Friends, I know that it’s been quite some time since my last post. I offer my apologies for such situations as they are inevitable sometimes.
Now a days we hear a lot about various Internet Service Providers (ISPs) providing ridiculously high speeds, normally in the big cities, but have we ever thought how true their claims are and also how different an end user feels? Probably yes, and there are articles already available in the internet about the topic. This post is my take on the subject.
I’m basically going to present my experience with some ISPs I have used or still using personally and what I feel about them.
In my opinion, the ISPs fail miserably to provide us the real experience of internet speed, that they promise while selling a new connection. I bought a 50mbps connection, even the post connection speed test showed the speed as close to 50mbps, but later on every youtube video buffered a lot while playing.
Then I switched to some other ISP, which provided me a connection of the same 50mbps, but they kept upgrading it and now it’s almost 100mbps. The speed is good for normal browsing but the slow speed issue comes up every now and then.
Then I switched to a few more ISPs and my experience was no better than what I already had. Now let’s see what happened and the probable reasons:
Now a days, everyone uses WiFi; instead of connecting the ISP provided cable directly to our PCs we connect them to a WiFi router (ISP provided or Personal). Not saying that’s bad, because now a days we’ve multiple devices at home that need internet to function, we can’t connect a physical cable to all of them and hence the need for WiFi. However, little did I know that by using WiFi itself the bandwidth of my connection reduces by almost half. When I had a 50mbps connection connected directly to a PC, speed test showed almost 50mbps, but when measured over WiFi the same shows about 17mbps; please calculate the drop in percentage. It’s true, I was surprised initially and hence confirmed this using multiple PCs and WiFi routers.
Probably by using good quality WiFi routers and also the 5 GHz band. But it’s not always possible, because, neither all routers support 5 GHz band nor all devices. So even if you have a dual mode router at home, you can’t run it at only 5 GHz, because then the 2.4 GHz devices will not be able to connect. So you’ll be compelled to compromise either on connectivity or on speed.
I’m sure everyone knows the speedtest app and website by OOKLA, no? It’s one of the most popular speed testing apps and every ISPs technician uses it to show you how fast their service is. I don’t believe this app’s and website’s test result “at all”. Because what it measures is the diameter of the pipe and not the amount of water flowing through it. Logically we should be paying for the water we’re getting no matter how big or small their pipe is, isn’t it?
There is no real solution for it as of now. When you make a complaint, they normally send a technician who in most cases doesn’t even understand what I’m talking about. He just comes, performs a speedtest using the app or website mentioned above and says everything’s alright with the connection. No matter how much you ask them why the youtube videos are buffering etc., they just go by the speed shown by the above app/website.
Even if some ISPs say they run fibre till your home they still connect it to a network switch which then gives connections to multiple homes in the vicinity. As long as number of connections from that switch is low, the throughput will be good and vice-versa. Other problem with them is that the switches get backup power from a stand alone battery, which mostly in bad health or refurbished, so the switch goes offline when power supply is interrupted. Then there are some ISPs providing services via coaxial cables where switches are not required, but then the quality of their connections usually over commit and under perform.
None yet. JIO fibre is coming but no one knows how it’ll fair subsequently.
I personally consider the connection qualities of some ISPs to be better than others, but of no use, if there is no feasibility for them at your location.Mobile internet is another promising option, which has so far just promised, the performance is highly unreliable. In fact when I see reports in media saying JIO has highest download speed this month or Airtel has highest download speed last month, I just laugh it off. Actually None!!
I would suggest if you want to measure the actual performance of your broadband connection, use multiple speedtest sites or apps to do so. Also while testing speed choose a destination server from a different ISP than yours. You can also download one or more big files from multiple sites and do some math to obtain the actual download speed or throughput.
Overall, I would say, we’re not there yet. Hopefully one day TRAI will have some guidelines laid out for ISPs to commit a minimum throughput, failing which they would be penalized. That will be the day when the internet speed in India will hopefully be really enjoyable.