Virgin Media ADSL – Latency is killing the service

For some time one of our ADSL lines has been serviced by Virgin.net – now Virgin Media, and from my own experience I really wouldn’t recommend them to any of my friends at the moment.

Why, you ask, wouldn’t I recommend them, I do this on two counts:

  1. The provide telephone support on an 0906 number which costs 25 pence per minute!
  2. Their network latency is awful (So are their transfer speeds, but this is secondary to the latency from my point of view).

Now the support number problem I don’t see as an issue to myself, as I much prefer to use their live chat system (If you can get hold of someone of course), but the latency problem is terrible…

Virgin Media ADSL customers connect to their network through a number of  points, known as bams, and most of these this morning at around 11am were already mostly showing terrible latency, and I have collected the ping times from a number of trace routes done whilst trying to connect to most (If not all) of Virgin Media’s bams, these are show below.

2   237 ms   217 ms   227 ms  brhm-bam-1.inet.ntl.com [194.145.148.5]
2   228 ms   226 ms   253 ms  brhm-bam-2.inet.ntl.com [194.145.148.3]

2   173 ms   157 ms   159 ms  brnt-bam-2.inet.ntl.com [194.145.148.7]
2   238 ms   240 ms   236 ms  brnt-bam-3.inet.ntl.com [194.145.148.170]

2   203 ms   206 ms   209 ms  glfd-bam-1.inet.ntl.com [194.145.148.4]

2   218 ms   227 ms   370 ms  leed-bam-1.inet.ntl.com [194.145.148.68]

2   166 ms   174 ms   169 ms  manc-bam-2.inet.ntl.com [194.145.148.19]

3    35 ms    33 ms    29 ms  nrth-t2core-a-ge-wan63.inet.ntl.com [213.106.255.61]

2   209 ms   182 ms   189 ms  popl-bam-1.inet.ntl.com [194.145.148.76]

2    48 ms    45 ms    42 ms  winn-bam-1.inet.ntl.com [194.145.148.190]
As you can see, all bar two of them are showing over 100ms, and about half of them are over 200ms – this is unacceptable to alot of users out there, especially the online gamers and anyone using a VOIP service – this can induce a delay in the VOIP service which makes it almost unusable apparently.

It seems as if Virgin Media have too many customers connecting through there bams and that their equipment cannot take the load in an acceptable way, thus inducing the high latency show here, and also a slow down in transfer rates – not an acceptable service in my opinion.

Just to close, I was able to get connected through different bams by disconnecting and reconnecting the PVC connection – which gives you a chance to connect to a different bam from the one you were connected to – although this isn’t a certainty, then testing the connection my running a “tracert www.google.com” and seeing what the second hope ping times are, once a low latency connection is found.

I would suggest this above to any Virgin Media ADSL users who are experiencing high latency or low transfer speeds, although remember, you are disconnecting the PVC and not the actual ADSL (ATM) connection – disconnecting and reconnecting your ADSL connection can have an adverse effect on your service as the exchange equipment will see the constant disconnects and reconnects as a possible line fault and may take steps to stop this which may in their own right slow your connection down (Such as dropping your IP Profile or raising your SNR thus lowering your Sync speed).

I hope this helps some Virgin Media users out there, and I am currently looking into some other ADSL providers and will be providing some updates here as and when I’ve got some new information for you all.

-Roamer.

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