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UPD A Closer Look at Latency and Packet Loss on the Biggest Broadband ISPs

Posted Friday, August 17th, 2012 (9:29 am) by Mark Jackson (Score 7,706)
internet binary data transfer

Ofcom’s latest broadband speeds report (released this week) also includes a unique and useful insight into the Latency (Ping) and Packet Loss performance of the UK’s largest ISPs, which can have a serious impact upon the performance of specific internet applications (e.g. online video games, Skype etc.). But which provider is best?

Most ordinary consumers probably aren’t aware of such terms, which is partly why the communications regulator chooses to centre the main thrust of their fixed-line ISP performance report on connection speed. In reality internet provision is about more than connectivity speed and there are other types of performance that can have an equally dramatic effect upon your experience.

What is Latency and Packet Loss?

Latency and Packet Loss are two related aspects where the general rule of “lower is better” almost always applies. In order to understand how both work it’s best to think of internet data transfers as being a bit like the postal service.

Latency
A measure of the time (delay in milliseconds) that it takes for a single packet of data to travel from your computer to a third-party server and back again (aka – ping time). Note: 1000 milliseconds = 1 second.

Packet Loss
The term given to a problem that occurs when some of the data packets being transmitted between two or more points (e.g. servers) on the internet effectively go missing or are incorrect. The connection auto-corrects for this but doing so can result in an additional delay (increased latency times) or other problems.

Generally speaking you want a low-latency connection with minimal packet loss. Sadly Packet Loss is a natural fact of life on the internet. Network connections are designed to auto-correct for this problem but doing so can increase the latency time. A highly congested (busy) network or faulty networking hardware can also increase latency, partly by causing a higher degree of packet loss.

Satellite connections are also notorious for their ultra high network latency because the data has to be sent all the way up to space and then back down again. That’s a long round-trip and there’s simply no escaping the laws of physics (transmission delay).

Latency and Packet Loss in Perspective

Most fast-paced online multiplayer games need a latency of below 100ms (milliseconds), although gamers usually prefer considerably less than that in order to have the smoothest experience. Every game has a different approach to its netcode but go above 100ms and most soon start to suffer from unusual warping or lag, which occurs because the delay has caused players to become increasingly out-of-sync with the server time. The server software and game netcode can only correct so much for this before it becomes unplayable.

Likewise high latency and packet loss can also cause unusual pauses, breaks and or synchronisation delays in your voice or video calls over Skype (VoIP) or similar services. It can sometimes have a similar affect upon the performance of Virtual Private Networking (VPN) and or remote desktop style services. Essentially any time sensitive real-time apps need to be mindful of latency and packet loss.

Thankfully Ofcom’s report gives us a unique insight into how latency and packet loss affects eight of the UK’s largest broadband ISPs. The regulator splits this up so as to compare the older ADSL2+ (up to 20/24Mbps) based copper broadband services with the latest superfast (BTInfinity’s FTTC and Virgin Media cable) platforms. First let’s take a look at latency.

latency uk broadband isps may 2012

Clearly KC’s (Karoo) legacy broadband network in Hull (East Yorkshire) is running into some problems and exhibits a typical latency that would be high enough to cause online video gamers concern. Likewise Sky Broadband and TalkTalk need to do better. Interestingly Virgin Media’s results show that being the fastest for raw connectivity speed doesn’t always equal the best for latency, with BT’s FTTC (Infinity) solution appearing to be the strongest and most consistent of the two.

Note: Ofcom only measures the latency between the ISP and your home router/modem connection, thus if you use a wifi instead of wired network connection at home then that can also increase the latency delay (+10-35ms) as you’d be adding an additional path for the data to travel, which will have its own complicated processes. On to packet loss..

packetloss uk broadband isps may 2012

As expected the Packet Loss results largely support what we saw above for Latency. Both KC’s legacy broadband and Virgin Media’s superfast broadband platforms appear to have trouble here with a comparatively high number of data packets being prone to error. But at the same time Sky Broadband and TalkTalk do far better, while O2 suddenly shows a problem. This just goes to show that Packet Loss isn’t the only cause of latency but it does play a big part.

At this point it should be said that Ofcom’s sample size of fewer than 2,000 homes makes it difficult to draw any reliable conclusions, although clearly Virgin Media and KC don’t do as well as their competitors when it comes to raw network response time and error rates. The results aren’t high enough to threaten most real-time applications but fans of online video games should certainly take heed.

It’s worth noting that ISPs can sometimes make tweaks (e.g. interleaving and line gain etc.) that might improve your latency performance, thus it’s always worth asking for help if you have a problem. Some router settings (e.g. MTU) can also impact latency but that’s best left to those whom actually understand the technology; such changes can easily become counter-productive if not done correctly.

UPDATE 18th August 2012

The Director of UK ISP Andrews & Arnold (AAISP), Adrian Kennard, has reminded us of another factor in all this. BTWholesale still don’t recognise serious packet loss and latency on a line as a fault, even though they often relate to a more serious problem.

Adrian Kennard told ISPreview.co.uk:

As an ISP that OFCOM did not monitor, AAISP is one of the few that take loss and latency seriously on a day to day basis. We monitor every line every second, record loss and latency and provide that data to our customers in real time and with history for the lifetime of the line.

We have also tried to get BT Wholesale to recognise these key metrics and have, for many years, tried to get BTW to handle fault reports of high latency of packet loss as a type of fault in their own right. To date BTW still do not recognise these as fault types even though they are easy to measure.”

It should be said that the type of exceptionally high packet loss and latency that Adrian is talking about would generally be well above the real-world examples mentioned in this article and easily enough to impact the general usability of a customers connection. This is not to be confused with Ofcom’s examples, which show fairly normal behaviour.

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57 Responses
  1. adslmax

    Virgin Media should win the award for most packet loss, high latency and jitter. I’m always seeing people complain about it. The broadband quality monitors are never pretty.

  2. Ive never had a problem with talktalk latency wise. Same with packet loss.

    Quite Low: http://pastie.org/4531730

    Virgin media on the other hand can be high at times.

  3. Infinidim

    i would like to see OFCOM look into “upload/upstream” speeds as well as most of the ISP’s don’t have any service levels for these. You might have a wonbderful download/downstream rate but if the upload/upstream is very poor you won’t get a good performance from you broadband.

  4. Deduction02

    So looking at that chart….. Peak time latency on BT 76Mb Vs Virgin 100Mb is all of around 5ms difference in the 8-10pm slot and all of about 1ms difference over a 24hr period. Oh no thats such a disaster, Virgin is falling apart (sarcasm mode off).

    Packet loss likewise is about 0.1% worse…….

    Shock horror thats really gonna make a Virgin 100Mb product that CONSISTENTLY delivers (again according to the ofcom report) an average of 29.8Mb faster than BT 76Mb so much worse LOL

    Oh NOOOOs ive lost 0.1% more of my data on virgin than i would on BT in a 24 hour period which will have to be retransmitted but is coming down the pipe at a rate of 29.8Mb quicker than FTTC anyways.

    quote from prior story for reference
    “Overall Virgin Media’s ‘up to’ 100Mbps package was the fastest UK service and delivered average actual speeds of 88.3Mbps over a 24 hour period, while the 38Mbps and 76Mbps (advertised) BTInfinity service delivered a real-world average of 32.2Mbps and 58.5Mbps respectively.”
    88.3Mb – 58.5Mb = Virgin 29.8Mb quicker with only 0.1% more packets lost in a 24 hour period. Or in other words…….. YOU STILL GET ALL YOUR DATA DOWNLOADING DONE QUICKER ON VIRGIN 100Mb.

    Wont even bother arguing more about a whole 5ms latency difference, you can get bigger increases than that on a line depending on the time of year. Wont stop Bt fans trying to argue it makes one product vastly superior though.

    If BT and Virgin were the only products on the market id take Virgin 100Mb over BT Infinity 76Mb (err more like mid-high 50sMb) product.

    VIRGIN WINS AGAIN!

    • FibreFred

      So out of the ISPs above which is best based on those results for gaming and VoIP ?

    • Deduction02

      Neither….
      1) you can as good as guarantee higher pings to most gaming servers than what they tested.
      2) Without comparing to a specific server you can not tell how high or low ping to it will be. A big part of that will be what ROUTE the traffic goes to reach its destination and how many hops it makes.
      3) Same goes for VOIP

    • FibreFred

      The measures on the report are between the ISP and the home router, so the measures are valid, so again which is best? A hint, look at the graphs

    • Deduction02

      NEITHER IS BETTER FOR WHAT YOU ASKED

      You asked which is better for VOIP and gaming, that wasnt tested. Neither you nor i know which route and how many hops each product would take on the same gaming or voip service, which are ONE of the biggest factors in latency.

      Unless you can provide tracerts to specific gaming servers and voip products for both products you cant compare things.

      I dare say BT and Virgin even use different peering partners which again will affect latency, packet loss and jitter.

      That question was a dumb one and anyone with a basic understanding knows it.

    • FibreFred

      And with that you are saying the Ofcom report is wrong and Mark’s article is also wrong

    • Deduction02

      Nope im saying Various VOIP and Gaming services/servers were not tested. If you can not comprehend Ping varies from destination to destination and the route and hops an ISP takes to that destination varies then you really do not understand anything to do with latency.

      Feel free to write to Mark and tell him cos nowhere have i said his article or the Ofcom report is wrong. Im saying you dont understand what was tested. Just visiting this site i guarantee my ISP takes a different route via different servers to get to it than many others.

      Its entirely possible my ping time to this site destroys yours or yours may destroy mine, that doesnt mean it would be the same to every destination though. A considerable amount of it would come down to peering and routing, this is even more important when using sites etc overseas where you want (normally at least) the least amount of hops possible.

    • FibreFred

      Ok let’s try again out comparing the bt and virgin Fttx products which one on the report has the lowest latency and least packet loss

    • Deduction02

      To a SPECIFIC SINGULAR server which is what was tested and not in general… I quote from the report…. “Latency is the time it takes a single packet of data to travel from a user’s PC to a third-party server and back again.”

      The answer is the same again. Taking the best (and only the best as thats what you are asking for) 24 HOUR results from all the Virgin products and Best result from all the BT FTTC products BT FTTC had about 0.1% less packet loss and approx 1ms better ping. Again if you think that is significant more fool you especially as its to a single third party server and not serverS

    • FibreFred

      I knew you wouldn’t be able to write the words, thankfully the report (and article) speaks for itself.

    • Deduction02

      ^^^ Dunno what you mean, i quite clearly said which is “better” to a specific singular server and by how much. The report does indeed speak for itself, it states exactly what i have in my prior post. You really are gone in the head if you think 1-5ms ping difference is significant or 0.1% more packet loss especially on a service which is running at around 29Mb (or around one whole third) quicker. Even with that increased ping in 99% of situations the Virgin product will butcher the BT 76Mb (actual average rate in the 50Mbs). If you really think Ping and packet loss are the only important things then my ADSL2+ must be better than ALL the BT and Virgin products. It suffers less packet loss than both and ping to most UK servers is 3-5ms quicker. Obviously though its not superior in any manner, even with all that in its favour both the BT and Virgin packages will get stuff done quicker. Just as the 100Mb product of Virgins will still muller the 50Mb from BT in 99% of real life.

      You carry on though you just look silly now, trying to claim a BT product that on average runs in the 50Mb range beats a Virgin product that runs in the 80Mb range because its got a ping thats 1-5ms quicker. That is utter stupidity of the lowest level.

    • Jason

      Virgin does NOT WIN AGAIN..
      I am in the process of moving from Virgin due to extreme upstream contention on their 100mb product. It has been completely useless for gaming for the past 4 months and we’ve had enough. They admitted they have a problem which will not be fixed until April 2013 !!! So, they have cut my bill in half for the last 2 months and I am moving to BT Infinity where at least I will get a ‘quality’ gaming connection. Even routes to BBC are reporting 450ms ON THE FIRST HOP! This is disgraceful performance (which Virgin tech has admitted to me is because the product is oversold and all the UBRs need upgrades which take time)

      Download speed has also started to suffer. At the beginning of the year I used to get 100mb always.. now it ranges from 1mb (yes really!!) to 35mb during peak periods.. absolutely useless.

      I’d rather have a rock solid and reliable ping (latency) for gaming and a reasonable (~40MB) download from BT infinity anytime.

      I have been with VM since NTL days.. so I’ve not done this lightly. The service ( at least in parts of the over-crowded South East/London) is abysmal these days.

  5. John Baker

    What the article did not cover is that the consumer equipment can have a large impact on latency and packet loss.

    For example, I have a high quality firewall with an external Ethernet(100Mbps)DSL modem connected to a ISP on a BT Wholesale ADSL2+ connection 1.6K from the exchange. With this modem/firewall setup I was getting good download/upload performance (13Mb/1.9MMb) with a round trip of 25ms from my network to the ISP DNS server. I then managed to purchase the ADSL2+ module for the firewall and I am now getting 12ms latency on the same line with slightly better download speeds. If I switch back to the external modem, the round trip latency goes back up.

    Now the cost of the equipment to get this level of performance is rather high £600-800

  6. FibreFred

    A report showing what I’ve been saying for ages – if you use time sensitive apps stay away from jittery and packet losing virgin

    • Deduction02

      Except according to that report it isnt. The only services that show any significant signs of issues are Karoo (45ms pings to a local server is double roughly that of what BT FTTC and Virgin 609Mb and 100Mb shows).

      Similar the only virgin service that shows significant packet loss is the 30Mb product, the 100Mb product nobody is likely to physically see any difference between it and BT FTTC.

      Any ping time to a (what i assume is a UK server they tested to) of around 25ms or lower is good. Both BT and Virgin manage that.

      The packet loss results are weird considering the 100Mb services are not bad. Could be down to equipment Virgin supply for the 100Mb product being better than the 30Mb product, or amount of testers or some using wireless or numerous other things. BT 76Mb Vs Virgin 100Mb though, theres basically no REAL LIFE difference.
      Even less so for packet loss when you factor in the virgin product can deliver data 30Mbps quicker than the BT 76Mb product.

      The truth of the matter is ping wise and packet loss wise theres basically no difference between virgin 100Mb and BT 76Mb. Which must tick you off considering for months you have claimed there is.

    • FibreFred

      Why are you just comparing the 100Mbs product? Because that is the smallest user base? Are you saying Virgin is a good ISP but only if you go for the 100Mbps package?

    • Deduction02

      Be a bit silly to compare Virgins 30Mb product (which has millions of subs) to BTs claimed 76Mb product wouldnt it?.

      Comparing Virgins 100Mb service to BTs FTTC is also fair…
      Virgins 50Mb (which will be speed doubled to 100Mb) and current 100Mb subscribers stood at 590,000 subs as stated here (probably a bit more as many now take a faster than 30Mb service) http://www.ispreview.co.uk/index.php/2012/07/virgin-media-uk-holds-at-4-38-million-broadband-isp-subscribers-for-q2-2012.html

      BTs FTTC stands (also dubiously figures like virgins IMO) at around 700,000 as mentioned here…
      http://www.ispreview.co.uk/index.php/2012/07/bt-top-6-36-million-broadband-subscribers-as-fttc-passes-11m-uk-homes.html

      So similar CLAIMED customer numbers from both also. So total fair comparison, similar claimed speeds, similar claimed user numbers.

      Oh and yes if you want im saying Virgins 30Mb is rubbish, im also claiming BTs nearest in speed terms (TO STILL BE FAIR) which is a 24Mb ADSL2+ service is rubbish also.

      BT FTTC 76Mb and Virgin 100Mb though are both better and perform similar. Both according to that ofcom report perform more than fine.

      Virgins 30Mb service will also be phased out soon anyway, as their “speed doubling” continues region by region (this time next year the entry product will probably be 60Mb with 100Mb as the middle and something like a 120-200Mb {unknown for now} being the new top end).

      I trust that explains why it makes sense to compare virgin 100Mb and upgraded (IE speed doubled 50Mb) users to BT 76Mb FTTC.

      I could had compare BT 38Mb FTTC if you want which the 100Mb virgin product would destroy even with double the packet loss (you would still get things quicker due to the speed) i didnt because i was being reasonable and fair.

      If you want me to compare BT 38Mb to Virgin 30Mb then yes the 38Mb product from BT beats the 30Mb product from Virgin.

      The 100Mb product from Virgin though beats the BT 76Mb product. Its near 30Mb faster and ping and packet loss difference is negligible.

      The best MASS top end fibre solution crown still belongs to Virgin, the best low end fibre crown (IE around the 30Mb mark) belongs to BT……… Happy with that?

    • FibreFred

      “Be a bit silly to compare Virgins 30Mb product (which has millions of subs) to BTs claimed 76Mb product wouldnt it?.”

      No, not when comparing jitter, ping, latency etc

    • Deduction02

      LOL so you want to compare a companies MASS supplied bottom end product to anothers top end product. OK in that case if you want to be stupid and through out comparing the nearest thing possible from both companies in terms of speed and subs, then lets compare Virgin 30Mb to BT dial up…. Virgin still wins. See how dumb that is now?

      Just face it BTs 38Mb FTTC is better than Virgin 30Mb (no shock considering if should A) Be faster anyway B) doesnt have as many users to deal with). Where as Virgins 100Mb product even with its OH NO 1-5ms ping increase and 0.1% more packet loss still crushes BTs 76Mb product (which on average only runs in the 50sMbps). For it to lose out it would have to have roughly double the packet loss, it doesnt.

      You wouldnt even notice 0.1% more packet loss or a 1ms-5ms ping time difference in daily use, to claim otherwise if thats what you are doing is beyond stupid. BT 76Mb FTTC loses…. Still.

  7. Deduction02

    In fact on a bad day (horrid weather, sporting event online and similar) you could end up seeing WAY, WAY more than a 5ms latency increase and 0.1% packet loss increase on any service. Something such as equipment can make a difference bigger than that also, as another user pointed out earlier on this item. Hell even a cheap quality LAN and or phone line jack cable can increase your ping by 1 or 2ms. Theres basically no difference between VM 100Mb and BT 76Mb when it comes to ping and packet loss. I frankly find it funny you are still peddling your BT mythcycle trying to convince people there is.

  8. Mark Macknight

    I have a virgin 50meg line and a be value line. I had to get a new phone line installed because trying to play on xbox live with my virgin connection was a joke. The ping to uk servers was regularly as high as 80ms with jitter of around 20ms which caused many an unfair death on any fps.

    My be line is the opposite. I pretty much always have pings of 25ms or under and 0-1 ms of jitter.

    I read a lot of posts on gaming forums about virgin’s fttc being one of the worst isp’s for online gaming and have seen many a tbb graph to back this up I have also seen a few infinity tbb graphs and if I had to choose one over the other it would be Infinity every time.

    It all comes down to what you use your internet for. If it is downloading and uploading then virgins fttc service is great. But if your an online gamer stay well clear as in mine and many of my online pals experience they are the worst we have ever had.

    • FibreFred

      Exactly this ^

    • Deduction02

      That would be a fault with what they provided rather than it being normal. NO company in the ofcom charts above hit anywhere near 80ms pings. Ping time to a site should be nowhere near that for the majority of UK servers.

      The fact its dropped by a factor of 4 on a BE ADSL line also highlights it was a fault as BEs network itself has had more than a few latency issues on and off over the past year.

      If issues like that were common the 100Mb service results would show it. About the only product from Virgin not worth having IMO is the 30Mb as it has substantially more packet loss so it makes sense in that instance to take the BT 38Mb product over it (both in terms of cost and getting a bit more speed for you money also) the other virgin and BT packages are much of a muchness. But results dont lie the best for daily use is still Virgins 100Mb.

    • FibreFred

      “That would be a fault with what they provided rather than it being normal.”

      Or congestion

      ” NO company in the ofcom charts above hit anywhere near 80ms pings”

      Your either trying to be clever or you are as stupid as that statement says

      Google up “Average”

      I’ve told you before but you can’t seem to handle it. The virgin forums are full of people complaining about jitter and latency and have been for ages. And Ofcom report now finally backs up what they’ve been saying.

  9. Mark Macknight

    You are right it should be nowhere near 80ms to uk based sites and servers but unfortunately it was a regular problem and one caused by the ever present over utilization to which virgin media are well known for running parts of the network at 80%-90% utilization. Just have a quick look through the forums and you will find many posts regarding this and many other problems in regards to online gaming like the black ops/cod and wow problems of the last year and a bit.

    VM have been named and shamed for having amongst the worst jitter of any isp I wish this was not the case as I have to pay for two lines just to play a little bit of xbox live without wanting to throw my superhub out the window and it would also save me a bit of cash.

    In regards to the Be problems of the last six months I was one of the lucky ones who were not affected by the peering problems that they had but the customer service of late has slipped and was one of the reasons I went with Be in the first place but in comparison to virgins customer service it leagues ahead even when though its not as good as it used to Be.

    • FibreFred

      He won’t listen Mark. Totally agree with what you are saying but you won’t convince him ;)

      BE have been the gamers choice for many years, glad to see its still working ok for you

  10. Deduction02

    I dont need to listen the ofcom figures tell the story

    100MB from Virgin wins (30Mb quicker than BT 76Mb FTTC)

    Virgin win the survey here (convincingly)

    Ofcom say Virgin received least complaints.

    VIRGIN WIN…. Flawless victory! BWAHAHAHAHA

    Keep going though…
    SURVEY SAYS MOST WOULD PICK VIRGIN OVER BT

    OFCOM DONT AGREE WITH YOU EITHER.

    Must be so frustrating to be a BT worker and your voice not be listened to.

    • New_Londoner

      Of course when you combine reports from Ofcom and the ASA you get a very clear picture that cable is the worst choice for gamers – see previous posts on this for detail, links,

    • Deduction02

      Daydreamer LOL

    • FibreFred

      Why do you keep on talking about speed? The article is about latency and jitter

    • Jason

      Deduction02… You don’t seem to be listening to what I and these others are saying.

      Download speed is not really the issue.. It is LAG and LATENCY for which VirginMedia are the WORST by a very long way. Gaming is IMPOSSIBLE on their connections due to constant massive lag spikes during peak hours. In fact I have been running tests lately and it is now an issue during the day as well.. It is absolutely USELESS for gaming. Web browsing/downloading , no one will notice much.. but gaming absolutely unusable.

  11. Mark Macknight

    To be fair the ofcom report doesn’t really prove anything one way or another. To get a detailed picture of what is really going on the big 4 isp’s would really need to have a much larger number of people monitored say around 20.000 each up and down the country for argument sake and have them monitored over a much longer period of say a month. I think this would show whats going on but I very much doubt it would happen.

  12. Mark Macknight

    I would like to read these reports. Are they on this site or the ofcom and asa site?

    I am only talking about the small number of people used in this report in regards to my previous posts. If a much more in depth studie has been carried out I fail to see the point in them running such a small scale test now. Is it because the previous reports were carried out before virgin media released 30,60 and 100meg? And the same with bt releasing infinity?

  13. Mark Macknight

    Im asking new londoner a question.

  14. Mark Macknight

    You are clearly a virgin fanboy.

    • Deduction

      Yep they are great

      Least complained about to ofcom

      Won the ISPreview survey

      Fastest MASS fibre product on the market

      WIN, WIN, WIN

    • New_Londoner

      Amazing that actual Virgin customers think the service is pretty much useless for gaming. Clearly deluded, our expert friend needs to explain to them that the higher sync speed more than compensates for the congestion as they don’t seem to understand, what idiots! ;-)

  15. Tom

    Im a Virgin user and i find it to be a superb service. All 3 points above i agree with. Far better than anything from BT ive ever had. Virgin 100Mb foreva.

    • FibreFred

      I didn’t think you were a virgin customer delusion ?

    • Deduction

      1) No im not a Virgin customer
      2) As you have moved on to name calling….. I dont need multi IDs like you you retard.
      3) Shame eh another person that agrees with me…
      Virgin Media The Least complained about to ofcom, Won the ISPreview survey, Fastest MASS fibre product on the market……. Run along and play with your FTTC 50Mbs
      LOL Stupid BT employee.

  16. Just a bloke

    I’m a Virgin customer at home on their 60Mb Cable product. It’s a total waste of time at peak periods when traffic management kicks in. packet loss or not I judge the performance on one simple thing. Does it affect my experience and usage? Yes, it’s poor then.

    I suspect the majority of consumers will view it in exactly the same way.

    • Deduction

      quote”I’m a Virgin customer…”

      No you are a troll with too much free time

    • Tom

      Sometimes I wish there were registration requirements for comments so we can see if your baseless and copious allegations about multiple ids are accurate or not.

      My experience of VM: most of my customers don’t comment or care. I’ve been to customers on VM at peak times and not noticed anything. However two friends have experienced packet loss and high pings for months on end during peak times with multiple engineer visits not resolving the problem. One moved house and ended up with Infinity, the other is still complaining.

      It seems very much hyper-local if there are issues. f8lure graphs for other customers in different parts of the affected towns show no issues at all etc.

    • FibreFred

      Totally agree Tom, but it would expose what we already know and Mark knows for certain

      http://www.ispreview.co.uk/talk/showthread.php/31087-News-Item-posting?highlight=deduction

  17. Latency over Fixed wireless can however be far superior and packet loss is near zero.

    One network

    ping http://www.bbc.co.uk
    PING http://www.bbc.net.uk (212.58.246.95) 56(84) bytes of data.
    64 bytes from bbc-vip016.cwwtf.bbc.co.uk (212.58.246.95): icmp_req=1 ttl=56 time=7.95 ms
    64 bytes from bbc-vip016.cwwtf.bbc.co.uk (212.58.246.95): icmp_req=2 ttl=56 time=7.84 ms
    64 bytes from bbc-vip016.cwwtf.bbc.co.uk (212.58.246.95): icmp_req=3 ttl=56 time=7.76 ms
    64 bytes from bbc-vip016.cwwtf.bbc.co.uk (212.58.246.95): icmp_req=4 ttl=56 time=7.98 ms

    Another network

    PING http://www.bbc.net.uk (212.58.244.68) 56(84) bytes of data.
    64 bytes from bbc-vip113.telhc.bbc.co.uk (212.58.244.68): icmp_seq=1 ttl=56 time=4.31 ms
    64 bytes from bbc-vip113.telhc.bbc.co.uk (212.58.244.68): icmp_seq=2 ttl=56 time=4.27 ms
    64 bytes from bbc-vip113.telhc.bbc.co.uk (212.58.244.68): icmp_seq=3 ttl=56 time=4.28 ms
    64 bytes from bbc-vip113.telhc.bbc.co.uk (212.58.244.68): icmp_seq=4 ttl=56 time=4.31 ms

    the worst case is 12 ms from the furthest customer.

    but this is not a “major” provider or even one that is recognized within the whole BDUK fiasco. So it does not count :)

  18. Virgin Customer

    Virgin Connection:
    http://www.thinkbroadband.com/ping/share-large/2d3fcb5ad4c9c0ec0c19f4ab8e6d0976-03-09-2012.png

    BT Wholesale Fibre Connection (via Plusnet)
    http://www.thinkbroadband.com/ping/share-large/97513ce343193ba926e29e340d0388c8.png

    Says a lot really. Neither under a lot of use at the time.

  19. Neil Leese

    As a Talk Talk user here are my monthly stats from Sam knows

    Downstream throughput
    Downstream throughput (or download speed) is the most commonly associated metric with broadband performance. It dictates the rate at which your computer will be able to fetch content (e.g. web pages, pictures, music, video etc) from the Internet.

    » View Detailed Charts
    73.54Mbps
    Average
    53.72Mbps Min
    8pm, Fri
    17th Aug
    75.57Mbps Max
    6pm, Sun
    5th Aug

    Upstream throughput
    Upstream throughput (or upload speed) is the measurement of the rate at which your computer will be able to send or upload content (e.g. pictures, music, videos etc) to the Internet.

    » View Detailed Charts
    19.10Mbps
    Average
    18.22Mbps Min
    7am, Sat
    25th Aug
    20.85Mbps Max
    1pm, Tue
    14th Aug

    Latency
    Latency is the measurement of how long it takes one packet to be sent to one of our test servers, and then returned back to you. This can effectively be thought of as the responsiveness of the connection between your home and our servers out on the Internet.

    » View Detailed Charts
    16.73ms
    Average
    9.25ms Min
    10am, Thu
    30th Aug
    463.48ms Max
    3pm, Mon
    13th Aug

    Packet Loss
    Packet loss is relatively rare in modern networks. That said, some broadband providers have been known to suffer high packet loss at peak times. If this is the case for your ISP then you may find that time sensitive applications such as Voice over IP (VoIP) and online gaming will suffer.

    » View Detailed Charts
    0.07%
    Average
    0.00% Min
    12am, Wed
    1st Aug
    21.18% Max
    10pm, Wed
    29th Aug

    • Neil Leese

      The readings may be slightly higher because I turned the openreach unit off for a few minutes on two occasions too reroute the electrical connection thru a surge socket.

  20. Jason

    I am in the process of moving from Virgin due to extreme upstream contention on their 100mb product. It has been completely useless for gaming for the past 4 months and we’ve had enough. They admitted they have a problem which will not be fixed until April 2013 !!! So, they have cut my bill in half for the last 2 months and I am moving to BT Infinity where at least I will get a ‘quality’ gaming connection. Even routes to BBC are reporting 450ms ON THE FIRST HOP! This is disgraceful performance (which Virgin tech has admitted to me is because the product is oversold and all the UBRs need upgrades which take time)

    Download speed has also started to suffer. At the beginning of the year I used to get 100mb always.. now it ranges from 1mb (yes really!!) to 35mb during peak periods.. absolutely useless.

    I’d rather have a rock solid and reliable ping (latency) for gaming and a reasonable (~40MB) download from BT infinity anytime.

    I have been with VM since NTL days.. so I’ve not done this lightly. The service ( at least in parts of the over-crowded South East/London) is abysmal these days.

  21. Bob

    THere is a lot of misunderstanding about Latency. It is basically inherent in the network and there is little you can do about it. It will be different depending on whether it is copper or Fibre or wirless. but basically is distance dependent and there is nothing you can do about that.

    Probably what is happening at peaks is the signals in some cases take a longer route.

    If gamers want a consistant Latency then they would have to paay a premiumprice but most do not want to do that in fact most go for the very cheapest offering.

    • Alexander Atkin

      The “problem” is that, particularly on Virgin, the upstream bandwidth from your local cabinet gets over-contended which causes jitter and packet loss.

      No there isn’t a lot you can do about latency overall. However if you are suffering jitter (big differences in latency from one packet to the next) then there is something seriously wrong.

      When it comes to gaming, a high latency connection (within the capabilities of the game code to handle) with little to no jitter is vastly superior to a connection that has generally low latency but huge jitter.

      I regularly talk to a friend on Virgin using Skype video chat and the problem is all too apparent. One day it will be perfect, another day the sound will lose sync, the frame rate will be up and down, the latency will swing from 30ms to 300ms. Thank goodness he doesn’t really game online.

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