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UPD2 London Fixed Wireless ISP Relish Tackles Stability and CGNAT Concern

Wednesday, August 27th, 2014 (1:19 am) - Score 17,139

Fixed 4G wireless broadband ISP Relish (UK Broadband Ltd.), which launched in June, claims to have put right a problem that caused connection drops for some of their early subscribers and has promised to release a limited block of public IPv4 addresses to their consumer customers (at cost) in order to cater for those frustrated by the network’s use of IP address sharing (CGNAT).

The new-ish service, which is technically UKB’s third bash at being a consumer fixed wireless ISP after failing to get the mix right with ‘Netvigator’ and ‘Now’, primarily covers central London via 124MHz of spectrum in LTE (4G) bands 42 and 43 (3.5GHz and 3.6GHz). Home customers who take the service are offered an “unlimited” connection with speeds of up to 50Mbps for just £20 per month (no line rental required).

Suffice to say that the service has proven to be quite attractive, especially to homes that reside in areas where fixed line broadband has failed to deliver even remotely comparable performance, although not all of the early experiences have been positive (teething problems are normal for any new network).

Over the past few months ISPreview.co.uk has received complaints concerning a variety of issues, although the most common have tended to centre around dropped connections (some customers have complained about losing connection several times an hour), flaky after-sales support and the fact customers had no idea that the ISP used Carrier Grade Network Address Translation (CGNAT / IP address sharing) before they subscribed.

The CGNAT issues have been particularly galling for those people who need to use port forwarding, such as multiplayer gamers, or conduct other advanced networking that can be hindered by such systems.

Thankfully Relish aren’t allowing themselves to stay blind to such issues, with a spokesperson for the ISP saying that a “software upgrade on the network” caused most of the connection drops in July 2014. But apparently this has now been largely resolved and “the network remains under close monitoring“.

A Spokesperson for Relish told ISPreview.co.uk:

Since then we have had a small number of localised issues in specific locations that engineers have immediately responded to. We are working hard to ensure we have a reliable and consistent network experience for our customers.”

Relish also confirmed that their Gemtek router does support port forwarding, but in order to use this functionality the end-user will need a public IP address and at present this is only available to their business customers. The provider intends to tackle this issue by releasing a “limited block” of public IPv4 addresses to their home customers from the 1st September 2014, although apparently this will be “subject to some qualifying criteria and an additional monthly fee“.

At present we don’t know what the qualifying criteria will be or how much Relish intend to charge customers for access to their own IPv4 address, which we assume will be a Static IP. However it’s not uncommon for other ISPs to charge an additional fee of around £2 per month to have a Static IP, but this does vary quite a lot. Going forward Relish said that a “longer-term solution” would be to allow customers to use IPv6 addressing.

A Spokesperson for Relish added:

Due to the global exhaustion of legacy IP addresses (IPv4) ISPs around the world have been forced to implement CGNAT solutions to enable a single IP address to be shared by many customers. – this is becoming increasingly common.

We have implemented a solution used by many network operators and ISPs for fixed and mobile services. This was tested extensively prior to launch using a range of applications including online gaming with no issues reported. We do acknowledge that it is difficult to test every scenario that may exist in every application and as a result we are going to release a limited block of public IPv4 addresses to our consumer customers.”

ISPreview.co.uk also queried the status of Relish’s ambition to expand its network outside of London and into other parts of the United Kingdom, although at present the ISP said that they don’t have any “confirmed timescales” for doing this and will instead continue to focus on getting their service right in London first. Fair enough.

UPDATE 29th August 11:46am

Apparently the Static IP option will cost an extra £10 per month on top of the existing service fee, which makes it quite expensive for such a feature.

UPDATE 8th Dec 2014

The problems appear to be continuing (here).

Leave a Comment
30 Responses
  1. Avatar FibreFred says:

    Not sure why CGNAT is a surprise to some, I would say the vast majority of 3/4G providers and WISP’s use it and its more of an exception to find providers using ipv4 or 6 addressing

    1. The 3/4G operators might use it in their own network, but they do not seem to have heard of it for fixed ISPs – at least judging by the troubles that boxes such as Suresignal seem to have when going through double nat! 🙂

    2. Avatar DTMark says:

      I don’t think Three uses it. EE does, however, and it renders the internet useless in various ways, a VPN is essential to get around the problem.

    3. Avatar DanielM says:

      Three uses it on three.co.uk but not 3internet (in other words mobile broadband accounts get a public ip mobiles dont)

      EE Side of things, ee uses it & orange, however t-mobile does not (general.t-mobile.uk/vpn.t-mobile.uk)

    4. Avatar DTMark says:

      Makes sense… I recall seeing 3internet as the APN in the router, never used a Three mobile.

      Here was my “permanent” hardware based solution for routing everything via a VPN, works nicely and CGNAT falls away as an issue then.


  2. Avatar James Harrison says:

    They really should provide IPv6 alongside CGNAT – if you’ve got kit in place to do CGNAT you must be able to do IPv6, nobody’s been procuring v4-only kit for this stuff for a decade or more. You still need the pool of v4 addresses for those who need raw v4 w/ no NAT, but v6 is the right direction forward, and CGNAT v4 should be regarded as a stopgap measure only.

    1. Avatar kds says:

      I agree with you, should have ipv6 from start. I get around the issue by using a service call sharedband

  3. Avatar Adrian says:

    Why the hell does a new service not have IPv6 from the start?

  4. Avatar Tony says:

    Since the maximum they can possibly have from RIPE since exhaustion 1024 IP addresses, they’re not going to be able to give many out. How the heck did they manage to build out a new network and forget ipv6?

  5. Avatar TTT says:

    I agree.
    Many providers now offer dual-stack, and offering IPv6 alongside CGNAT wouldn’t be a problem at all.
    I have a feeling the main issue is getting qualified people.
    Networking qualifications (such as Cisco’s CCNA / P) aren’t cheap, and while IPv4 has become ubiquitous and well understood, you really do need a bit of understanding how to join an IPv6 edge router to a IPv4 BGP or MPLS Tier 2 (1) network.
    It’s a shame in so far as IPv6 is much less administrative hassle once you get your head around it.

  6. Avatar James Goss says:

    I was lured in by the brilliant idea of Relish. The actual service was APPALLING. I got download speeds of 3MBps and 0.02 upload. Was told this was because Zone 1 is “a grey area”. No wonder they’re concentrating on getting London right!

  7. Avatar H Ramus says:

    I’m one of those who suffer from constant disconnects. Must have had 10 in the space of 2h. I mentioned these issues over a month ago and you’d expect they’d be keen to update you on their network developments and when this will be sorted.

    In over one month I’ve received zero communication about the connection dropout issues, none, nada, rien, niente… It’s also not clear whether this is a “feature” rather than a flaw.

    All in all, good speeds but appalling reliability. If you need stable service look elsewhere as these guys not only can’t answer but don’t give a damn. Their reputation already precedes them.

  8. Avatar Matthew says:

    I’ve had them for a week now. In the EC1N area. Luckily I’m top floor and I have line of sight to multiple cell tower clusters (which I presume contain Relish’s antenna). I get around 35Mbs down and 5-10Mbps up with 4 out of 5 bars of reception. Once I’ve seen it drop to 10Mbps, but otherwise with a static IP I can host services behind the router and everything seems good so far (touch wood).

  9. Avatar Brendon says:

    Live in Shoreditch, the supposed centre of Tech City and yet regularly have no internet connection. Deeply regret switching to Relish. I though Orange was bad but at least it was reliable. Oh, and the £20/month advertising omits the VAT you need to pay, so it’s actually more expensive. A complete rort!

  10. Avatar craig says:

    who said that they have fixed the connection drops im in west end oxford street get at least 50 to 100 connection drops daily im going give up with relish it takes them 10 days reply and then you be lucky get reply good bye relish

  11. Avatar Paul Andrews says:

    The service is rubbish. Performance was great to start with but now we get 0.5Mb/s download speed and Speedtest fails most of the time to work out an upload speed. Sometimes the ping time is over 100ms. We are going to cancel.

  12. Avatar George says:

    We’re in WC2 on the 3rd floor with no line of sight to any cell towers. We get between 2-3 bars out of 5. Most of the time we get about 20 down and 1-2 up, which is fine for £20/mo. But yeah, we get several connection drops a day. We can go for 2-3 hours pretty reliably, and then the connection drops for about 15 seconds. It makes video and gaming very tedious.

  13. Avatar Nad says:

    Just placed a home broadband offer with Relish. But, really shocked and holrrified reading customer comments/ feedback and barrage of complaints all over the net! I am getting scared, and wondering whether I should stick to my current ISP, Sky. Their braodband service was not that great!
    I was intially excited to read about the whole concept of service provided by Relish, and thought it would be wonderful to get rid of good ol’ landline phones! Seeking advices and tips from current users in this forum! Let me know your experiences, speed and customer services you received. Would you recommend giving Relish a go; or should I make use of the 14-day return wondow!?
    Thanks 🙂

    1. Avatar Malik says:

      Give them a try for month to see how it goes as this is one month rolling contract.

    2. Avatar H Ramus says:

      Like you, I was excited to see a concept used successfully abroad being brought to the UK. However, having been with them for over 4 months now I can only advise you to stay well away if you want to keep your sanity and want to have reliable internet.

      They took a great idea and requested an army of numpties to implement it. Customer service is as useful as an a$$hole on my elbow. They take ages to reply, if they even bother replying, and when they get back I can only assume they’re stalling as their advice stinks of not reading what was requested and the information provided.

      The supposed technical IT experts also must be constantly on LSD. Their advice was that I connect to a mast that I was already connected to and constantly suffering disconnects.

      As for the service itself, the signal is typically very weak and speeds are slow. I had to slap tinfoil on the router to boost the signal. Speeds were generally close to 7Mbps down and 0.3Mbps up. With the signal boost I’m regularly getting download speeds around 20Mbps and uploads around 1.5Mbps. However, this is variable as during busy periods the network slows down.

      My biggest complain, and one that as yet to be resolved, is that the LTE connection shutdowns regularly, at least once an hour and takes a minute or so to reconnect by itself. Imagine trying to auction on Ebay and during that final minute and your connection drops. Imagine online gaming where every half an hour or so you’re kicked out of a game because your connection dropped. Imagine watching a youtube video that stops and starts routinely… I could go on…

      They’re clueless and there doesn’t seem to be a fix to the disconnection issues. It seems to be a “feature” of their service.

      If you want a reliable connection stay well away. Not only you’ll waste precious time (and money on time dependent activities) but your inner zen self will be tested by the inane customer “support” staff.

  14. Avatar Alex says:

    Moved to SE16 6 months ago. Unfortunately broadband in the area is shocking with no provider being able to give more than 2Mbps. I was with SKY and getting 1.9Mbps at best even after many BT engineer call outs and hours of troubleshooting over the phone with SKY, who were always very knowledgeable by the way.

    This area has very poor mobile coverage and additionally i have almost zero signal inside the house as the walls are a foil backed dry wall (it’s basically a faraday cage) but there is one window facing Canary Wharf that gets reasonable signal.

    Relish actually do not cover this area as of yet but i convinced them to let me try it and quite honestly it’s not bad. From the magic window i get at least 3 bars on the Gemtek router which gives me 8-9Mbps which is an incredible speed increase.

    However the router keeps dropping the connection which means i have to reboot the router. And this is happening at least 4-5 times a day. After a bit of digging it would appear to be something with the CINR dropping below 15 but still it’s bloody annoying.

    I called Relish support and quite honestly they weren’t very knowledgeable but i will try again tonight. I wanted to test with another router using the Relish SIM as i have a Huawei B593s-22 4G router but was told this was not possible.

    Anyway long story short i might have to go back to fixed line at this rate as the dropouts are almost proving more annoying than slow speed. Obviously i went into this knowing this was not a great coverage area but it would appear that loads of people in good coverage areas have the same problem.

    I would love to keep this service so if anybody has any idea how to test using my Huawei with the Relish SIM please let me know.

    Sorry for the long post. Here’s the word POTATO

    1. Avatar H Ramus says:

      I get 4 bars regularly with 5 occasionally. CINR over 15 still disconnects. It’s not the weak signal, it’s weak engineering.

  15. Avatar Alex says:

    @H Rasmus. Good to know. I’m beginning to think you’re right. Interestingly i connected my PC to the router with ethernet instead of wi-fi and the dropouts appear to have decreased. When i’ve got some time this weekend i’m going to shutdown wi-fi on the Relish router and use my old Netgear router for the wifi/dhcp leaving the Relish router to just handle the 4G side of things.

    1. Avatar H Ramus says:

      Best of luck. I’ve also tried to use another router to handle wifi and DHCP but my experience wasn’t successful. The LTE connection still rebooted from time to time.

      Relish seems to apportion blame to a weak signal quality. However, my signal quality is good (CINR>21 and <26) with speeds over 20Mbps regularly and still reboots. Maybe they consider 4/5 bar signal quality as weak in which case I don't know what's a good one.

      Give it a try. I'd be interested in replicating your setup if you're successful.

    2. Avatar Alex says:

      @H Rasmus. Indeed you were right, the second router for Wi-Fi & DHCP made no difference at all.
      On the plus side though the last two days have been dropout free. Lets see how long the stability lasts.

  16. Avatar gc says:

    N1: download 4.83mbps, upload 0.99mbps. Line drops at least 30 times per day. Goodbye Relish.

  17. Avatar MPTL says:

    Well I have been with them for about 6 months. I have direct sight of an antenna tower about 100m away. Mostly I have 4 bars of signal.


    My router continues to drop several times per day and Relish are entirely UNABLE to fix it – completely rubbish.

    Despite numerous calls to the customer service, the service is also appalling. The phone lines go to the Phillipines and the very pleasant people at the other end seem only to be able to solve any problem by suggesting you restart the router in one way or another – erm, we may have already done this 10 times a day? They then say they can’t do anythign else but will send an email to technical support to get you off the line and then F*** all happens.

    The Gemtek Router (their ‘best’) cannot hold a signal. On Auto it gets stuck on channel 4 and fails then to broadcast. On manual it fails to maintain a signal and the channel needs changing manually (quicker than restarting). Half the channels don’t actually work. Why not provide a router which works?

    The offer to charge and additional £10 per month for a static IP is ROBBERY. Internet is now a necessity like water, gas or electricity. Signing up a large slab of the population to a partially functioning service and then charging them a 50% premium to make it work – CRIMINAL.

    The advertising coverage is massive across London. BUT if you read this before you sign up – if you want stable internet, even if a bit slower, GO SOMEWHERE ELSE.

  18. Avatar Matthew P says:

    I’ve been with Relish since July. I changed my domestic internet supplier as I was struggling with BT to get more than 1.3MBPs down when promised at least 12MBPs down and after weeks of battling with what had proven to be incompetent customer service and trouble shooting, I had to find an alternate provider.

    I had to go with either Virgin or Relish. I thought to give Relish a try as they are a new company. The router was delivered quickly and was easy to configure. I live in the Waterloo area (SE1) and receive AWESOME download speeds; (see link below)

    My first impression with Relish was great as I was casually getting at least 40-55MB down per second.


    It is not all praises to relish, in fact, their service is s***. I have CONSTANT signal loss and experience the worst level of customer service from their ‘Support/Technical’ who constantly fail to support or come across technical.

    Using a stop watch, at worst I would get 18 minutes up time, after a reboot before the signal to my Router would be interrupted again for what ever reason Relish can not elaborately explain. This has been the case since my router was delivered but I believed that it was simply a momentary fault that would disappear over time.

    Working in IT makes my experience with them even more painful. Calls to their customer support result in constant apologies from their team and so many call back promises that they fail to keep. Call backs are never received leaving me always following up manually, costing me more on phone calls to their customer service line.

    Hopefully a firmware update can be released to resolve the way the way the hardware in their issued GemTek routers handle the signals. DMZ/Port forwarding can not be configured (Correct me if I am wrong, but I cant find it anywhere on my Remote Interface).

    I have tried moving the router to all corners of my 3 story house to have no effect on the reliability of my connection. The relish team indicate that there is an issue with my local Cell tower that they are trying to resolve. Funny they should say that because I contacted them back in October 2014 reporting the issues only to receive the EXACT same response (Character for character as if it was scripted) and I know two other relish customers that reside a way away from me who connect to different Cell towers but experience the same shoddy service. Unfortunately I am tied to a 12 month contract with them so I will have to wait until next year summer before I can immigrate to another ISP. Hopefully they get their act together before then or they will not be retaining my business.

  19. Avatar craig says:


  20. Avatar Dominic says:

    The problem I have is that I have 4 bars connection but can’t actually get on the net

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