All questions will be answered
In this day and age, the growth and advancement of the Internet has enabled us to do and experience things that we never thought possible such as downloading or streaming HD (High Definition) Videos and participating in real time gaming events. In essence, the Internet has changed the way we live our lives to the point where we no longer need to leave the comfort of our home to carry out our daily affairs. We can now avoid the long traffic jams and crowded city malls and offices and carry out all our transactions online thus saving us time and money. Even in the business world has been drastically changed with many business being run entirely online from home.
With so many broadband companies around with all the different packages being offered by each company, it is hard to decide which package to subscribe to. In order to make that decision, we should always consider the following.
Usage – Tasks such as checking e-mails only use a very little bandwidth whereas streaming HD Videos online requires significantly more bandwidth.
Mobility – Do you require a connection that is mobile for connectivity on the go or does it for a stationary home network?
Importance of task – Is the connection mainly for leisure or for business? The more important a task is, the more stable the connection needs to be.
Wired Broadband – On a whole, the services provided via Wired Broadband is far more stable compared to Wireless broadband. What this means is that there will be a physical cable that will connect your home to the internet. This cable will usually be terminated to a modem or router that will share the connectivity to your computers and other network enabled devices either via cable or wirelessly through a wifi router. Currently in Malaysia, the choices available to you are
Wireless Broadband - Wireless broadband is prone to interference as it functions via radio waves that are usually broadcasted from the rooftops of high-rise buildings. A device provided to you will act as a receiver for the signal and this will allow you to connect to the Internet virtually anywhere there is coverage. This means that Wireless Broadband offers you a great deal of mobility whereas Wired Broadband does not. Currently in Malaysia, the choices available to you are
Generally, Wired Broadband is much better than Wireless due to the stability offered by a physical connection.
It is very common for people to refer to Wifi as Wireless. What this means is that the connection does not use any physical cables to connect to the device. When a modem is able to connect devices to itself wirelessly, it is called a wifi-modem. However, this is only the means on connecting the devices or in other words, spreading the Internet connectivity. In order to be connected to the Internet, the wifi-modem needs to be connected to an Internet source.
Connection to the Internet (wired) + wifi-modem > wifi connection
Connection to the Internet (wireless) + wifi-modem > wifi connection
The quality of the connection depends the source. This means that even if your wifi-modem is functioning properly, a bad connection at the source will result in poor connection quality.
1M means 1 Mbps (Megabytes per second). This refers to your broadband bandwidth. This refers to the amount of traffic that can pass through your connection to your home at any given time. In essence, imagine a 1 lane highway as a 1Mbps connection and a 2Mbps connection as a 2 lane highway. This means more cars (data) can pass through at a time meaning less congestion. Less congestion means more speed. The fastest available connection at the moment is from TIME Telekom at 20M (that like a 24 lane highway!).
There are many factors that can affect the speed of your broadband connection and more often than not you will not be able to get the full Bandwidth that you subscribed to. Where broadband connections are concerned, a more expensive price is not an indicator of better service as there are many factors to consider such as:
- Certain data could be controlled by the Service Provider in order to avoid congestion or due to legal restrictions.
- The package name might simply be a marketing gimmick. Always read the agreement to find out what bandwidth you are actually subscribed to.
Copper wire has been used as the medium for Internet connectivity for the past 20-40 years in Malaysia. Copper wiring has many limitations on how much bandwidth it can carry as well as the distance the data can be carried. Fiber optic cabling uses laser beams as the medium of transmission. This means that the data travels extremely fast (speed of light vs electric current flow) and is also very stable and can be carried over long distances. The amount of data that can be carried at a time is also greatly increased.
Currently only TM Unifi and Maxis are able to provide Fiber-Optic services in Malaysia. However, the coverage for service is still very small as the technology is still very new.
Wifi refers to the wireless connect to the last mile computer. The last mile is the distance from your modem to the device you have connected to it. The most commonly used device that connects to via Wifi is the laptop as it is a mobile computing device. In order for a device to have an Internet connection, the modem that it is connected to must have an Internet connection either via Wired or Wireless Broadband. The range of a wifi connection is usually within 100 meters of the modem.
In Broadband terminology, wifi, usually refers to the last mile connection and does not include the service provider infrastructure. The term wireless can mean either the last mile connection or the entire network inclusive of the service provider infrastructure.
USB modem and Wimax is relied on wireless network, eg:
A USB modem uses the GSM (Global System for Mobile Communications) as the medium of transmission for Internet connectivity. The GSM is usually use for voice services (making a phone call) or minor data services (text messaging). However, in the case of the USB modem, the connection is dedicated entirely for data transfer, in this case the Internet.
Based on user feedback, Wired Broadband is faster and more stable than connections provided via USB modem. Up to 95% of USB Modem users are unsatisfied with the connection quality. However; it is an invaluable tool for checking e-mails while on the move. The majority of USB modem users only use it as a secondary means of connection while on the go. In short:-
Home and Office » Wired Broadband
On the Move » USB Modem
It is not right to expect a USB modem connection to replace a wired connection as USB modem connections are only able to provide a very small amount of bandwidth as well and is far more unstable compared to Wired connections. In cases where wifi is available, a USB modem can be more dependable if the surrounding area is crowded and the wifi is over used. This is because the USB modem is not shared with any users whereas the wifi is shared by everyone in the area connected to it.
Generally, as long as a Wired Broadband service is available, it always best to go with a wired connection. However, if you find yourself constantly on the move and in need to quickly check e-mails, then Wireless Broadband is a good choice. The best solution if you are in need of both Wired and Wireless connection, is to go with a budget allocation of 70/30, wired to wireless (RM70 on wired, RM30 on wireless).
While at the office a stable connection is required so that important tasks such as banking transactions, video conferences, VoIP (Voice over Internet Protocol) calls and much more. All these require a stable connection in order to avoid frustration and loss of productivity.
At home, the Internet serves as a gateway to entertainment for HD Video streaming, IPTV (Internet Television), online gaming and even online shopping; all of which require stable and high speed connections. In view of this, only a Wired Broadband connection can provide the stability and speed required to carry out these functions at the office and home.
This phenomenon of stuttering is known as lag. Lag happens when data transmitted to your computer gets lost or corrupted before reaching your computer. This happens often when using a USB modem as the radio wave signal being transmitted to the modem are prone to interference causing the lost and/or corruption of data.
Currently, the fastest services are being offered by TIME Telekom, Maxis Fibre and TM Unifi. These Service Providers offer Wired Broadband via Fiber-Optics. However, the areas where these services are offered are still very small (less than 10% of Malaysia) but is increasing steadily.
The more common form of Wired Broadband uses ADSL technology which uses copper cabling as the medium of transmission.
There are currently residential users who have subscribed to a 10M package (RM199 per month) that report speeds of close to 9.8Mbps. This means that they are able to download a 400Mb movie within 30mins. Some business users using a 5M package (RM199) are enjoying internet services as good at leased line services.
Although there are complaints regarding the Wired Broadband services via ADSL (Copper Cabling), nearly 70% of users are still satisfied with the quality of the connection provided to them. The reason for poor connection quality at times is due to network congestion as there are too many users on a network in a coverage area. Also, copper cabling has been used for a very long time and is very old so some of the wiring has since degraded causing loss of transmission quality. The truth is, Internet speed is affected by many factors such as
- The package being subscribed.
- The number of users using the network at the time.
- Limitations set by Providers on certain traffic.
- Network user capacity
- Technology being used (Copper, Fiber-Optics or Wireless)
- Computer Performance
- Bandwidth Usage