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Connection Drops Continue to Hit Relish’s London Fixed Wireless 4G Users

Monday, December 8th, 2014 (1:11 am) - Score 30,375

Customers of Relish’s new superfast 4G (LTE at 3.5 / 3.6GHz) based fixed wireless broadband service in central London, which offers an “unlimited” connection with Internet speeds of up to 50Mbps from just £20 per month (no line rental required), have continued to complain about frequent connection drops and unresponsive support.

The service, which is supplied by UK Broadband Ltd. (PCCW), has proven to be quite attractive, especially for homes that reside in areas where fixed line broadband has failed to deliver an even remotely comparable performance. Unfortunately it hasn’t always been a smooth ride and ISPreview.co.uk first reported teething problems with related connections in August 2014 (here).

At the time customers expressed frustration at the lack of stability, in particular the high frequency of disconnections (anything from a handful to several hundred a day) that seemed to plague some users of the service. Relished blamed the issue on a flaky software upgrade that had been applied to their network and they also advised that, save for a “small number of localised issues “, the problem had been resolved.

But since then customers of Relish’s service have continued to raise concerns and here’s just a small sample of the many complaints we’ve seen, which tend to come from all over their coverage and not just at the edges where you might expect the service to be a bit more patchy.

Mr H Ramus said:

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.

Craig said:

Who said that they have fixed the connection drops? I’m in west end oxford street and get at least 50 to 100 connection drops daily. I’m going to give up with relish it takes them 10 days to reply. Good bye.”

George said:

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.”

Naturally we decided to contact Relish in the hope of getting an explanation for the continued problems. The good news is that their response was positive, although reading between the lines it’s also much the same as the original statement and the mention of there being “a small number of customers that are still experiencing” difficulties makes us nervous (there’s now a strong feeling among users that the issue is bigger than that).

Will Harnden, Chief Marketing Officer at Relish, told ISPreview.co.uk:

Following a number of complaints in the Autumn, our engineers identified and fixed a problem affecting some customers in specific locations on our network. These customers are now seeing a much improved service as a result.

We are aware of a small number of customers that are still experiencing an intermittent disconnection problem. This is our top priority as a business and we would like to apologise to the affected customers. The complications are caused by a variety of different issues and we are working through these on a case by case basis, as quickly as possible.

Additionally, following feedback from our customers, we realised we needed to be more responsive to customer issues and recently made considerable changes to our customer services department, which we believe are improving the service that our customers receive.

We are very sorry to all customers that have experienced a problem with their service and urge anyone experiencing any issues to contact us, if they have not already, so we can ensure that we fix this for everybody concerned.”

It’s unclear what the “considerable changes” represent, especially given that customers are currently still complaining about support problems and in particular a lack of response. At the same time Relish doesn’t offer any examples for what the “variety of different issues” are on their network, which had they done so might have at least given us and subscribers some confidence that they understood the problems.

We suppose all will become clear when we stop back to check up on the issue in a few months’ time and hopefully there will then be fewer complaints.

Leave a Comment
30 Responses
  1. Avatar Alex Rodrigues says:

    I am on the edge of the Relish coverage but as of the 8th December the router dropouts continue unabated, definitely in excess of 20 a day. This affects my ability to work from home or to do simple things like stream a video. I had hoped that Relish would be the solution to the poor broadband infrastructure in Rotherhithe, but with multiple dropouts every hour this is a far from suitable solution.
    As a benchmark i have performed tests with a Huawei 4G router using Three & 02 sims and get zero dropouts so i can only assume it is either the Relish router being poor quality or something on their network. Either way i doubt i will be staying with Relish much longer.

  2. Avatar Alex Rodrigues says:

    Additionally i have just tried to call Relish and again the call quality is so bad that we had to terminate the call. Initially quality is fine until the call is transferred to their call centre. Very annoying. Will try using VOIP.

  3. Avatar H Ramus says:

    Mr Will represents everything that’s going wrong with Relish. He doesn’t have a clue what he’s talking about.

    After contacting Relish I was advised that “When the interference is too high, this can cause the hub to attempt to switch to another base station. It’s likely that the signal interference is the reason that
    your service has been disconnecting frequently as it attempts to find the site with the strongest signal. As there is little that we can do to improve that, you may wish to consider whether you believe the service usable in its current state.”

    This communication is from late November. Not only they don’t know what the issues are but they politely told me to go elsewhere as they can’t be bothered to find out and speculate on what the problem is. I’m not sure what the signal interference they likely think is the problem is as signal is constantly 4 or 5 out of 5 bars. Maybe i should be getting 20 out of 5…I thought I was an isolated case but there seems to be plenty of people complaining about disconnects.

    I’d like to see someone using Relish without disconnects. They seem to be as real as Santa Claus. Using Relish logic, I’m likely not part of the small number of customers with a problem as they told me to go elsewhere. Perhaps that’s how they solve their problems, ignore vocal customers and wait them to leave and keep those who either don’t use the service or don’t complain. In that case, yes. It’s just a small number of customers as those who have complained were told to leave and likely not being counted as an issue.

    They should have an independent verification of their service and a quantitative analysis of the identified issues and proportion of customers impacted. We know nothing of what’s going on behind the scenes. As it stands, their service is not fit for purpose and they shouldn’t be allowed to have a commercial licence.

  4. Avatar Alloneword says:

    I had Relish for a month on trial basis ad when it worked it was awesome crazy sppeds for me, given max i can get is 4mbit on anything else, but i took it out knowing full well i was right on the edge of service, but disconnects were very common, in fact i gave up and sent it back which is a real shame as it seems to be my only option living in central London

  5. Avatar AlexT says:

    I live in Canary Wharf on a 17th floor flat and can never get more than one bar. When I started with the service back in June I could get all 5 bars and crazy speeds of over 25Mbps. Now I’ll be lucky if I hit 5Mbps and it disconnects all the time. A pain when I need to work from home or want to stream videos or use the BBC player. I’ve called Relish and they response is always ‘we are aware of the issue and we are testing a solution’. It could be a fantastic service if they get it together.

  6. Avatar MichaelD says:

    I am a new customer of Relish and I live in Victoria in central London and cannot get more than 1 bar on my router. Even with 1 bar I occasionally get around 11 megabit/s down which would be great if the service did not constantly drop out. Most of the time I can get 5 megabit/s but the service drops out virtually every 10 minutes. I thought Relish would be a real alternative to fixed line ADSL, which is the only other service available in my building, but it has proven to be too unreliable. Pity, as I may have to go back to my TalkTalk ADSL which barely makes 5 Megabit/s download speed. More than a little frustrating that Relish is so plagued with poor signal and dropout problems.

  7. Avatar EAB says:

    I thought you might like to know that Relish does have happy customers. I have been using it for about six months to date in the Wapping area “Quite near to Wapping station” and I am very pleased with the service. I must confess I have never tried to contact them on any problems and hence have no experience of their service response. On initial installation I found that the location of the equipment was the secret to success and moved mine around until I found the spot with the best signal. I get four bars, download speed of 20Meg and upload of 8Meg. I do not get dropouts like those reported but I have seen the occasional outage of an hour or two on perhaps a couple of occasions in the six months period.

    1. Avatar Sweeny says:

      I’d like to support what you say about placement. We had the unit placed in a window with only 1 light showing. Lifting it by about 1.5 inches and we got one more; lifting it by 3″ & 4 lit up! It only works in one spot but that spot is pretty solid. I’ve seen 40 meg down but 12 or so is the norm. Latency can struggle early in the morning and we lose the occasional VoIP call. Bottom line though is it is much better than ADSL where we are although a bit more reliability would be welcome..

  8. Avatar Paul says:

    Speaking of: major outage across all London from yesterday (10th jan). Search “@relish” on Twitter for details. Customer service unavailable, no technical support, no ETA. just a massive blackout. Do not get relish, it’s not ready yet for mass market.

  9. Avatar Nate says:

    Wouldnt go with them. Read http://www.london-se1.co.uk/forum/read/1/182386 for real reviews and stay far, far away. im SW5, constant drops…

    Out of the box it worked within minutes, and I had hoped their issues were historic in nature. 20 minutes later (on 23/01/05) the fun began. Constant drop in connections, and by constant I mean anywhere from 5-20 times per hour.

    When I ordered via phone they promised 30-50mbit speeds. I have 5/5 full bars and all values in control panel in regards to signal are well above the average threshold. Result ? Speeds were 24mbit during the day, and after 6 pm dropped to 7mbit…. Upload went down from 2.5 –> 0.08mbit… lol…

    Their customer service team is horrible. Command of english in foreign call centre is good. But they have no idea what they are talking about and do nothing but repeat your question back to you. Dont believe me ? Simply give them a call and find out yourself.

    They wqill literally quote back anything you said but include a short phrase such as “actually I think you are experiencing” or “indeed it does seem” There is no attempt at all to answer any sort of question, all they say is that it will be investigated and then never heard from again.

    I will sadly be going back to my BT connection in Earls Court. It may only max out at 8.5mbit, but at least it is stable and doesnt experience any downtime whatsoever.

    1. Avatar Nate says:

      Sorry, the date was meant to be 23/01/2015*

  10. Avatar Zakir says:

    Try resetting the relish router at the back with a pin it fixed the problem for me.

  11. Avatar Ivan says:

    I have lived with this problem for a few years now, but on a company called Cyberware. They are plain horrible. The connection drops are (no exageration) abou every minute (60 an hour). It makes gaming impossible, and I have to use wtfast to connect to servers. I was considering Relish as an alternative but maybe that is not the case, reading the comments above. At least Im only paying 12£ a month.

  12. Avatar adad says:

    Thanks to responders, im glad that i read this before signing up for a year paid up front this week.They also wanted a credit check despite the fact i was going to pay up front. T they do have a two week get out clause,but how long do they take to refund your money if you cancel. That should be stated in publicity. Once the two weeks are over the speeds and quality diminish and if on short term contract you have paid £50 connection which i doubt you get back,correct me if im wrong. Shame an alternatives to overpriced line rental needs to happen. Not sure if i want to take the risk with Relish.

  13. Avatar J'onn Jonn'z says:

    Problems are still there. Tried many things like repositioning the router, using ethernet instead of WiFi, resetting to factory settings, and nothing works. On top of that, something we all were afraid of has started already: speed is really low during peak times. Meaning 5k lag when gaming, rendering gaming, streaming or even surfing internet completely impossible. I wouldn’t recommend Relish to anyone, currently.

  14. Avatar aj says:

    Started well (20-30mbps). Then, a couple of weeks or so after the signal began dropping out for twenty seconds or so before coming back. Now, I have terrible speeds, which make the internet ostensibly unusable. It makes no difference whatsoever where you place the router/reciever – I currently have 4 little dots of signal on the box, and I am plugged in to it, and I have a download speed of 1.56 mbps; pretty sure the dots are not actually referring to anything.
    Will definitely be returning to a fixed line ISP and hoping for better.
    Sidenote: I have generally had decent to good customer service form Relish. They call me back, pass me round to various people, some lad named Owen as part of the ‘diagnostics team’ or some other such meaningless name got back to me several times with the party-line of “the problem is being fixed”, “small group of customers”, “not a major problem”, “no we are not frauds” – I must have listened to about 10, “a major update will be occurring within the next two weeks that will fix the problem” over the last two months…” – it’s all just noise. Nowt happens. Nowt gets fixed and at this point, I’m smart enough to realise it’s not going to be. Clearly, the current technology can’t cope with the strain of users or just isn’t there yet. Hopefully it will get better and in a few years we can all stop having a stupid telephone line that nobody every rings ’cause it’s 2018/9/20 and anyone that still needs a house phone has died. So, yeah, good idea but not feasbible/practical/functional/a-sensible-option-if-you-want-to-be-able-to-use-the-internet…at the moment.

  15. Avatar H Ramus says:

    Just an update to my disconnection issues. Yesterday I received a router firmware update. It’s been running strong for one day without disconnects so far. It seems that the router may indeed be the weak link and hopefully disconnects will be a thing of the past.

    As for now, I’m happy with the internet service and speed. It seems that the disconnects will be fixed with a router firmware update. I reckon new customers have already been receiving routers with working firmware hence a lower number of complaints.

    However, Relish just had its early adopters doing crowd-sourced beta testing and paying for the privilege. Surely some form of compensation for putting up with this nonsense all along is due. Imagine GSK releasing a drug in the market before it was tested and approved…

  16. Avatar Brian says:

    I live near Canary Wharf on the third floor and I’ve been using the service for one week. I see there are many negative comments about the service, but I wonder how representative this is of the service overall. I imagine most people like myself will not be bothered to complain. On the day I first connected I experienced a “disconnect” of a few minutes. Since then, however, I’ve been enjoying really fast connection speeds. The fastest I recorded was 64Mb for download and 14Mb for upload. Generally, download speeds are in excess of 20Mb. I don’t know anything about “gaming”, but it’s more than adequate for everyday use, plus the occasional 4k video.

  17. Avatar John R says:

    I had relish for 4 months in the London Bridge area. The connection wasn’t the problem as I had 4 bars on the router as I’m on the top floor. But while a speed test got good results in practice many websites kept ‘timing out’ and youtube was often very slow. I rang them up once to try to fix the problem and it seemed to get a bit better but then after a day it came back again. And so after 4 months I left them and went back to Virgin. But they want me to pay the remaining 8 months on the contract, as apparently I signed a year long contract, and they denied that I’d even phoned them up to try to fix the problem. With no admission that clearly there is a general problem with their service. Maybe the software update on the router will help matters but they seem a dodgy outfit who are in effect beta testing their product on customers and then not admitting that there is a problem.

  18. Avatar Stephen Warwick says:

    I live inside one and across the road from a Tube stop in Zone 1, so you’d expect excellent speeds, with no drops. Since last week’s much awaited software update my service has gone from roughly 8 Mbps to a mere 2 to3 Mbps! The 40 times a day drops have much curtailed however. The only reason I’ve stayed with them since July 2014 was that I do find the customer service people helpful and clean. Notwithstanding as I now get speeds was fairly slow I’m leaving today I’m returning to prove band however reluctantly.

  19. Avatar J'onn Jonn'z says:

    We received the firmware update as well and still experience the constant connection drop. The only thing that has changed is that now the router seems connected all the time (you won’t see the blinking lights that indicated it was restarting). My conclusion is that the firmware just changed that so people think it’s not disconnecting. But it is. Plus, speed on weekends and afternoon/evening during the week is appalling, which along with the signal drops makes netflix, gaming and any other internet activity impossible. We are switching to conventional as Relish is clearly a fraud.

  20. Avatar T.E. says:

    I’ve been with Relish since August last year, and it’s been nothing but trouble. It started with randomly stopping to download pages, and I had to reset the router many times a day to get the internet to restore again. After this, the problem arose, recognized from the other comments on this page, where the connection drops and I need to wait for the router to reset.

    In the summer, I reached speeds up to 15mbps. In the autumn, the speeds went down badly. During peak times (only time I use the internet) it is impossible to use. Just now I was struggling to get 1mbps. This was with 4 bars connection on the router.

    Then on to my customer service issues:
    1. I called many times in the summer to complain about the disconnections, and every time the raised a ticket, and told me someone would call me. Those calls never came.
    2. I sent an email explaining the bad service I’m getting and my issues. I received a call (couldn’t pick up), and a voicemail said he’d try again that day. He never tried to call me again.
    3. I called first time about the slow connection in November. The solution: They will raise a ticket, and contact me. After calling them back, they tell me that the signal station is working fine, so you should have no problems. I asked clearly: So are you saying there’s nothing that can be done. Answer: pretty much (or something like that).
    4. After this call I asked them to check again, because obviously something’s wrong. Never heard back, and I gave up. Now I’m still struggling with it and I’m just hoping for a miracle.

    Don’t get Relish, you’ll only be disappointed.

  21. Avatar misc says:

    Ordered the service, was promised download speeds up to 50Mbps. I was getting 5 Mbps at best. Called customer service to complain. After talking to them every day for a week, they admitted that they cannot improve speeds as apparently I am surrounded by high-rise buildings (the tallest building between me and the closest base station is 5 stories but whatever…). Cancelled service.

  22. Avatar Felis Polis says:

    Reluctant Relish.
    Such a shame.
    What a wasted opportunity.

    There is real demand here in Central London.
    We have no realistic alternative to the Failing State of BT Broadband.
    Relying on the arrogance, incompetence and denial of BT Openreach Engineering to repair and maintain it.

    An excellent opportunity for Relish to gain thousands of dis-affected BT Broadband customers in the Capital.

    It’s not rocket science required to sort Relish’s service issues.
    Just plain commonsense engineering.
    More transmitters to increase the depth and range of coverage.
    The quality hardware and software choices required to deliver a reliable service.
    London-based technical support teams who know this City.

    Above all leadership, ownership and responsiblilty from the very top.
    Was the initial fanfare from Relish’s senior executives just more PR propaganda?
    Do they really want to give Central London a viable 21st Century Broadband alternative?
    Time for Relish’s management to wake-up, take charge and deliver.

  23. Avatar Ma Wa says:

    Wasting Time!
    Looks like Relish will not be boldly going anywhere soon.

    “Thanks for your interest.
    We do have plans to expand in the future but do not have any fixed timelines at present.
    We’ll be sure to keep you updated as soon as we do.

    Kind regards
    Customer Care Team
    Relish”

    Is the 21st century beyond Relish Unlimited?
    Are we back to the future with BT Infinity?
    More Shoreditch Hub snubs from Virgin Suburban?

    Central London broadband is light-years behind the other major capitals.
    Super-Fast?
    World-Class?
    They’re having a Laugh!
    At Us, Londoners.

  24. Avatar S. N. says:

    This “service” is not ready for the mass market. Avoid like the plague. Exceptionally slow internet speeds. Extremely high latency. Upload speeds are ZERO. Please see the tests I have performed.

    http://www.speedtest.net/my-result/4105971857
    http://www.speedtest.net/my-result/4108500418
    http://www.speedtest.net/my-result/4138548709
    http://www.speedtest.net/my-result/4171467764
    http://www.speedtest.net/my-result/4171484932
    http://www.speedtest.net/my-result/4214781424

    1. Avatar Hannu Visti says:

      Hi,

      You could try moving the hub around in your flat. I was plagued by this and found a better place for the hub. It appears to be extremely moody. Move it half an inch or rotate a little and the speed drops dramatically. I saw the connection speed hike from 1,5M down to 25+ in SE16. I called them and asked where the base station is, pointed the side of the hub to that direction and started moving it around. You can log in to the hub, go to one of the monitoring pages and set it to update every five seconds or so.

      There are several signal quality values, but the interesting ones were Rx1 and Rx2 or something like that. The number apparently should be as close to -90 according to them. If it is below -115, the connection speed starts to suffer a lot. I managed to get it down to -100 or so and it worked fine…

      … but I had to eventually give up the service as the connection drops mentioned here were a constant pain. If you are not suffering from them, by all means try repositioning the hub. I got the instructions how to do so and how to monitor the signal quality from their customer service. If you are not an IT expert, you could try calling them and let them walk you through to find the monitoring page.

      Hannu

  25. Avatar johns says:

    I was planning on joining relish.net but was confused about their terms and conditions. I did sent them an email regarding this weeks ago but never received any response from them.

    The bit I don’t agree with is section 5.3 (see below). It seems to mean anything you upload using the service can be used by Relish.net.(https://www1.relish.net/legalstuff)

    5.3 You will be able to upload and send Your own content using the Service. You grant Us and any Third Party Network Provider a royalty free, perpetual and worldwide licence to store, transmit or otherwise deal with any content You upload using the Service.

    The “Service” is defined as “the service ordered by You including the Equipment and access to the Internet via the Network, together with Additional Services that We may make available to You from time to time”.

  26. Avatar Eamon Meek says:

    I have been using service for 4mnths, and have to say other than the odd connection failure, I have had no problems whatsoever. I live in the Kings X area and the up/download speeds are pretty damn good for £20 a month. IMO!!

  27. Avatar Mitral Patel says:

    Add me to the list of unhappy users.

    Their first line support, although friendly, is completely clueless. They escalate to their NOC who write notes asking the first line people to check the wifi connection when the first line people already ascertained wifi is not the problem.

    But their internal corporate politics mean Customers are not allowed to speak to the NOC so nobody there is willing to investigate the problem.

    As of my last complaint I can’t even ‘fix’ my dos connection problem by resetting my router. It’s stuck on one bar of reception.

    I thought customer like this died in the 90’s but it seems Relish have resurrected it.

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