Tuesday, 7 January 2014

SFR is rubbish at IP networks

That title should get someone's attention. Why such a deliberately childish title? Because I could not easily find a "Network Status" page or a "report network problems" page. One would have been able to reassure me that the issue is being dealt with and the other would have let me, (someone that knows a little about IP networks) to provide useful information.

Talking of which: (notice the huge jump between hop 04 and 05.

03. 82.186.96.84.rev.sfr.net        24.0%   146   27.2  57.2  24.6 640.1  88.5
04. 84.96.179.142                   25.5%   146   25.6  72.8  24.4 585.3 100.4
05. 37.244.5.109.rev.sfr.net        26.9%   146  5608. 969.8  26.3 7250. 2008.
06. 106.61.6.109.rev.sfr.net        30.3%   146  5768. 868.6  28.6 7180. 1863.
07. 70.61.6.109.rev.sfr.net         28.3%   146  6026. 866.7  33.2 7364. 1866.
08. 237.29.3.109.rev.sfr.net        26.4%   145  5782. 1018.  34.5 7118. 2045.
09. ix-28-0.tcore1.PVU-Paris.as6453 28.5%   145  5506. 726.2  32.2 7155. 1693.
10. 80.231.154.69                   29.2%   145  5745. 734.4  32.6 6676. 1685.

I'm on a friends ADSL line and this has been happening on and off for at least a week. I'll add more traceroutes each time I remember. I can say that the last time I was here the house was using Darty, (which used someone else's network) and that was much better. SFR seems to be good at mobile but crap at home networks, (from one data point between 2013 and the start of 2014).

UPDATE:  2014-01-16 After reporting the problem, (they seemed to be able to instantly fix it) and mentioning it to a cold-caller trying to sell anti-virus on behalf of SFR the core problem is still showing:

2. 129.144.16.109.rev.sfr.net     31.1%   212   24.4  56.9  22.9 344.7  67.7
 3. 82.186.96.84.rev.sfr.net        28.8%   212   25.8  51.0  22.4 288.1  52.7
 4.142.179.96.84.rev.sfr.net       30.2%   212   43.1  51.9  22.5 359.4  56.7
 5. 37.244.5.109.rev.sfr.net        29.2%   212   28.2 2573.  23.5 6441. 2508.
 6. 106.61.6.109.rev.sfr.net        29.2%   212   28.1 2696.  25.4 6866. 2512.
 7. 70.61.6.109.rev.sfr.net          34.4%   212   35.3 2555.  31.6 6737. 2509.
 8. 237.29.3.109.rev.sfr.net        34.4%   212  137.3 2659.  32.3 6719. 2508.
 9. ix-28-0.tcore1.PVUParis.as6453.net  32.5%   212   85.3 2630.  44.6 6745. 2512.
10. if-12-2.tcore1.PYE-Paris.as6453.net 35.8%   212   38.5 2506.  30.2 6729. 2530.


and the same evening:

 Host                               Loss%   Snt   Last   Avg  Best  Wrst StDev
 1. box                              4.4%   479    2.3  39.3   0.8 1399. 132.4
 2. 129.144.16.109.rev.sfr.net      28.9%   479   24.6  73.5  22.8 1360. 157.6
 3. 82.186.96.84.rev.sfr.net        26.6%   479   26.1  72.1  22.7 1303. 150.6
 4. 142.179.96.84.rev.sfr.net       25.9%   479   39.9  67.6  22.6 1253. 140.2
 5. 37.244.5.109.rev.sfr.net        32.8%   479  5242. 2126.  23.2 10878 2510.
 6. 106.61.6.109.rev.sfr.net        28.5%   479  5427. 2293.  25.3 11725 2617.
 7. 70.61.6.109.rev.sfr.net         28.9%   479  5129. 2300.  30.3 11147 2569.
 8. 237.29.3.109.rev.sfr.net        29.7%   479  5075. 2242.  31.6 12060 2648.
 9. ix-28-0.tcore1.PVU-Paris.as6453 31.0%   478  5412. 2312.  43.3 11581 2566.
10. if-12-2.tcore1.PYE-Paris.as6453 31.4%   478  4962. 2217.  30.2 13397 2593.

(Feel free to add your own traceroutes as I am still unable to locate where in their website you can report problems to them - OR even find network status.)

The Conclusion:

SFR happened to set one of their 'would you like to buy anti-virus' sales men on us - which didn't go as he had hoped, but was probably the most effective way to inject a complaint into their company. On top of that SFR were informed at each end of the week, (you can call them on 1023 in France or 0033 6 1000 1023 from the UK.)

The first time they were able to almost instantly drop the latency from ~4000ms to 32ms within their backbone. (Daily and sometimes hourly cold-reboots of the router in the house all week), lead to Thursday where the problem was reported again. A very frustrated, (and a little bit angry) tech support bloke rebooted the house router remotely, (killing the crackly phone conversation stone dead); though it did fix the problem - and since then it has been a lot better. Still not perfect but actually useable. So what was the problem? What can we guess. Is their backbone capacity too heavily over subscribed? (My first guess, but this isn't 1998.) No, I'm almost certain that it is entirely down to some complicated rate-limiting withing their network somewhere between hop 4 and 5:

4. 84.96.xxx.xxx   <= no visable problems from users end 
5. 109.5.xxx.xxx   <= 50 times as long for packets to return (if they bother.)




At the time of this problem I was in the habit of starting with a trace to one of google's public caching name servers. The problem here is that SFR seem to have a direct peering with google via an address in 72.14.192.0/18 and probably have different rules for that connection, (after all SFR would just be shooting themselves in the head - as opposed to the other foot - if they slowed down their customers connection to google.)
 

1 comment:

  1. Still happening today. It isn't all of the time, but comes and goes:

    Host Loss% Snt Last Avg Best Wrst StDev
    1. box 0.0% 26 1.3 28.8 1.1 281.7 61.5
    2. 129.144.16.109.rev.sfr.net 61.5% 26 25.2 37.6 23.1 146.0 38.1
    3. 82.186.96.84.rev.sfr.net 69.2% 26 29.9 31.3 23.9 70.1 15.8
    4. 142.179.96.84.rev.sfr.net 76.9% 26 22.9 24.4 22.9 26.0 1.3
    5. 86.201.118.80.rev.sfr.net 72.0% 25 5866. 5750. 5494. 5945. 181.2
    6. 72.14.238.234 66.7% 25 5493. 5756. 5493. 6069. 199.9
    7. 209.85.245.83 75.0% 25 5878. 5691. 5281. 6022. 290.9
    8. 209.85.246.165 75.0% 25 5874. 5851. 5573. 6063. 160.5
    9. 72.14.238.217 72.7% 23 5326. 5817. 5326. 6423. 367.1
    10. ???
    11. 8.8.8.8 77.8% 19 5803. 5549. 5312. 5803. 203.5

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