Thinking going PlusNet from Virgin ADSL

Discussion in 'Broadband' started by Andy Hewitt, Jan 21, 2009.

  1. Andy Hewitt

    Andy Hewitt Guest

    I'm getting just a little fed up with Virgin ADSL. IT's reasonably
    reliable, in that I've had no outages (at least not while I'm using it),
    but the latency is awful.

    I have been getting very good, solid connection speeds for over a year,
    exceeding 8meg at times, and seeing a continuous 8meg connect speed in
    my router). More recently though this has dropped to 6meg, and I am
    seeing more real world slowdowns too.

    The most noticeable has been iPlayer, which has been completely
    unusable, with the very occasional exception where I've managed to watch

    Last week I was at my Mother's, where she has PlusNet (Option 1, which
    is all she needs), and I could use iPlayer without a hitch, even between
    9pm and midnight. Now I've got home, I also notice how bad newsgroups
    are too - I use, and the speed difference is quite

    I've also used these at my sister's home, which is on Eclipse, and all
    works well there too.

    Now, I did fall out with PlusNet a few years ago, over a house move that
    went wrong. But, I'm prepared to take another chance, and two people
    I've put onto PlusNet setups have had no problems at all now.

    I'm actually looking for a complete broadband and telephone package, and
    for me I think PlusNet's Option 2 and Anytime + are what I think I need.

    I am currently on this:

    BT line rental.
    Virgin Broadband Bundle 1 (Unlimited/8meg BB, 24/7 calls)
    (If PlusNet support guys see this, any problems with a migrate from this

    My use is mostly Emails, newsgroups (text only), Web browsing,
    occasional iPlayer (couple of times a week), iTunes store (might buy an
    album a month), and some downloading (mostly OS updates, shareware
    apps). Very infrequent P2P (maybe a few a year), and once in a bluemoon
    with Skype (again, that maybe because it runs terrible on Virgin), and
    the occasional Chat. I also maintain a couple of web sites, but that
    might be an upload of 20MB a month.

    I'm not working at this time, so not looking to spend more than I am
    now, but the PlusNet package could save me a fiver a month - especially
    as Virgin have just hiked up their 0845 etc. numbers.

    Any thoughts?

    Andy Hewitt, Jan 21, 2009
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  2. Andy Hewitt

    Gel Guest

    Gel, Jan 21, 2009
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  3. Andy Hewitt

    Andy Hewitt Guest

    Oh indeed. However, iPlayer has *never* worked here, even when I was
    getting better connect speeds.
    Well, my exchange is about 700m away, so I know it's not distance, and I
    currently connect at about 6meg. My sister's line is some miles away,
    and she gets a very iffy 2 and a bit meg (along with lots of noise on
    the line). Yet iPlayer works fine there.

    I can't test at my Mum's now, as I was there helping her move house, and
    hasn't even got a line connected at the new place yet.

    I'm sure we know that Virgin do secret traffic 'shaping', and of course
    we know that PN do too, but are open about it so we know what to expect.
    Andy Hewitt, Jan 22, 2009
  4. Andy Hewitt

    Woody Guest

    You are 700m (linear?) from the exchange, but how far by cable?

    Is the exchange main or a local slave/filler?

    Is the main exchange a big city one or a small town?

    What is the situation re the above at the other two locations?

    My gut feeling, as the other contributor said, is that this is an area
    and not an ISP issue. You might do better asking your neighbours,
    irrespective of ISP.
    Woody, Jan 22, 2009
  5. Andy Hewitt

    Andy Hewitt Guest

    Not sure, but looking at the map, I wouldn't expect it's much more.
    Not sure, it's certainly not a main town centre exchange, I live in
    Scarborough, and the exchange is the Cayton Bay one, serving the homes
    on our estate. However, both of the other locations are in similar
    circumstances, i.e. villages outside the main town. In fact my sister's
    exchange is in the next village, some 2 miles away.
    I understand what you're saying, but it doesn't entirely explain why I
    can run iPlayer programs at my sister's, which has only 2meg connect
    (although they are paying for an 8meg connection) speeds, and an audibly
    noisy line, where I can't on a relatively clean line at 6meg. They even
    have to reboot their modem freqently due to the errors.

    Skype with video chat is the same, I can use iChat through Google chat,
    and it works fine, but Skype is terrible, even the audio.

    I'll try and do some more testing anyway, although the BB speed isn't
    *all* of my concern.
    Andy Hewitt, Jan 22, 2009
  6. Andy Hewitt

    alexd Guest

    Even better, the OP could run a BT speed test.
    alexd, Jan 22, 2009
  7. Andy Hewitt

    Andy Hewitt Guest

    Test1 comprises of Best Effort Test: -provides background information.
    Your DSL connection rate: 5216 kbps(DOWN-STREAM), 384
    IP profile for your line is - 4500 kbps
    Actual IP throughput achieved during the test was - 4182 kbps

    Nothing like as good as I was getting earlier last year, but still twice
    the speed I get with my sister's broadband.
    Andy Hewitt, Jan 22, 2009
  8. Andy Hewitt

    Andy Hewitt Guest

    Yes, that was what I suspected in the first place. Many forums seem to
    suggest this with Virgin (and others) too.

    I remember the Inktomi proxy servers well, I used to live in Luton, and
    those were notoriously bad (about the worst in the country IIRC). There
    were ways around them though - bogus proxies, or forcing proxies in
    other towns.

    It's the sporadic nature of the service that points to it being Virgin,
    rather than a local BB fault.

    Things like browsing, Emails and plain FTP seem OK. Even video chat on
    some services is fine, but not on Skype. BBC iPlayer is unusable, yet
    the ITV Watch Again player works perfectly.

    Andy Hewitt, Jan 22, 2009
  9. Andy Hewitt

    Andy Hewitt Guest

    Oh indeed.

    Well, I've found the cause of one issue, the overall speed. I had been
    using a different router recently, as I have an Airport wireless setup
    here, I was using a plain modem. I had changed it for a four port box I
    had when I first got BB (back in the 512k days), which seemed to work
    OK, and I needed to give me a couple of extra Ethernet ports.

    It seems that wasn't working so well with the Virgin system, I've now
    reconnected with my basic modem, and it's back up to just under 8meg
    connection again, although an online speed test is still poor, and
    iPlayer still doesn't work. And now I can't access my account either.

    I have nothing to lose by changing to PlusNet at this time, and save a
    little too, and I can get my Mum another pound off per month for
    recommendation too.
    Andy Hewitt, Jan 23, 2009
  10. Andy Hewitt

    Andy Hewitt Guest

    Thanks for the reply Alex. It might be worth looking into, although this
    isn't the only issue I have at the moment, another part is the telephone
    costs as well. Virgin are currently charging siginificantly more than
    others for mobile, and 0870 and 0845 numbers. I'm also looking at the BT
    line rental too, and I can save a couple of pound a month there as well.

    I'm not working at the moment, so all these little odd pound or twos add

    Andy Hewitt, Jan 25, 2009
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