Possible Further Changes To Off Peak Period

Discussions regarding new & existing plans and other Exetel initiatives
ForumAdmin
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Possible Further Changes To Off Peak Period

Post by ForumAdmin » Thu May 21, 2009 1:47 pm

The new ability to allow a user to select the timing of their peak/off peak period has been implemented with no 'hitches' and has been utilised by a growing number of customers - that has been a very positive reaction to the ability to choose.

We are now considering a further modification to the peak/offpeak choice that we believe will be in the best interests of all Exetel customers moving forward and as the total number of users of Exetel broadband services contines to grow.

We are considering modifying the off peak download allowance to reflect the cost to Exetel of the 'unused' bandwidth in the early hours of the morning versus the 12 midnight to 12.30 am period which is now the highest period of usage of the network - far exceeding the 'old' peak usage period of 7.30 pm to 10.30 pm that has held true for as long as I've been associated with internet service provision.

There are no 'firm' plans to make further changes but one possible change would be:

12 midnight to 12 noon - 18 gb

1 am to 1 pm - 36 gb

2 am to 2 pm - 72 gb

or some other arrangement.

Bear in mind that the original (March 2004) reason for introducing the 'bonus downoad' period was to utilise the 'unused bandwidth and make it attractive for people to save their non- time sensitive downloads until there was unused capacity. Zthat has worked very well in moving many downloads out of the previously heaviest use timefram of 7.30 pm to 10.30 pm but is now creating a 'new bottleneck' which we can deal with either by some variation of what is suggested above or by very heavy constraint of P2P in the midnight to 2 am period.

This is despite the constant upgrading of all links on every part of the network as you can see from the various network graphs available to you in the user facilities. ...by the end of next month the bandwidth available to Exetel users will exceed 4 gbps compared to a little over 2 gbps 15 months ago.....a very significant increase of almost 100% in a timeframe when total users grew around 33%.

Any suggestions you may have will, as always be welcomed and seriously considered.

Col
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Re: Possible Further Changes To Off Peak Period

Post by Col » Thu May 21, 2009 4:44 pm

I think an incentive to move to a later time period is a good idea, however I think those proposed quotas might force too many people to move to 2-2 instead of having closer to a balance between the periods. I would suggest something closer to:

12-12 30GB
1-1 54GB
2-2 72GB

Alternatively, if you are going to severely reduce those two earlier periods' quotas then how about giving everyone a time (say from 4am to 8am) where downloads are not counted, or are counted at a 50% rate, and then give limits like:

12-12 18GB
1-1 36GB
2-2 54GB

Might be a stupid idea.. but just putting it out there.

Berty
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Re: Possible Further Changes To Off Peak Period

Post by Berty » Thu May 21, 2009 5:09 pm

Forgive my ignorance, but I am unable to find the page/option in the members' area. Is it implemented already?

oblong
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Re: Possible Further Changes To Off Peak Period

Post by oblong » Thu May 21, 2009 6:02 pm

Berty wrote:Forgive my ignorance, but I am unable to find the page/option in the members' area. Is it implemented already?
ADSL|Change My Service and scroll down to the bottom, "Option to Select Off Peak Period".

vk3xem
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Re: Possible Further Changes To Off Peak Period

Post by vk3xem » Thu May 21, 2009 7:16 pm

It's good to see Exetel continue looking into the Off-Peak bottle neck issue.

A balance between encouragement and enforcement on P2P usage obviously needs to be in place to address this bottle bottle neck. If P2P leeches are too lazy to schedule their downloads to times that don't impact on the network then their downloads should be heavily throttled.

I would like to see not only variable download quotas but variabe throttling of P2P:

Midnight - Midday P2P slowed 75% until 2AM and then as required
1 AM - 1PM P2P slowed 50% until 2AM and then as required
2AM - 2PM P2P slowed as requiered
The views I present are that of my own and NOT of any organisation I may belong to.

73 de Simon, VK3XEM

Berty
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Re: Possible Further Changes To Off Peak Period

Post by Berty » Thu May 21, 2009 7:51 pm

oblong wrote: ADSL|Change My Service and scroll down to the bottom, "Option to Select Off Peak Period".
Thanks, got it.

JasonM

Re: Possible Further Changes To Off Peak Period

Post by JasonM » Thu May 21, 2009 8:02 pm

vk3xem wrote:It's good to see Exetel continue looking into the Off-Peak bottle neck issue.

A balance between encouragement and enforcement on P2P usage obviously needs to be in place to address this bottle bottle neck. If P2P leeches are too lazy to schedule their downloads to times that don't impact on the network then their downloads should be heavily throttled.

I would like to see not only variable download quotas but variabe throttling of P2P:

Midnight - Midday P2P slowed 75% until 2AM and then as required
1 AM - 1PM P2P slowed 50% until 2AM and then as required
2AM - 2PM P2P slowed as requiered
The configuration of the Exetel network makes implementation of that idea unworkable (i.e. some of the data comes from cache).

As a better idea:
12am - 12pm - 18GB
1am - 12pm - 36GB
1am - 1pm - 24GB
2am - 12pm - 60GB
2am - 2am - 54GB
3am - 12pm - 72GB
(or similar). Opting for a shorter off peak period, but in exchange for that shorter period, extra quota is allowed.

This will ensure that there is also no 'sudden increase' of data occurring between 12pm and 2pm.

dbr
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Re: Possible Further Changes To Off Peak Period

Post by dbr » Thu May 21, 2009 8:18 pm

I have been thinking about this for quite some time. I don't know why as what ever you implement I am able to manage with, so I have no real 'vested interest'. I gues my theorising is based on my assumption of you goal of trying to make your MRTG into the 'perfect green oblong'.

Each option I came up with unfortunately added levels of complexity, which goes against the elegance of you current binary system.

Studying the graphs, and reading just about every post in the other thread, it seems you have a number of user types, VERY Broadly:

1. Users who have more than adequate quota in either period but want always fast interactive performance (Eg VPN, VOIP, Gamers, Streaming, general browsing - not exhaustive list) whenever they are on. Many claim that these type of applications are effected during off peak.

2. Users who download to their quota capacity most months through a mix of applications. There is probably two main subgroups in this:

2A Users who manage their quota through download schedulers.

2B Users who cannot or will not or need to not use schedulers.

3. Heavy downloaders whose priority is max download, mostly P2P, mostly in off peak, and mostly scheduled.

OK, these users currently provide a problem at Midnight and arguably sometimes in the 'Business Hours' of off peak. The 3s and 2As should generally be happy with whatever period you come up with. The 2Bs want more 'interactive' download quota - the "I must be awake and present to start my downloads" issue.

So looking at the graphs both total and breakdown for states and wholesalers:

There is a big spike at Midnight, a significant trough at 3AM, a consistent trend up beginning 6AM to a fairly stable use during morning (with a small dip at 10 AM. There is then a sharp drop at midday continuing to the least used period at 4PM. The evening then increases steadily before the midnight jump.

This is a very approximate annalysis but you can see for yourselves. The peaks and troughs a more and less pronounced depending which service (Eg VIC Optus ADSL2 is steeper than a lot of others).

So how to cut the top of the graphs off to fill the troughs => one nice rectangle.

The main premise I held (other than the perfect rectangle) was that the 3's, especially, and 2A's to a degree, need to be able to retain their perceived value while reducing their affect the 1's, especially and network generally.

OK a lot of waffle, but not much resolution.

Options I came up with:

Instead of the binary 12hr on 12hr off a system of tiers are introduced. This could be introduced in a couple of ways. Split the day into 8,8,8 hrs and assign quota to each with the requisite incentives. Similar idea but an asymmetrical split. Eg 7am-7pm = Business Continuity. 7pm-2am = Evening Expedience. 2am-7am Early Morning Extravaganza.

Plans a quotas are then designed to encourage a better overall balance.

Taking the above to the next level and making quota really flexible could be a great point of differentiation for Exetel. Instead of offering standard ‘me too’ type plans, you could have a table of time bands with a download allowance at given prices. People could then mix and match based on their preferred projected usage patterns. Of course Exetel would weight the bands to encourage use during the troughs. Eg:

---Time---|-0GB-|-12GB-|-20GB-|-40GB-|-60GB
1900-0200|--$0--|--$7--|--$10--|--$30--|-$40
0200-0700|--$0--|--$5--|--$8---|--$20--|-$30
0700-1900|--$0--|-$10--|-$20--|--$40--|-$60

So people pick one column from each time band (radio button). There’d probably need to be an access charge on top. Kind of like a PAYU plan but with blocks rather than flat rate. The figures above aren’t important just illustrative. Of course more bands could be provided as well.

Another way was to offer a more proportionate off peak to peak, rather than the flat $60. Those of us on the lower peak plans would perceive a 'loss' of off-peak. This could be 'compensated' by a free block eg 3am-6am of uncounted data.

I've done a number of spreadsheets to model some of the above.

So there you are, some idea that loose some of the elegance of the KISS principle but add flexibility and user choice. Hope it engenders further though....
http://www.saferoz.com.au
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ForumAdmin
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Re: Possible Further Changes To Off Peak Period

Post by ForumAdmin » Fri May 22, 2009 12:48 am

Thank you for that thoughtful analysis - it's very helpful in understanding a completely different viewpoint.

trev12
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Re: Possible Further Changes To Off Peak Period

Post by trev12 » Fri May 22, 2009 4:18 am

sorry im lost here can someone explain to me is it if u choice 12 to 12 u only get 18 gigs and if u choice 2 to 2 u get 72 gigs ? so doesnt that mean that most will just do thier downloading between 2 and 2 instead? causing a bottleneck again in a differnt time frame ?

vk3xem
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Re: Possible Further Changes To Off Peak Period

Post by vk3xem » Fri May 22, 2009 6:56 am

Yes it will shift the bottle neck to 2AM. But it will have a much less dramatic affect with far fewer 'genuine' surfers still up at that time.

Something the current Off-Peak arrangements have failed to encourage the lazy P2P leeches to do.
The views I present are that of my own and NOT of any organisation I may belong to.

73 de Simon, VK3XEM

harryL
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Re: Possible Further Changes To Off Peak Period

Post by harryL » Fri May 22, 2009 8:37 am

Getting "something for nothing" always attracts people.

... and pricing something as "free" always seems to end up with a small number of those people "making too much of a good thing".

The current PAYU plans go some way to addressing the issue for small users.

Maybe some new PAYU plans structured for the heavy users might be an answer.

Regards,

Harry.

jcd
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Re: Possible Further Changes To Off Peak Period

Post by jcd » Fri May 22, 2009 9:10 am

What about leaving the off peak time for everyone from 12am to 12pm and assign a fixed quota of say 30 GB. Then count the GB's downloaded in a certain hour and modify by a % factor. e.g. from 12am to 1am the modifier is 150% (meaning people use their quota faster), 1am to 2am the modifier is 100% and and from 2am onwards to 12 pm the modifier is 50%. This way those who use their downloads after 2am get an amount equivalent to the current 60 GB quota for new accounts.

This way you could play around with the %modifiers and quota to come up with a balanced load. It may be a bit complicated to enable as you need to have very accurate measures of the downloads at certain times but should be doable.

Bye Jeff.

Graham C
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Re: Possible Further Changes To Off Peak Period

Post by Graham C » Fri May 22, 2009 9:36 am

If you've reversed the trend, why not reverse your reaction. Perhaps Exetel is in the unique position of not requiring an off peak component in plans for new users. You might be able to create some very attractive offers for new customers due to this 'problem'. Obviously there would remain a need to address the problem for current users in the short term, but in the medium-long term you might be able to use blocks of customers to stretch the peak usage out to a longer period. Obviously only Exetel will have any clue as to if this would really work.
Last edited by Graham C on Fri May 22, 2009 11:40 am, edited 1 time in total.

Country Bumkin
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Re: Possible Further Changes To Off Peak Period

Post by Country Bumkin » Fri May 22, 2009 9:40 am

This debate seems to be another round continued from JL's blog here...
http://johnl.blogs.exetel.com.au/index. ... rease.html

And I was still hoping the proxy idea explained in the blog comments would get a run, as improved by Col...
Instead, people will just download normally, at full speed, which would be classed as 'Standard Data' downloading. However, people who are not fussy about the speed at which they are about to download something can use a transparent proxy setup by Exetel. While using the proxy what they are downloading would be classed as 'Economy Data' and Exetel would manage the bandwidth available to connections running through the proxy. For taking a lower bw priority Exetel would either reward the customer with extra quota or discount what is downloaded via the proxy. Or perhaps instead of off-peak and peak quota, Exetel would have standard and economy quota.
This would make the optimum utilisation a continuously adaptive mechanism without trying to guess the off peak motives of the customers.

Regards C Bumkin

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