back to article Some Brits reckon broadband got worse after lockdown – but that's just what happens when you're online 12 hours straight

A chunk of the UK's broadband users claim their connections worsened in the days following lockdown, according to a YouGov survey of 2,301 adults. This contradicts an earlier study from Ofcom in partnership with SamKnows, which found an almost negligible decline in performance. The YouGov poll shows that 28 per cent of …

  1. Blackjack Silver badge

    Eh...

    Maybe just maybe having everyone using Internet at the same time may make the Internet connection slow?

    1. jake Silver badge

      Re: Eh...

      Not really. We've seen a largish increase in traffic in the so-called "Internet backbone", but that bandwidth wasn't anywhere near saturated, so end-users should have seen no difference. Local nodes might see saturation due to lack of planning by providers, though.

      Here in Sonoma (for example) they lit up some spare dark fiber in preparation & all is well with Hoi Polloi. The same is true over most of the San Francisco Bay Area ... although there are a few places where end-users can measure a little slow-down, if they care enough to check. This is being rectified as I type, even though $TELCO isn't fielding (m)any complaints about it. (Per friends in low places.)

      1. veti Silver badge

        Re: Eh...

        It's not the fibre, it's the switches. That's where the congestion happens. And I'm convinced it's a real thing. In my six weeks of working from home, the Internet was absolutely definitely less responsive than usual.

        1. Maximum Delfango

          Re: Eh...

          Did you remember to enable “dynamic flesh tone compression” on your router?

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Eh...

          Or the websites.

          "Internet" is a loaded word. I can be your local wifi used by everyone in the house. It could be the local phone/fibre lines and the local switch/cabs/routing. It could be the backbone and peering, software/purchased or hardware/physical limits. It could be the server/game/website you are connected to.

          A LOT can affect it, but the article seems to apply "internet" to ISP. That generally has not slowed down, as people are using the internet throughout the day, not as much all at the same time (as they did anyhow at 6pm previously etc). With the exception of ISPs that always have had, and will have, trouble due to poor management.

        3. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Eh...

          When you're not working from home, how can you gauge your home network?

  2. IGotOut Silver badge

    Unfortunately

    Not being able to be able to book a home delivery slot with your local supermarket, will be classed as an internet issue with many numpties.

    You only have to look at Amazon reviews to realise the stupidity of people online.

    1. HildyJ Silver badge
      Facepalm

      Re: Unfortunately

      True enough, but worse.

      These numpties have never heard of DownDetecter and I'd bet a day's worth of beer that they treat every site slow down as a problem with broadband.

      1. Cynical user

        Re: Unfortunately

        and the first place to look for an outage is to ask on Facebook... "is ne1 else having problems?"

      2. Vometia Munro

        Re: Unfortunately

        tbf, the standard "support" offered by various data flingers is to go through a checklist that involves blaming your PC, blaming your AV software, blaming you, blaming your router and when all else fails, blaming your ISP. Even though it's nearly always them. Thinking of certain games publishers and their "must surely be a Spectrum with a wobbly RamPak" approach to servers, but certainly not exclusive to them.

    2. illiad

      Re: Unfortunately

      LOL you have not seen some on QUORA!!! examples...

      "When was the last time all living humans were on Earth simultaneously?" HUH???

      "Does a voice recorder record my real voice?"

      "where can I get a yoda plush toy?" - cannot just type that into google????

      "What standard is used to measure the signals of the human mind?"

      "Is there possibility that we're inside of a Matrix? As shown in Matrix movies?"

      there was an answer to this, but I think they may be on drugs... :O

      1. Andy Tunnah

        Re: Unfortunately

        "When was the last time all living humans were on Earth simultaneously?" you do realise this is a real question ? Astronauts, eejit.

        1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

          Re: Unfortunately

          What about people in aircraft? Or people jumping? Do people on skates or skateboards count as not "on Earth simultaneously"? We need to KNOW this. NOW!!!!

          1. Nifty Bronze badge
            Angel

            Re: Unfortunately

            What happens if the population of China all jumps at once?

            1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

              Re: Unfortunately

              We all have to adjust our clocks and/or calendars?

        2. illiad

          Re: Unfortunately

          well go on QUORA and answer it eejit....

          https://www.quora.com/When-was-the-last-time-all-living-humans-were-on-Earth-simultaneously

        3. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Unfortunately

          Yes, but akin to asking "when was the last time no one had the internet?"

        4. This post has been deleted by its author

    3. BrownishMonstr Bronze badge

      Re: Unfortunately

      Those amazon reviews could be fake. Some fake reviewers will also provide negative reviews so it isn't obvious. For example, they will comment on things that are obvious in the description, so someone will think the reviewer was an idiot and ignore it, but on average the fake reviews will give mark it as highly-rated.

      Unless you are talking about those reviews that highly-rate Amazon's delivery and ease of use on a product that sounds like it does what you want, but the quality is shit.

  3. Missing Semicolon
    Devil

    SamKnows has been borked.

    I have a VerminMedia link. It should be 100Mbit/s.

    I also have a SamKnows box. When I first acquired it, my internet connection improved immensely.

    Now however, the reports are showing virtually 100% 100Mbit/s all the time. At various points during the day, I run a speed test (using testmy.net, Speedtest.net is also gimped). And guess what? I get rates as little a 1-2MBit/s.

    So, quite plainly, VM are prioritising the routes that SamKnows is using to fake the reports.

    Who do I report this fraud to?

    1. illiad

      Re: SamKnows has been borked.

      Please note that speed test website use a special connection, so will only show your 'independent speed' .. if it is less that your rated speed, their are line prblems, so you can get an engineer...

      there are some good tools here https://www.thinkbroadband.com/tools

      'Broadband Quality Monitoring' is very good, it continuously monitors your boadband..

      TBB's speed test is more complex than most!! many websites only use one 'thread' TBBx1) to access, giving lackluster results..

      the 6 thread gives more the proper figure..

      https://www.thinkbroadband.com/speedtest/1591442449141907255

      1. Missing Semicolon
        Unhappy

        Re: SamKnows has been borked.

        Well I get 63Mbps down/ 11Mbps up on that test.

        Which means that my link is over-contended (down is full of content, for most people up is just the ACKs). It gets worse at peak Netflix times, of course.

        The poor test results are reflected in real buffering and poor video call performance.

        My complaint about the popular speed test sites and SamKnows, is that those results get used in league tables, get quoted in news articles and such. Fixing the results is cheaper than fixing the problems. Plus, if I try to navigate the maze of twisty passages that is the customer care system, they can say "no fault found".

        And yes, It was only a few weeks after I got a SamKnows box that the performance (which had becore poor) suddenly stepped up to the advertised rate.

    2. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

      Re: SamKnows has been borked.

      "Who do I report this fraud to?"

      No idea, and I don't care. I'm also on VM and rarely see any issues at all. On rare occasions, late evening especially, ie after 11PM, I've seen download speeds drop significantly for up to 5-10 minutes. Other than that, a variety of speed tests show 90+Mb/s on a nominal 100Mb/s connection other than the short "off" periods where I've seen it go as low as 2Mb/s. All is back to normal very quickly though. The issues are short enough that I've not been able to identify where it's happening yet. It might even by in my own network.

      1. logicalextreme Bronze badge

        Re: SamKnows has been borked.

        I've also had great broadband service from VM in the six years I've had them. I doubt I've had 48 hours of downtime total over that time, speed is usually just over the 100Mbps that I'm paying for, and their status checker actually reports issues when there are issues (unlike 100% of the cloud providers I've ever used).

        I must say however that they have the direst of websites. They sent me an email four years ago offering a free upgrade to 250Mbps. I had to log in to activate it.

        I thought I'd created an account on their website, but couldn't seem to log in. The password box helpfully reminded me that passwords are six to ten characters, must contain a number and start with a letter. That advice sets off all of the alarm bells you'd expect, but I tried to reset my password. Enter email address, hit button, 404. Consistently 404. A 404 *after* a form submission isn't something I see often, but whatever.

        Tried signing up for a new account instead (noting that the password "complexity" requirements aren't stated on the screen but are in the HTML for the page, and bizarrely the password box has a max length of 15 with a message to tell you it's "too long" when you hit 11 characters). It looked up the correct email address from my account number and area code, and didn't state I already had an account, so that looked promising. Filled the form in, submit the form…404. Also consistently. Obviously no way of contacting them without signing in or phoning but I acquired their web team's email address and told them about all of these things (including the fact that their public forums indicated these had been happening for some time and their password storage had been flagged as concerning).

        This week I noticed I was now paying the same price as a six-year customer as a new customer would for 200Mbps, and not much less than 350. So I opened the email I sent them four years ago to get the plus-addressed email I'd used for my account, tried all of the above, and allof it's still broken in the exact same way. Forwarded my old email to the web team asking if they were thinking of replying to it any time soon, or fixing any of the site, and it got bounced because the mailbox is full.

        At this point I'm resigning myself to phoning them, despite the "urgent calls only pls" notice that they and so many other companies have plastered their websites with as a free new excuse for being shit at customer service.

      2. illiad

        Re: SamKnows has been borked.

        do you mean the 'SamKnows white box' ??

        https://samknows.one/hc/en-gb/articles/360000451757-What-is-the-Whitebox-

        quote "The Whitebox does not directly improve your internet. It provides you with the data to help you improve your internet performance."

        It is version 8 now, and needs the right software etc... maybe you need to call samknows??

        or try https://www.thinkbroadband.com/tools and try the 'Broadband Quality Monitoring'

        1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

          Re: SamKnows has been borked.

          I think he was implying that the ISP can detect when a SamKnows monitoring box has been installed and that they somehow improved his connection so that the independent monitoring would show them in a good light.

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Smug mode engaged...

    I've barely noticed any dips, but then when I did I'd be seeing around 80-90mbps... Nominally though I've been hovering at 700-800mbps. On a BT FttP connection.

    I may have been on their gigabit trial programme.....

    Annoyingly it ended last month so I've been back to 300Mbps and it normally hovers around 270 but drops to 90 if the kids and missus is streaming stuff.

    Anon because let the hate flow through you (like the 6th home beer evening).

    1. John Doe 12

      Re: Smug mode engaged...

      " it normally hovers around 270 but drops to 90 if the kids and missus is streaming stuff."

      Assuming 1 missus and 3 kids that's 45Mbps per stream! Do they each run their own full size cinema with ultra-super-future-proofed-HD multiple screens??

      "Annoyingly it ended last month so I've been back to 300Mbps"

      What a whinging douchebag ha ha!! Honestly it's like a piddling competition for some people who I assume are lacking in other areas. Anything over 40Mbps is a luxury and mostly pointless. This "need for speed" is why the more rural areas are lacking in services while the cities are being flooded with pointless bandwidth.

      1. illiad

        Re: Smug mode engaged...

        if you want to see real speed, try downloading a massive file from google drive!

      2. Nifty Bronze badge

        Re: Smug mode engaged...

        I'm the downvoter. Problem with rural areas, as in new housing estates and even in some city locations, is usage of copper. Little to do with cities being saturated with bandwidth. Which there aren't necessarily anyway.

        1. Captain Scarlet Silver badge

          Re: Smug mode engaged...

          Yeah my sister and her hubby moved to a house on the edge of an estate build 7 years ago. They already lived the other side of the estate, were getting 6MB and now down to 2MB.

          Phone signal is also a bit kak but still gets them 6MB of bandwidth.

  5. Danny 2 Silver badge

    I'm a believer

    Devices, not all of them but most of them, in my parents home have lost DNS and DCHP quite often since the lockdown. It's not a matter of false perception because I've been locked down for much longer so know what to expect. Reasonably good security before you ask.

    I'm not that bothered (most of the time) so please don't call this paranoia, but I assume my ISP is knocking us off to prioritise other users.

    Alternative explanation, they are just short of staff now.

    Also, I know everyone will doubt this testimony because I've been spamming this forum, but perseverance and nothing else to do.

    1. IGotOut Silver badge

      Re: I'm a believer

      If your losing DHCP it's a problem with your router, as that's local.

      1. This post has been deleted by a moderator

      2. Steve K Silver badge

        Re: I'm a believer

        If your losing DHCP it's a problem with your router, as that's local.

        Not necessarily - this could be the ISP's DHCP failing to renew the router's own WAN address on their network - I have seen this happen regularly in my VirginMedia Hub (but it happened outside the current lockdown too) via the logs when the service has gone to pot.

  6. Claverhouse Silver badge
    Holmes

    C'est La Vie --- Or Not, For Some People

    When I switched to Vodafone Fibre last year I got about 36Mbits; then upgraded it to about 64Mbits for a very reasonable --- compared to 3Mbits from Sky etc. for around £18 --- £23 a month.

    I mostly got that until the early Spring : now I get 18Mbits. Plus extra-bonus random drops in service.

    So, yeah I do think the virus had a detrimental effect --- with no doubt a few other reasons like Brexit and general governmental inefficiency, and even the providers deciding to provide less... --- but it seems caviling to complain whilst people are dying, and it's still adequate... just disappointing.

    1. John Doe 12

      Re: C'est La Vie --- Or Not, For Some People

      Have an upvote for being a sensible voice among all the other moaners! Internet access is not vital for survival despite many people thinking otherwise. As you rightly say people are dying and that's what's important right now.

  7. anthonyhegedus Silver badge

    I can't get deliveroo to work where I live, they keep saying they're not in my area yet. I need to get a better internet provider. Bring back AOL! They always had a handle on these things.

  8. Andy Tunnah

    Er not quite

    My life is exactly the same as it was pre-COVID, and the internet has gotten worse. Hell they dropped the speed a good chunk, from 60mbit down to 40mbit on a good day. But I put it down to them slowing down speeds to maintain better performance across the board with everyone at home. But ya, the internet is way WAY worse (I get dropped connections several times a week now, instead of the weeks on end with no drops like previous)

  9. Danny 2 Silver badge

    BROKEN KEYBOARD

    Sorry for shouting. An unwanted Windows update yesterday took out half the keys on my mum's HP. Not for the first time, last time I just waited and the next update fixed it.

    I'm getting more used to the virtual keyboard - it sucks. I now get why a touchscreen could be useful. Everyone thinks that disabled folk have it easy, sitting around in bed or a wheelchair all day, but their computer access sucks.

    I checked PC World and they don't stock brain control helmets yet. And the price of a replacement laptop has doubled since I last looked. I assumed Moore's law implied they would get cheaper.

  10. Aussie Doc Bronze badge
    Joke

    Tinfoil Hat Time

    Everybody knows it's a government ploy to force us to update our 33.6 kbit/s modems, yessiree.

    Not fooling me for a minute.

    I complained to them and they told me to download a 'Complaints' pdf. It's on day three of it's download but they don't fool me.

  11. Jean Le PHARMACIEN

    SamKnows...

    I'm on EE - copper from cabinet to the house (c100m). 3/4 mile from exchange.

    Only on 50Mb (which is fast enough for me). No chance of faster as no VM here and exchange is on opposite of Victorian town centre

    Speed and latency haven't moved - unlike friends on VM cable and Sky connections

  12. Cuddles Silver badge

    Sounds about right

    Pretty much every video call I'm on has at least one person complaining about the problems they're suddenly having with their internet. Pretty much every time the problem is that they keep moving around and facing away from the microphone so it starts trying to filter them out as background noise. Oddly enough, no amount of disabling video, faffing around with settings, or turning it off and on again ever seems to help. It's hardly surprising that most people fall back on blaming "the internet" for their problems when even some of the supposedly more intelligent and technically competent people can't figure out how to make a simple VOIP call work.

    It's also likely a lot of households will be having issues with wifi congestion. Having four or so people scattered around a house all with poor wifi signals will grind things to a halt even if the raw bandwidth needed is far less than that available. Getting better coverage with a mesh setup, or even just a better non-ISP-provided router would likely solve a lot of problems people stuck at home are having with "the internet". Or using actual wires like some kind of savage of course.

  13. Jamie Jones Silver badge

    I still get the full 80/20 fttc here, 24/7, but then, I live in Wales, and most of the jobs involve sheep, and can't be done from home!

  14. tonyyaman

    Speed test

    i live in Sheffield my isp is virgin I usually get 100 Mbps - or more just run a test now got 106 Mbps so me well happy with my speed

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