About four months ago, I switched from Bezeq ADSL (through my job) + BezeqInt ISP to Hot cable + Barak ISP. For 99NIS/month, I get 1.5Mbps download and a whopping (by Israeli standards) 512Kbps upload (Bezeq gave me 1.5/96). That’s the good news.
Now for the bad news.
About a week and a half ago, I started experiencing horrible pauses in online gaming. I’m not referring to latency issues, what gamers call “Ping,” as that refers to the time it takes a packet to travel from my PC to the server. I’m also not complaining about throughput, which refers to the quantity of data transfered in a given amount of time. Instead, I’d be playing, and all of a sudden the server would appear to pause for 2, 5, or even 20 seconds. This happened in multiple games, on multiple servers, so I doubt it was the game.
I began running ping tests to google.com, and 220.127.116.11, a highly reliable DNS server, and noticed that at nights, I’d often miss about 10-25% of the packets (Timeouts). Running traceroute (a nice visual version from Ping Plotter showed that several switches ending in 013bk.net were the source of 30%-95% packet loss!
I began calling Barak, and complained. The first few people said there’s nothing they can do since I don’t have a dialer (I connect directly). This, of course, is not relevent, since the problem was clearly on their end. I then spoke to someone named Sasha (first person from whom I remembered to get a name), who told me that these bad routers are actually frame switches, and do not answer ICMP, and so the problem must be my router at home! When pressed for an explanation why they responded at least 10-20% of the time, he had no clear answer. I tried hooking my PC up directly to please him (not my Windows PC, but my Linux one), but the results were the same.
I did discover that the IP I got was a derivative of the MAC address, so I played around with that a little in my router, hoping I could get onto a better subnet (with Bezeq, I occassionally had to disconnect and prompty reconnect to get into a different subnet with much lower latency), but no luck.
During the day (when I’m at work!), everything works great! At night, when I actually want to use things, it’s no where near as nice.
I’ve also started running the line quality tests from dslreports.com. Here are my results (my IP at the time is removed, but all the rest is a real test):
- 2006-09-06 23:19:54
- 2006-09-06 23:48:17
- 2006-09-10 01:17:57
- 2006-09-10 05:47:54
- 2006-09-11 14:18:41
- 2006-09-13 16:09:23
- 2006-09-14 18:31:53
- 2006-09-15 14:17:25
- 2006-09-16 22:28:14
- 2006-09-20 23:41:13
- 2006-09-24 21:30:47
- 2006-09-25 20:05:10
- 2006-09-29 17:16:07
- 2006-09-30 20:16:40
Note that the times at the site are Eastern time — add 7 hours to get the time in Israel. The times above are corrected to reflect Israel time.
I’m posting this hoping that either: a. someone else has been through a similar process or b. Barak will see it (likely, since I’m sending it to them as well) and help.
I’ve contacted their tech support by email, but they told me that “to mike the problem that you describe cant to be solved with emails only with barak technical support pleas call 039001222 when you can.” To be fair, I’m not complaining about their English — I deal with their tech support in Hebrew, but my PC at home doesn’t have Hebrew letters! (plus, I’m a horrible typist in Hebrew)
On an even funnier note, one of the times I spoke to tech support, they asked that I forward a traceroute to them, but not to email@example.com! Instead, they asked that I use firstname.lastname@example.org. The tech support representitive claimed that they have a spam filter that often rejects legitamate mail, and the yahoo address would be more reliable!
I’ll keep everyone posted…