Last to the party….. again.

BT announced with great fanfare the launch of Annex-M services on their ADSL2+ (21CN) platform allowing up to 2.5 Mb/s upstream (from standard 1.3 Mb/s). Whooohooo. Excuse me if you detect a tiny bit of sarcasm but really how can BT talk about this being new technology when we have been offering it for over four years? We interconnect directly into the BE network (wholly owned by Telefonica O2 group) and have been delivering up to 2.5 Mb/s upstream to customers for all of this time, even using Cisco hardware.

I mention Cisco hardware because most businesses like to buy it. There is an old saying in the industry that goes ‘you don’t get fired for buying Cisco’. Granted it is pretty expensive but in all the years of doing it I can count the failures customer have had on one hand rather than the calculator I would need to tot up other ‘cheaper’ manufacturer’s hardware.

So you would think that if you were building a national network and launched a new variant (ie Annex-M) you would want your technology to work with Cisco hardware so you could conquer the business market? Well believe it or not, BT have followed the route of Tiscali and ended up with a network that we can’t make work with Cisco hardware! We are struggling to make it work at all to be honest, and that is with a not insubstantial client base already using Annex-M on the BE network which we have been supporting for years.

If this is the best they can do, I assume we are going to have to wait for the fibre to the cabinet services before we start seeing anything near impressive. Or, most likely, someone else will come and do that first so BT once again follow rather than lead.


  • What kind of problems do you have with the Cisco and Annex M BT service Piers? Not being able to work with Cisco kit is quite a big problem for a sizeable number of UK SME businesses, more than a few of which cannot get an unbundled alternative from BE. Interested to know more.

    Mark – ISPr’s Editor

  • Simon Morley says:

    Worried that their service costs might interfere with your pricing structure at all Piers?

  • admin says:

    Not at all Simon – BT will be more expensive than the BE network because to offer meaningful bandwidth limits on their network costs a bomb. But of course if you are happy with a contended capped product it would be cheaper!

  • admin says:

    Issues we have experienced Mark relate especially to the Cisco 800 series router. With the 877-M and 887-M (using 4.0.18 firmware) the line will only get sync at < 2 KM but drops sync regularly. On a long line length it wont sync up at all with auto-negotiation and needs to be coded on the ATM interface. Problem is if the line wont support Annex-M it doesn't sync making support near impossible.

  • SameProblem says:

    I’ve been spending months trying to get Tiscali Annex-M sites to work on 877-M routers. I’ve used 4.0.17, .18, and unreleased .195 firmware with no success. I’m sad to see that these problems carry over to 887-M too as I am about to deploy one in hopes that it resolves my issues, as I’ve found some documentation stating that they work better with Huawei DSLAMs. Interestingly the drops also occur on the problem lines using 877-M with Annex-A, while no 877 sites with Annex-A experience drops. It’s become beyond frustrating.

  • admin says:

    Honestly our only solution has been O2/BE network for Cisco hardware Annex-M. Because the network is Alcatel based it just works. Follow this link for all the testing and results we did in our lab on a number of routers including Cisco.

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