16 Feb

Aircel wifi – a good way out!

You must have seen Aircel’s wifi promo on TV. If not, here’s that
httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zb5rNcMJHiM
At this – a few of tech news/blogs wondered if we really need wifi in the age of 3G, and upcoming BWA – mobile WiMax and LTE stuff.
Well, a simple and straight answer – Yes, we do need!
We need to remember that 2G, 3G, WiMax or LTE at the end have their own limitations. Firstly, we can’t say much of LTE as it’s very new (even yet under trail launch in US). Talking about 2G – it’s slow and just can’t provide broadband experience. While in case of 3G and mobile WiMax (802.16e) – spectrum remains as issue. If everyone on network start using the way in which services are advertised – networks will just choke up. And everything around us will look lot like….

That’s what happened in US on AT&T’s 3G network due to iPhone. No one really imagined that, but iPhone increased data use by over 5 times which badly hit 3G networks.
One must remember that except in case of mobile WiMax and LTE, all existing 3G technologies like HSDPA, HSPA+ etc most were designed to deliver “broadband experience” to mobile users. With term “mobile users” we primarily mean – cell phone users and laptop/netbook users at some extent – who are travelling and checking mails and doing other light tasks. They were NEVER made to replace existing fixed broadband technologies like DSL, Cable modems, etc.

Now, what’s happening in India is – due to super poor fixed broadband coverage users are tending towards mobile broadband services like Tata Photon, MTS, Reliance net-connect (EVDO based data cards) for their regular broadband needs. In “regular broadband” usage – one just doesn’t checks only email – users tend to download lot of data, tend to share heavy videos, tend to use cloud computing apps like Google docs, Zoho etc which at the end of day – choke mobile networks.

Here’s what we need in India:
  1. Better mobile broadband technologies – extracting maximum out of available (limited) spectrum.
  2. More and more offloading of heavy data users at Public places. Remember that users tend to use more data when they are sitting in a Public place like Airport, bus stand, Railway stations etc.All carriers should consider putting their wifi hot-spots in these public places. These hotspots can be restricted for carriers own network users.
  3. Public wifi hotspots can be back-hauled using existing wired infrastructure of Public or Private telcos in metro cities, or fixed wimax in case of non-metro cities where LOS isn’t a big problem.
  4. Better bundling options – We need better bundling of fixed and mobile broadband connections. Till now – there are not much options available, but I think ISP’s should start bundling datacard with fixed broadband (DSL) eventually having users to use fixed broadband for home/office while mobile broadband when they are out.
  5. Capping seems bit crazy. I wish Aircel had capping of like 500MB for an hour of usage.

 
Well, nice work Aircel guys. It will surely help India with better broadband experience!

 

15 Feb

Sify broadband or fraudband?!!

I was just looking into available broadband options in my home city (Rohtak). I occasionally do that out of curiosity.

I came across Sify broadband and interesting thing this time was – they seem to have renovated their website!

Here’s the new site. I tried looking into available home plans applicable for my home city.


Last plan – 1Mbps unlimited usage plan for just 898Rs a month. At first glance an unlimited 1Mbps for just 900Rs a month seems quite nice, but as we can see double stars, I was quite sure that it must be having a Fair Usage Policy. I scrolled to bottom of page, and found this message associated with ** – Only in Select Locations

Only this? So is 1Mbps plan is truly an unlimited plan? I tried looking into FAQ and found answer:

Most Internet service providers enforce a fair usage policy to control the data downloading limit. After you download a particular amount of data, either you are charged   extra or your speed become lower than before. While they call the product �Unlimited�, an FUP which comes as a special condition takes away the real purpose of the product.
We at sify practice what we preach. None of our unlimited products have a ceiling on downloads. So we do not enforce restrictive/ fair usage policy on our customers.

Well, this was just unexpected. So they are claiming that their plans are “truly” unlimited without any download caps. Impressive!

Next, I went into link given on footer – “Manual Of Practice” and found this:

Policy : For those heavy users who however continue to remain on unlimited products the following rate shall apply :Usage on unlimited service packs will be considered as one calendar day or 150MB in a day whichever is earlier. If the usage exceeds 150 MB in a day, one day in validity will be reduced for every 25 MB of usage beyond 150 MB. This is explained in detail as follows:Upto 150 MB utilization in each day…..No deduction of days validity For every 25 MB utilization beyond 150 MB within each day, one days validity will be reduced.


WHAT WHAT WHAT??? That’s big cheating!

Even worst then this….

I have seen many ISP’s claiming “truly” unlimited and later capping down speeds after certain level, but this one is just crazy! 1day for each 25MB!


What the hell is FUP and do we really need it?

Ok, let me come to point – FUP is simply Fair Usage Policy meaning a policy to have “fair usage”. Fair interms of broadband networks just mean that users do not put excessive load on “shared” network that it effects other user’s experience. In India most of consumer based broadband networks have a contention ratio of 1:30 to 1:50 – which means whatever ISP’s sell is actually shared between 30 or 50 users simultaneously.


I have seen FUP policy of US based ISP’s like Comcast, Verizon etc. They have a capping of speeds or just temporary suspension of service when user crosses a limit of like ~200GB a month range. To be true – 200GB a month is surely very big number and (home) users can’t really touch that unless they really use connection in super bad manner. Now, when it comes to India – a cap of 150MB a day (here in case of sify) is just shameful!  Even a youtube video takes like 25MB. So watching just 6 youtube videos is like “putting pressure on network” even when ISP is claiming big with – “On demand video”… It’s just like

Is Sify’s network so much degraded and of such a low quality by excessive overselling that they can’t handle traffic more then just 150MB/day?

If yes – then either they should invest $$$ to improve or just get out of this business. I wish TRAI and doT were more serious for broadband also (apart from telecom stuff).


With hope that things will eventually get better, time to say bye!

Have a uncapped year ahead 🙂