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AAISP Reveals First Real World 330Mbps UK FTTP Broadband Trial Speeds

Friday, May 18th, 2012 (2:10 pm) - Score 2,530

Business focused ISP Andrews & Arnold (AAISP) has today provided some of the first real customer feedback from its closed technical trial of BT’s latest ‘up to’ 330Mbps capable Fibre-to-the-Premises (FTTP) broadband technology, which saw one user receive actual internet download speeds of 192.39Mbps (Megabits per second) with 28.53Mbps upload and just 6ms latency.

Unlike BT’s slower FTTC service, which is constrained by a “last mile” run of older copper cable, FTTP takes that fibre optic cable directly to your home. This cuts out the interference and instability of using existing copper cable and can therefore deliver significantly faster speeds.

According to AAISP, the service itself was installed the day after it was ordered (well, it is a trial). But it’s worth pointing out that the customers line was actually syncing at 328Mbps, which is well above the 192Mbps delivered. Not that anybody with 192Mbps would complain (hardly any online services can make use of it anyway) but it does highlight a well known problem with attempting to deliver ultrafast speeds.

Adrian Kennard, Director of AAISP, told ISPreview.co.uk:

We are getting the [end-user] to try different speed tests as well – obviously when you are dealing with lines like this the latency and TCP window size can have a huge impact on speed tests, so we are not too surprised by the result.

The other issue, of course, is that for us to have 330Mb/s of spare headroom on our BT link would cost around £16,000 a month to BT alone, so there will be times when there is not a full 330Mb/s available for this trial customer. Hopefully BT can look at some reductions in bandwidth costs with the launch of such services.”

Kennard makes an extremely important point and one that, in the race to roll-out superfast fibre optic broadband services, is often overlooked. Capacity could soon become a bigger obstacle than physical infrastructure (having an effectively 1Gbps capable infrastructure and delivering that are two very different things).

A quick look at South Korea, which has a national fibre (FTTH) infrastructure, might help to explain. The country’s average speeds still hover around 20Mbps because it would not be economically feasible to deliver 100Mbps+ to every home. Home broadband is still a shared “Best Efforts” service and fibre won’t change that.

Over the next few years bandwidth charges should, we hope, continue to fall but ISPs that launch fibre services will still need to be extremely careful about what they promote to customers.

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By Mark Jackson
Mark is a professional technology writer, IT consultant and computer engineer from Dorset (England), he also founded ISPreview in 1999 and enjoys analysing the latest telecoms and broadband developments. Find me on Twitter, , Facebook and Linkedin.
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40 Responses
  1. Phil says:

    Yawn – how boring !

  2. DTMark says:

    “for us to have 330Mb/s of spare headroom on our BT link would cost around £16,000 a month to BT alone”

    Anyone care to have a stab at how that figure is arrived at?

    I’m not saying it’s wrong.

    Does seem a little expensive though.

  3. Matt says:

    13000 / 330 = £48/Mbit.

    Sounds about right.

  4. adslmax says:

    Get the customer to download an Ubuntu torrent.

  5. me says:

    192mb is nowhere near the max speed, get him to download a service pack from microsoft to test the speed. I’d expect full speed with it being fibre.

    1. If there the available bandwidth in the ISP network at the time of the test, which was mentioned in the article.

  6. Deduction says:

    Downloading some service pack or an cd ISO image isnt going to be a big enough file to test if that line can reach full speed.

    A 700MB file would be done in under 30 seconds at the 192Mbps speed that line is reaching. If the line was running at its full 330Mbps that 700MB file would then be done in around 17 Seconds.

    Some servers (even from big companies) can take longer than that to reach optimum throughput. Utorrent will certainly take longer than that just to find enough peers to supply the speed.

    The best way to test what a connection like that is actually capable of is to download several files from several sources all at once in some type of download manager would be best that also allows you to also set amount of connections per/file/server and then observe the combined speed. Ideally several 250MB, 500Mb or 1gig files all at once would be best and also allow for easily manual calculation of what speed you are getting.

    Apart from that have to say im very un-impressed with the 192Mbps (if its accurate) on a true FTTH connection which is supposed to run at 330Mbps.

    HOWEVER it could be poor due to numerous things including poor setup user end. At those types of speeds you need a massive RWIN value and it wouldnt shock me if they are a windows user if it doesnt automatically set it correctly (Vista and Win 7 are supposed to but on anything over 20Mb it can get confused).

    They may even have the MTU set wrong for the type of connection, could be a million things.

    On the other hand, and my dubious side says more likely… 192Mbps is the max it can go at, and the hype of 330Mbps is yet to materialise. If a real FTTH connection via BT cant do it, i hope people aint getting their hopes up that the on-demand product will get anywhere near close.

    1. Your presuming AAISP at the time of test had 330Mb/s available. I would be very suprised if AAISP left that sort of bandwidth in reserve.

  7. Deduction says:

    If that happens industry wide then Martin when this product is out of its trial phases the product can not be dubbed 330Mbps, ASA rules say 10% of users must be able to get the advertised speed.
    Given that this is only a trial also i doubt even that 192Mbps would be sustainable if thousands of customers had the product.

  8. FibreFred says:

    But Deduction I’m sure the product is capable of 330Mbps, if the ISP cannot provide the bandwidth in their core that is a different matter and different problem, that isn’t a fault of the FTTP it is a problem in the providers network

    As we can see when you get up to these speeds actually providing an accurate test is going to be harder, the only way to test that part of the network properly is to test from the client PC (assuming that isn’t a bottleneck) to something in the exchange

    There is no reason why that service cannot achieve 330Mbps, the fibre between the premise and exchange I mean

  9. Deduction says:

    I agree if the provider hasnt got bandwidth or other issues, that is the providers fault, not the FTTH system.

    I also agree in theory 330Mbps should be easily possible between exchange and premises, in fact much more than that can be sent down what is basically a straight fibre run.

    The problem though is if users for whatever reason even if its the ISP at fault cant get those 330Mbps speeds then the product by ASA rules can not be sold with that speed advertised, 10% have to be able to get any advertised rate. Even though all the Openreach infrastructure may be capable.

    New speed rules may sound harsh, but its fair, copper as it stands you may as well say can do 100+Mbps you just need to bond enough lines. In fact im shocked no provider has tried to advertised ADSL as “upto” 3 figure Mbps before 😀

  10. FibreFred says:

    If the ISP cannot provide the advertised speeds yep totally agree

  11. AshleyK says:

    I’m not a huge expert on these things but I have a VPS in Germany, which has a quoted connection speed of 100 Mbits according to blurb on the sales page. Looking around not many servers are likely to be faster than that unless we are looking at the likes of Microsoft etc, so I can’t help but suspect most users will very rarely see any practical advantage over those with an FTTC connection and even then only on massive downloads. BT tell me my postcode will be 100% FTTP so I’m curious to see how this will work in practice.

  12. FibreFred says:

    AshleyK you are right, a single user will rarely be able to take advantage of such speeds, even a busy household of users would struggle to use 300Mbps at a sustained rate.

  13. New_Londoner says:

    I think a number of people here are forgetting that broadband is a way of providing shared access to bandwidth to reduce cost, is not a dedicated circuit. The sync speed according to the story is as per the spec, the “shortfall” is with the throughput, which some have rightly pointed out may in any case be due to factors not connected with the link. Do so-called gigabit broadband services really deliver 1Gbps throughput? At all times? What about when it’s a shared fibre to a building, like say Hyperoptic?

    Bear in mind the average throughput in the much lauded South Korea is <20 Mbps to get some perspective, as it is in Japan.

    Do the ne ASA rules apply to throughput or are they more about synch speed? If nt the former, should this change?

  14. Legolash2o says:

    Again, who needs 330Mbps? It makes more sense to offer 100Mbps and 200Mbps to business’s if they need it. That would probably save on back-haul costs.

    1. Legolash2o says:

      I meant 100Mbps to home users and upto 200Mbps to businesses.

    2. Jon Roberts says:

      Who needs 330mbps? BT. willy waving figures

    3. FibreFred says:

      Willy waiving, well.. BT can never win can they, complaints they do nothing complaints they do too much

      But the speeds aren’t needed, good to have them available even for the few, but not needed not yet

  15. Deduction says:

    ASA rules are i believe throughput based not sync (hence why no ADSL2+ provider is claiming 24Mbps anymore cos thats the most any ADSL2+ single line product in this country could sync at) and rightly so IMO, more important people know what they will get not what they could in theory get.

    The real FTTH openreach product should be able to deliver whatever speed is claimed, i believe it is an ethernet based service, the only thing that would slow it down is lack of bandwidth, or a fault on the line.

    In this case its probably a lack of bandwidth available for the circuit. As AAISP hint at, to provide that user with 330Mbps of bandwidth it would cost them a pretty penny.

    Contention which you refer to New_Londoner should not enter the equation. On an Ethernet product you do not share the port/circuit only the bandwidth AFAIK. The hyperoptic product, should also run at whatever it says, rather than a national network thats basically localised and should IN THEORY have enough bandwidth to provide however many are on the circuit/network. GPON FTTC and GPON based FTTH “on demand” are the services which have a max contention ratio and thats before bandwidth comes into the equation due to filters and splitters that are used… At least thats my understanding from reading.

    I also disagree about a user not being able to take advantage of 330Mbps. I could easily take advantage of that. A decent download manager will allow you to input mirror links to a file meaning you could download your torrent 😉 dvd ISO files from several FTP servers at once and easily max out a connection.

    Multiple connections to the same file on the same server can also help on servers that limit speed per connection.

  16. FibreFred says:

    Yes that is what the ASA rules say so providers of this type of service need to provision correctly. But not 330Mbps per user 24/7

    Look at this b4rn project I think they have 2,000 properties and have 20Gbps backhaul and advertise it as a 1Gbps service

    But if they all opened up the tap they’d only get 10Mbps each!

    In fact arent they in breach of ASA rules? 10% of 2000 is 200 and 200 properties at 1Gbps needs 200Gbps backhaul

    Hmmmmm

    1. Deduction says:

      Yes they would be if less than 10% of their users ever reach the speed they advertise.

    2. Somerset says:

      ASA rules do not say 10% simultaneously? Connection or throughtput (to where)?

    3. FibreFred says:

      Somerset what is the 10% measure then ? Is it just that 10% of the user base has achieved the advertised speed at some point in time ?

    4. FibreFred says:

      Ah I get it now the 10%

  17. FibreFred says:

    Correction – 1452 properties, same issue though. They will have to reword their press release and advertise it as a 130Mbps product or there abouts as its impossible for 10% to get the 1Gbps advertised

    1. Deduction says:

      Depends if all those premises are connected. Being stupid for a second but to illustrate that it isnt that simple.

      Only 1 customer out of that 1452 premises may take the service, in that case 100% of their users would (or should) be getting their FULL 1Gbps speed from the 20Gbps bandwidth in place.

      They would then in that case meet the ASA rules. With them its going to depend on how many take the service if it ever FULLY gets deployed.

    2. FibreFred says:

      @Deduction

      500 properties will be connected in phase one, if they haven’t signed up they won’t be connected so that’s 500 customers in phase one.

      10% is 50, 50Gbps needed for 50 users so that fails ASA

    3. Deduction says:

      Its 10% of the userbase or to be more precise “* An ISP should be able to demonstrate that its advertised speeds are achievable by at least 10% of users (this is expected to be reviewed every 6 months or so).”

      If 10% can hit the speed advertised they are within the mandate if 10% of actual users can not then they fail.

  18. DTMark says:

    In the days of ADSL it couldn’t have been very hard to provision enough bandwidth so that users would typically see most of the “sync speed” or “headline speed” most of the time. We’re only talking about a few meg, up to about 12 meg on ADSL2+ for most people. Though some ISPs (e.g. AOL it seems) struggle to do even that.

    It’s surely not hard, when a customer signs up, to be told two figures – expected speed at peak times, and expected speed off peak. Indeed time of day is a key factor in the pricing of some ISPs (like AAISP for instance).

    If a customer signs up for something that’s meant to be 330Meg and only gets 192Meg – still sounds spectacular, doesn’t it – at the moment. But for some perspective this is the same as only getting 58Meg on a 100Meg cable service.

    If they’re told the speed they’ll get is about 330Meg then the product fails to deliver spectacularly. If on the other hand, what they’re buying is say 100Meg throughput @ peak and 200Meg throughput off peak then it’s perfectly acceptable.

    If at any stage during the life of a contract the ISP speed consistently falls below the promised figures, the customer should then be able to say goodbye to that ISP without penalty.

    “Sync rate” is a diversion. All that matters is actual throughput since that’s what actually affects the user experience.

    In the past, since ADSL didn’t really deliver anything much at all to most, you wouldn’t see so much differential between ISPs since the factor that strangled everyone’s speeds was the last mile network. Which is why the current comparative speed charts between ISPs are a bit of a farce.

    Going forward however, I’d expect throughput to be a real service differentiator.

    1. Mapula says:

      Great posts 1 and all especially Simon. I know it’s palufnliy slow, I moved from 8Mb to 6.5Mb to 2Mb and down to my current 0.90Mb in the space of about 3 years. I moved in to Claydon Road in May 2010Middlemore is stuck in the 90 s regarding broadband speed but to be honest, being a pretty new estate (my part anyhoo), I wasn’t expecting stellar speeds and am willing to forego the FTTC and wait for FTTP. This is not easy as i too work from home but it’ll be worth the wait remember when we all went from 56Kbps up to Broadband, that was worth the wait too.

  19. Darren says:

    192.39Mbps is about 24MB/s, which is approaching the max throughput for USB 2.0. So if the user was downloading to a USB 2.0 drive or device it’s possible that was the bottleneck and not the connection.

    330Mbps is 41.25MB/s, well over the USB 2.0 spec maximum of around 30MB/s. Users now need to be aware that their chosen storage medium and means of connectivity may not be up to the the job.

    1. Deduction says:

      Dunno what USB2.0 devices you have been using but that is slow. You should be getting between 30-40MBps in reality or a max of around 320Mbps out of a USB2.0 HDD.

      The maximum (ie daydream) rate of USB2.0 is 480Mbps.

      Most half decent devices will deliver around two thirds of that rate (IE 320Mbps).

      Even if you were only getting Half the rated speed (IE 240Mbps) thats still around 30MBps.

      330Mbps is not WELL OVER the max for USB2.0, its only slightly faster than typical real life max. A few devices would indeed struggle but should not be going as slow as 192Mbps (or 24MB). If you have a USB2.0 device running in the low 20MBps range, you have a slow drive.

  20. Darren says:

    We are talking about the write speed here, seen as we are downloading, 30MB/s is the max you can get out of USB 2.0. Reads in general are mostly around 30MB/s, it is possible to get 35MB/s, with 40MB/s being rare.

    In reality USB 2.0 is no good for testing a 330Mbps connection. The write speed is too slow.

    1. Zabiullah says:

      SimonIt looks like Ashby fields and the town cernte is infinity ready, also Lang Farm has just had a new cabinet put in on the opposite side of the road I believe and there’s a tent up ready whilst it’s being worked on.Fingers crossed we won’t have too long to wait. I did ask on the BT forum if they knew when our cabinet would get the upgrade, but sadly they had no information to give at the time.My advice would be to keep checking

  21. Deduction says:

    My USB 2.0 HDD gets 32MBps WRITE speed. Anything that is in the low to mid 20MBps is either a slow drive or a motherboard with a dog slow USB chipset.
    http://images.anandtech.com/graphs/graph5675/44922.png
    As an example taken from some anandtech review.

  22. Deduction says:

    Agreed USB 2.0 is not ideal, though id be shocked if thats what the user concerned was using. AAISP even to a degree acknowledge this is bandwidth related.

  23. Darren says:

    Why would you be shocked, it’s not impossible for a USB drive to underperform, you’ve said it yourself. Your just talking shit as usual.

    As I have said you won’t see more than around 30Mbps writes from USB 2.0, a USB 2.0 device is no good for testing a 330Mbps connection, end of.

    I’m not going to comment on this again, my point is simple, USB 2.0 is inadequate for testing anything above 30MB/s. There is nothing more to it.

    1. Eli says:

      NN118JZ existed bofere middlemore estate, the cables to those properties are feed from the green BT box outside the hotel on the next roundabout by Lang Farm.Rumour had it that BT cables to Middlemore came in via the industrial estate behind us, although there is several street cabs at the entrance to the estate so not sure how accurate that rumour is.Middlemore will only be getting FTTP not FTTC like the rest of Daventry, this is much better in the long run but it is going to be 2 more years bofere it happens.

  24. Deduction says:

    Stating that a decent drive should get between 30-40MBbps and showing evidence of that is hardly talking the brown stuff (i prefer not to use foul language).
    Im glad you wont comment again though, id prefer not to waste my time posting evidence of what i state to someone with a potty mouth.

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