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Sharedband slows down in the afternoon/evening

Sharedband slows down in the afternoon/evening.

If your sharedband service slows down in the afternoon, this issues is normally caused by either traffic shaping or contention on the lines that are bonded.

What is contention?

Due to the ever increasing use of the internet, ISPs are finding that at peak times, normally between 3pm and 11pm, traffic is many times more than what is available.
It is uneconomical for an ISP to provide every customer with 100% of the bandwidth all the time (this is one of the reasons leased lines are so expensive), especially as most customers don’t use 100% all the time.

Another way to explain this is like the water supply to your house. You only have a finite amount of water per second coming in. If somebody is having a shower and then someone else decides to flush the toilet, the shower and the toilet are now both trying to use all the available water, so the water supply is split in two and the person in the shower gets a shock.

To try and avoid one customer being able to use all the available bandwidth and thus affect other customers, some ISPs use traffic shaping.


What is traffic shaping?

Due to the ever increasing use of the internet, ISPs are finding that at peak times, normally between 3PM and 11PM, that traffic is many times what is actually available, this causes contention issues (see contention above).
To minimize disruption during peak periods, some ISPs prioritise web and email traffic but penalise other traffic like VPN, Gaming, P2P and other unknown programs. Because sharedband is still relatively unknown it sometimes gets categorised with all the other “undesirable” traffic.

This results in the customer getting sub-optimum sharedband performance during peak periods.

Testing for traffic shaping and contention.

Log on to the sharedband NOC using the details you were given when you signed up with Sharedband. If you get your service direct from sharedband then the URLS are below. If you buy from a Sharedband partner then you will need to raise the issue with their support department.

UK: http://noc.uk.sharedband.net/customer/

UK: http://noc.sharedband.net/customer/

US: http://noc.us.sharedband.net/customer/

Once you have logged in, click on Status and then Historic Speedtests or Historic Table.
These speedtests are used to balance your lines and ensure optimum sharedband performance.
If you notice that your speeds are much lower in the afternoons and evenings than they are overnight and in the morning then you have a contention issue.

If the results are reasonably consistent throughout the day then it’s likely you have a traffic shaping issue.

A Contention Issue

You will need to speak to your ISP and explain that you are seeing slow down in the afternoons.
If you are using Sharedband ADSL routers you may need to follow this guide (http://support.sharedband.com/index.php?act=article&code=view&id=2) to disable sharedband and test just using the normal ISP connection. If you are using neutral routers you should be able to plug directly into the ISPs modem/router.
Bear in mind that you will need to do this at the same time of the day you normally see the slow down. You can use our speedtest site to test by visiting http://speedtest.sharedband.net and choosing the server located closest to you. We would recommend you do x3 speed tests per line to ensure consistent results.

A Traffic Shaping issue

To further test this you will need to power down all but one of your sharedband routers. Do not unplug one router from the rest of them, you MUST power off the other sharedband routers otherwise you will skew the results.

Now test each router, one at a time and record the results. If your ISP is traffic shaping Sharedband, then the speed tests you have just conducted will be very different to the speeds measured with the Sharedband service disabled (see http://support.sharedband.com/kb/kb2/) or Sharedband router removed.
Bear in mind that you will need to do this at the same time of the day you normally see the slow down. You can use our speedtest site to test http://speedtest.sharedband.net , pick the nearest server to you. We would recommend you do x3 speed tests per line to ensure consistent results.

You will then need to speak to your ISP and explain that you are being traffic shaped. Traffic shaping is much more aggressive on residential lines so you will often need to upgrade to a business package to avoid it.
If you need to do additional testing then please raise a technical support ticket here: http://support.sharedband.net

Does sharedband use traffic shaping or have contention issues?

We cannot speak on behalf of our partners but if you buy the service direct from Sharedband then we do not traffic shape within our infrastructure.
We understand that customers use our service to get more bandwidth so standard web browsing or an obscure program, they all get treated freely on our network.

As for contention, Sharedband always aims to keep up with peak demand. Due to our position in the network, close to main peering providers like LINX, SIX, AMS-IX, Global Crossing etc, bandwidth is comparatively inexpensive. We rely on other ISPs to provide the expensive bandwidth between the customer and the internet.
Adding extra bandwidth is not an issue for us and is available at a moments notice.