Idea: Create a Status Page for Users to Display Beam Congestion in Real Time

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In order to save many, many phone calls to Exceed when service is slow, why not create a real-time or near real-time status page for Exede users that displays the current speeds users should be expecting as well as congestion stats on a user's beam and gateway.

I see on my Exede Portal the Liberty Plan is enabled and a little graph below it showing the green, yellow, and red time slots throughout a 24 hour period - which mimic the policy documents that can be found online, however I think it would be very much appreciated if this information could be based on real statistics and change with real time as well as provide a history over the last 24 hours or so.

This accomplishes two things:

1.  It finally let's users see what is happening on their connections that might be affecting the performance of their internet experience.

2.  Goes a long way to give some transparency to Exede.  

I see lots of posts about speed issues, or congestion issues, or lots of upset customers wondering why this or that is so slow.  I would bet there are infinitely more users that are frustrated by the same things being posted about that either don't know about this forum or don't feel like posting here that feel the same way.

I think this would be a great addition to the user portal in addition to the more granular usage meters we have all been requesting.
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Brian Shackelford

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Posted 3 years ago

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JEP

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That is a great idea!
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cloverdavid

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This sounds like a wonderful idea. Wonder if Exede can and will do it.
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Brian Shackelford

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I believe they can - after all their agents can check this information if you call into the call center.  I just don't know if or how much work would be involved.  I would have thought a more detailed real-time usage meter would have been out by now, but not yet.  That being said, if they are busily re-programming equipment to handle more data then I can do without for a time....
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Old Labs (VS1-329-L12FZ)

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I know they can - eSVT Job Aid. Seek, and ye shall find.

Some discussion of releasing a subscriber version over in the other forum.  

Some of us were invited to participate in a beta that has yet to materialize and appears it's hung up in an administrative approval process.

So the only question is will they? FWIW ViaSat, transparency is actually a good thing.   
   
(Edited)
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LorrieL, Champion

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I REALLY like this idea, as otherwise I am left in the dark wondering if everyone else in my beam is having the same problem, or is it something other than congestion....and I do think that Exede needs to step up and openly and SPECIFICALLY acknowledge the congestion problem and the effect it is having on the speeds customers are actually getting, versus what is promised in  the particular plan contract.

The talk about congestion has been going on and on for many months now, on this message board, and many (like me) see it as increasing....I do think Exede needs to speak up directly about this issue. 

I don't expect any kind of perfection in this world, including not from my internet provider...I believe that Exede has not done anything intentionally to cause this problem...and that they are taking what steps than can to reduce the problem.  However, it is not "right" for exede to continue to promise speeds that they cannot deliver to every customer who signs up for the plan for which those promises are made.

If, because I live in beam 329, which is said by posters here to be "congested", I can no longer expect to receive download speeds averaging 10-12 Mbps, then Exede needs to TELL me that openly.  

I have always had a positive attitude toward Exede, but that will not continue unless they are more open about what speeds they can actually deliver.
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Brian Shackelford

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For me I really don't even care about the speed as much as the experience.  For 99 percent of what people do, 5 Mbps is adequate. Sure it may take longer to download something, but realistically I don't normally download Multi-GB files and if I need to I usually try to do so at the office where I have 150 Mbps Comcast Internet.  For that matter I know someone who has Exceed and likes the DSL service of 2 Mbps he has better just because it isn't limited.  

Congestion goes back years, it rears its head every year at this time and summer can be problematic as well.  I have never had Exede try to hide the fact when I call in and ask about it, in fact they usually tell me it is being heavily utilized at that time.  

I would seriously call in to support and have them review your account and your modem history and see if they can find any reason for your exceptionally sow speeds.
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LorrieL, Champion

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Brian, I wouldn't mind the speeds IF I was told that is what I am paying for....and I did try to contact exede as I posted earlier...they tried one speedtest during daylight hours  -ONE and got 17 downlload speed--as soon as I got their email saying that I thought, oh gee, maybe it's an equipment issue and I did a check, and I ALSO got 17--I think that was about 6 weeks ago...but every test I have done since has been back in the basement----so I just emailed them again today, and sent them the same speed numbers I posted here and told them they need to do more than one random check during daylight hours before they tell me my slow speeds are due to something other than EXEDE...

You know, when you are PAYING for a plan that says you will get such and such speeds, and providers often charge more for the higher speeds, please don't say it doesn't matter what the speed is as long as you can "do what you want".  That isn't how it is supposed to work in the world of paid contracts, as I know you know.  

Frankly, I WOULD be a satisfied customer IF exede did a thorough check to help me determine if there is ANY other reason my speeds are slow besides some kind of exede congestion problem (my daytime speeds are often higher than what I posted here, but I didn't sign a contract saying I would only get 10-12 download during daylight hours!)  And I would even still be a satisfied customer if exede would say, hey we now have this un anticipated congestion problem and no we can't promise you 10-12 download speeds 24/7 anymore....the truth is terribly important to me as a customer.

I have only one thing connected to my router....my laptop....and I have connected my laptop periodiclaly directly to the modem and still see the same slow speeds....so when I see all these people complaining about slow speeds during prime time, I know very well that I am not alone in this.
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LorrieL, Champion

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And Brian, how sure are you really that you WERE getting 10-12 download speeds consistently before your switch to Liberty Pass---were you consistently, and I mean consistently like you are now, checking your speeds at all different times of the day?  As you point out, since you can do pretty much what you want even with the slower speeds, you wouldn't notice necessarily just how slow they get in prime time and LNFZ if you don't clock them very regularly.....

I was really VERY surprised today when I looked at just how consistently low my speeds are, because as you say, I CAN do what I want, even with those slow speeds---but why in the world should that make it OK for exede to claim higher average speeds than they are delivering?
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Brian Shackelford

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I am pretty sure because I kept track of daily usage.  Once I built up enough to know I was going to have extra at the end of the month, I would watch a movie, do some Windows updates, etc and I also routinely did some 50 - 100 MB downloads and the download speeds generally stayed in the 8 to 12 range.  That being said, certainly there were times ti was slower, but it was not all of the time.
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Gregory Davis

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I too think this to be a good idea - HOWEVER - it might for some further confuse the issues that are out of Exede's control. For intance we were just visiting my daughter's in Nortern VA. She doesn't have a TV service but uses COMCAST for her internet access. We were going to watch one of the movies that we brought with us - a DVD. My daughter insisted on playin JURASIC World through her Apple TV interface. This didn't go well - in fact the movie didn't play at all, so our kids went off and found something else to do. my daughter complained that COMCAST gauranteed her a GOOD speed. In the meantime using her internet and my Amazon Kindle I was able to watch one of my favorite SciFi shows via my Amazon Prime account? I was also able to view other simialr TV shows via her Apple TV interface. Both of these via her COMCAST ISP. The point I'm trying to make here is that our internet speeds are governed more than by the traffic on our BEAM or through our specific GATEWAY but also includes the traffic to and from our GATEWAY and other LOADS put on the OTHER content providers on our World Wide Web. So just knowing the status of our BEAM and GATEWAY may just show us, at times, excess capacity, but our current experience may be SLOW due to the internet HOST we're tryiing to get data (video, gaming, downloads, ...) from maybe be SLOW due to demand from MANY users, ....
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LorrieL, Champion

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Gregory, What you are saying sounds valid up to a point, but I think it is usually pretty easy to see whether the problem you are having involves one site vs. a problem across the board?  As you quickly found, the problem that was being experienced wasn't due to Comcast.

And if there were such a visual way to know about congestion on the ISP you are using, wouldn't that in this case have perhaps shown right away that the problem was unlikely to be a Comcast congestion problem?

(Or am I missing something in what you are saying?)
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Gregory Davis

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My daughter was complaining that is was a Comcast problem so that's why I looked a little deeper. In our Exede world I'm sure that the Exede engineers are monitoring their traffic on Viasat1, each beam as well as theri different gateways. I, being a former user of their (first) Wildblue satelite remember conversations with installers and technicans about closing off some of their beams (geographiclal areas) due to being overloaded. This is in no way meant to be critcial of Wildblue/Exede, just to point out that they too are learning about capabilites, capacity, customer service/care and have taken it to a newer level with Viasat1 and who knows what Viasat2 will bring in terms of fexiblity, capability, new plans, ....
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Brian Shackelford

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Gregory - that is a great point which is why I also suggested a way by which to show users what kind of speeds should users on a particular beam / gateway be seeing on average at this particular time.  So my vision would be a very simple guage showing normal, light congestion, moderate congestion, heavy congestion and then the speed that users should be roughly seeing at that particular time under those conditions.  I bet Exede could coax a few installers on each beam to install a utility that could periodically check speeds and report back to Exede what they are getting.  Basically what I am doing in another thread.

Ultimately I am willing to bet the mysterious men and women who are the engineers running the network at Exede can give a fairly accurate guess as to the speeds users should be seeing based on the current traffic and congestion at a given time.

I get that not all hosts and sites are created equal, however I also feel that if you make it relatively simple and easy to understand, it may save a lot of headaches in the future by heading off calls before they start.
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JEP

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And even the categorized breakdown "requires" permission from the user before it can be checked.
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Brian Shackelford

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 I'd also like to suggest the ability for a user to drill deeper down into their useage such as where is my data being used - Video's (can they tell us where (Amazon, Netflix, ...), software downloads (updates from Microsoft, Apple, ...), software gaming, uploads (to where?) .... I'd also like a "Time Stamp" as to when the last measurement was taken in regards to the "Data Used" # shown on our dashboard.
In order to get at this information, Exede would essentially track every site you visit and everything you do.  I personally don't think I care, however this raises fairly significant privacy concerns.
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Old Labs (VS1-329-L12FZ)

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Nor am I particularly concerned - my life is apparently an open book somewhere over in China after the OPM breach of SF86 information - oh well, now the taxpayers are paying for identity theft monitoring and protection for a ton of us.        
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JEP

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And I'm not thrilled with the governments choice of "protection".  Yes, lets put all of our bank account and credit card information in one location on the web.  I didn't do that, but at least they still did alert me when I took out a loan for a new truck.
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Old Labs (VS1-329-L12FZ)

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I must admit I was quite startled on receiving the first sex offender alert. What the...Oh, you don't mean me...  
(Edited)
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JEP

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A technician sent me this last year to explain the congestion in Beam 329.  This is one way they had of looking at congestion.
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Brian Shackelford

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And if they can get that, then they can probably write an interface to the web portal to show us the same information.  Wow - consistently up in the 60 percent and higher utilization.  See as a technical person I would love to have this kind of information.  I could stop wondering if it was something on my equipment, my connection, or the systems I am trying to get to that is the problem.
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LorrieL, Champion

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Even though I am most definitely NOT a systems person, I relate to what you are saying...it is so difficult to figure out what might be a problem on my end I might be able to fix if I only knew how, vs. a problem involving the Exede network...but I hate to waste time trying to figure out how to learn enough to check everything on my end if the problem has nothing to do with my equipment but is a congestion problem.

So, how do you interpret that data that you were sent JEP?--I don't have the knowledge to know---what would be a level of usage where there wouldn't be expected to be a noticeable problem (ie, there wouldn't be a "congestion problem"?
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Brian Shackelford

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While I don't specifically know anything about satellite I know consistent utilization hitting 95 to 100 percent is a point at which more capacity should be put into play -which Exede cannot do until their new Sat launches. That chart shows a consistent utilization at 100 percent which will correlate to the speed impacts if I am not mistaken. There is probable an Exede tech or installer lurking around here that might be able to elaborate.
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LorrieL, Champion

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Do you mean that at the points on that chart that utiilization hits 100%, is where problems are seen such as pages won't load, connections dropped that sort of thing (not sure what you mean by "speed impacts"?)  and at lower than 100% it would be more like just lower speeds but not necessarily resulting in problems for subscribers?
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Brian Shackelford

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Lorri - that is what I am surmising. It may be that lower than 100 percent speeds are just fine, but I am guessing the traffic management systems start to kick in and throttle traffic at some point over 70 percent to 95 percent to try to keep it from reaching 100 percent. I cannot know as I am not an Exede engineer so I cannot tell you what is in their secret networking sauce so to speak. Exede has also not really elaborated tremendously on when and how their traffic chaping kicks in and works beyond what is found online. I understand why they dont, but wish I knew.
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steve heller

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After talking with Exede last night about the slow speeds we were getting (1.67 up, 0.75 down) on our Liberty 10 plan with plenty of "priority" data left, I wondered why they don't have a real-time network congestion page. Apparently I'm not the only one wondering this.
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Steve Frederick-VS1/Beam314, Champion

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Steve, all the "Stop Lights" have three colors, just like the ones on roadways.
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steve heller

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Well, the congestion stoplight is red at the moment although the service seems to be fairly reasonable. What is the criterion for each color of that light, if that's not a secret?
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Steve Frederick-VS1/Beam314, Champion

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I have no idea about what thresholds they are using to change the colors.

I have "yellow" lights for Antenna Pointing, Signal Quality and Packet Loss. I did get a Green on Signal Quality once earlier today. I have a Rx SNR reading of 6.7, which is what I have been seeing over the 4 years I have had Exede. It sometimes goes up to 7.5, but during bad weather will drop to 3.0, and  my internet works just fine, with normal speeds.

Back in early December I had an Exede Tech at my house to change out a modem that was dropping my connection with the big silver bird in the sky 6 to 8 times a day, and when he was here, he checked out everything and didn't see anything that was messing up. So I am not too concerned with those yellow indications, although, I think that there will be lots more calls to the Exede call centers because of the yellow lights that may or  may not really be a real problem.

All in all, I think this is a good tool, and with better indications of the data usage, and beam congestion, will help those who want to know this information.

Also, the speed test option is a great idea, since it measures speed between the modem and the satellite, and is not influenced by the computer or router in the home network.
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steve heller

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Would you happen to know how much data the speed test uses? I'm trying to minimize parasitic use so I get the most out of my priority data.
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Alex, Viasat Corporate Communications

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We'll open it up to this forum in a few days.
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John

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Since it appears that ViaSat 2 isn't going to be the saving grace for many customers any time soon, it may be time to resurrect this idea. Access to this information could be limited to subscribers, and then we would know whether our problem is related to congestion or other issues. As Viasat 2 becomes more widely accessible, the system could then be kept in place and it would help existing customers decide whether they want to stay with Viasat 1 or migrate to Viasat 2 when it becomes available in their area.

Last night I had several updates to do and it was unusually slow. We were having thunderstorms so I figured it was due to weather fade. But it would have been nice to be able to log in and see if it was due to a congested beam.