My Bleeding Internet Connection

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I need to unload some frustration.

What’s discussed below is not rocket science. I only wish it were. If I say, “Red is BAD“, anybody will get the idea.

With Telikom and the firmly entrenched ISPs doing whatever it is that they seem to be doing to keep control of progress (Hah! What is that?), and protect profits flowing steadily in their direction, the bandwidth-hungry consumer is left out in the cold.

I’ve begged Telikom for something better – anything! Oh yes, Telikom has a VSAT thingie which nobody but government agencies and government finagled businesses can afford (Hmmm… I wonder how that works). However, our ISP has nothing to offer but hints of dire consequences if we dare to dump it for something better.

After days of fighting with Telikom and our ISP over whose fault it was that we had virtually no throughput, I was told by both agencies that our problems were due to a fault in our own internal system.

I clearly demonstrated to a senior Teilkom manager as he sat across my desk from me that that analysis was incorrect. The next day our ISP admitted that there was a fault in a router that they control. The ISP proclaimed that, “All connections are now normal.”

We had not been able to load a complete page for days. No email, no online banking, no booking airline tickets, no blog posting, nothing! I had to go to Divine Word University and tap into their wireless network to get any work done.

After the “fix” you could get pages to load, if you liked to nap while waiting. I got curious and fired up PingPlotter Pro to see what was going on. It looked as if I’d severed my carotid artery and hosed down my screen:

Whoops, fell on my sword

The program sends out little messages to whatever location you want to test. These messages say, “Hey, are you there?” The device on the other end is supposed to answer immediately back, “Yes, I’m here.” The wildly fluctuating black line shows how long it takes for the answer to come back. Geeks call this “latency.” I call it simulated waterboarding.

The problem comes when the question never gets answered. That’s what the red is. Either the other device did not hear the question or the answer was lost coming back. In other words, no connection. The period of the chart is about seven hours.

Bear in mind that I captured the chart during a period immediately following an email from our ISP stating that, “All links have been restored to normal operation.”

What I do know is that seven other clients share our leased line connection.

Let’s crunch the numbers:

It is supposed to be 256Kbps out of Madang. That’s what the ISP said to me in a phone conversation. Dividing by eight gives us 32Kbps! That is the equivalent of a weak-kneed dialup connection. Furthermore, we might have as many as six or eight users in our office all trying to squeeze data through that one connection. For this, we pay Teilkom K500 per month, a similar amount to our ISP and K0.45 per megabyte for everything that arrives at our router.

With our usage level, that amounts to several thousand Kina a month. All that money for what amounts to a slow dialup! Moreover, that is when it is working perfectly, which, in my experience lately has been just about never.

Telikom claims that they have repeatedly told the ISP that they need a faster link out of Madang. I didn’t make that up. The senior Telikom manager mentioned above stated it to me as a fact. But, hold on! The support person at our ISP claims that they have applied to Telikom for more bandwidth, and it takes years to get the job done. Somebody is playing online games with the facts here – at my expense.

I’m not taking it anymore!

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7 Responses to “My Bleeding Internet Connection”

  1. Robert@PNG Says:

    MadDog,

    Please let us know what eventuates from your “I’m not taking it anymore!” bolded line at the end.

    R

  2. Emmanuel Narokobi Says:

    Nicely put and well explained 🙂

  3. A News Aggregator is a must! | Robert@PNG Says:

    […] We all relate so well to… MadDog: My Bleeding Internet Connection […]

  4. MadDog Says:

    Thanks, Emmanuel.

  5. MadDog Says:

    Robert, a little bird told me that the situation would change dramatically in a month. Having lived in PNG for 28 years, I take that to be (a) 2 – 4 months or (b) whenever it happens. In reality, I will be happy with whichever estimate proves the winner.

    The solution will be drastic and may involve gnashing of teeth and tearing of hair on the part of the former benefactors of our largesse.

    That’s all I can say now.

  6. Peter Donelly Says:

    Exactly and Moresby is not much better. Can you imagine having to get VSAT in the National Capital just because the ISP can not guarantee any sort of reasonable throughput.

    What is the bandwidth out of the country these days?

  7. MadDog Says:

    Peter, having lived in PNG since 1981, I can imagine almost anything.

    It’s a sorry fact that the situation is no better in POM. However, misery loves company, so thanks for sharing that.

    I think our bandwidth on the leased line averages about one slow dialup connection.

    I have no idea what the ultimate bandwidth is on the Tiare gateway, but I’d guess it’s not much and it’s being used extremely profitably by those who have a choke hold on it.

    That’s just my guess.