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Phuket Live Wire: What to expect from your ISP

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Phuket Live Wire: What to expect from your ISP | Thaiger

PHUKET: LAST week, with Khun Roger’s help, I published an updated ‘bang for the baht’ chart that shows you what kinds of international download speeds various Internet Service Providers (ISPs) are actually providing, and at what price. These aren’t the 9 Mbps or 100 Mbps advertised speeds; they’re real international download speeds, measured by real customers, like you and me, all over Phuket.

The most important point is the amount you pay for an Internet line has almost no correlation with how fast the line runs internationally. That observation generated a lot of mail, with people from all over the world wondering what they can do to get a good Internet line when they visit Phuket or move here. That’s a good question with a tough answer.

This week I would like to step you through the process we used to come up with those numbers, and explain both the benefits and shortcomings of the study. Starting next week, I’ll go through the method folks can use to find a decent Internet connection. Then I’ll step you through the process of signing up for Internet service. It isn’t as simple as you might think.

The ‘bang for the baht’ chart came from all the Internet speeds posted at PhuketInternetSpeed.com. Hundreds of people, from all over the island, measure their international download speeds using a specific testing location in Los Angeles, and post the results on this web site. The data posted there is available, free, to anyone who wants to download and analyze it.

Computer Clinic regular Khun Roger downloaded the 2,000-plus observation points submitted after we changed the reporting site on June 17. He deleted any observations that weren’t made with DSLReports, our standardized measuring site. Then he deleted any Internet service that had only one user reporting speeds with that service. He deleted the zeros, which indicate a broken connection. He then averaged all of the reported speeds for each individual service, and the result is the graph you see on this page (click here to view). (The two numbers in parenthesis are the number of reports we had for that service, and the number of people reporting speeds for the service, separated by a comma.) Differences of 10 per cent, or even 20 per cent, aren’t particularly significant.

You’ll notice that international download speeds tend to group up depending on the provider, not on the service. So, for example, there’s almost no difference between the cheap 3BB 6 Mbps service, and the considerably more expensive 3BB MaxNet Premiere 3 Mbps service.

To create last week’s ‘bang for the baht’ chart, I grouped similar services, added a few observation points based on new data (for GPRS and TOT AirMax), and tagged the monthly price on the top of each bar.

The ‘bang for the baht’ chart doesn’t tell you how fast your Internet connection will be. That’s dependent on a huge number of factors – whether the sites you visit are cached, what kind of software you use for downloading, how frequently you hit domain name servers, latency factors, and a myriad of other details. The chart also doesn’t analyze outages, their causes or duration, so it only tells part of the story. But it’s an important part, and one that we can measure and replicate with some accuracy.

If you aren’t yet reporting your speeds on PhuketInternetSpeed.com, please drop by and sign up! It’s free, only takes a few seconds, and the results help everybody figure out what’s working and what’s not worth the effort.

Remember that all of the data – more than 21,000 reported sightings at this point – is immediately available to anybody who wants to download, look at, or fiddle with the results. Also remember that the ISPs are watching the reports. We need your help.

Live Wire is Phuket Gazette columnist Woody Leonhard’s weekly snapshot of all things internet in Phuket. Follow him on Twitter: @PhuketPC or visit his free computer clinics at Woody’s Sandwich Shoppes.

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.

— Woody Leonhard

 

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