back to article Zen Internet warns customers of an impending IP address change

UK ISP Zen Internet has warned subscribers that their IP addresses will shortly change, with some facing a reduction in their address count down to one. The change is all about migration – in this case a move from IPv4 – and users are being given 30 days of notice. For many, the change will result in half a minute of downtime …

  1. Ol'Peculier
    Mushroom

    We've been with Zen for 15 years or so, but not had anything from them about this change.. Probably had the same IP address all this time too.

    Be nice to at least have an idea of the time and date they are planning on doing this, if nothing else.

    1. wolfetone Silver badge

      We're a Zen customer and we've not heard anything either. But the FAQ says if you're affected then they'd be in touch.

      I hope that's the case and we've not fallen through the cracks.

      1. Lon24

        Could it be FFTP? I've also not heard and am on FTTC with a /29. Or maybe your range - I'm on 82.x.x.x

        1. CrazyOldCatMan Silver badge

          Or maybe your range - I'm on 82.x.x.x

          Likewise

    2. Tom Chiverton 1

      Snap. First I knew about it was here!

      Though I have noticed I now have an IPv6 block, and running an IPv6 only web server on it seems to have worked so far, if you can find anywhere that gives you an IPv6. Most of Manchester O2/GiffGaff seems stuck on IPv4 only, for instance

    3. Alan J. Wylie

      Me too. I've had a /29 since November 2003. No mail from them announcing a change.

      Date order placed: 14-Nov-2003

      The following static IP addresses have been assigned for your exclusive use:-

      Number of IP addresses: 8

      IP addresses: 82.68.155.88 - 82.68.155.95

      1. Lon24

        That's a part of the delegated 82.68.0.0/14 range to Zen. I think that 262144 address range served Zen for many early years and as others have said other subnets were probably bought in later. So I'm guessing early customers may not be affected.

        At least that's my hope!

    4. CrazyOldCatMan Silver badge

      We've been with Zen for 15 years or so, but not had anything from them about this change.. Probably had the same IP address all this time too

      they did get in touch with me but only to tell me I was migrating to "Full Fibre" free-of-charge (which is should be since I already have it..) as the consequence of them moving from using BT as backhaul to using CityFibre (who, ironically, were the people who managed to kill my fibre connection when they were laying their fibre into the conduits outside my house).

      Apparently, it also comes with a new FritzBox (which I won't be using) as they want to get rid on any analogue voice setups as well..

      (I'm sure that the FritzBox is a perfectly nice bit of kit for a standard home setup but I have a router-only setup that just passes everything on to my firewall. And the wifi/servers etc etc is on the safe side of the firewall, not plugged into a box with direct access to t'internet.

      So no, I won't be taking advantage of the router installation thankyouverymuch. And if I mysteriously lose the /29 that I've been paying extra for for the last 8 years I'll be somewhat upset.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        The FritzBox is very nice kit, and very configurable. I wouldn't think you'd have any problems setting it as a simple straight-through router.

        1. Alan J. Wylie

          I wouldn't think you'd have any problems setting it as a simple straight-through router

          I run like that, for IPv4 at least, using PPP, ever since I had a dodgy router that leaked memory and required regular rebooting. Add plugin pppoe.so to the options file. In the Fritzbox "Account Information/Internet Settings" page, just enter "." as the username, something random as the password, the Fritzbox then passes PPPoE straight through.

          I've had an HE.net IPv6 tunnel since long before Zen starting supporting it, so have never got round to configuring it. I do see local and remote Link Local IPv6 address appearing in the ppp log though.

      2. Peter2 Silver badge

        Apparently, it also comes with a new FritzBox (which I won't be using) as they want to get rid on any analogue voice setups as well..

        Analogue voice setups are being shut down next year, so they haven't really got much in the way of choice.

    5. Arthur the cat Silver badge

      We've been with Zen for 15 years or so, but not had anything from them about this change

      I've just been forcibly upgraded from copper to CityFibre by Zen (Thursday last week). I thought I might be losing my /29 which I've had since 2002 but that transferred without a problem, as did my /48 IPv6.Technically the switch was utterly painless, and as they initiated the upgrade I'm supposed to only be paying the same as my old FTTC link (£19.50/month rather than the full cost which I think is £35/month).

      However, they've totally bogged up the billing. As they started it I shouldn't have to be paying an extra penny, but they're trying to get me to pay £2200(*) for the upgrade! There is a support case open on this but they're being very slow to respond. (I wonder why?)

      (*) They've managed to enter my annual fee as a monthly one and are treating the upgrade as if I requested it.

  2. Mishak Silver badge

    It depends on the use-case

    Most domestic customers will not notice the change, though some IoT devices (and the like) may get upset for a while if they rely on remote servers that "remember" the public IP address (which they shouldn't do anyway, as they are mainly dynamic).

    Anyone using the IP for a self-hosted mail server (and the like) is hopefully using DNS and should take the opportunity now to reduce the TTL so that record updates will propagate within a few minutes when the IP change goes through.

    1. AMBxx Silver badge

      Re: It depends on the use-case

      It's a pain if a VPN or other remote connection is secured using trusted IP addresses. I've just changed to Zen (plusnet have scrapped their business service), so been through the change once. Hopefully, I'll be recent enough that they won't be changing my address.

      1. Mishak Silver badge

        Re: It depends on the use-case

        Yeah, I use similar. Once again though, that probably only affects a small number of users.

      2. Penguin Of Evil

        Re: It depends on the use-case

        It's the first address change I've had since 2017 which seems pretty good. I had my previous AAISP block longer than that but I can live with a change every 6 or 7 years.

    2. Furious Reg reader John

      Re: It depends on the use-case

      "Anyone using the IP for a self-hosted mail server" should just stop - it's 2024, not 2004.

      1. Steve Davies 3 Silver badge

        Re: Anyone using the IP for a self-hosted mail server" should just stop

        Care to explain why? Not all of us want to suffer email down times and all the other crap that you get from many major suppliers.

        Not everyone is moving to the cloud.

        Perhaps... you work for on of these hosting companies...

        1. Lon24

          Re: Anyone using the IP for a self-hosted mail server" should just stop

          I sympathise with your sentiments BUT and it is a big BUT - some other mailserver hosts blanket ban 'domestic' IP ranges. It's OK if its primary purpose is part of an internal system but public server?

          Just depends on what the rest of the world sees your IP as.

          1. Alan J. Wylie

            Re: Anyone using the IP for a self-hosted mail server" should just stop

            I run my own mailserver. Zen allow you to set reverse DNS (PTR record) for your IP address (scroll down to the FAQ section)

            $ dig +short -x 82.68.155.94

            wylie.me.uk.

            Until, IIRC, GDPR, my /29 was CIDR'd with my personal details.

        2. CrazyOldCatMan Silver badge

          Re: Anyone using the IP for a self-hosted mail server" should just stop

          Care to explain why? Not all of us want to suffer email down times and all the other crap that you get from many major suppliers.

          Because you very quickly find yourself on RBL blocklists (all of whom are aware of which netblocks are residential and not commercial) and will block you very quickly. At which point, your SPF/DKIM settings won't matter an iota.

          1. Necrohamster Silver badge
            Linux

            Re: Anyone using the IP for a self-hosted mail server" should just stop

            All those geniuses running vulnerable mail servers on a home connection keep me in a job. :D

          2. captain veg Silver badge

            Re: Anyone using the IP for a self-hosted mail server" should just stop

            > Because you very quickly find yourself on RBL blocklists

            This is annoying, but mostly trivial to fix. I should know, I've been doing it for donkeys' years.

            -A.

          3. IGotOut Silver badge

            Re: Anyone using the IP for a self-hosted mail server" should just stop

            @crazy....

            Just search for <insert hosted mail provider> blocking emails from <insert another mail provider>

            Having worked with email admins playing whack-a-mole with the major providers, it really makes no difference.

          4. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Anyone using the IP for a self-hosted mail server" should just stop

            Almost no one blocks on Spamhaus PBL fortunately - they say XBL is for email servers. Those few that do other similar blocks such as Microsoft you can request exemption. Having run my own email server for years.

            I have now moved it to O365 last year, but only due to the cost of electricity to run my own Hyper-V cluster.

          5. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Anyone using the IP for a self-hosted mail server" should just stop

            So why do many email hosting companies block other email corporate providers? Discus (the commenting system) uses a large email sender to send you periodic re-cert messages. That sender is also used by many scumbags who send dodgy emails. The result is that you can't re-cert your account with sites that use Discus.

            Discus does not give you the user any way to contact them. Only customers can do that. Catch-22.

            So much for using only big email providers!

      2. tin 2

        Re: It depends on the use-case

        Strong disagree. More should run their own if they can. Likes of MS and Google are deciding mail works to their rules, and they need to be shown that the rest of the internet will not accede.

        1. CrazyOldCatMan Silver badge

          Re: It depends on the use-case

          Strong disagree. More should run their own if they can

          But not from a *residential* IP address block. Because it'll quickly get RBL'd (see my answer above).

          I've run my own mail servers since the mid 1990's and it's one of the reasons why I pay the extra for a business line (apart from the vastly improved SLA and lower contention rates).

          1. Alan J. Wylie

            Re: It depends on the use-case

            But not from a *residential* IP address block. Because it'll quickly get RBL'd (see my answer above).

            Nothing but "Checking 82.68.155.94 against 83 known blacklists - OK" at MX Toolbox for my IP.

          2. Mishak Silver badge

            Because it'll quickly get RBL'd

            I've had that with email on a shared server as well, but that's more down to multiple domains on the same IP than address ranges.

            Still a right pain when someone uses a host for spam :-(

          3. Ken Moorhouse Silver badge

            Re: Residential

            I would rather use the term "dynamic" rather than "residential" to refer to IP addresses. RBL's are IMHO more interested in whether a given IP is static or dynamic, rather than commercial or residential.

            (P.S. Downvoting is not from me).

            1. captain veg Silver badge

              Re: Residential

              > would rather use the term "dynamic" rather than "residential" to refer to IP addresses.

              > RBL's are IMHO more interested in whether a given IP is static or dynamic, rather than commercial or residential.

              Would that it were true.

              The fact is that RBL maintainers are entirely self appointed and apply whatsoever criteria float their boat on a particular day.

              It's really easy to eliminate spam with block lists. Just block everything. No spam.

              You would hope, wouldn't you, that they might apply a rule of "innocent until shown otherwise, but no. Despite my MTA's current IP having never, not once, sent a single spam message, some RBLs insist that as a so-called "residential" IP it shouldn't be sending mail at all. I can find no RFC which supports this position.

              And so, on a fairly regular basis, I have to jump through hoops to declare, to those self-appointed guardians, that my IP still isn't a spam source. Which ought to be obvious, since it has never sent any spam. Ever.

              Oddly enough, "commercial" spammers are able to clear their own IP ranges by various means, many of which involve simply lying, despite an established history to the contrary.

              IP blocking is simply cretinous. Don't do it.

              -A.

              1. Lon24

                Re: Residential

                Didn't know Zen did dynamic The choice back in the noughties was 1 or 8 static. At the time I elected for 8 because it was a bigger number. Now, that choice is a vital part of our infrastructure. Pretty much locks me into Zen as long as I can hang onto my /29

                1. Ken Moorhouse Silver badge

                  Re: Didn't know Zen did dynamic

                  AFAIK they don't. It certainly doesn't need to be mentioned when ordering, and the assigned IP address appears on the order confirmation document, well ahead of the go-live date. BT take notice!

        2. I could be a dog really Bronze badge

          Re: It depends on the use-case

          Likes of MS and Google are deciding mail works to their rules

          More to the point, it seems that the big players like MS and Google don't have a clue how to run a mail service properly. What sort of brain dead **** to you have to be to work on the basis of saying "yes I accept this mail for delivery" and then throw it away based on some random rules ? If you aren't going to deliver it, don't accept it - anything else is just broken. And that is one of the reasons I run my own mail server - so I can do things properly instead of being reliant on someone else's (broken) idea of how it should work. Send an email to me, it'll either be delivered or you'll know that it won't be - none of this "you see it's gone, you didn't get a bounce, you assume it's been delivered, but I have no idea you sent it" carp.

          It's not hard.

      3. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: It depends on the use-case

        Excuse me? You can pry my self-hosted mail server from my cold dead hands.

      4. captain veg Silver badge

        Re: It depends on the use-case

        Bollocks.

        -A.

  3. Roland6 Silver badge

    “ The change is all about migration – in this case a move from IPv4”

    According to linked release this is all about portfolio consolidation.

    I suggest given how long Zen have been in business they now have many IPv4 address ranges, which due to customer changes over the years is now quite fragmented.

  4. Necrohamster Silver badge

    "If you already had multiple IP addresses as part of your paid package, then we have assigned you the same amount of new IP addresses."

    However, if you were provided multiple addresses outside of an allocated package, then the kindly ISP will be cutting the number of addresses down to one. Customers who want to keep their IP address count can purchase additional addresses from Zen."

    Sounds fair enough.

    People who pay for multiple IPs get multiple IPs.

    People who don't, don't.

    It's not like they're making any more IP addresses. Expecting Zen to provide a valuable asset to customers for eternity, for free, is a bit unreasonable.

    1. Penguin Of Evil

      Lifetime guarantee

      The reality is a bit different. Some of us went with Zen for the 8 addresses as part of the deal back then, it's part of the contract I signed and Zen themselves chose to also offer a lifetime no price rise guarantee. We are just insisting on the contract being followed.

      There was nothing trailed in the Zen emails/site - just a million reminders about their stupid every room wifi service and the notification almost got missed.

      The notification was self contradictory as I'd paid for 8 addresses as part of the original contract (at the same price as one) but got one in the update. They got a formal complaint by return of email and I got a notification for a new block of 8 addresses.

      Had Zen bothered to

      - Check which address ranges actually got used

      - Trail it with reasons in their general media a few months in advance

      it would have gone rather better all around.

      I'm all for them clawing back ranges that are simply not used because they gave out /28s like confetti early on but contracts are contracts, price guarantees are price guarantees and you don't treat your customers like that if you want to keep them.

      1. Necrohamster Silver badge
        Happy

        Re: Lifetime guarantee

        Why are you going on about price guarantees? This discussion has nothing to do with price guarantees.

        If a "free IP addresses for life" feature was specified in the contract, you may have a leg to stand on. However, I fear that the small print may put some limitations on that as I look at section 14.5 of terms and conditions:

        We may at any time make changes to the terms of our Agreement and/or the services and equipment if:

        (a) we believe changes are necessary to improve the services for the benefit of our customers;

        (b) there is a technical or operational reason for such changes;

        (c) there is a change in the law or regulation of the services or equipment;

        (d) we need to clarify our terms or we wish to have all our customers on the same terms; or

        (e) there is a change in circumstances which we could not have predicted and which means a change is necessary.

        Check your contact, and please let us know if you're allowed to retain your eight addresses. :)

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Lifetime guarantee

          Thanks for linking to today's copy of Zen's Ts&Cs - care to go and do the work to dig up the old copies that were in force when the contracts being discussed were agreed upon?

          1. Alan J. Wylie

            Re: Lifetime guarantee

            General Terms and Conditions

            ADSL T's and C's

            18. Changing this contract

            18.1 This contract may be changed by us, including our charges, at any time. We will notify you of any changes at least 14 days prior to them taking effect.

          2. Necrohamster Silver badge

            Re: Lifetime guarantee

            I love when people rant about enforcing their contracts without having ever read them...almost as much as I enjoy reading dumb comments from ACs

            After your initial contract period (provided to you when you signed up...usually for 12 months...see your terms and conditions!) expires, you're using the service on a month by month basis unless you specifically opted into a new contract.

            Do you have a copy of your Zen contract from 2002 (or whenever) to prove me wrong AC?

          3. localzuk Silver badge

            Re: Lifetime guarantee

            But those contracts aren't relevant are they? If the contract terms have been altered since then (which the original contract would have included as being possible as part of the terms), and you continued to use their service, you agreed to those changes of terms. So, the current terms are the relevant ones.

            1. Penguin Of Evil

              Re: Lifetime guarantee

              There's a signed contract. I have never agreed to any change in that contract. It's also a lifetime deal so if they cancel it for the purpose of reneging on the deal I'd say I have a good case. I don't see anything that would allow them to unilaterally change it that wouldn't itself violate the various UK consumer protections we have on unfair contracts. I suspect a lot of our "anonymous" popups actually are from outside the UK/EU so unused to the idea that a contract is a two way arrangement not a stick of convenience that big companies use to beat up little people.

              Anyway when challenged they backed down.

              Note that if I was only using/needing one address I'd happily have agreed because the problem isn't trying to reclaim unused addresses it is the manner in which they conducted themselves.

              1. localzuk Silver badge

                Re: Lifetime guarantee

                If you have a signed contract that doesn't have a term saying the ISP reserves the right to make changes, then you have a truly unique contract.

                UK ISP contracts have basically been the same for decades now - ISPs include a clause allowing them to make changes, with the condition that you have the right to cancel without cost.

                1. Penguin Of Evil

                  Re: Lifetime guarantee

                  You miss the point. What is valid in a contract and what the contract says are totally different things. You can put all the "and we can change it last week and tough" clauses in your contract you like but for a consumer they will be measured against all the tests for fair contracts and anything unfair will be struck out.

                  Anyway Zen gave me back the addresses I should have had. I've provided them feedback on what I think they could have done to handle it better and all is good. I'd still recommend them as well. No company is perfect.

        2. TimMaher Silver badge
          Pint

          Re: Lifetime guarantee

          Our pet mayfly has a lifetime guarantee.

      2. Lurko

        Re: Lifetime guarantee

        "The reality is a bit different. Some of us went with Zen for the 8 addresses as part of the deal back then, it's part of the contract I signed and Zen themselves chose to also offer a lifetime no price rise guarantee. We are just insisting on the contract being followed."

        As long as that contract remains in force you're probably in the clear standing on your rights, and the small print won't enable Zen to over-ride key aspects of the contract. However, a contract is a mutual two way agreement - if Zen don't like the terms of the agreement, then they can terminate it at any time subject to the provisions on proper notice just as you can. So the term "lifetime" doesn't mean forever, it means only as long as Zen wish to keep doing business on the current terms. With inflation, Zen's legacy fixed price "lifetime" rolling contracts, are making a net loss, and eventually that will be sufficiently high they'll choose to terminate those contracts. That'll be on their mind, but over time there's churn out (even of those hugely advantageous terms) and at some point they'll be willing to terminate those contracts and take any PR flack. if it's a tiny number of customers, nobody other than those customers is going to care.

        The multiple IP addresses aren't exactly the same as the fixed price deals, but in concept they're similar - they lock up an asset that Zen could sell or re-use in better paying contracts, so the commercial questions for them are:

        1. How much does this legacy contract make for us, compared to what we could make by cancelling it and re-using the addresses? and

        2. What's the value of net losses amongst those legacy customers if we cancel and offer a less favourable alternative deal? and

        3. What is the PR impact of being seen to renege on a deal that the world thought was customer lifetime?

    2. katrinab Silver badge
      Megaphone

      It's not really free though is it?

      Zen is quite a bit more expensive than other ISPs, and that is one reason why people would be prepared to pay the extra money for it.

      1. Necrohamster Silver badge

        "It's not really free though is it?"

        Isn't it? That seems to be the thrust of the article.

        The existence of a different tier of customers who pay for their IP addresses would disprove the theory that some customers are entitled to "free" IPs because someone says they're paying over the odds for their broadband service.

  5. megalomaniac

    Zen continuing the downward spiral

    They've been going downhill for a while now. Things like their handling of the digital voice switch has been abysmal, all but ignoring anyone using their own router till they faced some pretty strong customer backlash. It's sadly time to look elsewhere than Zen if you want anything other than the mass market approach to Internet access, it's a shame as they were one of the good ones.

    1. Anonymous Coward Silver badge
      Unhappy

      Re: Zen continuing the downward spiral

      And customer service has gone downhill.

      Ironically we've just shifted away from Zen because... they refused to give us a different IP. Ours had been erroneously blocked somewhere that then denied it, so we had no scope to redress it there; Zen acknowledged the problem but suggested a VPN would be a better solution than a different IP. We suggested that a different ISP would be even better and they weren't bothered at all, so that's the route we took.

      1. David 140

        Re: Zen continuing the downward spiral

        Who did you choose and how are you getting on with them please?

        1. Missing Semicolon Silver badge

          Re: Zen continuing the downward spiral

          +1 me too.

          I am also looking to change providers - in this case from Vermin Media Business.

        2. Little Bobby

          Re: Zen continuing the downward spiral

          > Who did you choose and how are you getting on with them please?

          I'm not the OP, but I strongly suggest that you are a techie and are willing to pay a premium, then its a no brainer Andrews & Arnold.

          Its where all the people like me who saw the writing on the wall for Zen many years ago went to.

          Zen are not what they used to be and haven't been for quite some time now.

          1. Martin an gof Silver badge

            Re: Zen continuing the downward spiral

            I looked at A&A a couple of years ago. In the end, didn't switch as they wouldn't carry over our landline number. The ISP we were with was buying from TalkTalk* who were 'unbundled' in our exchange and that was the reason given. Since then TT has 'withdrawn' from our exchange (wan't even aware that was possible) so we've been 'rebundled' back to Openreach. Maybe I'd have better luck if I tried again.

            Still on ADSL Copper, by the way. FTTC is available in our cabinet but since it now involves a mandatory move to IP phones I'm (probably) hanging on until FTTP comes and we're forced to move. Gives me a while more to get proper power-out mitigations in place rather than the rag-tag collection of small UPSes I currently have. Being semi-rural we get more than our share of power cuts - usually short. One this morning in fact: a planned one (and a planned twin later this afternoon) so they can shut down the overhead cable in order to prune some trees. In the meantime we're on a generator.

            Hope they've sent the right one this time. A couple of times they've sent the wrong size one and been surprised at the teatime load in the village - gas only came to the village 40-odd years ago and many houses still have electric cookers and heating.

            M.

            *I've never dealt with TalkTalk directly. Any problems we had were dealt with through our ISP - The Phone CoOp - who have been very good over the years.

            1. I ain't Spartacus Gold badge

              Re: Zen continuing the downward spiral

              Martin an gof,

              I'm told it's now a legal requirement to allow you to port your number. And the old excuses of "not technically possible on this network or with this type of number" are no longer acceptable.

              1. Martin an gof Silver badge

                Re: Zen continuing the downward spiral

                Be interested to know when that happened (for landlines) as IIRC it was mid 2020 when I was looking...

                M.

                1. I ain't Spartacus Gold badge

                  Re: Zen continuing the downward spiral

                  Sadly I don't know when the change was made. I was assured it was now the law when we were talking to a telecoms consultant a couple of months ago when we moved office.

                  And a number that we were told was impossible to port by BT "for technical reasons" in 2019 - and had to be tied to a landline can now be ported to a RingCentral setup.

            2. Colin Bull 1
              Unhappy

              not my experience

              I would never recommend the Phone Coop to anyone. They are more interested in being a 'Coop' than proving a service. I had a loss of service for over 3 weeks and they were pathetic. I only got the service back by getting a friend of a friend who was an Openreach service manager to get involved.

              1. Martin an gof Silver badge

                Re: not my experience

                Conversely, we've stuck with them because every time I've needed to report a problem I've got straight through to someone who actually knew what I was talking about, in some cases did some twiddling there and then while I was on the phone, in others rang back when they said they would. Admittedly the only thing I've had cause to talk with them about in the last five years or so has been this re-bundling, but we've been with them over 15 years (and my parents maybe 11 or 12) and, yes, ok, their offerings are fairly basic, but no serious complaints from either of us. Even get a teeny tiny discount for self-supplied router, which more than pays for the (single) fixed IP.

                We'll look again when the time comes for FTTP...

                M.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Zen continuing the downward spiral

        And customer service has gone downhill.

        Ironically we've just shifted away from Zen because ...

        Hmm, I've recently moved one account to Zen when Plusnet pee'd us off - emails blamed OpenRetch for us having to move when it was nothing to do with OR, just PN closing the service. Tried to get us to move to BT Internet - I've dealt with them on behalf of clients in the past, you'd have to pay me to be with them - not as much as you'd have to pay me to be with the likes of TT, but you'd have to pay me.

        I was planning to move my other accounts over when our contracts are up, now I hear Zen are going downhill ?

        1. Ken Moorhouse Silver badge

          Re: Zen continuing the downward spiral

          I'm still happy to recommend Zen (I don't earn commission from them).

          I've got a customer wanting to upgrade their BT installation. They've got an email server plus a cloud-based system which hosts most of their business functions - this latter is tied to their IP address, otherwise they cannot login. BT will not tell them in advance what the new IP address will be until afterwards, which means some enforced downtime... unless they pay £299 per month for BTNet. BT have actually stated in their correspondence that their regular service is no good for business usage as target fix time for a fault reported on Thursday is Monday. (If BT wish to discuss this with me, please do, you have my name).

  6. Headley_Grange Silver badge

    Hard Work

    Maybe this will be an opportunity for some customers to work out which will be more of a pain in the arse - sorting out their situation with Zen or moving to a new provider.

    1. that one in the corner Silver badge

      Re: Hard Work

      > sorting out their situation with Zen or moving to a new provide

      And we go around and around again - I changed to Zen in the first place on the advice of El Reg comments

      We only have the one IP and haven't (yet) received this notice, so fingers crossed, but with the tales of customer service degrading...

      Then again, with OpenReach seeming to have taken the government's deadlines for death of POTS and supply of fibre as a way to push back providing fibre on our exchange, there is time to take a breath before the next forced change to our service and contract "upgrade".

    2. Necrohamster Silver badge

      Re: Hard Work

      Or perhaps... Maybe this will be an opportunity for some of Zen's pain in the arse customers to move to a new provider.

    3. Chz

      Re: Hard Work

      People can threaten to move from Zen, but in the Good Old Days Zen offered what was basically a business service to consumers at... well, slightly elevated prices for consumer service but quite a lot less than business services. If you move to anyone else and expect the same goodies, you're paying for a business account. I think Zen knows this and their reaction to a lot of the criticism has been along the lines of "suck it up, buttercup" because they know you'll just pay more for the same elsewhere and it will stop most people from leaving once they have a look around. Count yourselves lucky that Zen has enough of their own IPs that CGNAT isn't being forced down your throats.

      Will be happy to be proven wrong on that, as it will give me something to look at for myself!

  7. Anonymous Coward Silver badge
    Holmes

    From their FAQs...

    > "the project where we are migrating IPV4 addresses is one such change as we look to consolidate our portfolio"

    "consolidate our portfolio" is another way of saying they're planning to sell a subnet, right?

    1. Alan J. Wylie

      https://www.ipxo.com/blog/ipv4-price-history/#paragraph-32 from July last year suggests $45 to $60 is a typical price per IPv4 address.

      My /29 is in 82.68.0.0/14, approx quarter of a million addresses (though no mail from Zen, yet). Multiply those together and it will keep your senior management in very acceptable single malts for a long, long time.

  8. Will Godfrey Silver badge
    Unhappy

    Disappointing

    I've been with Zen for years - don't know just how long but definitely in the 25-20 year range. About 6 months ago I switched from ADSL to FTTC and their supplied router. I've not heard a thing about this change, so don't know if I'm not affected, or just forgotten about.

    1. Roland6 Silver badge

      Re: Disappointing

      If your subscription does not include a static IPv4 address the change won’t affect you.

  9. munnoch Bronze badge

    Also not heard anything

    If it happens it will royally stuff me up. Hard coded IP's have a tendency to creep into unexpected places, despite it being a bad practice it happens. I should probably spin up a spare server on my A&A block just in case.

    https://asnlookup.com/asn/AS13037/

    Anyone know if there is a specific block that will be affected? I am in the 82.68/14 range. I suppose thats the most valuable (money-wise) so if they can flog it they will. On the other hand being the most valuable (networking-wise) you would hope that's the one they hang on to.

    1. Roland6 Silver badge

      Re: Also not heard anything

      From the comments here, I suggest Zen are shuffling addresses to create some new larger blocks within their address ranges, for prospective customers. So no one is safe, although I would hope they will only require customers to move once…

      Additonally, they might be regrouping customers so that for example those on ADSL for example are all within a small group of address ranges, which may facilitate a simpler infrastructure upgrade.

  10. gbiz

    After receiving the email from them I was thinking about posting "Zen will be next" in the comments on the Virgin Media article the other day.

    I've been with Zen since murdoch took over Easynet. I switched the day that was announced. Email i just checked suggests Dec 2005. (*)

    I use a few of the addresses in my block of 8 (vpn, mail, gateway, occasional web, router), so i'm someone who won't easily be able to adjust my setup to single ipv4. Certainly not in the 30 days they're giving us to prepare for the switch, without cost. They don't offer a /30, so to keep my setup working will cost an extra tenner a month. F*** that.

    The email they sent me states "We consistently review our network's usage and our recent review revealed that most of our customers primarily use just one IP address. To optimise our resources, we will be adjusting the IP addresses assigned to your Zen service down to one". Er, that'll be most not all customers. There was no consultation on this. No long term notice, just 30 days. I _think_ for a few years their new customers get a single ip addr, so this is going to impact those who have been with them longer. My original contract with them certainly states the service includes 8 static ip addrs. Since then, the only time my contract with them has been modified was the switch to the fttc service & when i spoke to the sales droid about that, i asked if i'd keep them after the switch & he said yes. The email from them regarding this change suggests the 8 static ip addrs were never guaranteed in the contract so they're free to make the switch. Surely if they're just looking to de-fragment their ipv4 blocks then they could move customers to new ones within their main block.

    TFA doesn't mention that a few months back they also removed the free hosted web site. OK it wasn't much, 1GB of space, but enough to host a few images & docs. It was useful to me. Since it's removal I'd been meaning to host that here, using another of these static ip addrs, just hadn't got around to it yet.

    The ipv4 address blocks this change frees up must be worth a fair bit. A cynic might think that this, and the removal of free web hosting, are the sort of thing that companies do when they're either desparate for some short term revenue, or after they've been taken over by an investor looking to asset sweat. As is the way in this country now, f*** customer loyalty.

    I guess a switch to A&A is the best option. Anyone got any other suggestions ?.

    FYI for those who are saying they've not heard anything yet, i got my email on jan 24th, subject "Notification of changes to your IP addresses". It got filtered into my Zen folder & i only noticed it by chance.

    (*) That made for an amusing conversation a few months later when i was in doing a RHEL & RH Satellite presentation to what was the old Easynet Unix team & their new Sky management. The chat during a break for coffee ... them: "who do you use for internet ?" me: "errr, up to a few moths ago Easynet, now Zen". They laughed. I clearly wasn't the first who'd said that.

    1. that one in the corner Silver badge

      > most of our customers primarily use just one IP address

      And how many of their customers only *have* just one IP address?

      Like those who joined after Zen were well established and had stopped giving out multiples as an incentive...

    2. Anonymous Coward Silver badge
      Boffin

      Can you tell us what range your /29 is in? (suitably anonymous if you want by telling us the CIDR they're a part of - https://asnlookup.com/asn/AS13037/ )

      The theory seems to be that they want to sell a range, and as you're the first to comment here that you've had that email we might be able to identify the range(s) affected. We already know that 82.68.0.0/14 seems not to be affected.

      1. CrazyOldCatMan Silver badge

        We already know that 82.68.0.0/14 seems not to be affected

        Which is where my /29 is..

      2. Dave Pickles

        I've been in 217.155.0.0/16 since 2002 and haven't been notified...

        1. geoff61

          Likewise. (December 2002 to be precise.)

      3. gbiz

        88.96.96.xxx

        If they are selling off outliers in their address pools, you'd like to think the first option they'd offer people would be to move them into their main address block.

    3. Little Bobby

      > I guess a switch to A&A is the best option. Anyone got any other suggestions ?.

      For UK home users ? No. Its pretty much A&A or nothing.

      Its where all the people like me who saw the writing on the wall for Zen many years ago went to.

      Zen are not what they used to be and haven't been for quite some time now.

      Business customers in fibre-rich areas have other options, but for home users, A&A is the least shit by a country mile because they're not shit.

      Just be aware, you get what you pay for at A&A ... i.e. pricing is premium.

      1. gbiz

        Thats what i suspected. Thanks :)

        Just looking at the A&A pricing & it doesn't seem much different to Zen, unless i'm missing something (very likely). I'll give them a call tomorrow.

        1. gryphon

          A&A don’t seem to be available everywhere.

          I can get connected via CityFibre or Openreach FTTP but they aren’t available on either when I do their postcode lookup.

          They also have a maximum transfer limit of 1TB per month I think, although few consumers would get near that one would think.

          I’m probably going to go with them for their voip though. £2 for the number then PAYG.

          My best bets using CF seem to be either No One or Zen (notwithstanding above comments).

        2. gbiz

          A&A actually work out a tiny bit cheaper.

          I called Zen to cancel my contract, the person in sales i got through to tried to transfer me to the the cancellation team, but they were all in a meeting. He said that if i'd replied to the email they'd have discussed it, though didn't say if i'd done that it'd actually change anything. I pointed out the email doesn't suggest this change was negotiable, the only option is to pay extra.

        3. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          When I was looking I went with Zen because the A&A VoIP service seemed expensive. All calls are billed by the minute, no 'included' minutes, and AFAIK you need to use a SIP-compatible phone, or buy a separate box. Zen does everything through the FritzBoz, with 1000 minutes per month included, although international calls are expensive so I use my mobile for them.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: For UK home users ? No. Its pretty much A&A or nothing.

        IDnet. I had a very stable connection with them for years, static IPv4/IPv6 as standard, customer service is very good and pricing is more reasonable.

        Can't quite believe A&A are still trying to push traffic quotas at that price point in this day and age. On a 1TB monthly quota, 33-ish GB/day disappears when you're streaming 4K. On their 10TB monthly quota, you're paying well over the odds compared to the competition.

        1. Ken Hagan Gold badge

          Re: For UK home users ? No. Its pretty much A&A or nothing.

          Can't believe that other ISPs are still offering the obviously fraudulent "as much as you like at a flat rate".

          Maybe it's just me, but an element of charging by use has always seemed just more honest.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: For UK home users ? No. Its pretty much A&A or nothing.

            The vast majority of customers wouldn't know how much data they use or how to estimate what they might use. If we're talking about "fraudulent", what about taking advantage of customers who, when given a choice, end up paying more for upper-tier plans that are well in excess of what they really need? That happens all over with mobile contracts already — people overpaying for a data quota that they rarely use.

            An ISP that does not cap data transfers does not need to guarantee that you will get a fair QoS on an unlimited basis (hence some ISPs having fine print along the lines of slowing you down if you exceed reasonable quotas) but at least a customer does not need to worry about how to figure out what they want/need, whether the service will stop abruptly or whether they will rack up excess charges.

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    If Zen haven't contacted you, you're not affected by this change. If you're using a Zen router or your own router with a WAN IP set to automatically assigned, you will have no issue as it will automatically update when your IP address changes, just like it does if you have a dynamic IP elsewhere. The issues arise when customers have their WAN IP manually configured, and you have firewall rules etc that will need updating.

    Companies have the right to make these changes if it's in their terms.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      "If Zen haven't contacted you, you're not affected by this change" - you seem very sure that no errant spam filter will accidentally catch it, and that Zen have kept track of possibly changing email addresses. There's also the case where people might have setup customer connections and aren't routinely getting emails related to them (and quite possibly the people who *do* get those emails won't know what to do with them).

      They badly need a simple way to check - e.g. put an address into a web form to check. Otherwise people don't know for sure and if they have to assume the worst, the only sensible option for people who will be badly affected by this is to get another connection running in parallel (and then probably bin off the Zen once they've got things updated...)

    2. I could be a dog really Bronze badge

      If you're using a Zen router or your own router with a WAN IP set to automatically assigned, you will have no issue as it will automatically update when your IP address changes

      You sure about that ?

      So inbound mail will magically come to a new IP without updating the DNS ? Outbound mail will still work (reliably/at all) when my IP no longer resolves to the hostname (different DNS change) ? Inbound connections to my web based stuff will magically work when the address has changed but the DNS hasn't ? VPNs will magically still work when the other end has changed from the configured address ?

      IF, all you use it for is outbound stuff to services that don't check your address against any access list then it will be no problem. For everyone else it WILL be a problem (how much depends on the complexity of their setup and how much notice they have).

      So, for many it will be a non-event. For some, and I'd suggest that Zen's customers are disproportionately "techie types" with such setups, it will be a problem.

  12. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Where else would you go?

    I've not had to call their tech support for a few years, but when I last did, I got to speak to someone who 1) listened 2) understood the problem. I was with VM for a while and spending hours on hold to talk to someone who has neither the knowledge nor the authority to fix anything is pretty soul-destroying.

    I guess they are feeling commercial pressure. I mean, for people who know about tech, we are maybe willing to pay a bit more to get stuff like IPv6, static IPs and all that. But we are a limited market. Ordinary consumers just see the price. I would be very sad to see them turn into Just Another ISP.

    1. Little Bobby

      Re: Where else would you go?

      > for people who know about tech, we are maybe willing to pay a bit more

      If you are a techie and are willing to pay a premium, then its a no brainer Andrews & Arnold.

      Its where all the people like me who saw the writing on the wall for Zen many years ago went to.

      Zen are not what they used to be and haven't been for quite some time now.

      1. I could be a dog really Bronze badge

        Re: Where else would you go?

        I looked at A&A as well as Zen before I moved. I saw traffic caps and (like another comment further up) thought "traffic caps, that's so last century".

  13. PaulHayes

    Has no one on this comments list heard of IPv6 yet? ;)

    1. I could be a dog really Bronze badge

      And for everything that still needs IPv4 because much of the world still isn't even dual-stack let along IPv6 only ?

      1. Ken Hagan Gold badge

        Who the fuck isn't dual stack? Windows, Mac and Linux have been dual stack for about 20 years. What are they running?

        1. I could be a dog really Bronze badge

          And thier ISP ? I'm sat on a dual stack machine, but my current ISP still doesn't do IPv6 (I'll be moving for a number of reasons when my contract is up) - I do have a HE Tunnelbroker connection.

          And then there's all those corporates for whom "turning on" IPv6 (v.s. just having machines that are dual stack but have no IPv6 network) means a whole project to enable the security they have in the IPv4 world, and where management will simply respond "where's the business advantage for spending this money ?" and it doesn't happen.

  14. thondwe

    ISPs - Aquiss

    I've been with Aquiss for a while - not a big outfit - a cityfibre reseller, but quietly competent. And given I'm with FTTP and it's all OpenReach doing the donkey work - does it really matter?

  15. BartyFartsLast

    I miss my 62.49.16.xx address...

  16. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    L2TP service from Andrews & Arnold as a fallback without moving from Zen

    I'm still trying to discover whether I'm affected by the change (their tech support lines seem strangely busy this morning), but one option I noticed is to get this service from Andrews & Arnold.

    Not least as it would allow a planned migration with both the old Zen IPs and the new AA ones working at the same time.

    https://www.aa.net.uk/broadband/l2tp-service/

    1. I could be a dog really Bronze badge

      Re: L2TP service from Andrews & Arnold as a fallback without moving from Zen

      Interesting.

      I like the comment about the Light option : "not for 'general' internet access due to the low speed". I recall when I got ADSL and thought 512k was blazing - a definite upgrade from 30-something k dial up. Now 3Mbps is considered slow. How times change.

  17. localzuk Silver badge

    Multiple IPs

    I find it interesting how many people are in need of more than 1 IP to be honest.

    I run a network with 2000 devices on it, including a nice cluster of servers, external facing services etc... And we use a grand total of 2 IP addresses. Why do so many people need lots of addresses for what will be small home networks?

    1. EvaQ

      Re: Multiple IPs

      "Because!!1!"

      IP addresses are like ... cylinders in a car engine? More is better?

    2. I could be a dog really Bronze badge

      Re: Multiple IPs

      Because sometimes you need more than one address. If you have anything legacy that doesn't support SNI then you can't share an address between sites, and if you don't then a cert for multiple sites often costs a lot more than a basic "site + www.site" site, and supporting multiple sites with different certs means even more stuff becomes "legacy". And sometimes it's just a darn sight easier.

      1. localzuk Silver badge

        Re: Multiple IPs

        On a home internet connection?

        1. I could be a dog really Bronze badge

          Re: Multiple IPs

          Why not ?

  18. EvaQ

    Stop complaining, start suing

    ... if you think Zen is breaching the contract (and you can't get a better deal elsewhere)

  19. The Dogs Meevonks Silver badge
    Facepalm

    Zen are not as good as people claim

    I switched to Zen, mainly based on the number of people who claimed they were amongst the best ISP's out there... and that it was worth paying a little extra.

    All seemed fine for the first year.

    Then slowly over the next 11 months, my speeds started dropping from the 73mbps I got... until I was barely getting low 20's... well below the min 39mbps guaranteed speeds.

    When I called to log the problem... I was informed that they could see the speeds were dropping over that entire 11 months, but they did nothing to resolve the issue. It took weeks before it was resolved. We had a back and forth with their customer service staff behaving like antagonists... literally baiting me by making 'polite' but unreasonable demands to force me to accept all costs related to engineer call outs and refusing to do anything unless I accepted those costs.

    It took the intervention of their line manager before things moved forward... and I ended up with months of credit due to their behaviour.

    Eventually after a few visits and equipment needing replacing in the exchange and the local cabinet... were speeds back to normal.

    Then about 8 months later... more issues, more attitude from their CS staff and once again, intervention from their manager and more credit applied to my account.

    In the last 18 months I was with them... I probably only paid for 50% of it.

    Caveat Emptor... don't believe the rando commentards on here raving about companies... they're not reliable.

    1. I could be a dog really Bronze badge

      Re: Zen are not as good as people claim

      accept all costs related to engineer call outs

      There is a good reason for that.

      If they call out OpenRetch and it does turn out to be the customer's fault (trust me, it happens a lot) then they get a bill. They need to make customers aware of the potential cost up front or they won't be able to rebill it. If they don't rebill it to problem customers, it quickly gets VERY expensive.

      So far, that's all reasonable.

      The problem comes when there is a fault, the engineer comes out, "does nothing", the fault magically disappears but it's reported as "no fault found". Had that, more than once (I used to have to do this on behalf of clients). I don't know if it's still common, but some of use suspect the engineers were under instructions to report NFF as much as possible as that means OR gets to bill the CSP instead of paying them compensation.

      1. Anonymous Coward Silver badge
        Facepalm

        Re: Zen are not as good as people claim

        I had a case of engineer reporting No Fault Found to which I argued back: She didn't find a fault because she was completely clueless but after I told her what the fault was and what she needed to do to fix it, she did that and the fault hasn't returned since.

        We didn't pay.

        (it was an openreach profile problem so not something we could have done ourselves, but also not technically something the engineer fixed herself; she had to be the one to place the call though)

  20. Automumous

    Annoyed

    I saw the mail last Friday. was not happy! Been a customer for 20 years. Through that time I have retained the same /29 block despite multiple regrades and house moves. I have a complex home network (multiple vlans, netting etc), this will not be a quick fix and my customers (family ) will be very annoyed with the outage :-( yes I'm sure I can move to a 1 IP. just the faff at a time when I have other things to do. Offering IPv6 block and suitable time to migrate would have been preferable.

    What good is a price promise if they just remove services/features, yes you pay the same, but for less. Reminds me of the tactics of budget airline.

    I guess after all this, it will be easier to move to another ISP....

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