Data Wars: Globe vs PLDT » Manila Bulletin Technology

Manila Bulletin Philippines

Breaking News from the Nation's leading newspaper

Tempo

Online Newspaper

Showbiz and Celebrity News

Sports News

World News
News Asia

The Nation's Leading Newspaper

Monday, October 23, 2017 32° Partly sunny

Data Wars: Globe vs PLDT

Updated

For most BPO and call center operators in the Philippines, their network will be similar to ours at Bitstop Network Services Inc. where we have multiple gateways to the internet. These redundant links are not only for disaster recovery but also helps to optimize traffic to and from other networks.

Our issue started when I noticed our inbound traffic coming from PLDT steadily decreasing over the past 6 months. In contrast to our other links like Globe Telecoms and Telstra which were increasing over time. In fact, just yesterday, PLDT accounted for only 20% of total inbound traffic, compared to Globe at 45% and Telstra at 35%.

As a side note to non-system administrators: When YOUR IP block is not being advertised by your carrier to other carriers, the rest of the world do not know how to reach your network. Therefore, the rule is, the more networks that get to ‘know’ about how to get to your network (via BGP route advertisements by your carrier), the better and faster it is for your network to get inbound traffic.

The two usual suspects for this issue/behavior would be:

  1. Misconfiguration of PLDT’s BGP (border gateway protocol) announcement of our IP block to their partners.
  2. PLDT’s international inter-connections have been steadily outpaced by Globe Telecoms and Telstra.

 

To get to the bottom of this I did two things.

First to rule out misconfiguration issue,  I asked Michael Catan, our PLDT account manager to escalate this to their technical support. Thanks to Mike, I already have a Ticket ID 18987322. As of this writing, PLDT technical support has neither confirmed nor denied any misconfiguration. They are still looking into it.

Secondly,  to rule out “inferior network links” and based on suggestions from friends like Amante Alvaran, I decided to analyze BGP information from global looking glass operators like Hurricane Electric, British Telecoms, Tata Communications, Level3, NTT, TeliaSonera, Deutsche Telecoms and Flagtel Communications. (Level3’s looking glass was so slow I wasn’t able to use it at all.)

A looking glass is a facility that allows one to check what BGP routes are installed at a particular location. It also includes the AS number (Autonomous System) of the advertising party. For PLDT it is 9299, Globe is 4775 and Telstra is 4637.

A screenshot example of HE’s looking glass might show something like this:

Figure 1

Figure 1

The result of the survey will show if indeed the reason of the lower inbound traffic from PLDT is due to the fact that it is ‘less preferred’ or has fewer links globally with the rest of the internet, vis-à-vis Globe and Telstra.

Initial results looked pretty bad for PLDT. From Hurricane Electric’s looking glass, PLDT was seen advertising our IP block in only about slightly over 10% of international locations. In contrast, Telstra and Globe were seen advertising our IP blocks in the majority of cases.

To get a better picture, we need to get more looking glass operator results to provide a more balanced point of view. The compiled results from most of the global looking glass are presented below:

 

Ranking Bump Chart-Continent

Ranking Bump Chart-Continent

For each continent, we generated a ranking based on the number of locations where we see each carrier advertising our route. Based on the compiled results, Globe is the overall winner. It ranked number 1 for Asia, Africa, North and South America, while PLDT is ranked 1st in Australia and Europe only.

We can drill down to specific countries and from specific Looking Glass Operators. So while Globe leads the pack overall for the whole of the world and lost to PDLT in Europe, a drill down to country level shows that PLDT isn’t always ranked 1st in all the European states for all the looking glass operators.

The graph below shows the results in Europe from British Telecoms Looking Glass. Globe is blue, PLDT is yellow and Telstra is green.

 

Ranking Bump Chart-Country

Ranking Bump Chart-Country

So what does it mean for BPO and other network operators? If majority of your traffic comes from the US, Asia, Middle East and Africa, Globe Telecoms is the better carrier choice. However, if your traffic comes from Europe and Australia, PLDT would be a good buy. Overall though, Globe telecoms have surpassed PLDT in the number of network locations that we examined.

If you would like access to the stats and visualization behind this please post a comment here and I will respond within 24 hours.

 

Tags: , , , , , ,

Related Posts

  • Marcus Greene

    Did i miss the conclusion? Or the article is incomplete?

    • Wilson Chua

      The article is incomplete. Thanks for noting this Marcus. I will let the editors know.

    • Wilson Chua

      This was the section that was cut:

      “So what does it mean for BPO and other network operators? If majority of your traffic comes from the US, Asia, Middle East and Africa, Globe Telecoms is the better carrier choice. However, if your traffic comes from Europe and Australia, PLDT would be a good buy. Overall though, Globe telecoms have surpassed PLDT in the number of network locations that we examined.

      If you would like access to the stats and visualization behind this please post a comment here and I will respond within 24 hours.

  • Felipe Soriano

    My experience with PLDT (as DSL user) was bad and I haven’t seen positive actions from them so far to catch up with their counterparts in Asia.

  • Pablo Aballe Dublin

    In my location beyond Marco Polo Cebu, my wife was told by the PLDT girls selling the contract,
    we have a fiber optic tract in place, so we bump our subscription from basic (1k pesos) to their claimed of a faster download rate (3k pesos).
    Soon after I have observed a slight or faster downloads. It was a temporary or random phenomenon, turn out to be.
    Back to the PLDT front office, my wife’s complaint of not getting the promised speed improvement was met with incredulous disbelief. Their 26-year-veteran PLDT tech found the answers.
    Firstly, the upload and download rates were so slow beyond the over price basic contract. It was not my MacAir’s fault nor the building wiring, as inferred earlier.
    Secondly, the line connector from our group of buildings (Condos) was not fiber optic as claimed or heralded. The PLDT line renewal have not reached us.
    Thirdly, he was perflexed albeit very hesitant to answer, when ask for explanation, why their front office selling subscriptions (left hand) never knew about this technical facts (right hand).
    He refused to answer my request for comment about this facts, especially when I mentioned that the original transaction signed by wife attesting to their original claim, were in my opinion bogus and therefore illegal or false business transact. I insisted he includes my complains in his official record of the visit, which he did.
    On her second visit too the front office the group (men and women) have remained incredulous. It couldn’t be. Would you believe? Same tech came and of course, same findings and report.
    Disperate, my wife asked for the Maneger on her third visit (third, folks) demanding she be reimbursed of overpayment. Front office hew-hawed the esteem gentleman was not around for vague reason, so a lady from cashier section was summon and have agreed, after the facts were
    presented per view, wife be given her demand or back to basic 1k pesos per month with reimbursement.
    Sorry, seem too long-winded or circumlocutory but for a better comprehension of where I am in Cebu, this circuitous resolution, IMO a preventable and unnecessary event, could have been avoided if the staff of our local PLDT do a daily, weekly, or monthly continuing education like most responsible public service. The AIM: the right hand must know what the left hand is doing.

  • Nick W

    Hello Wilson! Interesting piece. Pls sen d me access.

  • Eric Chua

    What happened eventually? What was PLDT’s official response? Were they able to fix it?

  • Justin

    Based on my experience this is very true, but I didn’t use BGP nor Intelligent Routing.

    PLDT has been very good in terms of latency for games hosted into their Vitro Data Center, PLDT to PLDT (Vitro DC Hosted / PLDT Uplinks), but when it comes to Globe to PLDT the latency is utterly annoying.

    Tracerouting the connection in between proves that PLDT has a peculiar routing when being accessed by ISP’s other than PLDT Network and it’s subsidiaries. Going back to tracerouting, on PLDT to PLDT the hops reaches 24 (that’s a lot) but the latency is low. On Globe to PLDT the hops reaches 25 – 27 with a very high latency, Based on the hops I can observe that the route will pass through NTT Communications or PCCW or CW or TATA Communications, their IP Transit. Indeed they have a peculiar configuration.

    CloudFlare as you may know has a node in Manila / MNL which if you will look at the response headers of a site hosted behind CloudFlare; you will get “CF-RAY: xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx-MNL” and/or appending “/cgi-bin/trace” on it and look into the “colo=MNL”.

    On a Globe network I mostly get connected to their MNL node except if Cloudflare has a notice of maintenance. But whenever I am using a PLDT internet I’ve never been connected to their MNL node but instead I get frequently connected to their LAX or IAD or NRT node. Yes I frequently get connected to Cloudflare’s US node. In terms of traceroute going to cloudflare, they utilize their NTT and/or Tata Communications ip transit instead of having it routed locally.

    Do you still have this issue again? Regarding the BGP routing prioritizing your Globe uplink? It seems like Globe has the best path that’s why it’s being chosen by their router and yours.