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Plusnet Resumes MAX Regrades
By: MarkJ - 17 August, 2006 (8:46 AM)

Plusnet has resumed broadband ADSL MAX (8Mbps) regrades after a three month suspension following connectivity problems. Meanwhile the ISP has also managed to delete the CGI data for some of its customers.

Reportedly customers that have names beginning with the letters "A" or "B" had their CGI directories accidentally removed from related user webspace. Thankfully this only impacted 10 customers.

Now back to the MAX regrades announcement:

As many of you will be aware, on July 3rd, we announced that we were freezing our upto 8meg broadband speed upgrades. The announcement regarding this can be found here:


Since we took the decision to freeze our upgrade scheme, we have been working closely with BT to try and understand why we were seeing quite so many faults being raised. We were seeing approximately 10% of our 60,000 upgraded customers, raising a broadband fault of some description.

One of the things that BT have helped us to identify is that a number of ISPs who were seeing a lower proportion of faults than us, were using a feature called “Interleaving”. Interleaving basically improves the stability on a line, and prevents a line from suffering “drop outs.” We were not applying interleaving by default to our 8meg services. For our customers that have raised a speed or connection fault, we have started to apply interleaving as part of the fault investigation. We are confident that this has dramatically reduced the number of faults that our customers are experiencing, and will continue to do so.

Along with the changes we have been making with regards to interleaving, there have also been a number of other developments. BT are continuing to make improvements to their Dynamic Line Management (DLM) system, which profiles lines speeds accordingly with regard to the quality of signal that they are receiving from the exchange. They have also been trialling a new version of the BT Speedtester, which the PlusNet Usergroup have been testing and providing valuable feedback. This new Speedtester helps to give the customer a more accurate expectation as to the speeds that they should be experiencing. We have also been making a number of changes to our support pages, to help everyone get a better understanding of how DSLMax works and things you can try to improve your experience of the service.

During this period, we have been advising our customers that would like to gain these higher speeds, to visit http://max.plus.net to request that an upgrade is done as soon as possible. We’re now happy to announce that we will be restarting our upgrade scheme on Monday, August 21st, at which stage we will be submitting 1,000 orders a week to BT, upgrading our customers that have “opted-in” via this method.

Interleaving, while able to improve line stability, may not be terribly welcome by the multiplayer gaming community because it can increase lag (latency) by up to 40ms over the norm.

Unfortunately it's a dilemma for ISP's, with many quite naturally choosing general stability over any specific service.

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