Saturday, July 25, 2015

WiFi Internet Connectivity

We just graduated from a dongle to a wifi router.

I must thank BSNL, MTS, Reliance and Tata Docomo for forcing us to take this quantum leap. All four of them have been providing such pathetic internet connectivity in Noida that we never really experienced a broadband internet connection at home, until today.

BSNL had everything going for it. It was the first one to lay down optic cables and hubs in the neighborhood and it was offering the most competitive rates too. Unfortunately they also had a bunch of linemen moulded in the licence-permit Raj. Since they just could not kick the habit of demanding  "baksheesh"from customers, they always ensured that the last-mile connectivity was primed to fail, as frequently as possible.

The telecom corporates fared no better. The slick ad campaigns from Reliance, MTS and Tata Docomo offered high-speed internet of "up to 21 Mbps". In reality this meant that the speeds could be anywhere between 0 Kbps and 450 Kbps, well within their promised range!

Our new service provider, a franchisee for Triple Play, simply promises a download speed and then delivers it. We now have a plan for 4Mbps speed till 25GB for Rs. 800/month. Speedtest has consistently confirmed that - at least so far - they have exceeded promises.

Unlike last time with BSNL, we have picked a wireless router on our own from the online market. A Netgear N150 (JNR1010v2) marked with an MRP of Rs. 1600 was available in Atta Market for Rs. 1200. The same thing is on Snapdeal for Rs. 784!

How on earth do they figure a pricing strategy in a market like this?


An attempt to make sense of the technical hocus-pocus:

Q. What is the radio frequency used by wifi routers?
A. Usually 2.4 GHz. for a maximum link speed of 150 Mbps. It is interesting to note that 'larger channel widths do not result in higher range, just faster speeds at close range'. So it is just as well that I did not buy a dual antenna N300 model for double the price!
Netgear's classification - details here.

Q. What is an "External 5dBi antenna"?
A. dBi stands for 'decibels relative to isotropic'. It represents  the direction and efficiency (Antenna Gain) with which a transmitter sends signals across distances. More here.

Q. The router conforms to four sets of international standards: Safety, EMC, Radio Spectrum and RoHS. What are these?
A. EMC = Electromagnetic Compatibility (European Standard - EN and International Electrotechnical Commission or IEC);
RoHS = Restriction of Hazardous Substances Directive  - also known as the "lead-free directive" it restricts the use of six substances in manufacturing.




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