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AAISP and BT Lock Horns Over 3 Percent FTTC Broadband Packet Loss

Friday, Feb 7th, 2014 (7:48 pm) - Score 2,464

The boss of popular broadband ISP Andrews & Arnold (AAISP), Adrian Kennard, has angrily reported how a BTWholesale services Team Manager told him that “3% packet loss is not considered as a fault” on the operators hybrid fibre superfast broadband (FTTC) lines.

Packet Loss is 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 usually auto-corrects for this but doing so can result in an additional delay (e.g. increased latency / high ping times) and, at its worse, data corruption or unusably slow TCP connections etc.

Generally speaking most connections tend to work with only the most minimal levels of Packet Loss and you’re unlikely to notice it. But it can become a more significant problem when faulty hardware, network congestion or other line problems make a connection prone to the issue at persistently higher levels.

Adrian Kennard said:

Do not be fooled, we are not talking about a line working at 97% of its speed, this is packet loss. Whilst IP does not guarantee no loss, any loss on an idle line is an indication of some sort of fault. The occasional packet once in a while is not usually an issue, but levels like 3% are serious.

In the case of this specific customer, the loss is averaging nearer 1% and even that causes him problems. BT have sent four engineers, after suggesting that a lift and shift (move to a new port on DSLAM) will solve the issue, and each time the engineer has refused to do the lift and shift but also refused to actually fix the fault by any other means and just left.”

Admittedly Packet Loss is somewhat a fact of life on the Internet and at some point everybody will experience it. Similarly such issues can just as easily be seen when connecting to remote servers, although in this case the problem does appear to be linked back to the customers own FTTC connection.

Indeed Kennard is keen to stress that he is talking about random 3% packet loss on an otherwise idle line, not loss due to full queues on a router or some other issue. ISPreview.co.uk has shot off a message to BT for comment but the weekend is likely to delay their reply.

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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 X (Twitter), Mastodon, Facebook and .
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