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Phuket Live Wire: WiFi versus 3G

Legacy Phuket Gazette

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Phuket Live Wire: WiFi versus 3G | The Thaiger
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PHUKET: More than a dozen people have asked me in the past week, “What’s the difference between WiFi and 3G?” I am sure the interest has nothing to do with learning about technology. Every one of the people is considering buying an iPad 2.

They can figure out which color they want and how much memory they want, but they’re stuck on deciding whether it’s worth the extra 4,000 baht to get 3G, as opposed to WiFi.

WiFi from the Top

Almost every laptop these days has a built-in WiFi connection. The cheapest iPads also have WiFi connections. Most smart phones have WiFi connections, and many not-so-smart ones do, too. WiFi is cheap and nearly ubiquitous.

WiFi is basically a wireless technology that connects a computer with a base station. The base station, often called a router, is a small box that typically has a rabbit ear or two sticking out the back.

Invariably, the base station is plugged into the Internet, usually via a telephone line. When you pay an internet service provider (ISP) to put an internet connection in your house, they will ask if you want WiFi: “wireless access”.

If you say yes, they’ll usually charge you a little extra, 3,000 baht or so, and set up a base station when they install the internet connection.

The phone line plugs into the back of the base station. Your desktop PC plugs into the back of the base station, while laptops, iPads, and phones connect via WiFi.

There are many variations on the theme, but by and large laptops connect to the router via WiFi and the router plugs straight into the internet.

As long as your laptop is within 100 meters or so of the base station, the signal is strong enough and you can connect from your laptop to the internet.

If you have more than one computer connected to the base station, either by wire or by WiFi, those computers can generally talk to each other using a network.

The 3G Difference

The basic idea with 3G is much the same as with WiFi – to get your computer connected to the internet without wires – but the method is completely different.

3G is a mobile phone technology. 3G uses big towers that look just like mobile phone towers – because they are mobile phone towers. Few computers come with 3G capabilities built in, although that’s changing. If you want to use 3G with your laptop, you usually have to buy a gizmo that hooks into your USB port.

More-expensive iPads can use the 3G signal, as do some mobile phones, but for internet connections only.

To use 3G, you have to be located in an area that has 3G towers. You have to buy a regular SIM card associated with a phone number that supports 3G and you have to go to the phone company and pay to have 3G service. More about that in a moment.

3G signals run directly between your device and a tower. Your 3G device communicates with the tower, which is connected to the internet. The signal is subject to the same problems as all mobile phone signals: if you aren’t close to a tower, the connection drops out.

On the other hand, it has all the benefits of a mobile phone connection. For example, it’s possible to keep an internet connection going via 3G while driving in a car — at least in theory.

You can’t set up a home or office network over a 3G connection: your PC connects to the phone tower, not to a little box inside your house, and there’s no provision in 3G technology to get your PCs to talk directly with each other.

In Phuket, 3G service – more accurately called “HSPA” – is only available from True, and only on the west coast of the island, roughly from Nai Harn to just north of the airport.

As reported in earlier Live Wire columns, the True 3G service is surprisingly fast, if you live near an antenna. You can check the latest speeds at phuketinternetspeed.com

As I’m writing this, 3G is running at 3Mbps to 5Mbps download speed to the US. That compares favorably with most landlines. It’s faster than the typical 3G connection outside Thailand, no doubt because very few people are using 3G in Phuket. Your friends may think they’re using 3G, but they probably aren’t.

We’ll talk about how to get an HSPA connection in next week’s Phuket Live Wire.

Fourth Anniversary Computer Clinic

Wondering how to avoid wasting your money on technology that doesn’t work? We talk about mobile phones, iPads, Internet access, TVs, and even some PC and Windows stuff, every week at the FREE Computer Clinics.

Hard to believe, but we’re coming up on the fourth anniversary. On June 5 we’ll have a Computer Clinic at the Sandwich Shoppe in Patong, opposite Patong Language School.

June 12 marks our fourth anniversary, and we’re planning a whole bunch of special stuff for the following week – Sunday, June 19 – at the Sandwich Shoppe in Chalong.

Computer Clinics run on Sundays from 10am to noon. They’re free, sponsored by the Phuket Gazette and Khun Woody’s Sandwich Shoppes. Everybody’s welcome, even if you can just barely spell “PC”. Bring your questions and don’t be bashful!

Live Wire is Woody Leonhard’s weekly snapshot of all things Internet in Phuket. Woody’s a Senior Editor at Windows Secrets Newsletter, and is Senior Contributing Editor at InfoWorld. He’s written more than 40 computer books, including Windows 7 All-In-One For Dummies.

To see what Woody’s up to in the international press, and to keep on top of the latest patches and problems with Windows and Office, drop by AskWoody.com. Follow Woody on Twitter: @PhuketPC.

— Woody Leonhard

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Coronavirus (Covid-19)

Re-opening Thailand to tourism will be vaccine dependent

Bill Barnett

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Re-opening Thailand to tourism will be vaccine dependent | The Thaiger

Bill Barnett from c9hotelworks.com continues to follow the difficult journey of the Thai hospitality industry. Traditionally, now would be the start of the country’s highly profitable high season for the tourism industry. But not this year. Thai hotels find themselves in the middle of an existential crisis – either still closed, only partly open, or one of the few converted to limited ASQ traffic. The situation is dire, when you consider that between 15-20% of Thailand’s GDP is linked to tourism.

In a speech this week Thailand’s Prime Minster Prayut Chan-o-cha spoke clearly that only when a vaccine is approved, produced, and implemented, would the country open to substantial tourism. Given the current timelines and forecasts, this may not be likely until mid-2021 at the earliest, though subject to advancement if the process could be accelerated, which is unlikely.

For tourism and hotel stakeholders, the writing is on the wall that 2021, for the most part, will see a continued reliance on domestic travellers, and only in 2022 will there be a large-scale return in numbers of overseas visitors.

Given the winter spike in Asia, Europe, and North America of Covid-19, Thailand is not alone in relying on the vaccine to return tourism but the process will not be instant and the re-openings of borders will most certainly be staged.

HERE’s a list of 113 Alternative State Quarantine hotels.

The business reality for Phuket and across Thailand is to plan for the worst in the coming six months and only expect 2022 to see a notable uptick.

Currently, the hotel sector continues to advocate to the Thai government and Central Bank for debt and financing relief measures and assistance in a social security supplement to retain staff.

While it’s negative news, it at least allows for hotels to understand the challenges ahead, plan and adjust their operating models going forward. ‘Survive the downturn’ is the new mantra.

No vaccine, no entry. Read more HERE.

No vaccine, no flight. Read more HERE.

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Phuket

Phuket workshop helps residents cope with high stress brought on by the economic crisis

Caitlin Ashworth

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Phuket workshop helps residents cope with high stress brought on by the economic crisis | The Thaiger
PHOTO: Facebook: ประชาสัมพันธ์ เทศบาลตำบลวิชิต

Hundreds of residents in Phuket’s Wichit subdistrict attended a workshop focused on reducing stress from to the pandemic-induced economic crisis. A psychologist was even on site to help those who had extreme mental stress and a Buddhist monk taught meditation techniques to reduce physiological effects of stress.

The event was planned in response to an online survey conducted by the municipality asking residents about how much stress they were experiencing from the economic climate. They found that some residents had serious stress issues brought on by the pandemic and financial problems, according to Wichit Mayor Kreetha Chotiwichphiphat.

“The loss of income due to the economic crisis brought on by the Covid-19 situation has resulted in some people in the area suffering serious stress, which can lead to serious mental health issues.”

Around 350 people attended the event. The mayor says it was the first step in caring for the residents’ mental health. Local officials plan to hold similar workshops in the future.

“It was a good opportunity for people to realise the importance of mental health and to learn techniques of how to deal with stress, which will help people to maintain their physical health and avoid developing mental health problems.”

SOURCE: Phuket News

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Phuket

Phuket’s Soi Dog Foundation opens Humane Education Centre at Mai Khao shelter

The Thaiger

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Phuket’s Soi Dog Foundation opens Humane Education Centre at Mai Khao shelter | The Thaiger

The Soi Dog Foundation has officially opened its Humane Education Centre, the first of its kind in Thailand dedicated to the welfare of stray animals. The centre, located at the Soi Dog shelter in northern Phuket, forms part of the foundation’s Humane Education program. Rolled out in 2017, the program sees a team visit Thai schools to teach the next generation the basic principles of animal welfare and promote empathetic attitudes towards both owned pets and free-roaming strays.

The program has reached a total of 15,058 students and 861 teachers to date. With a dedicated classroom as well as educational tools and resources now on site at the shelter, Soi Dog will be able to expand the programme and reach an even greater number of young minds.

Co-founder and president of Soi Dog Foundation International John Dalley said, “The cornerstones of what we do – what I believe very firmly are the answers to the stray dog problem throughout Asia – are large-scale sterilisation of stray dogs and cats and education of, particularly, the next generation.

“We see all the time the problems that are being caused through us not respecting the environment and not respecting the other animals with whom we share this planet. That’s why education is so important.”

John also thanked the supporters and donors who made the construction of the centre possible. After cutting the ribbon, the students filed into the brand-new facility for the very first on-site class – a fun and interactive hour of roleplaying, brainstorming and problem solving.

Humane Education Manager Nuttawut “Film” Kumngern. said… “We want to encourage kindness toward animals, especially free-roaming dogs and cats, and teach youngsters to be responsible pet owners. This will sustainably reduce animal cruelty and pet abandonment.”

“We hope to one day see animal welfare incorporated into the curriculum in Thai schools, and our education centre is a great start.”

Soi Dog is ready to welcome school groups from Phuket and other provinces to the centre which can accommodate up to 40 students at any one time. Schools interested in participating are encouraged to email film@soidog.org

Phuket's Soi Dog Foundation opens Humane Education Centre at Mai Khao shelter | News by The ThaigerPhuket's Soi Dog Foundation opens Humane Education Centre at Mai Khao shelter | News by The Thaiger

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