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High Packet Loss in the Evening Only

3: Seeker
3: Seeker

I've been having periodic packet loss for the last month or so at very specific times in the evening, and am at a bit of a loss on what to do.


To start off I'll explain that I live in a remote area, so I use a mobile SIM in a TP-Link router for household internet. The phone mast is quite literally at the bottom of the garden, so I've always had a very strong signal and quite fast speeds - enough for gaming and streaming simultaneously. I also have a number of smart devices around my home, including several Google Home devices and smart switches. Never had any issues in nearly 2 years with this setup.


Beginning at the start of December 2022, I noticed that I was getting very high packet loss (up to 30%, with higher spikes) while playing online. At these times my wife also noticed that YouTube, Netflix and iPlayer were buffering regularly or playing at low quality. We assumed at first that it would just be a temporary glitch, and left it at that.


After a few more nights I started investigating further. To start off I tried disconnecting our wifi boosters - no change. Resetting the router - no change. Comparing wired (PC) and wireless connections no  difference. After resetting everything and even trying the hotspot on my phone, I gave up. Give it a couple of weeks, I thought. It's the Christmas holidays, maybe the lines are just busier than usual.


Come January and with no further change, I used pingplotter to test our connection over a few days and the results have been quite interesting:Screenshot_20230118_084948.png

This is an example taken over a 48 hour period. My latency (black line) is very stable. The red bars show packet loss. What's interesting here is that every day, at 15:00 on the dot, the packet loss starts to rise. It peaks and drops again at 19:00, then rises sharply throughout the evening before tailing back to zero at 23:00.

This cycle repeats every day, without fail, near enough to the minute. And it's exactly the same whether I'm on a wired or wireless connection, and is also the same using the hotspot on my phone (and we've tried this with 2 different Vodafone SIMs).


Surely this must be some technical glitch on Vodafone's end? As I mentioned it only started beginning of December 2022, but the connection is unusable for gaming in the evening and streaming is also slow.


Is there anything more that can be done?

Thanks for any help :Smiling:

120 REPLIES 120

4: Newbie

Vodafone's internal network team are aware of the issue, though they're being shockingly slow at fixing it... you'd think a widespread network issue would be a high priority to a major ISP.


For what it's worth, I received the following updates:

02 feb:

I have some positive news. Off the back of your report and a little internal testing we found a minor capacity constraint within our core network. We are in the process of migrating some traffic but it will be a gradual process, therefore I hope we will start to see improvements week on week. 

08 feb:

We had another migration yesterday which should’ve been a step closer to resolution, I wouldn’t say we are fully in the clear yet but certainly on the right track.

Well that's somewhat reassuring that there's some progress being made.

It's disappointing though that I haven't had any similar updates. I've been in touch via social media since 24th Jan and every update has been a fairly uninformative "Networking team is aware of the problem and are working on it." Fingers crossed there's some good news on the way.

Those updates are from one of the higher-ups on Vodafone's network team, I don't think they've publicly acknowledged any issues yet. Despite the claims of the network slowly improving, I'm still getting a staggering 50% packet loss tonight - back to Three's network for me!

Thanks for the updates kocz, that's really helpful. Sounds like it nothing to do with the masts and congested local bands, it's inside the back end network. That sounds slightly easier to fix at least than lack of RF capacity.


Attached is my latest chart of packet loss, interesting that there was one day (Feb 5th) with almost no packet loss. That's been the only day of the last 30 where that's the case. Yesterday was worse than average.


chart (1).png

My new 5G kit has just arrived, so in the next day or so I'll find out whether the 5G network has the same capacity constraint.


I am having the same issue since December. Constantly contacting your support with no results. This is outrageous tbh, as some of your consultant even claim that packet loss can be only troubleshoot on my end .. i was happy customer wanted to extend my contract with yous. Now i want it cancelled. Similar like other posts here other networks like 3 or virgin/o2 are fine, they have spikes from time to time but they are very rare and for few seconds. The problem is at Vodafone end for sure, they claim that the work on mast was done and problem should be fixed. But i see a pattern on different post codes so i believe it is not mast problem, i think it is setting or servers they use are overwhelmed. 3 months not able to watch movies uninterrupted, have video calls without cutting, not even mentioning playing any games.. Please acknowledge it as a global problem and get your team to investigate globally not only in areas reported. 

@KJASTR this does seem to be taking an inordinate amount of time to fix!


An update from my end; I've been talking to Vodafone Support via Facebook for the past 3 weeks. They've been telling me constantly that they're aware of the problem and are trying to fix it, and to their credit they have been reaching out every couple of days but with no useful progress. Somewhat annoyingly I've had to repeat everything to several different people, despite linking this forum thread and explaining everything a number of times in the same conversation. I think I've been asked what kind of router I'm using 3 times in the last week alone.


As of last Tuesday (28/02/23) they have raised a "full network case" so hopefully things are progressing, but this has now been 3 months I have been without a stable connection and is really not acceptable!

I feel your pain i was chatting with them and i was connected to 5 different people... Every single one ask me if i reset a router and took sim card out and wait 2 min. Despite the fact that my account have special notes on it about that issue... So annoying. On Sunday i was speaking with descent guy who knew what packet loss is. Most of them is asking is your speed ok and if i say yes they ask so what seem to be a problem. I don't know what is it, is it lack of training for staff who are working in this support department. Or hiring whoever and they have scripts to read to customers. 


I am glad they acknowledge it i hope they will find prompt fix for this as i have tone of ##~## going in my IRL now (this year is nightmare for me) and I can't even relax in the evening playing some games with my friends. 

I'd recommend you (and everyone else with the issue) submits a complaint to Ofcom. I don't think they have any jurisdiction to do much, but it might put pressure on them or bring the issue to light.

I ve reach shift manager today.. I heard this:

'Regarding the first point for packet loss we can understand that the services get drop at the peak time the data get drop for a while when it identifies more usages on network and I believe majorly you face this issue when you play any big pixel games at this time.


6:50:07PMOur engineers are updating the 5G services all over UK so that this packet loss issue will get remove and our customer will be able to use services with good 5G speed.'

Not very promising tbh. 

Any updates on your end Dncan29?

@KJASTR Unfortunately I seem to be back at square one with Vodafone support.

After a lot of back-and-forth for weeks while they assured me they were looking into the issue, they finally got round to opening a 'full network case' for me last week. I've had to explain everything multiple times to different people, and send a bunch more graphs like the ones above in this thread, repeating myself every other sentence.

Finally they got back to me yesterday and basically insisted it isn't anything on Vodafone's end as the network engineers can't find a fault anywhere. They're now asking if I can try my SIM in a different router and duplicate the problem.

I'm at a bit of a loss now. I've linked this thread as well as the multiple other ones on the same issue that have appeared in the last couple of months, there are dozens of us with exactly the same symptoms that appeared at the same time and all look alike. Yet they're insisting it's a problem with my hardware. It seems a lot like the different support teams dealing with each of us aren't talking to each other, or they'd surely realise it's a much wider issue.