Unreal broadband

Posted on November 3, 2007  /  11 Comments

Excerpt from an article contributed to Montage, Sri Lanka’s only English language news magazine.   LIRNEasia is starting a small research initiative on establishing benchmarks for broadband quality.

Real broadband « Montage

So what do we want the operators to do? When you sell us a 512 Kbps residential connection or a 2 Mbps business connection, try to give us something approaching what you promised. Most of the time. We (most of us, at least) will understand if there are bad times; if the speed drops for a few hours in a day. But we won’t if the bad times are all the time.

Right now, many people don’t have much choice when it comes to broadband. Because the obsolete monopoly on drawing wire to homes and offices has not been removed, SLTL is the only supplier of ADSL, a technology that depends on splitting the copper wire, one part for voice and the other for data.

Everyone else is limited to wireless. Companies like LankaCom were created in the early 1990s to serve the “broadband” needs of export-oriented companies. They were the only game in town in the 1990s. They continue to be charged such high spectrum fees that they cannot compete with ADSL. The rules haven’t changed with the times.

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  1. It’s also unreal WiMax from Dialog, at least in Delkanda, Nugegoda for the moment.

    Though Dialog claims this on their website:

    “WiMax (Worldwide Interoperability for Microwave Access) – an implementation of the IEEE 802.16 standard based wireless technology providing metropolitan area network connectivity of high throughput, broadband data and quality voice services in networks covering long distances and wide ranges, WiMax ensures compatibility and interoperability between broadband wireless access equipment, thus enabling the deployment of broadband wireless networks based on a standardised platform.”

    in my Delkanda residence, they couldn’t even get a single strength of one bar from their WiMax antenna. This also surprised and embarassed the sales agent, who said he was assured total coverage for the Nugegoda area.

    Clearly, the Dialog Marketing Dept. jumped the gun on this, as I got them to come over the very day in which they had placed a full page ad for WiMax in the English dailies with no mention of any limited coverage.

    Hope Dialog gets its act together and soon. SLT ADSL is simply the pits.

  2. How much is that new dialog Wimax connection?

  3. Sanjan,

    Any wireless connection needs line of sight. What most probably would have happened is an obstacle between your place and the WiMax transmitter. So even though theoretically the area, is covered there still can be unserved pockets. Operators can do little to avoid such situations.

  4. Neidire,

    You know this and I know this. But I wonder if the average consumer does. The point is that for many on SLT ADSL fed up with a service that is difficult to fully describe without the use of expletives, Dialog’s Wimax offers are too good to pass up. However, the marketing campaign does not, in any way, suggest that coverage is limited by factors such as LoS that are beyond Dialog’s control. What is promised in the ads is 4Mbps connectivity and broadband so fast that it is blowing everyone away.

    If we chide SLT for not delivering what they promise, the same yardstick must be used for Dialog which in some cases (and I know of at least two others in Colombo 7) which promises broadband that it cannot deliver, at least, for the moment.

    A tech team visited me again yesterday saying that there was another tower up somewhere in Nugegoda, but they still couldn’t get a signal. I would imagine this to be a problem with all the houses in my housing scheme, which number around 20, of which I know at least a dozen are on ADSL and would like to switch, but hearing my story, have decided to wait until Dialog can actually deliver what it promises in the media. Ditto with my office in Colombo.


  5. Hi guys,

    Fist time i saw on the paper that dialog has introduced WIMAX broad band in srilanka. Then i went to their branch and came to know that its covers Batticaloa town from their tower only 2KM. my home is 2.5KM from the tower.

    I paid the payment and got the connection after a week the technical team came and fixed the WIMAX they put an antenna top of my roof

    in Batticaloa this is the fist time broad band i was waiting over years.

    And according to the speed its MIND BELOWING man its cool its downloading 850Kbit/sec its damn speed

    I love it a lot any way SLT guys still putting the posts to fix their ADSL but my point of view is dialog is cool and faster

    I hope Dialog will open their main broad band tower in Batticaloa as soon as possible. Because it’s already built but didn’t give connection yet.

    Enjoy WIMAX

  6. hey jean…. u say u get 850kbits/sec ??? thats lower than half the promised 4000 kbits of bandwidth :D u know ALT ADSL atleast gives 220 kbits/sec even in peak hours..

  7. Dear Dasun,

    Not sure whether you are serious. I assume so.

    Dialog offers three packages 1 MB, 2 MB and 4 MB. (actually four but two has same bandwidth of 2 MB)

    If Jean has got the 1 MB package I would say 850 kbps is pretty good. Jean does not mention when this speed is available peak or of peak, and if it is peak I would say one doesn’t even have to look for an alternative. Just sign on the blank with closed eyes.

    On the other hand, if the promised speed is 2 Mbps or 4 Mbps one has to think twice.

    Still Dialog can be a better deal.

    Say SLT ADSP promises 2 Mbps and delivers 220 kbps; Dialog promises 4 Mbps and delivers 850 kpbs. Irrespective of what is promised, 850 kpbs looks more attractive. (if it is peak) Who the hell wants 220 kpbs?

    Does anyone have better data for a fair comparison?

    Is anyone seriously testing broadband QoS in Sri Lanka?

    Indika Amarasinghe,

  8. Sanjana,

    You are correct. I hear Dialog finds many such cases like yours.

    It is stupid of anybody to use WiMax to provide connectivity within a city. Line-of-sight is a must for any wireless link. It is for rural areas and not for Colombo, where with the high population density ADSL has better chances.

    Why our operators offer these wrong solutions. Everyone else use CDMA for mobiles, we use it for fixed. Everyone trusts DSL for cities, we run after WiMax as if there is a severe shortage of Copper wires here. Are we mad or what?

  9. Bell to introduce WiMax!

    It seems like waiting for few more months would be worth it!, as more people are jumping to WiMax space. Lanka Bell too will be introducing Wi Max soon and they have already started test runs as per my knowledge. So when they too come up with, it’s all of us who will benefit with improved QoS and reduced tariff. And of course SLT will have to really wake up and run else people will start switching at a rate as most of them are not satisfied with the ADSL QoS. We are going to get into a new era of broadband competitions which is good for the consumer.

  10. Hi Jean, Thanks for sharing the experience in Batticaloa. If possible will you please share some more info about your WiMax connection. What type of connection do you applied for it does it 1Mbps connection or 2Mbps or 4Mbps connection. At which day have you conducted the speed test does it conducted in a working day in working hours?. Suntel too have some plans to introduce the WiMax but they are not interested in giving connection to Trincomalee at present. SLT doesn’t started offering aDSL yet so there is no other choice other than WiMax. How others connected WiMax does it through DSL router? or through aDSL router? . As I understood aDSL routers are cheaper than DSL routers. 4 ports WiMax routers could be purchased for around $100 in Colombo. I would like to hear reviews.

  11. Hey guys

    Does anyone know when Suntel is going to commence their Wimax services?…I heard they are going to introduce the 512kbps package for around 500Rs. If anyone has some regarding information please post a reply, as I’ve been dying to get a broadband connection for years, since ADSL is not available in my area and Lankabell and Dialog are yet to cover this area with the wimax network.