End of an era - PIPEX R.I.P.
I've been a PIPEX customer since the time that they started offering broadband, and their service has always been rock-solid. So solid that even up to last year, I recommended a friend to them. I didn't know they were a Tiscali unit - I myself signed up to their MAX Unlimited £24.99 service when it really was unlimited, in June 2007.
I noticed from around the New Year that my Internet connection was flaky. After a number of tests, and a new router which I needed anyway, I've found that Tiscali are doing aggressive traffic shaping - not just throttling data going through ports but also doing protocol-based throttling, so it doesn't matter which ports you try to sneak non-standard traffic through:
Port 23 - Telnet, 0.3Mb/s, port-wide throttling
Port 80 - HTTP, full speed for HTTP traffic, 0.3Mb/s for other traffic
Port 443 - Secure HTTP, full speed, encrypted of course so no sniffing, no throttling
Port 119 - NNTP, 0.3Mb/s, port-wide throttling
Port 563 - Secure NNTP, 0.3Mb/s, port-wide throttling
I can only assume other ports behave the same way. I also note that port 8095 also works at full speed when used for the ThinkBroadband speed test, which only strengthens my suspicion that they are using Deep Packet Inspection, rather than just throttle-by-port.
They've also moved their Technical Support to an 0871 number, to raise revenues. I never had this nonsense under the real PIPEX - but they are now just a label, a badge-engineered ISP.
The sad fact is this: if you want to use the Internet for anything other than HTTP (i.e. web browsing), witness the 21 Gun Salute and Missing Man Fly-By, then get your MAC code and leave, seriously.