Funny Thing Happened on the Way to 200 Mbps …

12 May 2009

http://img12.imageshack.us/img12/4768/virginbroadbandhalfpric.jpgVirgin Media is looking to bring cable Internet connections running at 200 Mbps. But according to this article from ArsTechnica, when looking at actual download speeds, there are many variables and disputes over measurements.

Ars failed to mention a few further factors that keep your Virgin Media connection from being as fast as advertised, and in some cases, make the whole purpose of having a 200 Mbps connection redundant:

1. Virgin has introduced traffic shaping. Virgin Media's CEO, Neil Berkett , has been known for attacking the principle of net neutrality, calling it a "a load of bollocks". What's the point of having a 200Mbps connection that an ISP places restrictions on? Virgin is one of the 'Big 6' ISPs that are already more than happy to send customer details for music file sharing, and they are in talks with content providers to pay for and deliver prime content.

2. Cables already have the problem with bandwidth sharing. In most major cities, the lines are already “oversubscribed. So when it leaked last week that Virgin Media is drawing up secret plans to rent out part of their fibre-optic infrastructure to rival companies, it's worth considering how this could impact current users sharing a "local loop", or line, with a competitive carrier (CLEC).

3. Existing wireless technology limit a 200 Mbps delivery. Even if you have a 100Mbps ethernet throughput on your LAN and optic fibre's impressive speed, there can be problems with upstream congestion, especially during peak hours. Add on latency and site bandwidth, reaching max throughput becomes incredibly unlikely, especially if the site is hosted overseas.

Google has a bandwidth tester that can detect throttling that some ISPs use on file sharing protocols like bittorrents. You can check it out at http://www.measurementlab.net.

[ArsTechnica]

16 comments

  • Megahertz S.
    Finally. An article Actually pointing out the true point s behind Virgin`s PR Stunt`s. If they spent more time and money sorting the network ( the dodgy STM which penalises even if you don`t hit the Trigger Level ) out rather than all this spin then Cable would be superior. I`ve moved to ADSL (LLU) and saving a bundle aswell as not being STM`d as and when Virgin feels like it..
  • Ginger
    All I can say is wow.
  • Stradders
    The problem with Virgin is they'll use a local exchange at the bottom of your street for say 60 customers. As soon as they get 60+ customers in your area, they'll start putting you on a splitter in said exchange, therefore weakening your signal dramatically. This is what happened to me and i started losing channels. Bearing in mind i was on the top TV and BB package paying them a lot each month, i wasn't happy. So i called them and they sent an engineer to take me off a splitter and put me back high up in the box (where signal is strongest), but they could not guarantee that another engineer wouldn't go along and put me back on a splitter back down low in the box. Pretty disgraceful if you ask me. Add to that the fact that their 'superfast' unreliable BB has traffic shaping, horrible latency and refresh rates for online gaming, and their shoddy customer service, you have an overpriced throttling bunch of useless twats who are more than happy to rifle through the notes section in your wallet each month. Virgin used to only traffic shape at peak periods similar to phone tariffs but from what they last told me at the back end of last year, Virgin now will only NOT traffic shape between 3-4pm, what a joke
  • Mike H.
    Faster than a speeding breast? Nipple? Arse hole? Ahhh it's a bullet hole, faster than a speeding bullet, I get it, Virgin are good.
  • Pingu
    You're all talking a load of bollocks, you have no idea what you're talking about. Just an excuse for you miserable bastards to have a moan. One day you'll get girlfriends and hopefully STFU
  • sideysid
    The stupid thing is that virgins modems are ridiculously easy to hack and ar readily available on fleabay. Multiple modems can then be put on one line, MAC addresses can then be changed and genuine subscribers find themselves throttled anyway. Until Virgin can figure some way around this it will always be a flawed system. And thats before I even begin to start about the abuse of their TV service....
  • Jeffrey
    @Pingu: Yes. And you've obviously proven your superior intellect and industry knowledge there, right. GG Obvious troll is obvious.
  • Bob
    Abuse of their TV service? ooooo do go on :P
  • James
    VIRGIN = RIP OFF
  • TubeZe
    When it was cableinet/blueyonder everything was goog. Then there was a merger with ntl and things went downhill. Then they got took over by virgin and things turned absolutely awful. Still, unless you live within a mile of your local BT exchange and it's been LLU'd then virgin is unfortunately the best option (at least if you want decent speed). If you live close to the exchange then I'd definitely go with Be* - for ~£20 you can have 24mbit down and 2.5mbit up. As to Stradders, he hasn't got a clue how cable works - cable doesn't have "exhcnages in the street", and they can't just "split" you.
  • Stradders
    Yeah TubeZe i don't have a clue, and nor do the various Virgin engineers that said the same thing, dickhead. Virgin's network is fibre optic round the country, then it goes to an exchange box near your house, and then copper wire to your house. I was losing around 9db from the exchange top my house, not a major drama, but when put on a splitter low down in the box i was losing a lot more, and channels. You know fuck all son, and until you prove me wrong (which you won't) you need to wind your neck in
  • TubeZe
    You are now just making things up to excuse your idiocy. A "Virgin Engineer" wouldn't say any such thing, not even the most stupid ones. Cable doesn't have "exchanges", so why the fuck would an engineer say they do? Answer: You are lying. Try looking up how cable internet works - read what a UBR (CMTS) is, a Node, a SID, how the hardware in the cabinet works, what the BRAG system is. I don't need to prove you wrong - anyone with the slightest knowledge of how cable works know you are wrong, so wind your entire self in you total fuckwit.
  • Stradders
    So Virgin Media's modem feed is fibre optic is it you obnoxious prick ? NO. So how do they get broadband to houses if the feed isn't fibre optic but network is ? EXCHANGE TYPE JUNCTION BOXES near houses to feed the consumer via copper wire. Why would i make things up ? More than one engineer brought up the diagnostics screen and told me i'm losing 9db from the exchange to my modem. He said you always lose a bit of signal because of the copper wire, much like BT's network, but mine was strong anyway. It's ludicrously vomit-inducing how you think you're right and qualified and trained engineers are wrong, you obnoxious cunt. You're the fucking idiot here, i quote what's been told me by a QUALIFIED AND TRAINED ENGINEER and you jump on my back like an odious little wankstain. If your cranial cavity wasn't as vacuous as it is, you'd do something constructive instead of spouting turgid bile on here trting to denigrate me. So do the whole world a favour and shut the fuck up you spamming little eunuch
  • Pingu
    stradders ur such a tard. People spouting off threatening crap like you do make me laugh out loud. I bet you're the geekiest, thinnest, weediest little pussy in the world who gets his thrills trying to sound big and angry on an internet forum. Why not carry on trying to find an internet bride instead.
  • TubeZe
    ^^ This. An internet bride is exactly what stradders needs. "QUALIFIED" engineer? Do you even know what the installers job consists of? Pray tell which qualification you need for the job. I'll help you find a clue though, as I'm the person who does the TRAINING those engineers get. And I'm genderqueer, not eunuch you total little lackwit - you even fail at insults. You really are "EPiC FAiL!"
  • Stradders
    Wow another keyboard warrior, are you one of his buddies on here ? Awwwwwwwwwww what a pair of cunts "I bet you’re the geekiest, thinnest, weediest little pussy in the world" I'm quite the opposite actually. All i give a fuck about is getting what i paid for, and when i don't get it i want to know why, just like any other sane person. And if you had an ounce of intelligence you'd realise i didn't start any argument, i merely retorted to that cunt above you discounting what i had been told, and if i'm wrong, i've been told wrong. Pingu you're a hypocrite, getting all big and angry calling me names on an internet forum. The irony is laughable you fucking cretin. Just because i'm intelligent, and know bigger words than you, that doesn't make me a nerd. So why don't you just fuck off back to your room and wait for mummy to come tuck you in with a handjob you inbred cunt

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