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AAISP Accuses BT of Being Unable to Handle Broadband Packet Loss Complaints

Posted: 06th Jun, 2011 By: MarkJ
aaispBusiness ISP Andrews & Arnold UK ( AAISP ) has accused BT of "failing to understand the basics of IP networking" after the telecoms firm allegedly had difficulty accepting a complaint about Random Packet Loss on one of its customers broadband lines.

Packet Loss is the technical 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 goes missing. It can be caused by all sorts of things, such as high latency, which often stems from faulty networking hardware or congested networks.

AAISP Director, Adrian Kennard, said (blog):

"Packet loss is normal when a link is full and the way TCP adapts to a full link, but random packet loss fools TCP so one of the main effects of packet loss is low speed on file transfers using TCP. It is not the only impact, as random packet loss can cause drops in VoIP, delayed DNS lookups, missed syslogs, slow throughput, and so on.

Our favourite telco are insisting that we identify the end users perceived problem. They cannot understand that the we have a technical end user that perceives "random packet loss" as "the problem". It is not "when I got to facebook it is slow", it is "I can see there is random packet loss". They also fail to understand that *WE* are their customer and what we as the customer perceived as the fault is measurable random packet loss on the line...

As an ISP I would far rather a customer came to me saying "I see 2% packet loss" or "I see 2% packet loss to XXX". I can test and diagnose a report like that. What I don't want is someone saying "The internets are slow". It seems out favourite telco want the latter and when you provide actual detailed reports of exactly what is wrong they cannot cope."

In fairness many ordinary consumers often don't recognise that a problem exists unless it's so serious as to be causing a noticeable disruption to their internet access. As a result BT are probably far more adapted to receiving and handling common consumer complaints like "i can't access facebook" or "the internet is slow" (symptoms) than one that specifically references packet loss as THE problem. We've asked BT for their thoughts and are awaiting a reply.
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