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UPD2 Virgin Media Broadband Users Hit by Peak Time Congestion and Latency

Monday, October 15th, 2012 (4:08 pm) - Score 2,052

Customers of UK cable operator Virgin Media have spent the past few days suffering from a mix of above normal latency and network congestion during peak times (late afternoon/night), which occurred after one of the ISPs public peering providers, Atrato, switched most of its traffic flow to the ISPs disadvantage (i.e. changed their routing).

The situation, which began around the middle of last week and has been affecting services across the country (other ISPs may also have been hit), resulted in customers experiencing a mix of slow speeds and high pings. The latter in particular made some online services, such as fast-paced multiplayer games, extremely difficult to use.

It didn’t take long for our inbox and a related topic on Virgin’s Community Forum to fill with complaints. Many customers were clearly very angry at the provider’s inability to recognise the problem until this afternoon. The following statement has now been posted.

Mark Wilkin, VM’s Help & Support Forum Manager, said:

We’ve identified an issue with our peering links to a company called Atrato who we publically peer with in Amsterdam and London. They were pushing abnormal amounts of traffic through our public peering links at LINX, overloading them. So we’ve shut down both of our peering links to Atrato at LINX which should resolve this issue.

Meanwhile we’re going to continue to investigate the root cause of this problem..”

The operator has separately informed ISPreview.co.uk that it took time for Virgin Media to identify who has moved what traffic to where on their shared public sessions. On top of that we understand that Atrato wasn’t helping matters by being equally slow to communicate and do the necessary traffic engineering.

Instead of waiting for Atrato to resolve the problem at their end Virgin has alternatively chosen to shut down their two LINX (London Internet Exchange) sessions and thus force the traffic back through either Amsterdam or onto Transit (note: they shut down the Atrato links for their peering not the LINX network itself). It’s hoped that this should result in some improvement tonight but the ISP will keep monitoring and has promised to issue us with a more official statement in due course.

UPDATE 16th October 2012

Performance last night seems to have been much improved for practically everybody we spoke with this morning, although some still claimed to be experiencing issues and others on Virgin’s forum felt that latency was better but not as good as it has been before the issue began. This makes sense as Virgin Media will be waiting for Atrato to resolve their peering problems before switching traffic back from the temporary solution.

UPDATE 16th Oct (11:10am)

A spokesperson for Virgin Media just told us that they now believe their “workaround has fixed the issue“, although they’re still unsure why Atrato changed their routing in the first place.

Leave a Comment
14 Responses
  1. Avatar Phil says:

    You are disgusted Virgin Media. I want a full compensation refund

    1. Avatar Josh says:

      Grow up.

  2. Avatar pseudonym says:

    “UK Virgin Media Broadband Users Hit by Peak Time Congestion and Latency”

    So, what’s new?

    1. Avatar FibreFred says:

      “UK Virgin Media Broadband Users Hit by Peak Time Congestion and Latency”

      Goes unnoticed by some users 🙂

  3. Avatar Jon says:

    Having been with VM for 6 months, and seen no improvements in that time (if anything, it gets worse month by month), it seems that they’re really only interested in getting new customers locked into 18 month contracts. On a supposed ‘upto 100mb’ connection I get around 3mb. I guess based on the wording, I should be happy that I’m getting ‘upto’ 3mb, as that’s VM providing an internet service, of sorts. The fact that it costs nearly £40 a month, I’m meant to be happy about.

    Customer service doesn’t exist, and being told ‘it’s due to high utilisation, but not at a level that we can escalate’ doesn’t really fix the problem. At present VM are only interested in their big numbers for downloads, and not the quality of service. It’s a shame as they potentially could dominate the market if they decided to upgrade the existing infrastructure and looking after their existing customers.

    I’ll be switching back to an old BT copper line shortly, since it’s quicker and more reliable…go figure.

    1. Avatar New_Londoner says:

      And this from a company that “campaigned” to get rid of “up to”! Clearly the marketing and engineering teams don’t talk to each other.

      So it has the most ASA issues, features on Watchdog, falls short for gaming in terms of latency + jitter, slows all traffic on a line if you exceed usage caps on its unlimited package, can’t deliver claimed speeds due to congestion…. What’s not to like?

      It’s clear from the above why some on here consistently state cable is the only true broadband offering.

    2. Avatar Deduction says:

      Its clear you are a bored little tard with another new ID.

    3. Avatar FibreFred says:

      So any Virgin customer that experiences issues that posts on here is just one of the regulars with a new ID? Just so we understand the level of delusion here

  4. Avatar Darren says:

    When you can’t defend virgin media you resort to being abusive, the only troll here is you. I can guess what you’ll say when I read an article and when you do say it I laugh.

    Do yourself a favour and grow up, go and get a hobby or something, because you don’t seem very happy and contribute nothing but bullshit to this site.

    As for the article, well nuff said, virgin media are incompetent/penny pinching. Whether it’s congestion or a local line fault, half a year plus for a fix is disgraceful and not what any customer signs up for.

    1. Avatar Tom says:

      I echo these thoughts.
      “Its clear you are a bored little tard with another new ID.”
      Is pointless and uncalled for.

      It would be nice if something could be done about it (as has been on other sites that this user has plagued).

  5. Avatar Mike says:

    The user New_Londoner, Somerset, Fibrefred (and a couple more) are all the same person if anyone is plaguing this site its that individual that spams the news comments with multiple comments and multiple names. Quite clearly the same person which is online at the same times. Regularly posts within 1 hour of each other at all times of the day and night in various stories.

    It seems now they have also taken to the forum section of the site, so far posting as an unregistered and the Somerset nick, but curiously using remarks that the ID New_londoner has previously used (Opps stuffed up there). One particular thread showing they are the same individual quite nicely.

    1. Avatar Deduction says:

      “The user New_Londoner, Somerset, Fibrefred (and a couple more) are all the same person”

      Like the idiot Gadget and GMAN aliases. (though “it” seems to reserve the GMAN one mainly for TBB these days)

  6. Avatar A Frith says:

    I have been waiting 16 days for Virgin to fix my inconsistant broadband connection, they tell me it’s due to Cable and Wireless not getting back to them. As I pointed out to the umpteenth service cha waller, my contract is with Virgin and not Cable and Wireless. After all it’s Virgin who take my money each month and I can’t even get fibre optic as it’s “not in my area” yet most of my neighbours are on BT Infinity????
    Maybe I should change to BT after having been with Virgin since they began.

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