Annoyed with people trying to second guess what I want

Force9 have been my ISP for about 5 years. Most of the time they’ve not been a problem, the service has been reliable. The customer support has been relatively unhelpful but I’ve not needed to use it very often. (Last time I did to report a slowly decreasing broadband speed they told me that BT wouldn’t do anything until I reached a miserly 300kbps!) They are a subdivision of PlusNet and PlusNet has recently been bought by BT. They have also suffered terrible cock-ups where they deleted tens of thousands of people’s e-mail and had their forum software compromised which leaked everyone’s passwords.

I regularly need to SSH into several remote systems. On some of these systems sshd is run on a non-standard port just to avoid port scans and brute force attempts. I’ve been noticing very sluggish SSH access to at least one box for some months now, whilst web access to it seems fine. I have traffic shaping on my gateway firewall which prioritises traffic to these non-standard ports, yet it is still painful to SSH to them.

Like many ISPs PlusNet traffic shape their connections, which completely negates my own traffic shaping to all intents and purposes. Although there’s a vague guide as to what sort of traffic gets “Platinum” priority through to “Bronze” on their website if you can work out which of the half a dozen or so broadband packages you have, there’s nothing as useful as list of ports and how they are prioritised. They don’t say anything useful other than that trying to circumvent it breaches their T&Cs.

So, what to do? I don’t want to breach their T&Cs, I just want to find out which ports I can run interactive SSH sessions on without them feeling like typing through treacle. I wonder if it’s time to move to an ISP that doesn’t treat customers like idiots.

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