN) support people logging into the BeBox remotely to diagnose issues and then altering margins/interleave accordingly. They're trying to automate that now - badly :)

The ADSL2+ extended frequency range is (IMHO) going to be a nightmare once BT roll it out - crosstalk/capacitance etc.

*20Mbps is about the max you'll get on the default interleaving depth Be apply so there's some logic there
**http://www.thinkbroadband.com/news/3233-ofcom-consumer-panel-asks-isps-to-advertise-real-speeds.html

Edit - in case anyone is wondering, no the Be support people don't advise you that they are logging into your (well its theirs really) router. I became aware of it via IDS logs and got rather annoyed. Ircsome's site thankfully had all the necessary info on how to remove the "hidden" user logins the BeBox has blown into it.
« Last Edit: October 16, 2007, 11:41:33 AM by rizla »
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Re: Great - not!
« Reply #9 on: October 16, 2007, 12:39:43 PM »

Aha - things become clearer. Got email back from Order Enquiries which said I will be on the "old" 22Mbps package but I could "upgrade" to the new package whenever I wanted.

Salient part of what he said :

"While the new package is capped at 16Mb, it is on a lower contention ratio. It was decided that since so few customers get >16Mb anyway, it was worth more to give a little more stability by reducing the line rate. You have to be well under 1km from the exchange and on a good copper line to get the top rates, but everyone can benefit from lower contention."

I've asked :

"So let me just get this clear - the difference between the "old" and the "new" packages is that (potential) contention drops from 33:1 to 20:1; max downstream speed drops to 16Mbps; max upstream goes up from 768kbps to 1Mbps; and there's a free static IP address? Does that sum the changes up?"

I haven't had time to think about this but my gut feeling is that they are right to do this. The only application I can sustain speeds >16Mbps on is usenet and its hardly likely that the article will expire while you are downloading now is it? :D

Back to decorating.....

Edit - he's just replied : "your understanding of the new packages is correct, and it would seem considerably more full than mine! I think I might email you with any queries I have ;)"
« Last Edit: October 16, 2007, 12:55:10 PM by rizla »
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kitz

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Re: Great - not!
« Reply #10 on: October 16, 2007, 07:24:56 PM »

I notice that theyve now pulled down the page I linked to above and it redirects to their main page, a couple of other pages I looked at this am have now also gone too.

I see theyve also got rid of the 1Mb product at £9.99 too and are no longer advertising IPStream services. The products they are offering now seem to be the same speed rates as what Sky offer.

I really dont see how they can withdraw some of the older accounts though, afterall they must have some customers on the old £9.99 accounts, surely they cant make them upgrade and pay an extra fiver?  it would sure be a get out of contract clause :/  Not sure what they are doing about their IPStream accounts either.

Notice they have got rid of the £25 connection fee on the Pro and Premier accounts. I know their packages are classed as unlimited - but is it just me that thinks the lite and pro accounts seem a bit pricey for LLU? (certainly isnt going to atrract the "lighter users")

Just for history records before I change them in my d/b the old accounts they offered  were

 > 1Mb 9.99  LLU only 12 N 3
 > 2Mb 14.99 LLU only 12 N 3
 > 8Mb 19.99 LLU exchanges.768k upstream 12 N 3
 > 1Mb 19.99  IP Stream 12 N 1
 > 2Mb 24.99 IP Stream 12 N 1
 >22Mb 24.99  LLU exchanges.768k upstream. 12 N 3




Edited to add

I succumbed and phoned up their free-phone no to ask.
They are now using the sky dsalms and its why they can now offer me 16Mb when they couldnt a few weeks ago.
 The other thing is that the new pricing is for both LLU and IPStream and theres no longer any different price structure between the two types. The old accounts remain in force for anyone on them.

D'oh what I did forget to ask is why sky is saying the exchange is full - yet UKO are saying it isnt!  :doh:
The guy took my details too and checked availability proudly telling me that I could get the full 16Mb.
Actually the sales guy seemed quite knowledgable and didnt go "huh?" at some of the "key words" that I threw in the conversation.
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kitz

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Re: Great - not!
« Reply #11 on: October 16, 2007, 07:26:54 PM »

>> The ADSL2+ extended frequency range is (IMHO) going to be a nightmare once BT roll it out

It is Max has been bad enough.  All of a sudden "DIY adsl" requires a knowledge of such things as "sync" and "SNR Margin" and bRAS profile..  this is way too much for some people to understand and completely over the head of non-techies and your average joe public.

If youve got a nice SNR Margin, then Ive seen lines up to 40dB scrape the full 8Mb. Come the higher speeds then way more people are going to experience the joys of marginal lines and frequent syncs at differing speeds.

Be*'s approach to this is they wont let anyone outside "x" range on their Pro product.


*Although I have actually spoken to Be in the past about this, and providing you sign a disclaimer saying that you realise the pitfalls of variable syncs and that you could end up paying more for the Pro but not getting higher speeds then they will do this on some marginal lines.

>> no the Be support people don't advise you that they are logging into your (well its theirs really) router.

Nice - not! and something that would annoy me personally immensely! :mad:

However, saying that I think the ability to be able to do so is actually very good, The average joe user doesnt have a clue and it does make things a lot easier if support can quickly do something.  There are a  number of people that stuggle setting up the basic connection, and telnetting into a router or even struggle with the web interface is probably very high.
Ask anyone who earns the odd pint by going round setting up adsl what its like sometimes - The EU just wont touch anything and hence why so many use the horrible cd set up disks.  They dont have a clue whats going on and its the ISP/BT that gets the blame.  Its also why BTw have recently increased the visit fee thing - too often the BT engineer was called out and it was things like incorrectly set up filters or routers.:(
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Re: Great - not!
« Reply #12 on: October 16, 2007, 08:18:11 PM »

Ermmm I'm not sure who you spoke to at Be but they were spinning you a line if that is what they told you about Pro. There is an unofficial agreement that if Pro is obviously wrong for your line then they will put it back to Annex A  free of charge. It is unofficial though (ie its Brett you need to talk to and his memory is "selective" shall we say?) and the Bulgarians seem to know nothing about this so getting it put back might be harder than you think.

Be is wild west territory kitz in terms of systems/procedures and I've just remembered who Brett Coles reminds me of - the guy who fronts up Hi-Velocity (if they still exist). They both promise the earth then can't be contacted when they have your cash :P

Annex M (Pro) is a sod of a product anyway - remember the upstream is the lower frequency so it tends to pickup all the impulse noise in the house/building. I admin'd an Annex M connection until yesterday and the longest it held sync was about 72 hours. That's on a line much like yours IIRC - you have ludicrously low attenuation don't you?
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kitz

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Re: Great - not!
« Reply #13 on: October 16, 2007, 08:41:30 PM »

>> I'm not sure who you spoke to at Be but they were spinning you a line if that is what they told you about Pro

:(  I got 2 new Be lines signed up, but havent been to see the stats on them yet.   Was specifically looking for upstream, they are in their marginal area, but obviously I'd want to see how the line was performing first before requesting this.  It was actually the Be guy that told me they could do this.
Like I say if the line cant cope then its not worth it - and even perhaps if it could - its still gonna get more upstream with Be than anywhere else anyhow.

>> you have ludicrously low attenuation don't you?

Statistics Downstream Upstream 
 Line Rate 8128 832 
 Noise Margin 12.3 dB  9.0 dB   
 Line Attenuation 7.5 dB  7.0 dB   
 Output Power 11.9 dBm  17.8 dBm   
 K (number of bytes in DMT frame) 255 27 
 R (number of check bytes in RS code word) 0 0 
 S (RS code word size in DMT frame) 1 1 
 D (interleaver depth) 1 1 


SNR Margin is normally steadyish at around 12.5 - 14dB.   Where its sitting at 12.3 right now is actually about the lowest Ive seen it in a long time.  My MRTG graphs make pretty boring reading.
 
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Re: Great - not!
« Reply #14 on: October 16, 2007, 09:16:16 PM »

Thats a 24Mbps line if ever I saw one.

In general if you don't get full upstream rate (1.3Mbps) on Be then its a local wiring problem. The only people I have ever seen with problems on upstream are people with wiring inside their houses which doesn't have the (modern) master socket. Well there was one guy but it was obvious to me that he had a radio ham nearby from the DMT graph he posted. Everyone else I've seen with less has something dodgy going on - quite obvious in most cases.

For Annex M downstream is the determining factor really (yes I know what I said before) as you'll be borrowing some of the extended ADSL2+ frequency range to use on upstream - so upstream attenuation rate will apply (sort of, providing its measured somewhere sensible?).

I don't believe you'll see sustainable 2.5Mbps upstream on a line which syncs at less than 15Mbps - it will probably sync at that rate but try caning the upstream and it will fall over (sync I mean). That is my experience. Mark Taylor on adslguide has a Pro line and his is apparently rock solid.

Edit - that's 15Mbps fastpath (interleave depth of 4 really).
« Last Edit: October 16, 2007, 11:04:21 PM by rizla »
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