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Im just a dude watching over my parents,
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Northwestel’s Internet Usage Tool is Inaccurate

, By Patcoola

December 2010, Northwestel actively encouraged Internet subscribers to check their Internet usage during the holiday’s using Northwestel’s Internet Usage Tool. During this month I have noticed that the amount of data I used was not the same as on the Internet Usage statement provided by Northwestel.

Over the years I have learned to schedule, plan and track my own Internet usage from the client side. I have been using network traffic analysis software to track my exact Internet usage for months now and have conducted an independent test.

Purpose:
To demonstrate the inconsistency’s of Northwestel’s Internet Usage Tool.

Test Conditions:
I understand that my network traffic analysis software may have it’s flaws, however, I have limited my Internet activities for the month of January 2011 to prevent any potential reasons for error. The majority of all Internet activity is downloading large files with a download manager where the amount of data downloaded per day can easily be tracked on paper.

I have limited my Internet activities to:

  • Simple downloading of large files
  • Visiting 1-4 websites per day
  • Checking my e-mail
  • The use of only one Internet enabled device
  • NO BitTorrent or file sharing!
  • All local network connections have been filtered

Test Disclaimer:
It is impossible to account the data overheads from the service provider’s side before the data is transmitted to the client, therefore I am not disputing Northwestel’s calculations if they are higher than the client. It is also impossible to account the data transmitted from the service provider if Northwestel is using a Proxy service such as Speed Boot or how this local data is calculated/charged.

Tested Service:
Northwestel’s DSL Classic
$62.95/month, DL 2.5 Megabits, UL 384 Kilobits, 15,000 Megabytes of data.

Hypothesis:
Northwestel’s Internet Usage Tool displays an inaccurate amount of daily data.

Comparison Table:

Date Local Northwestel
01/01/11 325.18 330.00
01/02/11 700.67 894.00
01/03/11 298.09 327.00
01/04/11 45.51 54.00
01/05/11 51.92 38.00
01/06/11 31.72 80.00
01/07/11 1398.64 1340.00
01/08/11 167.67 176.00
01/09/11 166.83 94.00
01/10/11 247.38 133.00
01/11/11 278.83 242.00
01/12/11 206.14 277.00
01/13/11 1852.82 248.00
01/14/11 605.76 1811.00
01/15/11 523.37 1060.00
01/16/11 329.97 351.00
01/17/11 312.93 28.00
01/18/11 18.53 321.00
01/19/11 33.21 16.00
01/20/11 1482.15 20.00
01/21/11 435.07 1173.00
01/22/11 453.38 843.00
01/23/11 396.78 382.00
01/24/11 1039.29 27.00
01/25/11 624.51 984.00
01/26/11 273.02 608.00
01/27/11 393.67 228.00
01/28/11 850.75 388.00
01/29/11 868.44 1615.00
01/30/11 233.60 147.00
01/31/11 226.62 303.00
14872.45 14538.00

Something Worth Noting:
“Daily Usage is calculated from 16:00 on the previous day to 15:59 on the day indicated.” ~ Northwestel

I don’t believe this is true because daily usage is displayed in the statement long before 3 pm.

Conclusion:
I don’t know why in the first week of the month, the Northwestel statement was higher than the local data, but afterwords the local data came larger and Northwestel became more inconsistent after the 10 th.

The local usage was surprisingly higher than the Northwestel statement by 334 MBs, this averages out to be a 10 MB margin of error per day which was a small noticed pattern in the table.

Another noticeable discrepancy in the table is that large usage of data in a single day was carried over to the next day.

The final pattern found in the table is the data of Northwestel being one day behind the local data starting around the 10 th. Northwestel’s statement shows some local days being combined to catch up.

Overall this displays how little trust customers’ have with Northwestel’s usage billing. Recently Northwestel had a decimal error with the Cable Internet service in July 2010, subscribers had a sudden jump in data usage with some subscribers billed for thousand of dollars in non existent overage fees.

See also [Northwestel’s Internet Usage Tool Still Inaccurate]

 

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Comments: 2, Write Comment

  1. I moved here from Alberta not long ago and can’t believe how terrible their service is and how they can get away with charging $10/gig after their pathetic 30 gig cap. The Yukon really needs a new service provider. Can’t we start a class action suit against them and sue them for being so terrible and charging outrages prices for such TERRIBLE service???

    Really, it should be illegal what they are doing.

    For anyone who hasn’t read this it’s a good one too…

    http://robulack.wordpress.com/2010/10/15/northwestel-charges-heavy-internet-users-a-7600-premium/

    • Patcoola says:

      If you do a costs assessment, Northwestel only makes less than 3 million gross per year from Internet services in the Yukon. Subtract bandwidth trading, upgrades, materials, maintenance and staffing their estimated net high is probably 1 million per year. Considering it coated Northwestel about 38 million of there own money to upgrade the cable service from analog to digital, you can imagine most of that came from Northwestel’s long term savings.

      What Northwestel is doing is not illegal, the Canadian government regulates the communications companies. We are a victims of our environment, wide area, low population, very high infrastructure costs. Recently Northwestel has accomplished a milestone bringing phone and high speed Internet to Old Crow, a feet that was on going for over 20 years.

 

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