Bridge a TG582n via CLI

If you’re looking to bridge a Technicolor TG582n modem router in to bridge mode (modem only, for use with an additional router) but you do not have any templates for WUI, this handy guide is here to help. This is assuming you’re BT’s 21CN ADSL(2+) but will also work with most LLU providers including TalkTalk.

Log in to your router via Telnet (great Telnet client is PuTTY) then run the following commands:

ppp relay flush
ppp flush
eth flush
atm flush
atm phonebook flush
saveall
atm phonebook add name=BrPPPoE_ph addr=0.38
atm ifadd intf=BrPPPoE_atm
atm ifconfig intf=BrPPPoE_atm dest=BrPPPoE_ph  encaps=vcmux ulp=mac
atm ifattach intf=BrPPPoE_atm
eth bridge ifadd intf=BrPPPoE_br
eth bridge ifconfig intf=BrPPPoE_br dest=BrPPPoE_atm
eth bridge ifattach intf=BrPPPoE_br
service system modify name=DHCP-S state=disabled
wireless radio state=disabled
saveall

Three / 3 / Hutchinson 3G data throttling, shoddy service

So today I attempted to download a sizable amount of data through my mobile data connection. What started off as a speedy and pleasant transfer turned in to a throttled nightmare.

Some background; I have Three’s ‘One Plan’ which sports “unlimited” mobile data and allows tethering. For those that don’t know, tethering is turning your mobile phone in to a modem (or WiFi router) so you can use its 3G connection on your laptop or tablet.

I’ll start by saying I’ve been otherwise thrilled with Three’s network and while they’ve had some network disruptions of late I seem to have thankfully dodged those. I moved away from Vodafone to Three in January after experiencing several unwelcomed price increases on my bill. I chose Three because of their “network built for data” and they’re the “fastest growing mobile network” which sounds promising, right?

I usually experience 3-5Mb/s over 3G almost everywhere I go. There’s never been a time where I’ve been short of bandwidth when using say Spotify or YouTube on the 3G connection. So today, my 350MB FTP data transfer started off at the usual 5Mb/s and lasted for about 100MB in. Then my speed dropped to 2Mb/s – still not too bad. When I hit 200MB, it’s a whole new story. How does (as little as) 0.1Mb/s sound to you?

After the data transfer had finally finished, any attempt to stream music via Spotify or YouTube (even 144p quality) failed miserably. I’ve never had to buffer a video in over 4 years… but thanks to Three’s idiotic trottling I’m now left with an 0.1Mb/s 3G connection. How long will this hideous throttling last, is it permanent?

I’m quite shocked to be classed as a heavy / excessive user through downloading a few hundred MB. Most months I’ll barely hit 1GB of usage and I know fine well this month I’ve not hit 200MB before starting this FTP transfer. I have to conclude, I simply cannot see how Three’s network is ‘built for data’ when they choke their customers for light usage. If this is how they operate, I SIMPLY CANNOT RECOMMEND THREE AND ADVISE YOU TO AVOID.

State of the Internet reports

Hi guys!

So I’m thinking of composing a ‘State of the Internet’ report every month, that details the speed / quality / status of each of my broadband lines here. Sure there’s loads of comparison web sites that claim to do this already and let users vote… but how do we know these aren’t all fixed results based on ISP backhand donations? I’m 100% independent, do not favour one ISP over another.

I currently have the following lines:

TalkTalk Plus + Fibre boost (37Mb down / 9Mb up)
BT Infinity for Business (75Mb down / 16Mb up)
Plusnet Unlimited Fibre (37Mb down / 7Mb up)
EE (Orange) Fibre Unlimited (36Mb down / 8Mb up)
Plusnet Unlimited ADSL2+ (15Mb down / 1Mb up)
Eclipse Fibre Pro (36Mb down / 9Mb up)
TalkTalk Essentials ADSL2+ (8Mb down / 0.8Mb up)
BE Pro ADSL2+ (20Mb down / 1.8Mb up)
Sky Unlimited ADSL2+ (7Mb down 0.8Mb up)

All these lines are monitored 24*7 on a second-by-second basis for latency, packet loss and throughput speed. I’m thinking of composing monthly reports based on this monitoring of how each ISP is doing. I’ll run a report at the end of the month and if things go well I may keep this going on a rolling basis.

As said, I’m completely impartial / independent of all ISPs and do not favour one over another, so hopefully results of my reports will give you a good idea of good and bad ISPs. Of course, various factors can (artificially) impact my monitoring, for example line quality issues, temporary routing/peering issues, peak-time exchange congestion and so on… but that’s what these reports will be all about!

Breaking down Plusnet’s costs

Let me first start by saying I bear no official affiliations to Plusnet or other companies referenced below – I am merely a curious consumer digesting what becomes of my monthly Direct Debit.

Plusnet ‘rent’ the xDSL part of customers’ lines from Openreach (a BT company). The price Plusnet are charged for this rental depends on the type of broadband you have; ADSL or FTTC/VDSL2. Openreach charge £5.88 per month rental for ADSL2+ and £16.00 per month rental for the 80/20 FTTC product. Quite pricey, right? But that’s not all!

Once Plusnet have rented the xDSL lines, they still need to get the line connected from your local area down to Plusnet’s main network points in London. BT Wholesale – responsible for doing this bit – charge Plusnet a whopping £40 per month per Mb/s. That means, if your broadband speed was 10Mb/s and you were to download 24*7 in a month, that’d cost Plusnet an incredible £400, plus your £5.88 rental charge. Crazy!

Now then, down to actual figures. Thanks to Plusnet’s public graphing we can see they subscribe to at least 44Gb/s with BT Wholesale. That’s 45,056 Mb/s – which works out an eyewatering £1,802,240 EVERY MONTH! Also on that public graphing page we can see Plusnet have at least 556,380 customers connected to their network – probably more in total because some customers turn off their routers when they’re not online. (Just a quick note, if all 556,380 customers were using the internet at the same, each customer would only get 0.07Mb/s – but we’ll cover how this works in another blog).

Wait, there’s more! We’re still only on the network layer, and we’re adding even more costs to the bill. So we’ve covered the costs to get your data from your home down to Plusnet’s network in London, but now Plusnet need to get your data ‘on the Internet’ which they do by the process of peering with other networks and purchasing transit from carriers.

Plusnet have 4x 10Gb/s ports with LINX (the London Internet eXchange), and the monthly cost for these ports is £4630. Then, Plusnet have transit agreements and links with many carriers including Level(3). I’m unable to find out how much Level(3) are charging Plusnet or how much they buy – but I’d estimate 5Gb/s at around £1.50 per Mb/s per month which works out £7500 per month. Plusnet peer with many other networks too, I can’t find out how much they have nor pay for these so we’ll just estimate roughly an extra £20,000 per month. All these costs combined work out at a hefty £32,130 per month.

 

So let’s just weigh up the potential costs of providing broadband based on the above pricing.

I’m going to work out the approximate cost price of Plusnet’s £9.99 Unlimited Broadband packages based on the above information and assuming all of Plusnet’s customerbase are on this package.

Openreach ADSL2+ rental cost per customer = £5.88

BT Wholesale WBC bandwidth/transit/data costs = £1,802,240 / 556,380 customers = £3.24 per customer

Peering/Transit costs = £32,130 / 556,380 customers = £0.06 per customer (lol tiny in comparison!)

Total cost of £9.18 per customer per month. That’s quite a lot, remembering the cost of billing customers, customer and technical support representatives, the hosting of e-mail and ‘value added services’ like such, plus advertising the product. Unsurprisingly, it’s unlikely Plusnet will EVER make a profit on this base Broadband package! I’ll explain in another blog how ISP’s are still profitable in this day and age… keep your eyes open for future blogs!

It must be noted, many of the prices in this blog are estimated based on publicly available information. Actual costs may be higher, or indeed lower, than I have worked out… but hopefully this blog will give more of an insight to the costs of running a value-for-money mainsteam ISP.

Any unreferenced sources:

BT Wholesale WBC costs

Plusnet’s ASN information on Robtex

Plusnet’s LINX member info page

LINX port costs

 

YouTube fail…

Are y’aving a laugh? This is the THIRD time YouTube has failed me this week alone! Why oh why, Google, isn’t it possible to provide us with decent quality services? Firstly, you give us these horrid ads we must watch before viewing videos, then your service fails! If only Apple did YouTube… 😉

YouTube Fail

And yes, I’m quite aware that I edited out the URL of the video I was watching. That’s my business, not yours 🙂

CloudFlare Erroring

Heh, this made me giggle! I’m sure you’ve heard of CloudFlare? Ya know, the company that gives you access to a free CDN, and claims your web site will have greater security and uptime. In fact, they say they’ll “keep the static portions of your site online even if your server goes down” – well, that’s rather debatable after seeing this screenshot! This is 100% genuine, and shows CloudFlare can’t even keep their own web site up! Should you trust them with your web site?

CloudFlare Erroring