back to article Could WFH web traffic topple a Brit telco? Pfff, scoff operators. This has nothing on Liverpool v Everton streaming

Britain has plenty of internet traffic "headroom" despite the explosion in remote working during the coronavirus shutdown, telcos and mobe networks have told The Register. As those people work from home in their droves under the COVID-19 lockdown, an obvious question occurs: can my phone line and mobile network cope with all …

  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Everyone keeps saying how great the bandwidth is on the networks still. Wonderful. But my ping/latency is terrible.

    I literally couldn't work from home today because it was so bad (remote desktop in its various forms really suffer). I have a 350mb connection with Virgin and I still get that speed, just with a ping in the 100+ ms range and sometimes way beyond. See here:

    From speaking to colleagues I'm not the only one with this issue, but it's irritating that a colleague with a 10mb BT connection in the middle of nowhere can work more effectively that I can right now...

    Maybe something to do with prioritisation of video conf traffic and a significant increase in it? QoS at the ISP level?

    1. MatthewSt - not doing too bad here. That's Tuesday which is my worst day for the past 7 days. 200mb connection in sunny Yorkshire. Middle of nowhere is the place to be!

      1. Ken Moorhouse Silver badge

        Re: Middle of nowhere is the place to be!

        Which one is your car?

      2. JimboSmith Silver badge

        A friend had an email sent round to folks working from home this week. It was sent round by the IT department regarding the tech connectivity setup for such people. It says useful things like don't do video calls/zoom/teams etc. over 4G on your phone - they cost a bit of money and the laptop/desktop with wifi is better. Remember that there is a working day still and not to expect people to be working at all hours just because they've got a work computer at home or VPN access. Don't send IT support requests for replacement kit as you won't be visited by somebody to deliver it.

        The final one reminds people who are using a VPN to turn it off when not doing work. It goes on to say that the company IT & Internet Policy apply even if you're working from home. He suspects people have been seen surfing to gambling, dating, Netflix, porn sites etc. He said he'd give quite a lot of money to see the logs of who looked at what.

    2. IGotOut Silver badge

      Virgin are quite notorious for offering a gazillionbit download and not having the backbone to cope.

      Add to that the complete and utter piece of shit they call a wireless router, it's no surprise you are having issues.

    3. ExampleOne

      What is your upload? It is fantastic having very high levels of asymmetry in the connection when streaming Netflix, far less so when trying to video conference. I have consistently ignored virgin as a WFH customer for precisely this reason: BT openreach resellers offered as good upload cheaper.

      Also, where is the ping to? Could the problems be the other end, with your colleagues on 10mbit BT lines expecting poor performance? What type of connection is the 10mbit line?

      1. werdsmith Silver badge

        I'm a Virgin customer, I have their lowest bandwidth offering (75Mbps) only because they don't offer a lower one. I'm quite sure 20Mbps would be quite fast enough for me. Anyway, no such problems with working from home. VPNs, Remote desktops and video conferencing.

        1. Richard 12 Silver badge

          Virgin are very much a curate's egg.

          If your local loop is oversubscribed, it's terrible and will likely remain so for at least five years.

          If it isn't, then it's great.

          1. Teiwaz

            Virgin here too.

            On and off mostly...

            But I can't be 100% some of that is not my usb wifi dongle.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        "It is fantastic having very high levels of asymmetry in the connection when streaming Netflix, far less so when trying to video conference"

        I'm on ADSL, and the 1Mb/s upstream I get is more than enough for video conferencing (I checked with my colleagues what it was coming through like on their end, and got no complaints)

    4. Bronek Kozicki

      I suggest you just switch to a different provided. A&A aren't cheap, but they know do how to make your internet connection work -

  2. Ken Moorhouse Silver badge

    the clap for the NHS

    Couldn't they have used a better phrase than this? "Applause for the NHS" perhaps?

    1. Teiwaz

      Re: the clap for the NHS

      Couldn't they have used a better phrase than this? "Applause for the NHS" perhaps?

      Go for the clap, get a free Superbug upgrade.

  3. MatthewSt


    As long as we're not following OFCOM's advice -

    Point number 3 - be careful with what you use bandwidth for

    Point number 6 - waste bandwidth performing speedtests

  4. Vulch


    IT Admins/support group concensus on tickets for VPN problems seems to be "Are you using wifi? Yes? Then I'm closing this ticket, open a new one if you're still having problems with a wired connection".

    Lots of interference with everyone, their kids and their dog all trying to use wireless connections in multiple adjacent premises on a limied number of channels.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Congestion

      I think you just made the point I was going to raise, the move to wifi limits the speed of connection so the increase of bandwidth is limited to shit wifi. Most people these days use mobiles, tablets and other devices connected via wifi only. It's only those that care about the connection quality that take the time to get wired what can be wired. Personally I scan the local area first before choosing a wifi channel myself, auto channel select is notoriously shit from my experience and ISP supplied wifi access points are doubly shit so your own router is a must in these trying times.

      1. tip pc Silver badge

        Re: Congestion

        “ the move to wifi limits the speed of connection so the increase of bandwidth is limited to shit wifi.”

        My 5th gen airport time capsule dies a great job. I’ve removed the other airports I had dotted about the place and get good reception in the worse rooms and great everywhere else, reported 1.2gb/s in the status menu but I’ve only ever tested connection to my 1 esxi server which I get the full 1gbs it’s connected via Ethernet to the airport.

        I get full 200mb/s through the vm modem but as has been mentioned The vm network isn’t the best, wifi calling constantly fails and plenty of times (especially peak) I get more up and down bandwidth on three’s 4g.

        Fundamentally the cable tv network isn’t suited to deliver ip packets, it’s built to multicast rf to millions of households and has terrible upload capacity because of that. Newer specs are better but require a significant upgrade of kit.

        Upwards of 500 households typically bundled in nodes share that nodes capacity.

        DSL, FTTC etc are far better at data as they aggregate far fewer households and you have more chance for utilising that bandwidth. The PSTN was also built with Cold War resilience in mind which now provides increased capacity and availability, another advantage over cable.

        Cable & the alt nets are built as cheap as possible and will show issues when stressed, alt nets are coping as they don’t have the huge demands due to not passing enough properties yet.

    2. tip pc Silver badge

      Re: Congestion

      5GHz largely eliminates neighbour interference as it has many many more channels available than 2.4Ghz.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Congestion

        That and most neighbours still have dirt cheap routers that don’t do 5ghz

      2. ARGO

        Re: Congestion

        From some of the reviews, that's a common issue for folk buying 5G cellular kit: "My router has a 1Gbps cellular link, but when I connect to it over WiFi I only get 50Mbps" Turns out that even though the router has both bands, most connected devices default to 2.4GHz and you have to wade through menus to change it.

  5. Shadow Systems Silver badge

    17.5Tb/s, is that all?

    Hell, I use more bandwidth than that just surfing 12K resolution cat porn videos.

    Ummm... I mean video conferencing! Yeah, video conference, definitely not porn. Nope a nope a nope, no porn at all.

    *Nervous Jedi hand wave*

    Nothing to see here, definitely no porn, please move along.



    1. First Light Silver badge

      Re: 17.5Tb/s, is that all?

      Remember to wash your hands!!

    2. JimboSmith Silver badge

      Re: 17.5Tb/s, is that all?

      Has anyone actually asked the major providers of such films if they've experienced any increases in the usage of their services. Would also be interesting to see when any peaks (titter ye not) occurred and if they differ from a non lockdown day etc.

    3. Teiwaz

      Re: 17.5Tb/s, is that all?

      Yeah, but.....

      'cat porn'????


  6. Pascal Monett Silver badge

    Britain has plenty of internet traffic "headroom"

    Of course it does. It has all the "unlimited" contracts that are actually limited headroom.

    Why that has still not been shot down in court never fails to amaze me.

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