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giffgaff Data: Issues identified by me

Started by: k89bpa
On: 30/10/2018 | 19:45
Replies: 22
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by: k89bpa
on: 30/10/2018 | 19:45

I'm testing the £20 goodybag and so far I've found it to be pretty good but I've just discovered an issue...

 

https://channels.vlive.tv/D974B7

 

When streaming videos from this online web show in 270p the connection constantly drops.

 

I've just watched episodes 23-26, which as you can see are all around five minutes long. With each and every episode it was necessary to quickly go into airplane mode to reactivate the connection. Sometimes once per video, sometimes twice, once it was three times. 

 

Remember this is for very low resolution videos, (270p), and thus relatively small data transfers per video.

 

This problem has never occurred on Tesco, Three or Vodafone which highlights that it's not a website issue, not an O2 issue, (it would affect Tesco too and it didn't), but that it is a specific giffgaff issue. 

 

This kind of thing needs to be looked into if you want to be taken seriously as a network provider because the data transfers we are talking about here are relatively small and if the smallest resolution videos are experiencing issues it's a sign of network mismanagement.

 

This was on 4G+, (800+2100 bands).

 

For comparison I played two of the videos on Vodafone as watching using giffgaff, on just a 4G connection, (2100 only), and they played without interruption at 480p resolution. 

Huawei P20 Pro | 9.0.0 | Data Plan: 180GB
My Public GDrive Folder
Message 1 of 23
by: k89bpa
on: 30/10/2018 | 20:09 edited: 30/10/2018 | 20:10

It's a consistency issue...

I've just tried https://vimeo.com/82762268 at 720p to see if I would run into the same issues and despite being more than double the resolution it played all the way through without issue.

A YouTube video playing in the background at 360p also plays fine.

Could it be that you're dropping live streaming video connections as a method of management?

I don't know if VLive prebuffer the way that YouTube and Vimeo do, if they don't that could explain the issue.

I'm gonna do another test and actually monitor if the bandwidth pushed by VLive is constant or periodic as with YouTube, if it is, that's the likely cause and I can see why you do it but when no other network in my experience does it, that is a disadvantage for you for people who engage in "live streaming" as a consumer or producer. 

Huawei P20 Pro | 9.0.0 | Data Plan: 180GB
My Public GDrive Folder
Message 2 of 23
by: k89bpa
on: 30/10/2018 | 20:28
Okay...

VLive does work in the same manner as YouTube and Vimeo in that it prebuffers but unlike those two, you get a burst of data whilst using giffgaff and then a tiny trickle which stops the prebuffering.

You reset the connection and you get another burst of data before it goes back to a tiny trickle and thus, the video stops playing and doesn't come back until the user restarts the connection or the tickle builds up enough of a buffer for another few seconds of playback.

With Vodafone who have zero traffic management, it's burst, trickle, burst, trickle, burst, trickle which is why the video fully prebuffers and plays through without issue.

What I'm experiencing on this site is exactly the same as people used to describe regarding YouTube where they'd have to prebuffer for minutes to get a few seconds of playback.

Now obviously it's good that you've fixed the issue of YouTube, (and Vimeo), and I'm guessing that's down to their popularity, but that it's still happening on other video platforms is poor, very poor.

It does lend a lot more credence to the accusations of traffic management on the packages which aren't supposed to have any too.
Huawei P20 Pro | 9.0.0 | Data Plan: 180GB
My Public GDrive Folder
Message 3 of 23
by: k89bpa
on: 30/10/2018 | 20:36 edited: 30/10/2018 | 20:43

For full context...

giffgaff: https://www.thinkbroadband.com/speedtest/1540931421395953555
My Broadband Speed Test
Vodafone: https://www.thinkbroadband.com/speedtest/1540931612616491455
My Broadband Speed Test
Giffgaff is 4G+, (800+2100), Vodafone is 4G, (2100), the results aren't too dissimilar, and both are providing more than enough to stream at Full HD, (1080p), so why is giffgaff struggling at 270p?

Huawei P20 Pro | 9.0.0 | Data Plan: 180GB
My Public GDrive Folder
Message 4 of 23
by: techiebloke
on: 30/10/2018 | 20:45

@k89bpa

 

Is that with or without VPN?

 

 

"Get your free SIM with £5 credit"

Those who mind don't matter and those who matter don't mind
Message 5 of 23
by: k89bpa
on: 30/10/2018 | 20:48 edited: 30/10/2018 | 20:54

Without for both @techiebloke.

Same device, (Moto X4), same browser, (Android 8.0.0 and latest Chrome), giffgaff SIM is in the device, Vodafone SIM is being tethered via WiFi from a Nexus 5X.

 

I've done it that way to remove device variables without messing around swapping sims constantly, Nexus 5X isn't compatible with O2/Vodafone carrier aggregation, Moto X4 is. 

 

If I did swap sims, not gonna lie, Vodafone will **bleep** all over giffgaff on the speed test, but they're not the issue in this case, as both push more than enough for Full HD playback, in fact 4K should stream fine at those speeds, and yet giffgaff struggles with a 270p resolution video for some reason.

Huawei P20 Pro | 9.0.0 | Data Plan: 180GB
My Public GDrive Folder
Message 6 of 23
by: techiebloke
on: 30/10/2018 | 20:58 edited: 30/10/2018 | 20:59

@k89bpa

 

I suspect you are spot on and it's probably looking at the domain plus traffic signatures.

 

I had a heated discussion once with the tech support of a well known ISP about signature based traffic management as it was dropping stuff like browsing it was supposed to prioritise!

 

However, it is the only real way to go about traffic management if you are going to use it to stop it being sidestepped.

 

The more I read about people's traffic speed and behaviour woes on gg the more I do think it's an issue of too small a connection out to the Internet (hence the use of heavy traffic management) combined with them only getting a slice of the radio and backhaul back from each site.

"Get your free SIM with £5 credit"

Those who mind don't matter and those who matter don't mind
Message 7 of 23
by: techiebloke
on: 30/10/2018 | 21:03

@k89bpa

 

Not tested from my mobile but working ok on a 39 Meg FTTP connection so as you say, def not speed.

 

 

"Get your free SIM with £5 credit"

Those who mind don't matter and those who matter don't mind
Message 8 of 23
by: k89bpa
on: 30/10/2018 | 21:09
@techiebloke

With the reported Skype issues and now this I'm inclined to agree and drop my defence of giffgaff regarding traffic management, it's pretty obvious something it happening.

It's a shame because it means that giffgaff STILL can't be trusted by those for who data is a high priority.
Huawei P20 Pro | 9.0.0 | Data Plan: 180GB
My Public GDrive Folder
Message 9 of 23
by: techiebloke
on: 30/10/2018 | 21:19

@k89bpa

 

Although I understood gg operate certain parts of the infrastructure themselves I do wonder if that extends to firewalls and their connectivity to the outside world as the last time I ran a tracert from HE network tools it mentioned the old bethere network which I think O2 use for their external connectivity also and so it could be that gg has a fraction of say one or likely more 10 gig pipes so that means it would be end to end and thus absolutely necessitate traffic management.

 

Would be interesting to know a bit more about the infrastructure but I'm not holding my breath.

"Get your free SIM with £5 credit"

Those who mind don't matter and those who matter don't mind
Message 10 of 23