More plusnet incompetence over Usenet

Discussion in 'Broadband' started by Clive Page, Jun 30, 2014.

  1. Clive Page

    Clive Page Guest

    Over the weekend I found that the Plusnet news server had stopped
    working. The most obvious symptom was that Thunderbird (which I use to
    read Usenet news) kept asking me to reenter my password.

    The plusnet service status page at
    had (and still has, remarkably) Usenet service shown with a green tick
    but an uptime of zero.

    Today I got a message saying that there was "an issue" and that they
    were investigating. No indication of why their service status was
    lying. I instantly got another email asking me to fill in a survey
    using surveymonkey to tell them how well they were doing. This link did
    not work.

    Fortunately this doesn't really matter as I pay for a much more reliable
    and competent usenet service elsewhere ( and only
    use the Plusnet server to be able to access their own service status
    information. But if they can't be bothered to keep it working...

    Once upon a time people used to say that Plusnet were a competent
    company - could it be that the only ones who are competent are all on
    holiday at present?
    Clive Page, Jun 30, 2014
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  2. Clive Page

    me Guest

    They do outsource their usenet though.
    me, Jun 30, 2014
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  3. Clive Page

    NY Guest

    That's interesting. I'm with Plusnet and my Usenet client (Windows Live Mail
    on Win 7) is configured to use And I didn't notice any loss
    of service. I was probably checking for new messages every hour or so (at a
    very rough average) for most of Sat and Sun daytime. And I didn't get any
    prompt to enter a password and I continued to get a news feed (ie new
    messages) on at least one of the groups that I am subscribed to, which
    suggests that news was still be fed to their servers and was still being fed
    on demand from there to my client.

    It's weird how many of Plusnet's services have a status duration of 0. I'm
    not sure how to interpret that for services which are clearly still working.
    The "broadband" status is still showing "next update 30/06/2014 12:00" even
    though it's now five hours later than that.
    NY, Jun 30, 2014
  4. Clive Page

    Andy Burns Guest

    Was working all weekend for me, though I have noticed other PN users
    grmbling. I do notice that TB prompts for password on the odd occasion
    when a PN IP address makes too many (more than 2?) concurrent
    connections to the giganews servers.
    Andy Burns, Jun 30, 2014
  5. Clive Page

    Kraftee Guest

    Seeing Plusnet are part of BT and BT did have a rather large, well
    publicized outage, what's the betting it will have something to do with
    Kraftee, Jun 30, 2014
  6. Clive Page

    NY Guest

    What exactly was BT's outage? Was it failure of DNS servers, thus allowing
    continued access to servers whose IP address a PC already knew at the time
    of failure but not access to any other server? That's what the symptoms
    described in the news reports seem to imply.

    However Plusnet maintain their own DNS servers, independent of BTs. Were any
    other ISPs than BT Internet affected?
    NY, Jun 30, 2014
  7. Re-booting the router (as suggested on the Plusnet Forum) solved
    this problem for me.

    Having in the meantime subscribed to Eternal September.

    michael adams

    michael adams, Jun 30, 2014
  8. No probs here. I didn't even experience the (almost national) outage,
    which BT admitted and apologised for but didn't say what caused it.
    I too use Thunderbird for Usenet, using (provided by
    Giganews) for Plusnet's own newsgoups and for
    everything else.

    All a bit of a mystery...
    George Weston, Jun 30, 2014
  9. Same here. But I only have my machine running in the evenings.

    Vir Campestris, Jun 30, 2014
  10. Clive Page

    Roger Guest

    This problem comes up from time to time, not just with Plusnet.
    The reason Plusnet didn't have any message about usenet problems
    is because there weren't any. Your problem was caused by the IP
    address you were assigned not being in Giganews's database as
    belonging to an ISP which outsources to Giganews.

    With outsourced connection attempts Giganews authenticates by IP
    address. If a connection attempt comes from an IP address which
    is not in Giganews's database then a username and password is
    asked for. Giganews's database also has information regarding
    which newsgroups a particular block of IP addresses is allowed
    to see. For example, Plusnet customers do not have access to
    alt.binaries.* but do have access to the private Plusnet groups.

    People who take out a paid subscription to Giganews always
    authenticate by username and password so can connect from any
    IP address. Private newsgroups are not available to these users
    when authenticating by username and password.

    Continuing to use Plusnet as an example. If a Plusnet customer
    wants to access all other public newsgroups (which includes the
    alt.binaries.* hierarchy) they must take out a subscription.
    Giganews will give them access to all public newsgroups when
    they use their username and password. To get access to the
    private Plusnet newsgroups they would need to set their news-
    reader without the username and password and allow Giganews to
    authenticate them by IP address.
    Roger, Jun 30, 2014
  11. But how can that account for the fact that, as in my case
    where with a continuous connection for months using the same
    IP address - with the router never having been rebooted - I had
    no problem accessing Giganews text groups via Plusnet at all.

    And then the next day, I had.

    Which was solved eventually, having come across the solution on the
    Plusnet Forum, by rebooting the router.

    What seems to be happening is that Giganews is deleting IP
    addresses from its outsourcing database for some reason, either
    accidentally or on purpose.

    michael adams

    michael adams, Jul 1, 2014
  12. If memory serves me correctly it's 4. I reserve the right to be wrong
    about that though ;)
    Plusnet Support Team, Jul 1, 2014
  13. The status durations are caused by the archiving of older posts from the
    database. If they all get archived for a particular category then the
    duration displays as zero.
    Plusnet Support Team, Jul 1, 2014
  14. Whilst we have recently introduced a new block of (ex-Arin) IP's, we did
    take the time to update the info held by Gignews (it's a fairlry simple
    control panel based affair).

    I've not been in the office this last week so I can't allude to what the
    problem may have been. If I manage to find out though, I shall let
    people know.
    This is true for Plusnet customers, however it isn't for all of our
    outsourced feeds.

    We've another two I think, one for legacy Metronet customers and one for
    the Madasafish brands. The latter of these allows binary access and
    authenticates with a username and password.
    Plusnet Support Team, Jul 1, 2014
  15. Clive Page

    Roger Guest

    Do you have a fixed or dynamic IP address? Only if you have a
    fixed IP address can you say that you have had the same IP
    address for months. Work being done by BT or Plusnet can result
    in the internet connection dropping without affecting the modem.
    When the internet connection is re-established you will likely
    get a different IP address unless you have a fixed address.
    (That's with Plusnet; with some ISPs IP addresses seem to be
    quite "sticky".)

    My current modem/router log differentiates between a modem
    resync and an internet reconnection. With a modem resync the
    log shows (read from the bottom up):

    Internet connected] Thursday, Jun 12,2014 12:21:08
    [DSL Event] DSL: Up Thursday, Jun 12,2014 12:21:01
    [DSL Event] DSL: Down Thursday, Jun 12,2014 12:20:13

    Whereas when the modem stays connected this is what I see:

    [Internet connected] Wednesday, Jun 25,2014 15:30:56
    [Internet disconnected] Wednesday, Jun 25,2014 15:30:44
    Thereby getting an IP address which Giganews knew about.
    That's something I have no knowledge of but would explain what
    is happening.

    Message-ID: <>
    I suggest that if it happens again you should check your IP
    address before you do anything else:

    If a reboot of your modem/router "cures" the problem report the
    failing IP address to Plusnet.
    Roger, Jul 1, 2014
  16. That would explain it then. Thanks. While I've occassionally looked
    at the router stats and seen I've been connected for "months"
    (to use the technical term) I never thought to look immediately
    after I experienced this particular problem.

    Given your explanation above, it may simply mean that I'd been
    reconnected, unbeknown to me, via an IP address of which
    Giganews never had any knowledge to start with.

    michael adams

    michael adams, Jul 1, 2014
  17. Clive Page

    Roger Guest

    I have Forté Agent set to 4 and don't have any problems.
    Roger, Jul 1, 2014
  18. Clive Page

    Mark Guest

    I use Forte Agent & PN newserver (at home).
    Mark, Jul 2, 2014
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