Why do we manage traffic?
Our broadband service is provided over a shared network. Bandwidth (the amount of data that can be transmitted) is shared between everybody who is connected to the network. This industry-wide method allows us to provide a reliable, high-speed service at an affordable price.
As customer numbers and usage grows, we have to increase the capacity of our network to make sure there's enough bandwidth for everyone. When the network is busy, it's easy for things to get out of control. Peer-to-peer, video streaming and large file downloads can flood the network quickly and use up the bandwidth. If this happens, it reduces the speed of web browsing, email, gaming and other types of web traffic. Traffic management prevents this from happening.
With traffic management we can do lots of clever things to make sure everyone gets a good, fair online experience. For example we can:
- Make sure stuff that needs to be fast (like VoIP, VPN and gaming) is always prioritised - if these run slowly, they wont work properly
- Protect your interactive activities like web-browsing and email from download traffic such as music downloads
- Provide a service relative to the amount each customer pays in terms of usage allowances and experience
- Flex the network in the event of unusual demands in traffic or disaster situations (e.g. a network failure)
How does it work?
Our systems identify traffic and assign it to one of six priority queues:
- Titanium (highest priority)
- Gold Plated
- Best Effort (lowest priority)
The queue for each type of traffic is different for each of our broadband products (see the table below for full details). Generally, 'time sensitive' and 'interactive' activities have the highest priority.
What this means: at busy times, higher priority queues will take bandwidth from the lowest queue(s) currently in use (but never enough to take the lower queue below its minimum bandwidth allowance).
|Pro Add-On||Business options 1-3|
|Browsing & Email||Gold||Gold||Gold||Gold|
|Download sites||Gold Plated||Gold Plated||Gold||Gold Plated|
|Peer to peer/Usenet||Best Effort||Bronze||Gold||Bronze|
Some applications not using the standard port may not be identified correctly by our system, as we use DPI to identify applications on the network. These applications may be classified as 'other' traffic in which case a lower priority may apply.
Please note: rate limits are not applied to our current Plusnet Unlimited product.
We use rate limits with Plusnet Essentials and some of our older broadband products to make sure everyone gets a good online experience.
|For example: you're a Plusnet Essentials customer with a 5Mb connection. In your house there's someone playing Halo 4, someone else watching YouTube videos, and someone else trying to download from Usenet.|
|If we just let the traffic prioritisation rules dictate the experience the gamer and YouTube viewer would be fighting for the bandwidth and both activites may suffer. By applying a rate limit to gaming and YouTube we can make sure that both activities work properly, and any remaining bandwidth is given to the download (in the 5Mb example gaming would get 2Mb, YouTube 2.5Mb and downloading 0.5Mb).|
What happens when the network is really busy?
Sometimes our network is under extreme load (such as when there's a major network outage or a major news event). On these occasions we need to manage traffic more than we would like.
We have a number of configurations we can apply when the network is extremely busy, you can read more about these in our Abnormal load guide.
This page last updated 19th December 2012