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Changed Service, not ISP, and now suffering some interesting effects


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Hi all,

First time poster who has what I class as an 'interesting' problem. For the last four years I have had my broadband provided to me via my employer - it was a BT 1 megabit service. I have successfully used uTorrent (1.6.1) for, I'd say, the last 18 months or so to achieve relatively consistent 50kB/s download speeds on torrents. In fact, I set my global limit to 50kB/s because the other stuff I would be doing slowed down if I set it any higher. I set my global upload limit to around 5kB/s or 6kB/s, sometimes 7kB/s but no higher.

Last Thursday (17th Sept.) I changed from BT's 1 megabit service provided via work to their Total Broadband Option 3 - the one that comes with the BT Home Hub, HubPhone and the 'unlimited' downloads - up to 20 megabits, but I can only get 5 megabits (apparently) from my exchange.

To keep things simple, I ignored the HomeHub completely. I read in the User Guide that I could just change the username and password on my existing router to get access to the new service, so that seemed the easy thing to do. So, just to be clear, I've changed no hardware and I've changed no software - all I've changed is the username and password in my router and rebooted it.

After the reboot, everything worked swimmingly and browsing the web and downloading files was blisteringly fast (compared to what I was used to). However, the uncertainty came when I tried to download a torrent and I max'd out at around 29kB/s to 31kB/s.

I wasn't very happy about that; however, I did think that it might be down to things 'bedding in'. BT are very clear that this can take 10 days. Anyway, I had set my global download limit to 100kB/s and global upload limit to 30kB/s in anticipation, but nothing seemed to want to use that.

This morning, I was very pleased to note that the overall speed was 70kB/s down on a well-seeded torrent. 64 seeds and 35 peers. That speed was greater than I ever used to get before, so I was quite happy. Sadly, though, that didn't last and since about 18:30 today that same torrent has been stumbling along at less than 2kB/s. In fact that total (in the status bar) is around 3kB/s - four torrents (12s and 9p / 64s and 35p / 2s and 0p / 1s 0p) and I might expect the first two to be doing something impressive.

The torrent with 64 seeders and 35 peers, for example, has a share ratio of 0.237 - but no-one seems to be taking it from me anyway, although the option is obviously there (global upload limit at 30kB/s).

So, as I say... I've changed no hardware (ignoring the BT HomeHub), changed no software (uTorrent is the same), changed a few settings (global upload and download amounts) but am getting extremely poor download speeds. I have all the standard stuff I think - not having changed that much - and my port is forwarded properly and I have the green tick at the bottom of uTorrent.

Question is... am I experiencing severe throttling in action here? How can the change from a 1 megabit BT service to a 5 megabit BT service be so drastic? Every other kind of traffic - browsing, large email attachments, YouTube - is all pretty speedy it seems. I did try the Unbuntu desktop torrent (~700mb) as a test and it shot up to 130kB/s for a short while, then dropped to 20kB/s, then dropped to 7kB/s... just kept dropping.

Here's some output from a speed checker earlier today... which makes me feel good about that "speed down" if nothing else; it is supposed to be a 5 megabit service that my exchange can provide.

Date 19/09/09 19:17:50

Speed Down 6663.43 Kbps ( 6.5 Mbps )

Speed Up 376.06 Kbps ( 0.4 Mbps )

Any thoughts and / or guidance appreciated. Apologies for the detail.

Cheers, Hippo

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Thanks for the thoughts, and for the advice - I will try that, see what happens. However, I am still very concerned because, as I say, nothing has changed in the environment that I control, i.e. my hardware, my software and my settings.

Doesn't it seem extremely coincidental that this all happened on the day I changed service, from the same ISP? I never envisaged that I would get torrents working at 5x the speed of the 1 megabit service by moving to the 5 megabit service, but having them actually drop by 15x is certainly not what I expected either.

Cheers, Hippo

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Your old line may have qualified as a "business" line and immune to the general traffic shaping policies. The new line is subject to their worst policies...


"BT, for instance, recent became Ellacoya's single largest customer ... deep packet inspection enables them to better monitor their network"

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