Problems downloading large compressed files on Xtra Broadband

Where I live we get our broadband via Xtra who are probably New Zealand’s largest ISP. In the past three or four weeks we have noticed problems downloading large compressed files. This started with trying to download the EVE client and later just trying to download and run any large compressed files: .zip, .exe, .rar. The downloaded executables would display “missing files” or “corrupt file” errors or, for archive files, would get CRC errors.

We’ve progressed from testing the local network and the router for connection problems to today when I came across a couple of forum posts that suggest the problem may lie further upstream with Xtra: Corrupted compressed files, Completely different problem with Go Large Plan.

The Xtra Help Desk guy I spoke to hadn’t heard of any similar complaints so the problem may yet lie with our hardware here or our phone line. I’ll update this post if I learn more.

This morning we confirmed the issue can affect compressed files as small as 10MB or 15MB. Large files are more guaranteed of having missing parts of files because of the longer download time.

We’ve tested the connection with a different router and the problem is stilling occurring which suggests the issue is either with our phone line or Xtra. I spoke with the same Xtra Help Desk guy and although he didn’t know what is causing the problem, he says the problem is with Xtra and they are working to identify the cause and fix it.

And via Hard News, it looks like there are a bunch of problems over at Xtra at the moment:

Meanwhile, PA reader Janet Digby reports that Telecom is now trying to switch people back from the new accounts it is marketing:

“You are probably aware of this, but there some Xtra customers are experiencing major delays with mail sent through Xtra.

Some mails were delayed up to 8 hours yesterday and some are yet to arrive.

While all this was happening I had an odd call from Xtra asking whether I would like to change plans – from Go Large to one with a data cap. The person calling seemed unable to answer even basic questions including why I would change to a plan with a data cap – except to say that there was less ‘interference’ with the plan she was suggesting. When I commented that all plans were supposed to be max speed she seemed confused regarding her mission.

Perhaps they are trying to encourage customers to pull back as their system can’t handle the additional traffic resulting from their new plans.

Customer service acknowledge they are having problems (I understand some people can’t get on to their broadband connection too) I asked why these issues weren’t listed on their website and he didn’t know.

To top it all off – their phone system is on the blink and the opening recording tells you that you might get cut off – which I did, twice!

(Last updated: 2nd December 2006)