Walsall Gigaport: CRC detected?

I’ve had this one simmering away gently for some time, but @walsallcouncil finally pushed me past the edge today with this on twitter:

Good to see the launch of superfast fibre-based broadband in Walsall. Download speeds of up to 40 mbs help with the town’s regeneration.

They’re talking about a regeneration scheme: Walsall’s [cough] Gigaport.

I have a few issues with this. First of all, mention Gigaport to me, or probably any other geek, and the first thing we’ll think of is this, or similar. Presumably the Giga bit is meant to sound all modern and hi-tech.

Well, it was. around 10 years ago, when I first started installing switches with a 1Gbit/sec backbone, or when a 1GB disk wasn’t a flash drive you’d buy for ¬£5. Now? 1GBit/sec is the comfortable standard, with 10Gbit becoming what you’d install on a new job. Still, we’ll pass over that particular misnomer for now.

The next item that really annoys me? It’s that bit about 40mbps and high speed. Frankly, that’s not a high speed link anymore, and certainly doesn’t deserve all the balls about Fibre Optic tech. Firstly, it’s ‘up to’. Secondly, you can now get ‘up to’ 24Mbit on ADSL- that, boys and girls, is over the ancient old copper that connects your telephone and was originally designed for low-bandwidth analogue speech. Virgin Media have ‘up to’ 50Mbit service running over co-axial copper on a domestic service (despite what VM’s adverts say, the last stage to your house is not fibre), so the fibre-optic bit is frankly, smoke and mirrors. I have ‘up to’ 20MBit here at home.

In my last job, we had 100Mbit back in around 2002, and my current workplace has a 100Mbit bearer, throttled to 50. And that’s not ‘up to’. That’s tested, proven, with no contention, and it supplies one business in a semi-rural setting. Come back when the Gigaport is running 100Gbit everywhere, and then I’ll be impressed.

But what is really starting to nag at me is the lack of substance, and the hollow-sounding promises of a shiny new perfect world, all created by what sounds to me like a bit of office space, a datacentre, internet infrastructure that is somewhat less than cutting-edge and a copy of Wolverhampton Science Park, more than 10 years too late. is this really going to regenerate the town? Really? There’s lots and lots of office space around the town, and if you talk nicely to a decent ISP, any one of them will connect you to the Internet at speeds ranging from a few MBit up to 100, practically anywhere.

Finally: those of us working in networking have a quick and dirty way of checking for crap being talked. In Cisco terms, we’d do something like this:

#sh int fa4  
FastEthernet4 is up, line protocol is up 
  Hardware is PQUICC_FEC, address is 0019.3011.de34 (bia 0019.3011.de34)
  Internet address is 111.222.333.444
  MTU 1500 bytes, BW 100000 Kbit/sec, DLY 100 usec, 
     reliability 255/255, txload 1/255, rxload 1/255
  Encapsulation ARPA, loopback not set
  Keepalive set (10 sec)
  Full-duplex, 100Mb/s, 100BaseTX/FX
  ARP type: ARPA, ARP Timeout 04:00:00
  Last input 00:00:01, output 00:00:06, output hang never
  Last clearing of "show interface" counters never
  Input queue: 0/75/0/0 (size/max/drops/flushes); Total output drops: 0
  Queueing strategy: fifo
  Output queue: 0/40 (size/max)
  5 minute input rate 2000 bits/sec, 1 packets/sec
  5 minute output rate 1000 bits/sec, 1 packets/sec
     4275131 packets input, 2252532395 bytes
     Received 167875 broadcasts, 0 runts, 0 giants, 0 throttles
     0 input errors, 0 CRC, 0 frame, 0 overrun, 0 ignored
     0 watchdog
     0 input packets with dribble condition detected
     3654406 packets output, 440792127 bytes, 0 underruns
     0 output errors, 0 collisions, 3 interface resets

See that bit about 0 input errors, 0 CRC etc? That means the line is fairly clean, though I notice there’s been 3 resets, where there has been too much crap, so the router has shut down and restarted that port. Funny that. Maybe the CRC checking isn’t working for Walsall Regeneration Company.

9 Responses to “Walsall Gigaport: CRC detected?”

  1. Lee H-W Says:

    youve gota love regeneration bull shit

    potential to create 3000 jobs means, “some companies may relocate and bring staff with them”

    Gloucester Quays shopping regeneration has resulted in even less foot traffic in town center, so many small shops forced to close, and at least three new shops in the quays did not survive the 12 months special offer rent they presumably had to suck them in

    the only winners are the building contractors and a few local council staff

    20 years ago a friends dad owned (outright) one of the best hardware (DIY) shops in gloucester, local council compulsory purchased the property as part of some plan..
    the land laid to waste for 10 years and is now just a car park,

    the business forced to relocate went bust after being forced to pay outrageous rent elsewhere

    don’t get me wrong some places need (desperately) an uplift, but cut out the media bull shit and spend the money wisely

  2. Cutting through the bullshit « BrownhillsBob's Brownhills Blog Says:

    [...] 1, 2010 by BrownhillsBob I just thought I’d point up an excellent post on the Pigblog by regular Brownhills Blog reader and commentator, The Stymaster. Just lately, [...]

  3. The Edditer Says:

    I agree it’s BS but to get 20-25mb on copper lines you have to be practically living next door to the exchange and not all areas are kitted out with Virgin Cable (Lower Farm, Bloxwich for one). I for one will be glad of 40mb FTTC!

    Nonetheless it won’t make any difference to the majority of businesses either way, you don’t need any of this speed to send emails, which is all most of them do…

  4. stymaster Says:

    @TheEdditer

    Good point about getting high speed on DSL and the absence of Virgin abling in some areas, but as you point out, the primary business use for Internet is a bit of email and low-bandwidth web use. One or 2 DSLs would do that- at work we have (as a tertiary connection) a pair of ‘up to’ 8Mbit DSL lines. They actually run at 1.5-2Mbit/sec, which is more than enough- only a few years ago our main, primary link was 2Mbit.

  5. Countrie Bumkin Says:

    I’d dream of 10 MBp/s. We’re still using TCP/IP over avian here in the sticks……

  6. stymaster Says:

    My 20Mbit connection actually manages about that here. Still, if you lived in Walsall you could have faster Internet and regeneration. Wouldn’t that be nice.

  7. Countrie Bumkin Says:

    Talking of speed and your old job, JANET peeked at 73 GBp/s over the election period. Must be running close to 200 GBp/s on the backbone now. Doesn’t it turn your eyes green. Does mine. How I miss really fast networks….

  8. PigBlog » Blog Archive » Walsall 10base2 Gigaport: Administratively down Says:

    [...] Noes. Who will save us now? We can’t build any more Tesco stores, surely, and we already have an ugly Asda store. [...]

  9. Bottling it up « BrownhillsBob's Brownhills Blog Says:

    [...] work on the new Walsall Housing Group headquarters, currently being built as part of the long-hyped ‘Gigaport’ development,¬†designed to give the new Walsall Ring Road a purpose. We are invited by WHG Chairman Fred Bell to [...]


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