Friday, 18 January 2013

Beware Of PlusNet Broadband (Final Roll up)

This is my final rollup of all of my previous post on the subject & I’ve done it to allow easier reading for people that have not read it from the start.

If you are looking for a new Broadband Provider or your first Broadband Provider and live in the UK then Beware Of PlusNet Broadband.

The wife and I have been with PlusNet Broadband since 28/08/2010 and have until now have found that they have a very high standard of customer service, then recently the Thomson Router that they provide started dropping signal (this is the second Router that we have had from them, as the first one  would not let the Laptop connect only and the Router had only been used for a few months), so a quick call to customer services and they suggested that we change the channel number of the Router, and all was fine until I upgraded the Laptop to Windows 8 Pro and the connection problems started again.

Then on Thursday we found out that we had gone over our monthly allowance of 60GB which is odd as we only use between 20-40GB a month.  I then contacted customer services about the problem as soon as I spotted it through their online messaging service while the wife phoned customer services who said that it sounded like we had our Wi-Fi hacked and to change the Wireless encryption key which we did, we then got a reply from my complaint yesterday basically making out that it was our own fault for doing downloads during the day instead of between Midnight and 8am when it's free and to set a limit on how much excess we want to pay.

So yesterday we made a trip to PC World and purchased the Netgear DGN 2200 ADSL 2+ Modem Router for £54.99 to replace the Thomson TG585 Modem Router that PlusNet provided and we thought that all was fine until I checked the usage this morning to find that we had apparently used 2% of our monthly allowance on Broadband Phone Calls which is impossible as we have not got Broadband Phone added to our Package, and used 1% of our allowance on Streaming which also is impossible as I've not even been on YouTube and neither has the wife.  So the wife contacted customer services online about it and was met with the response after sending saying that there is a 13 hour response time.

Our setup is a pretty modest one:

Netgear DGN2200 connected to the phone line  an 80GB HDD connected to the DGN2200's USB Port for the network Storage feature, Ethernet cable connected from Port 1 on the DGN2200 to a Power-line Ethernet Plug, Power-line Ethernet plug connected to port 1 on a Belkin 5 Port Ethernet Switch, Port 2 used for the Laptop or Netbook when using it at the Desk, a Humax Foxsat-HDR connected to Port 3 on the Belkin Switch, a Skybox F3 FTA Satellite Receiver connected to Port 4 on the Belkin Switch and Port 5 unused. My Sony Ericsson Xperia Arc S, wife's Sony Ericsson Xperia Arc S and her Amazon Kindle all connected via Wi-Fi along with the Netbook and Laptop, and it's mostly just the Laptop that is connected to the Internet most of the time and wife's Phone and Kindle connected when she needs Internet and my phone very rarely is connected via Wi-Fi.

We got a reply to our complaint and are basically trying to fob us off by saying that we've used something that uses the same Port as there Broadband phone service and so we are going to get 1% of our usage accredited to something that we have not used because something is set to use the exact same Port as what they have assigned to their Broadband phone service, and that the 1% of our allowance used on streaming is down to visiting a website that has got video on it, and since we haven't visited any websites that have auto playing video this month it's impossible to have used 1% of our allowance on streaming as they claim.

I've replied to their response to our complaint saying that they are just making up the usage figures and that they are classing non routable ip traffic as routable ip traffic.

Well the response I got back was more helpful than the first response as the Customer Services Agent that replied back stated that the previous agent was wrong with his reply and sometimes the usage gets miss classified by their system, and this morning when I looked at the usage breakdown I've notice that the 1% usage on Broadband Phone Calls has been removed along with 1% of Peer to Peer being wiped and dropping from 2% to 1% of the usage.

I think we are still unhappy with the level of service that we are receiving  as the level of knowledge of some of the Customer Services Agent seems pretty poor for Customer Service Agents in a Technology Field such as Broadband, and while doing some shopping around we found some cheaper Providers for a better Bandwidth Allowance each month.

Primus Saver & Tesco Broadband both seem better options as they offer Unlimited Bandwidth capped at 100GB a Month and they Total up to less than PlusNet when you factor in the cost of a Phone line from them as well, and they also both offer Phone only unlike PlusNet who offer Broadband only or Phone and Broadband.

I'll keep this series updated with any further issues that we may have with PlusNet and may even have a new series of Broadband related posts in the future.

A new problem has just cropped up of random disconnection from the Internet when using Wi-Fi.

As the random Wi-Fi disconnection is only effecting traffic leaving our Network for the Internet as access to the Router is unaffected it seems like PlusNet are throttling or shaping our connection to the Internet as this problem is only showing up after the free period of usage between Midnight & 8am.

If this is being implemented on our connection then there is something fishy going on at PlusNet as this has only started happening since our problem with Bandwidth usage started.

I am still awaiting a reply from PlusNet about the random Internet disconnection that we were suffering that I commented on in my last post, but the random disconnection from the Internet has cleared up.

The re-classification of our usage breakdown seems to have started again as we had 1% of our allowance used on Streaming 2% of our allowance used on Peer-to-peer when I last wrote an update, this has now changed to 1% of usage on Streaming & 2% on Other.

We finally got a reply from PlunNet Customer Services.

According to the CS Agent that dealt with my complaint there CS is not in professional and that the delay in getting a response was due to the fact that I submitted a complaint instead of a Support Question, but when they hide the Support Question that it’s impossible to find but the Complaint link is easy to find then what do they expect people to do?

Their response to the complaint about poor connection was that it’s nothing to do with the connection to the Internet but to do with the WiFi channel that the router is set to use.  This is there standard answer when they can’t be bothered to help or possibly in this case when they are doing something that they shouldn’t be doing.

I’ll try changing the WiFi Channel number on the router to see if this sorts it out and will post back with my findings, and if this doesn’t work I’ll also be back onto PlusNet CS again.

After trying Customer Services solution of changing the WiFi Channel that the router is set to use didn’t solve our problem of random disconnections from the Internet I decided not to get back onto Plusnet Customer Services, instead I went to my local PC World and bought the NetGear WN1000RP Universal Range Extender, so far since using it we’ve not suffered any random disconnections and we’re thinking of getting a second one for upstairs as the signal in the living room has increased 20% since using it compared to what it was when relying on the NetGear Netgear DGN2200 Router alone.

Since I started this series of posts Plusnet have released an Unlimited Broadband plan for £9.99 a month on a 12 month contract or £12.49 a month with no contract.  We’ve taken up the Broadband Unlimited plan for £9.99 a month as it seems good value for money, and I’m going to see if we get any nasty surprises at the end of the month as Plusnet aren’t displaying any small print about a Fair Usage Policy on their website for  the Broadband Unlimited Plan.

I’ll update this series at the end of the month with my findings on the Plusnet Broadband Unlimited plan.

If you are looking for a new Broadband Provider or your first Broadband Provider and live in the UK then Beware Of PlusNet Broadband.

After still suffering random Wi-Fi drop outs, I went onto the Toshiba website, and found out that they were now providing Windows 8 Drivers for our Toshiba Satellite C660-15R Notebook.

I downloaded and installed the Realtek Drivers for the Realtek RTL8188CE Wi-Fi Card that’s installed and everything is working perfectly.

So in closing Beware Of PlusNet Broadband if you expect a Customer Service Team that is extremely Knowledgeable, but if you want an extremely good value for money Broadband or Home Phone and Broadband service then PlusNet has to be one of the best.



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