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Barak (013) Internet & Packet Loss

Grrrr.

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 4.2.2.3, 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):

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 support@013barak.net.il! Instead, they asked that I use barak_supp@yahoo.com. 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...

Updates

10 Responses to “Barak (013) Internet & Packet Loss”

  1. Shlomo says:

    wow, i've been having the same problems. i loved your story about the email addresses, they havent told me that yet.

    have you had any luck getting it fixed? i see your still posting tests

  2. Mike Miller says:

    Shlomo,

    I'm sorry to hear you're also having problems. I still haven't been able to get Barak to do anything! I'd switch, but I have a one year contract šŸ™ .

    I'm still calling periodically, but no one's ever done anything. I've also forwarded them this link, but I got no response. Hopefully, more people will see this, and that will help push them to respond.

  3. Michael Keller says:

    Glad to see other people looking a bit more closely at Barak's service. I have experienced a lot of problems with Barak, foremost a problem with VPNs. When I set up a VPN connection to Switzerland through my router, speeds drop to about 4kbs – eh well, can;t work like this. The funny thing is, when I use my alternate 012-connection, I get full speed!

    So I called Barak. They admitted that they have a strange routing software called "Jumbo" and that they are aware of the problem. They asked me to "reduce the MTU", but they couldn't say to how much, and whether just on the router or on the client. Now mind, that changing the MTU on an XP or Win2003 box is a major operation, not supported by Microsoft; Barak can't possibly require me to do this. Nevertheless I tried just about every setting on both my XP client and the router, going as far down as 512 – no chance.

    I wonder of course, if this problem has also to do with the problem you describe above. Although I took a networking course for my C. Sc. Bachelor, I am not competent enough to say for sure what effect packet loss has in this specific setting (considering also, that one VPN is already needed to connect to the ISP, so it's VPN-over-VPN).

    Anyway I ask: what good is a provider, who has routing software that cripples VPNs and even admits it? My advice: if you need a VPN connection, go to 012.

  4. Mike Miller says:

    I haven't had any problems accessing my company's VPN through Barak… yet.

    I'll try playing with MTU, though I'm not hopeful.

  5. Michael B. Falcon says:

    I'm having the same problem, with very similar dslreports results. I also noticed something else: even though I have 1.5Mb for download, dslreports shows download speeds between 250 kbits/s and 500kbits/s depending on the time and day of the week. Speeds are 1.5Mb as advertised if packets only travel inside .il.

    I have the impression that Barak has switched something in its international connection, or perhaps it is practicing some sort of throtlling. I can't get a straight answer from the Barak support people.

    Do you know if anyone with 012 or netvision has reported similar problems?

    MB

  6. Mike Miller says:


    Iā€™m having the same problem, with very similar dslreports results. I also noticed something else: even though I have 1.5Mb for download, dslreports shows download speeds between 250 kbits/s and 500kbits/s depending on the time and day of the week. Speeds are 1.5Mb as advertised if packets only travel inside .il.

    The speeds aren't such a big deal. This is a known issue with all Israeli ISPs, and your promised 1.5Mbps is technically only from your PC to the first point within Barak.
    That said, I can usually get at least 900Kbps at night, and close to 1300Kbps during the day.

  7. yonil says:

    I also have problems with packet loss to various subnets from barak, it's clearly on their end (I have 0% loss to http://www.google.co.uk), the problem becomes more severe in certain hours of the day, it causes lots of problems with real time applications like telnet, games etc.

    I'm switching to a different ISP soon, only because of this reason. When I complained about it, they told me they'll get back to me on this and never did. I think it's the fault of some routing equipment they have, they'll never replace something so expensive because of the odd 100 customers who notice these kind of problems.

  8. […] @ כ"א תשרי תשס"ח « Barak (013) Internet & Packet Loss Limitting concurrent runs in PHP […]

  9. remarse says:

    HOT 012 and Dlink wireless Router
    At 7:45 AM on Saturday, Nov. 10, 2007, here are the Speed test statistics from http://myspeed.visualware.com/voip/
    ———————
    Download speed: 112408 bps
    Upload speed: 61344 bps
    Quality of service: 13 %
    Download test type: socket
    Upload test type: socket
    Maximum download pause: 637 ms
    Average download pause: 247 ms
    Minimum round trip time to server: 218 ms
    Average round trip time to server: 220 ms

    VoIP test statistics
    ——————–
    Jitter: you –> server: 113.8 ms
    Jitter: server –> you: 0.0 ms
    Packet loss: you –> server: 0.0 %
    Packet loss: server –> you: 100.0 %
    Packet discards: 0.0 %
    Packets out of order: 0.0 %
    Number of supported VoIP lines: 1
    Estimated MOS score: 2.6

    The conclusion is that there is too much jitter to use VoIP even with the 1.5 MB cable service I pay for.
    advice? contact
    remarse (AT) gmail . com

  10. Alex Rose says:

    I had successful service for over 4 years using Vonage VOIP + Bezeq phone line + Bezezbinleumi Internet. The for no apparent reason, I experienced audibility problems – my hearing was fine while the recipient of my calls complained bitterly about sound difficulty, primarily "chopping" or "breaking up". Modems and routers were replaced several time and on one occasion, even the phones. Am. ll to no avail. It seems to me tht the problem was due to increased customer lading on Bezeqbinleumi's Intenet system. I have now changed vendors an enjoy success.
    Any comments?
    By the way when I was using Bezeqbinleumi as my Internet provider, I notice a charge on my Bezeq account for ADSL. What did that mean?

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