Dissatisfied with TM UniFi High-Speed Broadband Service

Letter by James Ooi

I am a TM UniFi High-Speed Broadband VIP5 package subscriber since March 2011. As I am staying at a high-rise building, the TM UniFi service is provisioned to my premise using VDSL (copper) instead of using fiber optics. Ever since one month after I started using TM UniFi, I have been facing two major issues with the service of which one has been completely resolved while another has been happening up till this very day I am writing this letter!

Between April and July 2011, I had been experiencing disconnection where the DSL indicator on the VDSL modem blinked and reconnected itself. This happened randomly a few times a day. After numerous technician visits where they replaced my VDSL modem and changed the port, the problem was finally resolved in July 2011.

However, since May 2011, I have been experiencing what I call the “Upload Speed Syndrome” randomly where my upload speed drops till near zero. This happens randomly almost on a daily basis and at certain times, it happens at about the same time daily! At other times, the problem resolved by itself only to recur after a few days to a couple of weeks! Whenever this problem occurs, my upload speed drops till near zero where a speed test performed would either results in an “Upload Test Error” message or an extremely slow speed of 0.01Mbps! Performing a ping to a locally-hosted web server will even exhibit random packet losses! However, there is nothing wrong with the download speed as in most cases, my download speed is at least 90% of the advertised bandwidth.

For this problem, I have actually lost count how many reports I have lodged to TM UniFi Center! Each time a report is lodged, a technician is sent over where they did all they can such as replacing my modem as well as changed the port and slot card. However, none of these resolved my problem. It has to be noted that my problem does not occur 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, but occurs randomly. As a result, each time the technician came, there was no problem and therefore the technician could not detect at all the cause! If none of what the technician did could resolve my problem, there is definitely some other possible issues causing the problem I am facing, for example, user bandwidth management configuration or networking switching issues! It is very likely this is a network switching issue as I have discovered neighbors who also faced the same problem as myself, but none of them wants to take the trouble of lodging a report to TM UniFi Center.

Initially, TM UniFi Center would make a call to me to verify if the problem is resolved before closing my report. After a few problem-free days, the report would be closed, only to recur later on! However, recently, TM UniFi Center would NOT even call to verify, and they proceed to close my report without verifying that my problem is resolved!

One TM UniFi customer support personnel even insisted that it is only the download speed that is important and NOT the upload speed! How wrong could she be? It looks like many of the TM UniFi customer support personnel are not well-equipped with basic networking knowledge and little did she know that she was speaking to a person like me who has background in networking! In simple language, even for a simple usage of accessing a website, the web browser needs to send a request to the web server via the Up-Link. The web server will then respond to the request by sending the requested file whereby the web browser receives the file via the Down-Link. The near zero upload speed affects the Up-Link, which made it nearly impossible for the web browser to send a request to the web server, thereby causing the Internet service unusable despite having a good download speed (Down-Link)!

The customer support personnel should also know that in many Internet applications today, both the download and upload speeds are extremely important. Today, not only most casual Internet users are just consumer of data, but also producer. With social networking applications such as Facebook, users need good upload speeds to upload photos and video. However, with near zero upload speed, the uploading of photos and video will just not work at all as it will time-out and the uploading fails! Even to attach a file to an email will fail due to this problem! What’s the use of advertising the UniFi service of having symmetrical download and upload speeds if they cannot even ensure even at best effort, customers should get at least 80% of the advertised bandwidth?

Ever since I faced this problem, I have to resort to use an alternative mobile broadband service from YTL at a cost! However, I have been paying my TM UniFi bills in full promptly all this while. Yet, there is no compensation in the form of a rebate for the never-ending problems I am facing! Will the personnel at TM UniFi please take note of this issue and resolve it once and for all, and consider providing me with rebate on my bills? I have been even thinking of considering subscribing to other high-speed broadband providers when the service is available, but I am currently tied up with a 24-month contract with TM UniFi! I would believe the problem I am facing is a result of TM’s monopoly of the high-speed broadband business!

  1. #1 by carboncopy on Friday, 16 December 2011 - 11:01 am

    The Dlink – DIR615 router provided by TM Unifi is garbage quality. TM should drop that and change to something with better performance.

    TM Unifi biz package bundle with the useless web hosting etc. They should let biz users op out to reduce cost.

  2. #2 by monsterball on Friday, 16 December 2011 - 11:02 am

    All Malaysians have experienced our low class so call High Speed outdated broadband.
    All TM knows is keep on promoting expensive packages.

  3. #3 by Fatty Doc on Friday, 16 December 2011 - 11:30 am

    TM’s reply,”So what? Take it or leave it!”

  4. #4 by monsterball on Friday, 16 December 2011 - 11:37 am

    If TM dare to say….”Take it or leave it”…then they are really asking for trouble.
    FIRE will start.

  5. #5 by Cinapek on Friday, 16 December 2011 - 12:01 pm

    Apparently these Internet connectivity problems is not limited to UNiFi alone but is endemic of all service providers in Malaysia.

    I am no networking expert and is merely a casual user but my bitter experience with various service providers have led me to the conclusion that MCMC needs to look into this matter urgently to ensure service providers provide a decent level of connectivity speed to users. It is no use boasting in Parliament we have 81% broadband penetration if the connections are more often than not useless. I compare them to our neighbour across the Causeway where the broadband service promises and delivers blazing connection speeds.

    I suffer from the intermittent connectivity problems as well for no rhyme or reason. In the initial stages, each time I called the technical support personnel, I would be walked through the various steps to”reset” my laptop’s connections or whatever. It does not help to explain to the support staff that I have the same problem on my other laptop as well. They are trained to respond in the same robotic manner each time a subscriber calls. Invariably, each time I had the problem, the eventual problem is not with my laptop but with the service provider’s base stations settings. But I would have to suffer a couple of days disconnection.

    As for the speed, at peak periods it could descend to such a low download speed (forget upload, that’s worse) that when questioned, the service provider will resort to their catch all phrase in their contract , the infamous “best effort” to cover themselves. For the uninitiated, this simply means that they are having a very high traffic and so they are making the “best effort” to provide you whatever they have and thus is unable to provide you with the decent connection speed. Take it or leave it.

    What I cannot understand is why could they not increase the redundancy level so that it can cope with the increased traffic during peak hours? I suppose this has to do with company profitability as it would mean more capital expenses.

  6. #6 by boh-liao on Friday, 16 December 2011 - 3:50 pm

    Like Melaka CM, TM UniFi Center proudly boasts: So what! At least it made us famous

You must be logged in to post a comment.