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Three (and Smarty) tested packet loss - 'slow browsing' and timeouts

cgwhite

Casual Member
Interesting reading this thread. I have been using Three for over a year now. I have an external Poynting directional aerial attached to a Hauwei B618s router. I am about 3 miles from my nearest mast. I can get up to 40mb down / 9mb up on some days. On others it will be around 20mb down. Yesterday I uploaded 30gb of my music to Google Drive without any difficulty but from that point on Three crashed on me. I was getting about 20mb download and 0.3mb up. Not enough to load webpages. DNS errors all over the place. Internet unusable! Chatted to support via their site eventually, and was told that the Internet only needs Download speed. Well when I was technical director of an ISP in the late 90's that would have made me laugh.

So, my question to the forum members is: How do we sort this out. What approach has anyone made to Three to get them to listen. They obviously have some core DNS issues etc. and are not providing a service "Fit for Purpose". So, can anyone technically put down what the issues are with their service being provided to people like you and I. It would be useful to have a script that we could use when contacting them to get someone to listen. Or am I wasting my time.

BTW, I subscribed to ExpressVPN and that actually helped. I had a much improved service until I asked my Google Mini to play Radio 2. She was not at all happy and could not play anything! Completely screwed her up. So VPN does not help in this case.

I look forward to some helpful replies. Also, If I was going to change to another provider who would anyone recommend. EE or Vodafone?

Stay Safe. Regards, Chris.
 

GavinAshford

ULTIMATE Member
Probably wasting your time - as I understand from others, front-line support likely won't know what you're talking about and are 'unable' to pass you through to anyone else technical.

Not sure what is being blocked with Google/Radio 2 - you'd have to try figure out what bit is preventing this but in my experience BBC (iPlayer) blocks some VPN providers (and VPS providers). It could be that.

As for another provider, only you can really answer that - you'd need to determine which gives you coverage/signal/speeds that are appropriate for your needs in your location (and balance that with the cost they charge for the amount of data you require).
 

SmartyBroadband

Casual Member
Yesterday I uploaded 30gb of my music to Google Drive without any difficulty but from that point on Three crashed on me. I was getting about 20mb download and 0.3mb up. Not enough to load webpages.
<SNIP>
I look forward to some helpful replies. Also, If I was going to change to another provider who would anyone recommend. EE or Vodafone?

Hi Chris,

I just trialled Cloudflare WARP which you can install on a PC or phone @ http://1.1.1.1 and this has proven to be a miracle on my Three connection as well. That's another possible option, and currently no cost associated.

Cloudflare WARP doesn't hide your IP address either, but tunnels/encrypts to their local POPs in the UK (not sure how it works), so perhaps that'll solve the VPN blocks that can get put in place on VPN provider's IP address ranges per. Gavin's comment.

As for another provider. VOXI (Vodafone) do unlimited... for 35 quid/pm. I did test them out and I got amazing performance with no need for a VPN.

Also, I thought Three had traffic managment in place, so perhaps you triggered something on their network with your usage / upload burst which had you throttled. I suggest doing big uploads before you go to bed as it might be less likely to trigger the traffic management system.
 

cgwhite

Casual Member
@SmartyBroadband Thank you for the reply. I had expressVPN set up on the router. One of the things that Hauwei have incorporated into their firmware. Don't think that the Cloudfare system will let that happen. I believe that the answer to Threes issues it to use a VPN so that you don't get involved in their DNS etc. I use Cloudfare for some of my websites and it makes them blisteringly fast.

I will go with a Vodafone Unlimited Max for a month and see if that improves things. Still have 9 months to run under contract with Three so need anyones advice on how to get them to cancel the contract?

Regards, Chris.
 

TTJJ

ULTIMATE Member
Three are quite easy to deal with. Raise a complaint let them investigate etc. and eventually if you’re still unhappy you’ll get through to the customer relations / complaints team - explain what the issues are and say you wish to cancel without your ETFs. If you have a SIM only they’ll generally let you cancel, if you have a device they’ll ask for the device back and cancel it once it’s back to them.
 

cgwhite

Casual Member
Thank you for that. I will raise a complaint with them and see where I get to.

Regarding VOXI, they offer no contract deals but they don't offer WIFI Calling which for those of us in the countryside is an absolute necessity if we want to use out phones inside. Unless there is a VOXI box that can be installed on ones Internet indoors.

Regards,

Chris.
 

cgwhite

Casual Member
We used to have a Vodafone Sure Signal at one time but that is now not available. I got rid of my old one years ago. Wifi calling seems to be the only option now.
 

TTJJ

ULTIMATE Member
eBay will surely have plenty of Sure Signals. Once they're set up and working they do work very well. They take a day or two to 'settle in' though sometimes but after that it's smooth sailing.
 

nevsie

Member
I too work from home. Long line, so went for three unlimited. blah blah.
Am running TPLink Archer MR600

The first issue people are seeing is contention. Put simply, if the amount of users on your mast goes up, the crap experience comes with it. This will most likely vary - i.e. peak times. I am fortunately on a mast that seems to have little use! I only get a single band (3), bet a constant 100down and 30up at all times.

The second major issue is that if you use three.co.uk as your APN, you are behind a CGNAT, and if this is not important then you should experience a reasonable quality service, with the exception of the above.
But many of us want this for work - so our APN is 3internet, no CGNAT, but everyone else knows this too, and so torrents, peer to peer, gaming, high downloads and streaming are all on it. Its crap.

But this is not the only thing.
Three does not admit the problem... but they are doing something about it. They are rebuilding the network backbone...
The error rate i saw, and annoyances, were all consistent for three.co.uk and 3internet.

But then my network completely went last week, as they were moving me over to this new network (apparently). Since then APN three.co.uk has been brilliant. However, 3internet still is balls.
So there is a major separation between these two pipes.

I am not as techy as some above, but working in the web dev world. So my limitations are annoyed by CGNAT. So like others stuck with 3internet APN.

For those using the TPLink MR600... There is a "unofficial" firmware that allows you to manually choose bands. It also improves a couple of other features. It worked superbly with my box, but at the end of the day, when back on a single band. that was all pointless for me.
This also offers VPN options of: OpenVPN, PPTP VPN, and IPSEC VPN...
so i will be researching those a bit more to see if financially worthwhile.
 

Buggerlugz

ULTIMATE Member
Atleast you can use the 3internet APN. Connects just fine for me but provides zero traffic whatsover, so I'm stuck with a CGNATTED three.co.uk APN.
 

Yakko

Member
I would like to add to this I have pretty much all problems above my 3 is never really great speed wise but was reliable for what I needed but recently has gone downhill when I connect to 4g sites like youtube netflix always work but somethings completely fail to connect like if I tried to connect to a speed test or online gaming client ,but also when I was using lot of data yesterday around 20gb for the day not only did my speed drastically drop but was being actively disconnected every 50mb of data tested this like 5-6 times in various ways and every 50mb of data pretty much on the dot was used my connection was disconnected i contacted support who just said they saw something on my account an changed it and about an hour later about 9pm around end of peak time so dont know if this was also a factor it was fixed
 

AliJCam

Casual Member
Happy New Year All...
Further update on my experiences after another few months.
Three does seem to have improved a bit, but there is still the problem that randomly a reasonably error-free connection WILL suddenly show dramatic errors of between 15 to 25%. Sometimes this is linked to a dynamic IP address change, but more often an given connection on a given IP will just suddenly show huge errors. I guess it's some internal core routing change.
The way to eliminate this is to reset your router and get a new IP. You may have to do this more than once.
Also, I have noticed that Three serve IPs from 92.x.x.x and 188.x.x.x ranges. The 92... range IPs generally seem to have a lower error rate than the 188... ones.
As always, YMMV!
Cheers
 

GavinAshford

ULTIMATE Member
I've also seen/got IPs in the 94.x.x.x range too (unless your 92 was a typo).
Interesting that you say 92 is more reliable, I've generally found the 188 range to be better for me (Camberley, Surrey area).
I wonder if it's somewhat due to location and where/which data center you connect to get routed through.
 

AliJCam

Casual Member
I've also seen/got IPs in the 94.x.x.x range too (unless your 92 was a typo).
Interesting that you say 92 is more reliable, I've generally found the 188 range to be better for me (Camberley, Surrey area).
I wonder if it's somewhat due to location and where/which data center you connect to get routed through.
Hi Gavin
Interesting - I have never seen a 94... here (Uckfield, East Sussex). And, yes, I suspect that different locations and connections into the core may well have different results.
 

The Wee Bear

Regular Member
o_OI've also seen/got IPs in the 94.x.x.x range too (unless your 92 was a typo).
Interesting that you say 92 is more reliable, I've generally found the 188 range to be better for me (Camberley, Surrey area).
I wonder if it's somewhat due to location and where/which data center you connect to get routed through.
Wonder where their data centre is that I'm connected to.

Prestwick is very near where I live, it's a bit spooky it's reporting so close to me.o_O
 

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