VM or BT for broadband only?

arachnoid

Active Member
Planning to move from PlusNet FTTC and need to issue an order for VM or BT in a day or two. I've not had any major concerns with PN, just need higher speeds and FTTP/cable. VM deals are tempting though a couple of concerns remain. 1) I need to retain the VM device in passthrough/modem mode in order to use my own router. Also, that's another device to take up space and a power socket 2) Could latency (cable media) become an issue? 3) It seems both suppliers have issues with WiFi, e.g. cannot name individual bands in one case (though this would not be an issue with my own router), and connectivity between devices on the same WiFi network and using different bands is an issue (I think that was BT and definitely a no go for me), again something that would not be an issue with my worn router.

I'm leaning slightly to VM based on price/speeds, also VM is on an 18-month contract, meaning I can switch sooner than BT (24-month) if I am not entirely happy. I do not anticipate any need for TV, mobile, etc. In terms of service/availability, a lower risk of service outages is better. Would I regret going to VM based on lower cost/higher speeds or should I pay the extra and go with BT?
 

EndlessWaves

Distinguished Member
Bear in mind both ISPs operate on an up front discount model and ongoing prices will be high, I personally wouldn't go with either unless you're planning to move at the end of your minimum contract term regardless of whether you're happy or not.

I'm not sure which issue you're worried about with latency, and as you say the home networking abilities of the free starter router are irrelevant if you're using your own.
 

arachnoid

Active Member
Thanks. Who would you go with? Not sure I have many options for ultrafast. Latency likely worse on cable. Google search will show various reports on this topic. IIRC cable uses contention access meaning peak periods impact performance. Less of an issue with very high speeds. Not sure of the technical differences between fibre/cable and latency but sure to be some. I’d look at options out of contract in any case.
 

MarkyPancake

Distinguished Member
Something to bear in mind that I've learned from various posts in the VM Community Forum is even a good DOCSIS connection, which is what VM use, latency will be higher than BT's broadband. Also, if you're unlucky and are in an over-subscribed VM area, then expect frequent latency spikes.
 

SyStemDeMoN

Well-known Member
Purely for speed I would go VM.
I used to have 350mb and loved it. But I did have issues if I was streaming 4K from Amazon or Netlfix. You could clearly see the drop in resolution at times.

I have to an area where I cannot get VM and I am with BT with a max or 60mb. The Issues I had with drops in resolution are gone.
I even use the same mesh routers I has with VM so its not the routers that was the issue.
I don't know if others had the problem with streaming as I did. Some people don't notice those things.
 

outoftheknow

Moderator
1) I need to retain the VM device in passthrough/modem mode in order to use my own router. Also, that's another device to take up space and a power socket 2) Could latency (cable media) become an issue?
The VM device in bridged mode is another device and power socket- however that is the only difference to using one combined modem/router. Or do you mean VM requires their equipment to do something other than be a modem? Must the connection be made by the VM device? You say to use your own router - does that mena you have a router only - or your own modem/router that VM stop you using the modem part of?

is VM cable or FTTP? Is that one of the choices - FTTP with BT or cable with VM? If so, the latency is higher on cable (HFC) than fibre but at the end of the day that matters very little for the vast majority of Internet use. Do you have latency critical functions you must have the internet for? If so you would choose the lowest possible latency regardless of cost etc and that would be FTTP. Anyway coming from FTTC you would be used to higher latency already :)
 

MarkyPancake

Distinguished Member
You have to use VM's supplied Super Hub, but they allow you to put it into modem mode and then you can use your own router for these duties if you wish. You cannot use your own modem with VM.

Whilst it's much improved via firmware updates, or so I've heard, the Intel Puma Chipset issue still exists in the Super Hub 3 and 4, which affects latency sporadically.
 

arachnoid

Active Member
I decided to go with BT as I heard too many stories about latency and did not want to be stuck with it since I have some apps that are latency-sensitive. Will purchase a new Asus router and use my old one in mesh.

Thanks for your inputs.
 

sep8001

Well-known Member
I decided to go with BT as I heard too many stories about latency and did not want to be stuck with it since I have some apps that are latency-sensitive. Will purchase a new Asus router and use my old one in mesh.

Thanks for your inputs.
Will BT not give you the same speed as Plusnet as both use the same line?
 

oneman

Well-known Member
I decided to go with BT as I heard too many stories about latency and did not want to be stuck with it since I have some apps that are latency-sensitive. Will purchase a new Asus router and use my old one in mesh.

Thanks for your inputs.
Who is telling you these stories ?

Are you doing some sort of stock trading that microsecond latency is an issue ?

In order to connect to the 'internet' you go from your house to your ISP's peering location. This is were they exchange data with other providers. This should be in the region of around 10ms for both BT and VM.

Good news is if the server you are connecting to is in the UK then there is a good change they are based in the same data centre or at least in a high speed interconnected datacentre so you only add a couple of ms to latency.

If the server is abroad then typical latency for Netherlands for example is around 20ms and for the US east coast is around 100ms. Depending on the service they probably have a CDN (content delivery network) so many global services are likely to have presence in the UK or at least close by.


So your choice of BT or VM based is going to have very, very little bearing on your latency.
 

MarkyPancake

Distinguished Member
A good VM latency is around 20ms, but it can be a lot worse if you're in an oversubscribed area or during peak times. Ours fluctuates enough that it can impact multiplayer gaming, but thankfully it's nowhere near as bad as what I've seen on the VM community forums.

At this point I would happily try another ISP, but none of them come close to the speeds VM offer in our area and we need the bandwidth to deal with the amount of devices consuming bandwidth, over a couple of us wanting better latency for gaming.
 

jimscreechy

Active Member
I personally think its a good choice having been a customer of both for some considerable periods time. from the technical perspective I think the VM drawbacks are
1. Latency
2. Contention ratio
3. Traffic shaping.

Additionally I had far more frequent service interruptions from VM that BT.
 

arachnoid

Active Member
Who is telling you these stories ?

Are you doing some sort of stock trading that microsecond latency is an issue ?

In order to connect to the 'internet' you go from your house to your ISP's peering location. This is were they exchange data with other providers. This should be in the region of around 10ms for both BT and VM.

Good news is if the server you are connecting to is in the UK then there is a good change they are based in the same data centre or at least in a high speed interconnected datacentre so you only add a couple of ms to latency.

If the server is abroad then typical latency for Netherlands for example is around 20ms and for the US east coast is around 100ms. Depending on the service they probably have a CDN (content delivery network) so many global services are likely to have presence in the UK or at least close by.


So your choice of BT or VM based is going to have very, very little bearing on your latency.
Thanks. I previously worked in telecoms so it's an informed view.
 

MarkyPancake

Distinguished Member
We’ve been with VM for many years, currently their 200/20 service, but if there were other options close to the speeds VM offer in our area, I would ditch them without hesitation to try a different ISP.

To give some context, we’ve got a Super Hub 2, so no Intel Puma Chipset issues on our network, in modem mode and using an ASUS AC86U router. I used to see consistent ping/latency around 18ms in FPS multiplayer games. Recently this has crept up to 30ms, but the last few days it’s now up to 60+ms, zero changes to our home network configuration or devices usage, and this is now having a noticeable effect on multiplayer gaming. I’m not trying to be a pro, but it is annoying how it impacts your experience. On top of that it will randomly drop your connection mid-game when playing titles that require you to connect to a third-party service, such as EA, Ubisoft, etc.

The sooner BT fibre gets here, the better.
 

jimscreechy

Active Member
We’ve been with VM for many years, currently their 200/20 service, but if there were other options close to the speeds VM offer in our area, I would ditch them without hesitation to try a different ISP.

To give some context, we’ve got a Super Hub 2, so no Intel Puma Chipset issues on our network, in modem mode and using an ASUS AC86U router. I used to see consistent ping/latency around 18ms in FPS multiplayer games. Recently this has crept up to 30ms, but the last few days it’s now up to 60+ms, zero changes to our home network configuration or devices usage, and this is now having a noticeable effect on multiplayer gaming. I’m not trying to be a pro, but it is annoying how it impacts your experience. On top of that it will randomly drop your connection mid-game when playing titles that require you to connect to a third-party service, such as EA, Ubisoft, etc.

The sooner BT fibre gets here, the better.
Its funny that you should say that because Gaming is probably the most obvious uses that highlights some of the shortcomings that can sometimes affect VM. I have BT internet and one of the games I play is Project 2 cars on steam with my Nephews (10 & 14) who have VM.

Unlike a FPS shooters which don't seem affected (noticeably anyway) the constant need to reference other cars on the track accurately really needs a good connection, and they suffer with micro-jumps, reference breaking and other control characteristics that I never do.

Admittedly its not a serious or even frequent problem, but when it does occur, it is usually at peak times, they freak out and scream at the game... much to my amusement. Obviously their bandwidth is much higher than mine, so they always download new games while I'm patiently sitting it out waiting for mine to complete, but from the gaming perspective mine is far better.
 
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jizzlejimbo

Active Member
BT FTTP. VM and the Docsis technology they use just isn't quite as good with latency and the upload speeds are crap.

I have BT FTTP with a PFSense router and the connection is amazing for gaming!
 

Heartstone

Well-known Member
Moved over to Idnet broadband, obviously on the Openreach network, will never go back BT Plusnet Sky Talk Talk etc. Pay more but what a difference, not dropped in 25 days, latency halved to 15 to 20. Just generally better experience!
 

ashenfie

Well-known Member
Vodafone over the Openreach network, 74mbs and 20ms latency and 5% jitter all for £22 a month. I didn't expect much and Sky had been fobbing me off with same old excuses, it was my wifi/router etc etc.

I know I would get the same. drop outs going with Vodafone,but at least it was. cheaper. To my surprise Vodafone after 10 mins on the chat sent Openreach engineer out next day and sorted it.
 

Heartstone

Well-known Member
Vodafone over the Openreach network, 74mbs and 20ms latency and 5% jitter all for £22 a month. I didn't expect much and Sky had been fobbing me off with same old excuses, it was my wifi/router etc etc.

I know I would get the same. drop outs going with Vodafone,but at least it was. cheaper. To my surprise Vodafone after 10 mins on the chat sent Openreach engineer out next day and sorted it.
Internet traffic on any given provider in my opinion is the single biggest issue, second to that is what going on our end.
 

oneman

Well-known Member
Vodafone over the Openreach network, 74mbs and 20ms latency and 5% jitter all for £22 a month. I didn't expect much and Sky had been fobbing me off with same old excuses, it was my wifi/router etc etc.

I know I would get the same. drop outs going with Vodafone,but at least it was. cheaper. To my surprise Vodafone after 10 mins on the chat sent Openreach engineer out next day and sorted it.
20ms from and to where, from London to the Moon ?
 

ashenfie

Well-known Member
Yeah bt do that now. No Manchester to Glasgow
 

outoftheknow

Moderator
Yeah bt do that now. No Manchester to Glasgow
The comment was somewhat pertinent though. Ping or latency needs to have a distance associated to it to work out of it is good or bad.

20ms for a couple of hundred miles to the server is ok. 200ms for a thousand or two is ok.

presumably your 20ms is to your favourite Speedtest server - which is how far away?
 

ashenfie

Well-known Member
The comment was somewhat pertinent though. Ping or latency needs to have a distance associated to it to work out of it is good or bad.

20ms for a couple of hundred miles to the server is ok. 200ms for a thousand or two is ok.

presumably your 20ms is to your favourite Speedtest server - which is how far away?
I have 2 speed test sites that I use. One which is build into the tp-link router and cloudfare.com. As you say 20ms is average but as my house is a fixed location, while the speediest server site are no. Therefore if your doing a/b testing you need to ensure you use the same sites.

I would expect anyone on openreach to average the same as me in terms of latency and jitter, Speed should be close to what your provider quotes (that hardwired from your router. For £22 I think it's a hard deal to beet.
 

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