Performance has become woeful

Wireless broadband over 3G/4G
doggy
Posts: 172
Joined: Mon Mar 15, 2004 10:18 pm
Location: Avalon, NSW

Performance has become woeful

Post by doggy » Wed Sep 23, 2009 3:42 pm

Over the past few days, the Optus upload and download speeds have been totally woeful (in my area).

Where I have tested is the Mona Vale area and also Avalon and Palm Beach. Testing only done with high signal levels (minimum 4 of 5 bars on phone).

For instance, all was well this morning from 05:30 until 08:00 but since then I have been recording upload speeds as low as 2KB/s and download speeds down to 4.5KBps. Occasionally it creeps up to 10KBps but only for a short while. Latency out to more than a second (on average).

I am looking after 4 different HSPA accounts and using three different phone types (Nokia E61i, E63 and E71). So, basically WCDMA which should be way better than the recorded results at the moment (and it is in off peak hours).

So, not only is web browsing very, very poor but more crucially, VOIP has become impossible except in the very early hours of the morning. (VOIP is all G&29 & running to Exetel VOIP, Engin, Pennytel and Mynetfone-ilBC codec). All VOIP is useless at the moment.

I realise that to some extent this is out of Exetel's hands as it is an Optus issue but if Optus could be pushed to do something, that would be good. Of course, maybe Optus does not care because mobile VOIP is perhaps not in their best interests. Perhaps they only care as long as cellular calls work and people have SOME Internet download/upload capability?

Conceptually, the Exetel HSPA plans with VOIP are fantastic and Exetel's side of it is great. But now that I have talked other people into it, the whole arrangement is being let down by Optus (presumably because of network overload- at least in my area).

I've ordered a SIM from another one of my other VOIP suppliers to see if their GSM call ->VOIP gateway scheme is usable by people without much IT experience. If that is successful and the Optus situation is still so bad in a few days, I'll reluctantly be moving these four HSPA accounts and a fifth one I was about to transition from Exetel-vodafone to HSPA.

I really do not want to do that because the Exetel plan (WM-A) is otherwise just so perfect but my whole reason for having these services is the VOIP and great Internet pricing. People having to make regular cellular calls instead of VOIP at the high rates is just not sustainable.

Regards,
Dave

doggy
Posts: 172
Joined: Mon Mar 15, 2004 10:18 pm
Location: Avalon, NSW

Re: Performance has become woeful

Post by doggy » Thu Sep 24, 2009 9:31 am

An update.
Wednesday 23rd September. Upload and Download over 150Kbps before 0700. Voip good.

By 0800, download speed dropped to 28Kbps. Voip useless (brokenspeech both directions)

During Wednesday, download speeds hovered around 16Kbps to 25Kbps. Upload just as bad. High latency (up to 1 sec). Voip useless. Dialup would be better and faster.

During this time, I also tested with Vodafone 3G (Using Exetel SIM) and speed was 10 times faster than Optus. Voip excellent G729 or even G711.

Wednesday night, improvement started around 2030 getting to approximately 35Kbps by 2100. Voip okay from about 2100.

Rapid improvement from 2230 with download speed getting to 250Kbps and peaking at 350Kbps (max for E61i/E32 Nokias). Upload speed around 170Kbps. Voip excellent.

Good speed stayed until 0700 Thursday when it started to drop quickly.

0630 280Kbps,
0700 160Kbps,
0730 90Kbps,
0830 60Kbps

At 0930, Voip not useful and again below dialup speeds up and down. However, it is not as bad as yesterday (perhaps better weather means less people using bandwidth) but still really lousy. My Voip (to Exetel) only needs around 3KBps but I cannot even get that during the day.

So, it seems very clear that Optus either has a major local problem or they have oversold their bandwidth.

This area (Palm Beach, Avalon, Bilgolo, Newport, Mona Vale) is not like the city which fills up with people during the day where presumably the bandwidth requirement leaps enormously.

Certainly, performance (except 2230 to 0700) is lousy. I used to be able to use G711 during the day but now cannot use even the most efficient codecs.

Comments Exetel? Anyone?

Regards,
Dave

doggy
Posts: 172
Joined: Mon Mar 15, 2004 10:18 pm
Location: Avalon, NSW

Re: Performance has become EVEN MORE woeful

Post by doggy » Thu Sep 24, 2009 6:54 pm

Okay, this has become ridiculous.

Thurs 24th at 1815.

Speed (if you can call it that) so slow it just took 3 minutes to download 1.8KB. That's more pathetic than an acoustic coupler. Average rate 10 bytes per second or about <0.1kb/s.

No, I am not on GPRS (which would be faster than this anyway). Locked on 3G.

As usual, it will likely be at full speed around 10pm tonight.

I cannot even do email or web browsing. Of course, VOIP is totally unusable.

Logging this as a fault.

**EDIT**
As at 2100 tonight (Thurs 24th) Download speed "increased" to 2KB/s.

At 2140 it was "up" to 3KB/s.

Totally useless- fancy only being half dialup speed!

**End Edit**

Dave

CoreyPlover
Volunteer Site Admin
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Location: Melbourne, VIC

Re: Performance has become EVEN MORE woeful

Post by CoreyPlover » Thu Sep 24, 2009 10:18 pm

doggy wrote:Logging this as a fault.
That is the best avenue for resolution.

What signal strength and band are you connected at? Because one thing you can try is to run a constant background ping ("PING -t -l 1 www.google.com.au") to, hopefully, maintain a HSPA or WCDMA connection instead of possibly dropping to GPRS bands.

doggy
Posts: 172
Joined: Mon Mar 15, 2004 10:18 pm
Location: Avalon, NSW

Re: Performance has become woeful

Post by doggy » Fri Sep 25, 2009 8:02 am

Hi Corey,

Yes, it is logged.

I have now spent a LOT of time on this. It is a new situation that started last week. I've had months of good VOIP and internet and convinced others to go the same route. Now- really bad......

The phones are locked on WCDMA so there is no fallback. However, performance is worse than GPRS during the day anyway!

As mentioned on one of my other posts, the same phones on an Exetel Vodafone SIM in one of the suburbs tested fine without these problems at the same time. So, it is Optus.

HSPA phones (E71) perform slightly better because of the aggregated channels (mostly 3 in my tests) but still really crummy during the day (ie unusable- less than 30kbps) but over 1Mbps after 10.30 nights.

Signal strengths are high to max.

As a retired communications engineer, I am totally certain that what I am measuring is time dependent during the day. Sure it is speculation that it is caused by oversubscription of Optus but there also seem to be a LOT of other similar problems being reported in various parts of Australia (localised to groups of cells). However, nothing on these forums (apart from me). I am hopeful (but not confident) it is actually some local issue that can be quickly fixed.

So, I'm interested if anyone else is having problems like this. I really DO NOT want to move 4 Exetel HSPA accounts away to someone else, because they are perfect for what I want but the timer is running down fast basically due to unusability of VOIP in my area during the day (8am to 10pm) and to a lesser extent slow Internet (unusable for perhaps a couple of hours around some evening peak).

This morning at 0545 I was getting over 300kbps up and down (good for WCDMA).

At 0630 it was down to 200kbps (both directions) but still fine for VOIP, internet etc.

Now, at 0738 it is 200kbps down (great) and 310kbps up (fantastic).

The pattern every other day this week and some of last week has been degradation from now on until walking handwritten messages across Sydney would be faster. So, maybe today will be my lucky day and things will stay good all day for the first time in 11 days indicating that some local problem has been fixed or that some mysterious group of hundreds of people with iPhones has left the area.

Regds,
Dave

thomashouseman
Posts: 750
Joined: Thu Mar 18, 2004 12:06 pm
Location: Toongabbie
Contact:

Re: Performance has become woeful

Post by thomashouseman » Fri Sep 25, 2009 8:17 am

Maybe you should do a similar experiment as this:

http://www.topnews.in/carrier-pigeon-be ... ce-2212488

:mrgreen: :)

T.

doggy
Posts: 172
Joined: Mon Mar 15, 2004 10:18 pm
Location: Avalon, NSW

Re: Performance has become woeful

Post by doggy » Fri Sep 25, 2009 8:31 am

Hi Thomas,

Yes indeed! Great story.

When I was at uni, our computer had 22,000 valves so my life spans some interesting developments in communications/IT/electronics.

At <100bps for a time yesterday, Optus HSPA would have been beaten by:

a. A teletype machine.
b. The cheapest and slowest paper tape reader.
c. The cheapest and slowest paper tape punch.
d. The slowest punched card reader ever made.
e. ..probably a few other things

Cheers,
Dave

ForumAdmin
Posts: 3663
Joined: Sun Jan 04, 2004 2:31 pm
Location: Sydney

Re: Performance has become woeful

Post by ForumAdmin » Mon Sep 28, 2009 7:28 am

There can be three reasons for the poor performance you say you are experiencing:

1) Cell congestion in your location.on the Optus network

2) Network congestion on the parts of the network that Exetel control

3) Something strange with your equipment/sim/location

If it is 1) - there is nothing Exetel can do - it is a carrier issue only capable of being addressed by the carrier who will, presumably, do that just as they have with mobile services over the past 18 years and with HSPA services since their inception.

If it is 2) then a cursory look at Exetel's network graphs will tell you whether that is or isn't the case. As you say you have four HSPA services then you could also check whether they exhibit the same issues at the same time as your Avalon service to determine whether that could be the case.

If it is 3) then you need to change the view that all your 'tests' "prove" your current view is right and look in to the issue from first principles - you wouldn't be the first person to make the statement "nothing's changed at my end" and find that, lo and behold, it has.

If it is 1) or 2) there is nothing anyone on this forum can do to help you.

thomashouseman
Posts: 750
Joined: Thu Mar 18, 2004 12:06 pm
Location: Toongabbie
Contact:

Re: Performance has become woeful

Post by thomashouseman » Mon Sep 28, 2009 7:41 am

Seriously though.

I'd suspect 1) as the culprit.

I've only ever seen 2) done deliberately by Exetel (i.e. Slowing p2p etc) and they don't do it to normal web browsing.

Can you check it's not 2) and is 1) by trying an Optus based service run by someone else or by Optus directly? If the problem persists, I'd assume it's the Optus tower's fault.

Are you sure it's not 3) ? I've seen certain electronic goods affect cell phone reception before....

doggy
Posts: 172
Joined: Mon Mar 15, 2004 10:18 pm
Location: Avalon, NSW

Re: Performance has become woeful

Post by doggy » Mon Sep 28, 2009 10:15 am

A few things.

Firstly, today I got a response to my ticket. The guy asked me for "colour of modem lights", doing pings from MSDOS command lines etc. Shows he either did not read my ticket or did not understand. I am not upset or complaining about this- Exetel has some great people but there also need to be people handling tickets from those with little experience or technical knowledge.

At least the people reading these posts understand.

I will happily agree that many problems are not problems, just "in the eye of the beholder" or relating to local equipment. However, in this case I think it rather unlikely.

A. It is almost certainly not Exetel for reasons explained in other posts, tests with Exetel Vodafone SIM etc.

B. I have driven around with multiple phones, multiple SIMs to multiple cells in the general area. I have also used different SIP clients (for the VOIP tests) and different browsers for throughput tests and done pings from my UNIX and Linux servers (etc etc).

C. The results are as stated and showed that for a number of days, HSPA was useless during the day times. The reason is almost certainly Optus. The fact that there are not similar posts to mine (on the Exetel forums) and no-one has said "me too" indicates localisation of this problem to several cells local to my area.

What is very interesting is that I also responded to a post on Whirlpool from a person or persons with similar issues elsewhere and posted my current experience. That was Thursday.

Then Friday, for the first time in just over a week, things were MUCH better. Throughput did slow down to dialup speeds during the day, but compared with a few bytes per second other days, this was okay. Consequently VOIP was usable during the day for all but 90 minutes around the evening peak. Over the weekend was good all weekend with throughput at 250Kbps+ (on the non-HSPA phones, both directions) which is close to the best achievable.

Now today, it is still good at 10:00am, a time where it has been useless the other days.

So, my best guess is that Optus has rectified some problem in the local area or they have somehow changed bandwidth and prioritisation. Did my posts have anything to do with it? Did Exetel ask Optus if there were problems in this area? Probably "no" to both but wh knows for sure.

I did go ahead and buy a SIM from another provider (which also uses Optus) to test in case it became necessary to move the 4 HSPA accounts to "a different method of using VOIP" (those on this forum can probably read between the lines here). Unfortunately, the USIM number appears to be invalid in some way so I cannot try that SIM as a comparison. However, if the nasty problems should recur, I will be able to use it to compare throughput/latency. However, as pointed out earlier, like Thomas suggested, I do not think this has been an Exetel problem but related to Optus. Furthermore, I really hoped the problem was not semi-permanent (eg Optus oversold capacity) because as also stated, the Exetel HSPA plans are really JUST what I (and others) need and want. Some of you may also be aware that Exetel is excellent to deal with in areas like activation, porting and other semi-technical aspects of HSPA and mobile plans whereas the sellers of the other USIM I purchased are most assuredly much harder to deal with.

I will post any updates to this forum, but for now, things are back the way they were for several months.

Regards,
Dave

The Lesson learned is that it IS POSSIBLE for there to be really bad performance of this service (in this case, during business hours plus evening) and this could last days. Whether it was a "once off" I have no idea. Only time will tell.

Regards,
Dave

ForumAdmin
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Re: Performance has become woeful

Post by ForumAdmin » Mon Sep 28, 2009 10:29 am

I wish any cell congestion problem could be fixed by "Exetel calling Optus" - it wouldn't have any effect at all.

Perhaps there was some tower damage in your area caused by the high winds or some unusual 'accident' that has now been repaired?

Sudden changes for the worse and then sudden changes for the better usually indicate that is a possibility.

Cell congestion seldom, if ever, happens "over night".

doggy
Posts: 172
Joined: Mon Mar 15, 2004 10:18 pm
Location: Avalon, NSW

Re: Performance has become woeful

Post by doggy » Mon Sep 28, 2009 10:52 am

Yep, sudden rather than gradual degradation then improvement do point to some "event".

Having been with Exetel since the early days (beginning of 2004), I hope that one day the big Telcos WILLtake note when "Exetel calls"!

Have a good week-

Thanks,
Dave

Martin V
Exetel Staff
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Location: Sydney where else :P

Re: Performance has become woeful

Post by Martin V » Mon Sep 28, 2009 2:24 pm

Hello Dave,

Could you PM your service number to me (the one that you're using for the mono vale and avalon base station).

I will investigate this further for you.

Martin
Martin
eXeTeL Support

doggy
Posts: 172
Joined: Mon Mar 15, 2004 10:18 pm
Location: Avalon, NSW

Re: Performance has become woeful

Post by doggy » Mon Sep 28, 2009 5:13 pm

Thanks Martin. Have PMd the details.

For the interest of others, it is again bad right now.

I have an E63 and an E61i and both are currently experiencing average 55kbps download speed, average pings of 386msecs (happy with that) but 32% packet loss and maximum pings to 5,300msecs- certainly not happy with those.

VOIP has again become unusable.

Regards,
Dave

doggy
Posts: 172
Joined: Mon Mar 15, 2004 10:18 pm
Location: Avalon, NSW

Re: Performance has become woeful

Post by doggy » Mon Sep 28, 2009 7:35 pm

Well, I spoke too soon about this being fixed as of Friday. At 19:15 Monday, it is so bad that browsing to web sites is impossible, packet loss is 43% and (of course, under these conditions G729) VOIP is hopeless.

Two different phones, each with only the one App accessing the access point, two different USIMs, both with Exetel HSPA (using UMTS- GSM locked out), excellent signal.

So, same old story as last week. When you look at the pings, the situation looks very bursty in that there are several seconds at a time where the packet loss drops, the latency is good then wham, up to 15 seconds of very high loss and high ping times.

It is possible that an E71 (which aggregates several channels into HSPA) might do a little better but I doubt it will be hugely different. That E71 is running on Vodafone at the moment (in the same spot) with no problems.

Regds,
Dave

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