Good bye BSNL (AS9829) | New link at home!

A blog post dedicated to BSNL AS9829. It just tried so hard to become as irrelevant as it can from everyone’s life (and that doesn’t excludes me now).
So what really is BSNL btw?

  • A Govt of India telco sitting at a extensive fiber of over 600,000 Kms across the country (staying just unused and unavailable for anyone’s use!)
  • A telco which has an extensive last mile copper (which is very poorly maintained and barely works!)
  • A backbone with over 200Gbps of IP transit capacity (which completely sucks due to rotten routing)
  • An integrated telecom provider offering services from landline to DSL broadband, from leased line to datacenter services! (out of which everything fails miserably from product line to technical ground level operations)
  • An extensive manpower (which is terribly arrogant and from top to ground level staff anyone barely works!)
  • Although telecom industry just boomed, it went from 10,000 crore profits in 2004 to 8000 crore losses in 2015. And still politics goes around it!
  • While private sector was busy with focus on 4G LTE deployment, BSNL’s market share dropped below 10% in 2014
  • While private sector firms like Sterlite, Radius Infratel focused on FTTH rollouts, BSNL rolled out FTTH plans for 4000 INR/month for 50GB cap and FUP speed of (amazing) 512Kbps to ensure no one uses it
  • While Reliance Jio is about to come, Airtel is extensively launching 4G LTE, cool companies like ACT are getting more investment, BSNL is putting 6000 crore in public wifi infrastructure to give few mins of free wifi and with hop of users paying it afterwards. (Wow?!)

All above tells nothing but ways in which BSNL is 100% screwed up for now. I don’t expect it to ever pick up again. Politically, technically, and fundamentally it’s a mess.
I became BSNL broadband user in 2008 and it has been over 7 years of (painful and terrible) experience with them. As a company which put so much of infrastructure to connect India worked extremely hard to do as many stupid things as possible. For me trouble remained that in my city they were only wired telecom provider for retail services.
Last month I got a long haul circuit from Airtel (provisioned on fiber) between my city and a friend’s ISP PoP for 10Mbps bandwidth. Circuit is delivered at a Airtel BTS site location (slightly away from my home) and I have installed Microtik SXT Lite 5’s shooting link from there to my home (around 1km link with clear LoS). This is a usual long range fixed wireless RF link over un-licensed 5.8Ghz band. (Thankyou govt. of India for delicensing it in 2007 and making available for public use). Thanks to companies like Microtik and Ubiquiti for opening up world of good fixed wireless radios and antennas which really work great and are available for quite good prices. I got pair of SXT Lite5’s from at 7700 INR (~$116).
Fortunately BTS site has a private WISP tower and the owner of tower agreed to let me use his tower for my radio for reasonable price.

Some statistics about my new link


Airtel BTS site

Airtel BTS Site

LoS of tower (from home)


Radio at my rooftop

Radio on rooftop
(Water tanks pipes were tall enough that I didn’t had to mount any pole and used those pipes)

Closer look

Radio at home

Link quality checks

Radio link stats
I am getting end to end bandwidth of around 35Mbps between radios (while provisioned bandwidth is 10Mbps on backend). I am using 5Mhz of channel bandwidth with 802.11 protocol and usual WPA2-PSK works to have encryption between radios.
End to end latency between Rasberry Pi (connected via wired to my home router) to other end radio:

PING ( 56(84) bytes of data.
64 bytes from icmp_req=1 ttl=63 time=1.57 ms
64 bytes from icmp_req=2 ttl=63 time=1.03 ms
64 bytes from icmp_req=3 ttl=63 time=1.02 ms
64 bytes from icmp_req=4 ttl=63 time=1.02 ms
64 bytes from icmp_req=5 ttl=63 time=1.24 ms
--- ping statistics ---
5 packets transmitted, 5 received, 0% packet loss, time 4005ms
rtt min/avg/max/mdev = 1.023/1.179/1.570/0.214 ms

And lastly speedtest from a server far away from here:
(Note: Hided ISP name to avoid un-needed DDoS attack on them which are hitting my blog from few weeks)
Some thoughts on fixed wireless links

  1. Work great if LOS and free channels are there. India does has serious problem of very low unlicensed open spectrum permitted for outside use.
  2. Hard to predict capacity for large country like India – may work somewhere, may not somewhere.
  3. WISP stupidly use 20Mhz and HT beams of 40Mhz when even 5Mhz can do job for many of their links. (More “bandwidth” usage = reducing channels for others + more potential chances of interference).
  4. Links work well given 1st Fresnel zone is cleared. Special thanks to my friend Brough Turner for pointing this out. He runs an ISP based on this technology in Boston & surrounding areas. (Checkout netblzr)
  5. Fixed wireless is NOT mobile wireless (understand the difference!).
  6. Some other successful ISPs using this technology – MonkeyBrains in San Francisco (on unlicensed spectrum) and Webpass (using microwave links).
  7. Tikona in India used it a bit but with mesh to increase coverage and eventually got a network with latency & packet loss issues. Wireless links work well but for point to point and very little point to multi-point. Not good choice for a large network with wireless nodes acting as transport in between. Indian media as usual stupidly took technology as swiss knife solution to broadband issues. (checkout NDTV review of Tikona).
  8. Tech and NOG community across India have to support for more un-licensed spectrum for use in India. (Excellent article on this here)
  9. I am overall motivated by excellent paper – America’s Broadband Heros which gave very detailed understanding of technology and limitations
  10. I am overall happy with 2.5x increase in download speed but a whopping 20x increase in upload speeds. Fixed wireless has a good edge over upload speeds when compared to DSL

Ending this blog post with Cacti graph of my home broadband connection for last one month. There’s high amount of systematic transfers of routing table data and some other stuff. I do keep a Rasberry Pi running all the time as home server. 🙂
Home Broadband Graph

17 replies on “Good bye BSNL (AS9829) | New link at home!”

  1. I am a bsnl user from pune.After restarting modem for quite some time i get a 100 ms route (for south east asia eg :singapore ,little more ~150 for europe).I am tired of doing this everytime my modem shuts down.Also ~40% of time i dont get the route even after restarting for ~2 hrs or so.
    Is there any way that i can ” fix this route “and avoid the other ones which jump through france etc when pinging singapore.
    TLDR : is it possible and if so how to “fix a route” (not a tech guy) of low latency even if the modem is restarted?

    1. The only technical way for you is to find a VPN server nearby or may be purchase a cheap VM and create your own VPN on it (use OpenVPN!). Make sure that your routing that VPN server is optimum and consistently low. If that happens, then you can bypass BSNL’s crappy International routing and simply make use of that datacenter’s upstream and routing which would be much better!

  2. i am bsnl user from raipur….been using it for 5 months or so without any issue ….but for about a week or so its totally fked up n i think its a routing issue…..i do alot of gaming on ps3 n ps4 ….n its been horrible …..on speedtest i am getting 400+ ping on delhis server as opposed to getting 65-80 ping….n most of the player are from delhi …..seeing youve been using it for a long time … these issues get fixed by them? ive also seen ur post from 2013 abt routing glitch…..plzzz help i am miserable here …

      1. Thanks for replying anurag….but can you guide me setting up a vpn server….because I don’t know how these things work…also is there a free option to do all these as i am a student and don’t have an access to a credit card…. I only have debit card……….I really want to bypass there crappy routing….because gaming is pretty much impossible with 500+ping

        1. Dear Gaurav
          You can setup VPN server using OpenVPN. Software part is all open source but yes you would have to pay for VPS server to whichever provider you buy from.
          You can consoder following for VM in India – HostDime (, E2E Networks (, Hostgator India ( etc.
          You would need support of “tunnel interface” by VM provider (either enabled by default, or enable on request) and you can use that VM by installing openVPN package, configuring it and using it to reach outside Internet and bypass BSNL’s bad routing.
          Do lookout for IP address of these VM provider’s before actually buying. Get IP and ping it during different times of days for couple of days and verify that your latency stays normal/low with them.
          if you get stuck on OpenVPN config, feel free to post here!

  3. Well, I am a BSNL customer since 2006. I have a love-hate relationship with BSNL. I used their copper line for some 6 years and that was a miserable experience. Forget about latency, if it was working that was enough at that time.
    From last two years I am on their Fiber Network, which I thought must be very good being fiber and all but while speed is as advertised and downtime is very minimal, latency and routing sucks big time.
    I was just searching about BSNL’s main gateways and saw your rotten IP Backbone post, nice.
    Good to know that someone else is experiencing it too.
    You are lucky that you had an alternative, in my place there is no other ISP, so I am stuck with BSNL.
    I even tried to bring the routing issues to the attention of BSNL Jalandhar (Punjab) NIB team but of course their hands are tied.
    Lucky you! , there isn’t even any low cost LL provider in my area, so that I can use the same setup as you (I already have equipment, used to transfer files with my cousin who lives on other side of town, unfortunately I only got 20 -24 Mbps as there is lots of wireless interference).
    Currently I am on BSNL 16 Mbps line with FUP of 80GB and the premium is high, thats why I sent their Bangalore team a long email about their shitty routing and to fix it for me. Well that was all I wanted to rant about.

    1. Hi Manpreet
      Good to hear that atleast last mile part is better for you on their fiber. But yes backbone is very much common irrespective of their last mile technology and impacts all products.
      I had very little success in getting them to fix routing. There’s something called “Bandwidth Management (BM) team” in BSNL and that does occasionally replies to emails and actually tweak things. In my experience they never accepted that routing was bad but during communication actively changed BGP announcements and fixed it.
      Try emailing them:
      The downside however is that they don’t track any changes and every time their (silently done) “fix” lasted for less then 48hrs until someone changed routing again to balance off their inbound heavy traffic. Still worth shooting a mail may be.

  4. Hi,
    Can you please tell me how much it costs to start a wimax network(tower,leased line etc)?
    What is the procedure and where to apply for it?

    1. Dear Mr Kumar
      Wimax is somewhat dead as none of big operator across world went for it. Thus it got replaced by LTE and for now LTE is much more common. Are you referring specifically to WiMax or “fixed wireless links in the unlicensed band” as posted in this blog post. Let me know and I will reply accordingly.

      1. i also know the difference between lte and wimax .I have point to point wimax connection of 2Mbps.In india almost every city have wimax service.I don’t think everybody can afford lte at the moment in india especially in small cities like meerut where i live in.

        1. I have point to point wimax connection of 2Mbps.In india almost every city have wimax service

          I don’t know if anyone besides BSNL giving wimax (some old stuff from them). Everywhere else it’s usual fixed wireless point to point running 802.11n (or 802.11ac in newer devices). Are you sure you referring to wimax and not usual fixed wireless? (If yes, then I don’t know the answer as I never dealt with Wimax equipment).

  5. There is no broadband connection in mula road,khadki pune. Could you plz suggest other options for internet who provides unlimited usage with proper speed.

    1. Hi Pravin
      I am not familiar with Pune and broadband providers in the area. As I mentioned in this post – if you can find a point near to that area (say within 4-5km or less) like a friend or relative’s home or office and if you can get good connectivity there, then you can extend it over to your area via fixed wireless.
      Good luck!

  6. I also Setup A 10MB Link from Triple-play Re-seller. Microtik Lite 5 Disc Cost me Around 4000rs. Becuase I am Living in RURAL Area No One Serve Broadband Service So this Was Only Option. This Plan Costing Me 2K Rs Per Month.

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