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PlusNet Talks Broadband Capacity

Posted: 13th Feb, 2006 By: MarkJ
PlusNet has posted a very interesting article on ADSLGuide's forum where they examine broadband ADSL capacity and the ISP’s approach to network management. They’re quite frank about some past problems, but claim to have solved them:

This over-capacity was primarily caused by us building capacity per customer based around the requirements for our Premier service. In fact that majority of sales switched to our PAYG and laterally the Plus accounts which have much lower associated usage requirements per customer.

At the same time as moving to Capacity Based Charging we also moved from 155Mbit/s BT Central Pipes to 622Mbit/s BT Central pipes with 155Mbit/s segments, which are more efficient and deliver higher capacity The lead times and associated commitments involved when ordering capacity from BT exacerbated these problems..

Because of this, along with our planning rules at the time, we ended up with approximately 1Gb of over-capacity in our DSL backhaul infrastructure by January 2005.. It also became clear that looking at a future of increased connection speeds; we needed to manage our network carefully to prevent all of the available bandwidth being used by a small number of customers. We also needed to ensure that we no longer commission too much capacity which would undermine the sustainability of the service we provide.

The over capacity problem was further exacerbated as the majority of downloads changed from being predominantly music, to much larger files DVD sized files. Because of the over capacity described previously, very heavy usage customers were able to continue to use as much bandwidth as they wanted.

Through 2005 we tackled this problem and reduced our over-capacity from 1GB to 100Mb by 31st December 2005. During this time we also developed the systems that will prevent a reoccurrence of the issue. More importantly, these systems also ensure that customers’ higher speed connections will not become unresponsive due to a single program taking too much priority when multiple applications are in use

Having gone through the pain of this process (some of which was self inflicted) we have now solved this issue, where many other ISPs are only just getting their heads around it.

The full piece can be read HERE and is handy for any PlusNet subscribers.
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