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71 posts

Master Geek


Topic # 87600 2-Aug-2011 15:03
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Just thought I'd post some feedback on my switch from Orcon to TCL.

On Orcon we were on a 55GB plan paying about $120 a month. Two weeks ago a sales rep came to my door with the special offer from TCL, $90 a month for 50GB of data. I explained that I was getting very good speeds with orcon 14+mbs down and 0.87mbs up. He assured me TCL would give me the same or better speeds. He seemed pretty tech savvy, since he was studying computer science at uni. I showed him my setup and home server and we discussed VDSL2 and the new high speed broadband initiative. I was disappointed to learn that TCL had no intention of offering VDSL2 to residential customers. 

Today the line was switched and I am pretty disappointed. Max download is now between 11 and 12mbps, max upload is ~0.72mbps and the ping has gone up from 7ms to 27ms. I'm happy to keep trying and seeing if things get any better, but I called TCL today and told them that should speeds not improve I will be leaving and not paying the early termination fee (which I swear the rep said was $99, but the contract says $199. It's my fault I suppose, I've always written the $ sign with two lines through it so at a glance the $199 looked to me like $99).  The sales guy said multiple times I will get better speeds or at least the same. I even showed him my equipment (Draytek Vigor 120 + pFsense running on an Alix 2D3 board.) The Dynalink modem provided by TCL is no better (actually get worse speeds than using my equipment.). I understand speedtests vary by time of day and lots of factors so I am happy to keep testing it out for a week or so. 

We use a lot of data at my house, and most family members watch TVNZ or iSky on demand nearly every night while I game a lot. The pfSense setup gives me the QoS setup I need to make it all work. 

Anyway I know the TCL sales reps are out in force so perhaps it's worth noting my experience. Of course it will not necessarily apply to everyone, but if you do switch get it in writing that your line speeds will get better or stay the same.  

When I left Orcon they offered me the same deal to stay, but I decided to leave because well they could have offered me a better deal in the 3 years I was with them and I found customer service pretty poor in general. Pretty annoyed Orcon is now planning on zero rating steam downloads after I left! 

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  Reply # 500828 2-Aug-2011 15:13
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Download rates:
1: Are you quoting downstream line rate as in the modem or real world download rate?
2: If real world download, what server are you testing with?
3: Are you on an exchange or cabinet (www.telecomwholesale.co.nz/maps)?
4: If are on an exchange were you on Orcon+ before? Do you know if Telstraclear are providing your connection off their own equipment in the exchange or over Telecom Wholesale equipment?

Ping/Latency:
5: Do you have interleaving off, it might have defaulted to on with Telstraclear when default was off on Orcon.



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Master Geek


  Reply # 500833 2-Aug-2011 15:20
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Hey Ragnor,

1: Quoting download rates from Speedtest.net and the Xnet speed test. I'm using the Auckland server with speedtest.
2. The Auckland server.
3. I'm within a VDSL2 and ADSL2 area. Service area says exchange for both.
4. I was on Orcon+ before, and the Telstra reps said they have put in their own equipment in the area hence the "special deal".
5. You're right interleaving is on by default/was off with Orcon. However I was under the impression interleaving had a pretty minor effect on latency. Please correct me if I'm wrong. In addition, interleaving being on should mean that I receive better throughput?

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  Reply # 500847 2-Aug-2011 15:30
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The xnet speedtest server test shows that Telstraclear to Xnet speed isn't as good, that sort of thing can vary based on peering and interconnection agreements between ISP's, time of the day and other factors.

So more questions:

1: What is the line rate in the modem and other line stats (downstream attenuation, noise margin etc)?
2: What speed do you get on http://auckland.speedtest.telstraclear.co.nz/ ?

FYI:
Orcon use 6dB noise margin on their equipment for their line profiles, I believe Telstrclear use 9dB (should be listed as noise margin in your modem admin stats), Telecom Wholesale use 12dB. The higher the margin the lower the line rate, more of the frequency range is used as a buffer for line stability against noise (trade off of line rate vs line stability).

Each 3dB more of noise margin is around 400 to 1200kbps lower line rate.

Also, line rate doesn't always directly translate into real world rates. You have to understand all residential broadband is shared network best effort. Meaning backhaul and ISP domestic and international transit is shared between users and will vary based on congestion/contention.

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Master Geek
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  Reply # 500899 2-Aug-2011 16:26
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Hi Mastapenguin,

TelstraClear will soon have a Steam server unmetered for customers. You can register to get updates at: http://www.telstraclear.co.nz/sub-sites/gaming-steam/


Cheers, Gary 



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Master Geek


  Reply # 500923 2-Aug-2011 17:24
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@Ragnor:

1. I can't get to the modem stats right now. I'll post them here when I can. Modem is in half bridge mode so needs a bit of fiddling to get to the status page.
2. Ran the speedtest you linked to: 12.42Mbps (down), 0.71mbps (up) and ping 34ms.

Can the noise margin be changed? I had no issues with packet loss on orcon, even with interleaving off?

I understand it's a best effort service with no SLA. However, the fact remains Orcon's connection was better in every way, and the figures I gave above were not unusual for my connection (i.e. never dropped below 14Mbps.) With the sales guy spouting off that I was guaranteed faster speeds I expected an increase in my speeds not a decrease. If it doesn't get better I will switch back to Orcon and if TCL try to enforce the ETF I will take it to the disputes tribunal. Hopefully it will not get that far though.

@Gbowering:

Thanks for letting me know about that. I've seen a few people complain that TCL has been talking about the steam server for a long time without anything actually happening?

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  Reply # 500951 2-Aug-2011 18:17
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mastapenguin: @Ragnor:

Can the noise margin be changed? I had no issues with packet loss on orcon, even with interleaving off?



Yes and no, it's part of the line profile they use to they are unlikely to change it for one customer.

Depending on what modem you have to can use a 3rd party tool like DMT to adjust various modem settings that the UI doesn't let you change eg: Noise Margin.

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  Reply # 501244 3-Aug-2011 11:21
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@mastapenguin
Please email me your account number online.marketing@telstraclear.co.nz
I can have my team look into your case - let me know if there's anything else I can help with.
Thanks
Tim


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Master Geek
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  Reply # 502112 4-Aug-2011 19:22
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You need interleaving off to make a fair comparison, interleaving off has made considerable differences in all the examples I've seen for TelstraClear customers.

If you flick me your account number or phone number, I'll have it switched off for you (or Tim - @TelstraClearNZ should be able to help).

As pointed out, TelstraClear will also have an unmetered steam content server very soon :)



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Master Geek


  Reply # 502131 4-Aug-2011 19:54
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Thanks simcore, have already emailed Tim. I'll post an update here when anything changes.

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  Reply # 502327 5-Aug-2011 10:43
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For Speedtest, as indicated, connections between ISPs will follow through different routes and give some strange numbers. For example a Speedtest to Christchurch might get a better number than one to Auckland.

You should use www.telstraclear.co.nz/customer-zone/speedtest to test it, so you get your actual (or close to) line speeds.





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  Reply # 502443 5-Aug-2011 14:32
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Will be interesting to see his results when he gets interleaving off on Telstraclear.

However, I suspect with Orcon+ equipment using 6dB noise margin, he's still going to have a 600-1200 kbit lower max line rate on Telstraclear.

The difference he's seeing in speedtests are more than the difference in line rates though, so possibly comes down to backhaul, regional handover location and transit contention.



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Master Geek


  Reply # 502497 5-Aug-2011 17:11
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@freitasm, Ragnor:
The TCL speedtest was slower than speedtest.net if you can believe that. Not by much though. Will post results with interleaving off when I get that sorted.

Anyway, just wanted to update everyone on the situation. So far the customer service I've received from TCL has been great. We're working on it and are going to see if the speeds can be increased. In addition the ETF has been reduced to $99 and TCL have even offered to completely waive the fee if my speeds don't improve. I really can't ask for more than that. So thank you Tim and others, you've been awesome.



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Master Geek


  Reply # 502523 5-Aug-2011 19:05
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Just got off the phone with tcl tech support. I was kindly told that the new network doesn't allow interleaving to be turned off, but on the upside the bandwidth from the cabinet is maxed out at the moment. Hopefully this means that speeds will improve in the future.

Due to the effort the customer service people have made I'm happy to wait and see.



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Master Geek


  Reply # 504505 10-Aug-2011 16:30
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Last update:

The TCL team have gone to great lengths to help. Interleaving has been turned off and my noise margin has been changed to 6db from 9db. Have just got the following results from speedtest.net.

Down: 14.96mbps
Up: 1.01mbps
Ping: 11ms

Can't be happier with the service I've received, and now the internet speeds exceed those I received with Orcon.

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  Reply # 504509 10-Aug-2011 16:36
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We've changed the noise margin to 6db for you, hope this resolves the issue.
Happy to help :)
Tim

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