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UPD AAISP UK Slap Fluidata and O2 Wholesale for Network Congestion

Tuesday, February 19th, 2013 (1:28 pm) by Mark Jackson (Score 2,151)
aaisp uk

The director of business ISP Andrews and Arnold (AAISP), Adrian Kennard, has criticised the O2 Wholesale (BE Broadband) back-haul capacity offered through Fluidata because of “congestion issues” that have been “going on for a while“; some of which is spill-over from heavy use on O2/BE’s “unlimited” consumer services.

AAISP, like any sensible provider, doesn’t just use BT for its back-haul requirements and also signed up Fluidata for capacity through BE/O2 as well. This not only gives the ISPs customers some choice but it also offers an extra level of redundancy.

Sadly it’s well known that some of BE/O2’s exchanges are suffering from congestion and indeed BE itself recently had to disconnect one of its customers for related abuse (here). But now this problem is spilling over to hurt business traffic, which could spell more trouble for O2 in the future (sale rumours not withstanding), unless it can resolve the problem.

Adrian Kennard, Director of ISP Andrews & Arnold, said:

The main issue here is that O2 are upgrading their network, which is good, but they are behind the usage, so there are cases of severe congestion happening and it being months before any planned upgrades. We have changed customers back to BT, or waited for the upgrades, but it is starting to be a real problem in some areas now … we are not really making any progress on this.

I’m pleased to say that we have really got on top of this sort of issue on the BT side – they are proactive in network upgrades now, and are responding reasonably quickly when there are exceptions. They are considering congestion issues (loss and latency) to be a fault, although it can take some persuading.

Fluidata are not, and are in fact pointing out that their “unlimited” Business grade wholesale services are not in fact unlimited. They are blaming unspecified other “super users” for causing congestion ahead of planned upgrades. Apparently we would have to justify excessive usage (excessive, on an “unlimited” service) if our users were the cause of the problem, rather the victim as in this case. That is somewhat of a concern.”

The problems have now caused AAISP to select another back-haul carrier, which should come on-line “very soon“. At present it’s not known whom the ISP has selected but the new carrier terms and service proposition are said to be closely matched with their existing supply from BT.

Meanwhile the Managing Director of business ISP Fluidata, Piers Daniell, told ISPreview.co.uk that Kennard might have “got the wrong end of the stick“. Daniell noted that AAISP does pay them for service and support (through the Service Exchange Platform) but they “don’t own O2s network so we are reliant on them to investigate and propose a solution“. Daniell felt that Fluidata had also been “very open” with AAISP about “where the issues lie and how it will be resolved“.

Piers Daniell added:

There is a planned upgrade for the exchange but that is out of our control obviously and is scheduled to happen in April which will give more bandwidth to the network. I think his point on ‘unlimited’ and ‘business’ services is unfair though because we have never had to warn anyone over usage and the only issue has come from BE’s own direct consumer traffic having an impact on the business services.

As you know this is down to one or two super users paying a lower amount for a consumer product and hence trying to rein in their usage is a sensible step until more backhaul traffic is available. If anything we are trying to give priority to his customers and solve his issue.”

Daniell anticipates that O2/BE’s new converged core network should ultimately help by delivering more control and better protection for the separation of business and consumer traffic. “Considering how long O2s network has been in place and its popularity I think they have done a lot to alleviate core network traffic whereas other networks have always been playing catch-up,” said Daniell to ISPreview.co.uk.

Fluidata’s Service Exchange Platform claims to have access to over 16 national networks and has offered to “support moving [AAISP] to an alternative network such as TalkTalk” if the O2 network isn’t working out as well as had been hoped.

UPDATE 23rd Feb 2013

Now O2 have joined BE in warning super-heavy users about their usage and threatening disconnection if they refuse to change. It’s perhaps preferable for them to remove a few consumers than to lose whole ISPs as clients from their wholesale division.

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13 Responses
  1. Alloneword

    Is there any way to find out what exchanges on O2 are suffering from congestion?
    I have rung them and they are as much use as a wet paper

  2. I can’t believe what I have just read, your asking for a whole exchange to be upgraded before scedual! I am sure Fluidata are doing all they can to help make the migrations run smoothly with O2. What a pointless rant aimed at what seems to be a good ISP, I might even get a connection for my shop with them.

    • Jack

      The guy from AAISP seems to complain about everything nowadays, jumps on the band wagon of other news.

    • Ignitionnet

      Good ISPs tend not to lose customers.

      The man has a quite legitimate point, if the O2 Wholesale product is outside of SLA it must be fixed as a priority.

      It’s not just one exchange. A product can seem great if 99% of exchanges are running like crap so long as you’re in that 1% that are ok. It’s obviously not that extreme with O2 but there are obvious capacity issues and deficiencies within the Be/O2 network mean these are affecting business / wholesale customers which shouldn’t be happening.

  3. Mark

    Didn’t certain BE Usergroup members and a few BE wholesale providers try to claim the Wholesale providers were not affected by issues BE Retail have towards the end of last year? Opps!

    • Matt

      There were two issues at play.

      1) Transit – Routing

      This did not affect wholesale customers which is what had been initially banded about (from what I saw).

      2) Exchange Capacity

      This will cause anyone issues. We saw problems on Hackney months ago, O2W said there was no such issues but only until we started seeing 100% packet loss in the evenings did they admit a problem and instead of confirm more capacity had been added, they started removing people.

      As of two days ago, they’ve only now stated that more capacity will be added but ETA is unknown due to waiting for third-party fibre provider to do the work.


    • Bob

      “O2W said there was no such issues but only until we started seeing 100% packet loss in the evenings did they admit a problem”

      So lied and denied like they do about most of their problems, until they could not lie and deny any further?

      A pity so many small resellers were taken in by their product (lots of promises and cheap prices i imagine). The positive is resellers worth their salt will now just ditch them as they have other providers services they have resold in the past that went down the pan.

      I guess BE and their wholesale division (sorry same people but rebranded O2 wholesale) will have to dream up another way to keep afloat now. The lies about fibre coming did not keep customers, free month gimmicks didn’t and now they have screwed over their wholesale product and resellers. Lets hope and pray in this day and age of businesses going belly up this one that actually deserves it goes the way of poor old Jessops and co before the year is out. It could not happen to more worthy individuals.

  4. cyclope

    The Lack of fibre is/was no suprise, they simply could not support the bandwidth capacity needed proven by all the congested exchanges, a lack of investment in network infrastructure , by telfonica ,all they care about is the mobile side of things ,I wonder how long they will continue to advertise that they have a contention ratio of 1:1 (BE unlimited) ? maybe they need to change it to 100:1

  5. cyclope

    @Matt 1) Transit – Routing couldn’t of affected a truly wholesale product , as routing and peering is down to the wholesale ISP or who provides it’s networking such as entanet or daisy ect as it’s their peering used not o2,unless if it’s just a resold product varient that they offer to isp’s who have no lns ect (IP addressing, peering ect ) supplied by o2 wholesale

  6. Ignitionnet

    Scarily the super heavy user was told by O2 he’d used 243GB in the month that triggered the warning.

    That’s a pretty disconcerting definition of unlimited.

  7. cyclope

    @ Ignitionnet 243GB ain’t unlimited, My usage was rarely below that figure, never reached the 1tb mark though Never got any warning e-mails,They both 02 & BE have over subscribed on some exchanges, and instead of fixing the problem by increasing capacity from exchanges to the core network they would sooner kick people off instead

  8. Tony

    New supplier == Talk Talk Business. Been discussed many times on AAISP IRC.

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