Why ISPs are evil...
by, 08-06-2014 at 10:44 PM (111201 Views)
So this is a bit of rant about some damn ISPs we have in the UK that seem to embrace malpractice and lack any common sense...
In the UK, there's this new fad that has been going for some time and no one seems to be able to kill: ISPs advertising the hell out of literally everything they offer. I can't remember the last time I sat down in front of a screen and wasn't played a BT infinity, virgin media, sky everywhere type advert offering some comparatively crappy deal. I mean 40GB of bandwidth a month on a 75mbit line? Are you people high? And they'll still charge you that £15 or so for POTS COPPER line rental because lets face it - fibre to kerb near your street still needs it. SO lets all *upgrade* from an unlimited, relatively uncensored (at least on orange AKA EE) 18MBit line to a blazing 45-75mbit line that has download limits, more censoring, a 'safety net for all connection' <- This is actually deep packet inspection in some instances as a friend found out (you know like in CHINA) which by default flat out refuses to let you downlaod any binary files that aren't flash and other common things (yes seriously - you cant get a .jar for minecraft. Even if you zip it up, rar it or rename it). Oh - and theres traffic shaping. Except its a feature you pay to get rid off, and even if you do screw you if you wanted to torrent your isos or anything of the sort. Its a bargain - only double the money of ADSL for the first 6 months, then its triple.
But oddly, thats not my main gripe with them. Its an issue I think everyone is aware of if they've ever tried to move files over wifi: neighbours. Well okay, not the neighbours themselves but rather the ISPs that use them as free towers. That skybox under the TV (sky = like tivo for non brits) its an access point. Or two in somce cases. OH? You've got 2 skyboxes? Thats 4 APs. You have a home hub? 3 APs on 2 more channels. And that talktalk box? Yep thats another. Virgin media? Another. Oh, and dont forget the router you had to buy because you needed more range as a result of all the above interference. That's one neighbouring household. We have neighbours on all sides and unfortunately between them is admittedly an okay sized garden. Unfortunately, it turns out 2.4GHz goes everywhere. The result is that in a block of fully detached houses I can see 5 households of access points. At an average 4 SSIDs per household thats... 20SSIDs (okay, I can only see about 16 indoors in different rooms) but still... HAS NO ONE FROM THE IEEE TOLD THEM THE ONLY NON-OVERLAPPING CHANNELS ARE 1, 6, 11 (and 13 here in the EU)?
The result is actually not so bad - most APs talk over each other and you prop up your own boxes in the space thats left right? WRONG.
New boxes I have observed have 'intelligent' signal boosting features. What that means is that when they think they're being interfered with they up the transmit power to the legal maximum and if that fails it moves channel and repeats the procedure. Thats great. Except what you end up with is this:
Neighbour changes ISP from X to Y. Y sends neighbour a new box for bundle features (this happens every few months because of the stupid 3-6 month promotions and they're perception of having crappy internet). They install box from Y but the box from X is still being used for god knows what. Box Y thinks box X is causing interference so now both are at full power on 2 non-overlapping channels. This is basically a chain reaction so every single frequency is saturated by wifi boxes doing.... SOD ALL.
You see, when you buy a BT Home hub, or a skybox or some other piece of junk from such companies theres more than 1 access point. Lets pick on BT's offering for instance. You get:
-Your actual wifi access point on channel 1, 6 or 11.
-A BTWifi access point for BT customers who want wifi access away from home on whichever channel of 1, 6 and 11 are not used by your own AP.
-Another BtWifi with access point named BTWifi-FON which I presume serves the same purpose as the one directly above it. Thus each box uses THE ENTIRE SPECTRUM.
Thus, if you live between two household of morons you get showered with interference as a result of those boxes being unable to coexist. Today, it looks like one of our neighbours decided to get another talktalk box. This unfortunately caused something wicked to happen and every single box had maxed out its transmit power and hopped channels, effectively crippling the network here. And so began a day of trying to fit in between the unholy mess from all these flaming boxes.
There are a total of 5 households in wifi range here (including ours). IS IT REALLY SO ABSURD TO EXPECT THERE TO BE 5 NETWORKS ON REASONABLY FREE CHANNELS? BT, TalkTalk, SKY, Virgin, EE - ALL OF YOU: STOP MAKING THESE GOD FORSAKEN BOXES THAT TURNS WIFI INTO A SHOUT-FEST TO SEE WHO HAS THE BIGGER ANTENNA
On another note: Unless any of you ISPs plan to offer a decent option, I'm not moving from my 18mbit line that costs £12 a month including line rental. I really hate it when I need to get a 1GB ISO and have to wait 5-8 minutes.... NOT.
I'd actually be interested to hear how this is elsewhere on the planet, having heard plenty of stories of crappy internet from people I know that turned out to be bad wifi instead of the former I'd be interested to know if other people have this problem so please leave a comment and if thatís the case - how you get around it (besides installing OpenWRT and ramping up the output power, which I'm pretty sure no one would ever do because its illegal... )