Living In The Philippines Forum

Technical Stuff => Internet Connections & TV => Topic started by: HappyBee on December 08, 2017, 09:47:41 AM

Title: Internet Woes
Post by: HappyBee on December 08, 2017, 09:47:41 AM
Ever since I moved to where I am living now, we have been using a Smartbro pocket wifi for our internet. The signal has never been fantastic, but usually we could get what it calls a 3G or 4G connection (which I think is inaccurate but that's another story). I should add that there is only one place in the house that picks up this connection, but as long as I put the wifi there I can fairly consistently get a signal. I find that when I travel it is hit and miss - I had a hard time getting a signal in metro Cebu recently and ended up just using the hotel's wifi - so I aren't real happy with Smart's service overall. Nevertheless at home it has been ok, until now.

For over a month I have been stuck on 2G internet for no apparent reason. This has happened in the past, I think last year, and the problem resolved after a few weeks. But this must be approaching 6 weeks or so now with no end in sight.

So I'm faced with a dilemma. I don't believe Globe's signal is that good here, but I was thinking to try buying a Globe pocket wifi and see if it's any better than Smart's. If there's no signal, it will be a complete waste of money, but as I can't seem to find a coverage map for Globe anywhere, I have no way of knowing unless I try it.

I know what the story will be if I call Smart ("sorry ma'am but you live in an area with poor signal"). They won't install a "canopy" for us for this reason (not sure what the English equivalent of canopy is).

I've looked into Satellite internet, but I wasn't real impressed with the speeds being offered for the price. And cable internet isn't available here.

This is all a problem because... living far away from family isn't that much fun when your internet sucks.

Anyone else find it difficult to get decent internet where you are? How did you solve it?
Title: Re: Internet Woes
Post by: Lee2 on December 08, 2017, 10:05:18 AM
Your Smart pocket wifi should have worked fairly well in Cebu, we use one too and it usually works great in most areas except downtown.

As for coverage, maybe get a Huawei B315 (https://www.4gltemall.com/blog/tag/huawei-b315/) and get an outside beam antenna for it, that is what we use in our condo in Cebu in order to get a more consistent signal.

Below is coverage maps for Smart and Globe

Globe coverage map (https://opensignal.com/networks/philippines/globe-coverage)

Smart coverage map (https://opensignal.com/networks/philippines/smart-coverage)
Title: Re: Internet Woes
Post by: HappyBee on December 08, 2017, 04:56:03 PM
Your Smart pocket wifi should have worked fairly well in Cebu

That's what I thought too, although I could barely get a signal. Like I said, not impressed with it overall.

That router looks interesting, I wonder if I can buy it in my area.

With the OpenSignal coverage maps, no map comes up when I open the links on my computer. It looks like it wants me to install the app for cell phone, but I kind of wanted to avoid that because they request a lot of permissions. It doesn't seem like Globe have an official coverage map, but I could be wrong...

Thanks for the info anyway!
Title: Re: Internet Woes
Post by: suzukig1 on December 08, 2017, 05:18:38 PM
Where I live with Globe we need an antenna on the roof in order to get a signal.  With the antenna it works well enough.  All of the installation was taken care of by Globe.  We have a postpaid account.
Title: Re: Internet Woes
Post by: JoeLP on December 08, 2017, 07:19:31 PM
Par for course in the Phils.

Have globe "high speed" internet.  The high speed name is a joke...but...yeah.

Anyway, it goes out.  Just stops.  And has been doing this on and off for about a week.  Every day it got worse.  This all was over a month ago, maybe 2 now.  Anyway, I call to see what's going on.

A guy answers.  We are talking and I explain what is going on.  We already have their highest package for speed and data.  They guy goes on to explain we reached our data limit.  I go on to read him our contract.  It clearly stated that when we reach the data limit, we would still be afforded internet, just at slower speeds.  Now, you got the story up to the part where our conversation turns interesting.

The guy agrees with the contract.  This is RIGHT AFTER he tells us it stops when we reach the limit.  So I pause and state that again, per contract, we just go to slower speeds, and it does not stop.  Again, he agrees.  So I again state we have NO internet and it stopped.  The guy pauses very shortly...and says that is what happens when we reach the data limit.

I had it on speaker.  I'm looking at Tina with a WTF look on my face and she's laughing her rear end off.  She talks to the guy in local dialect(waray waray).  He pretty much tells her the same thing.  But, now she's not laughing.  She's getting testy.  He KEEPS up the same story.  Our contract is right at it won't stop...only slow down.  But, at the same time, when we reach the data limit...it'll stop.

The thing is, as I said, I already have the top package.  So even if this was an attempt at getting us to upgrade...there's nothing to upgrade to.

Tina called the national number after very abruptly hanging up on the local office.  They sent some people out to do a line check and apologized a lot to her.  Inside of a week everything was working great an the tech actually told us we have no limit.  When you have the top package, there is no limit.  Pretty much an unwritten setup.  So Tina downloaded the globe home app on her Ipad.  Sure enough, our data limit jumps like crazy...but we always have enough.  Seen it as high as 50gb limit and as low as 3gb limit daily, but it is always more than we have used(it'll move 3 times in 1 hour) and the monthly limit stays at 300gb...but our used date will jump around...usually down.

That said, a few friends of ours in the area have been complaining lately along with us that while our speeds are still higher than the rest with slower services in our area...the speeds have been slower the past few weeks.  Wonder if there is some reaction by globe and smart in response to what sam mig is trying to do by bringing in real high speed net to the Phils.  I understand that both globe and smart are fighting it.  But why would they slow our speeds when the pressure on them is that they are too slow all ready? 

We are in the Philippines...so who knows.
Title: Re: Internet Woes
Post by: iamjames on December 08, 2017, 08:33:34 PM
Yup. I have the 15MBPS with 150Gig limit per month with globe. While it is the best available there has been a noticeable drop-off in speed - to below 10mbps now. When you reach the monthly limit they give a very cheap topup for about 100P. It just depends on how many they have connected to your line. The contention ratio drops eventually. Sites like Facebook are deliberately slowed to inhibit users or perhaps the servers just cannot handle the Facebook load.
Title: Re: Internet Woes
Post by: Lee2 on December 08, 2017, 10:01:01 PM
IMO the answer is that they do not have enough infrastructure for the amount of users they currently have. We left Cebu this year in May, so things may have changed in Cebu since we left, yet friends where we live are telling me that they still have decent yet not perfect Smart LTE service.

@HappyBee, as for you not seeing the map, are you using a computer or an android to access, if a computer then you should see it, if an android then it may require a program to see, it works fine on my Windows 7 computer.

As for can you buy that unit where you live, they should sell it in electronics stores, I have found them locally in Cebu in Ayala Mall and online you can order them on Lazada http://www.lazada.com.ph/catalog/?q=Huawei+B315 (http://www.lazada.com.ph/catalog/?q=Huawei+B315) and used ones on Olx, the one I bought was used and came with a Mimo outside antenna and the guy came to our condo and hooked it up to show me that it worked. If I was going to buy an antenna then I would not buy the Mimo and would buy one of the better ones to play it safe, below is what I see on Olx.
https://www.olx.ph/all-results?q=b315 (https://www.olx.ph/all-results?q=b315)
Title: Re: Internet Woes
Post by: Lee2 on December 08, 2017, 10:16:37 PM
@HappyBee, the fact that yours did not work well in Cebu makes me wonder if your unit is bad, or if the sim in it is bad, or if yours is not LTE. Smart makes a 4G pocket wifi that is not LTE. The 4G unit that they sell in the Philippines for less than p1,000, I think it is p799 is not LTE, it is way below LTE speeds. If you buy a Globe pocket wifi then make sure that it is the black unit that says LTE on it and if you should buy another Smart pocket wifi then make sure it too says LTE on it or you will get slower speeds.
Title: Re: Internet Woes
Post by: lost_in_samoa on December 09, 2017, 06:00:27 AM
IMO the answer is that they do not have enough infrastructure for the amount of users they currently have.

Back in the day when I owned a BBS system, we had what was known as a "subscriber ratio".  People connect to you via whatever mechanism.  You as a provider, (ISP), route them to your backbone to the Internet/cloud/server/whatever.

Since very few folks use 100% of the bandwidth you sell them, you can sell that slack bandwidth to again to another user.  The math roughly works out like this.

You, (the isp), have a 128K backbone to the Internet.  Normally if you are selling 64K subscriber circuits you could only sell two of them.  64 * 2 = 128K.  That means that each of your clients has 64K available to them at any time.

Well through some fancy traffic shaping, time division multiplexing, and Quality of Service scheduling .... Kind ISP's will sell at a 10:1 ratio.  They will subscribe 1280K of users to 128K of available backbone bandwidth.

Here in the RP I would guess that the over subscribe ratio is 20:1 or greater.  In short there is probably plenty of bandwidth local to your region, but once you try to make a hop  to Manila ,(if you are not on Luzon), or a hop off of the island to say London.  Well that is where you hit a bottleneck and your speed is throttled. 

In most cases this slowdown is not because of physical constraints or your local/regional network.  But because the ISP wants to maximize their profit margin by not purchasing sufficient bandwidth from the backbone provider.

Hope this helps.

 
Title: Re: Internet Woes
Post by: Lee2 on December 09, 2017, 06:33:51 AM
@HappyBee, please keep in mind that I have found that my unit works well on Smart in Cebu City, also it probably does not have the new bands Smart and Globe seem to be coming out with. I did find that a newer units is available that probably has more bands and likely for more money, especially since used ones will not likely be as available.
Huawei B525s-23a 300mbps 4G+ LTE-A Router Gigabit Ethernet  (https://tinyurl.com/ya9sf7w2)
Title: Re: Internet Woes
Post by: JoeLP on December 09, 2017, 09:47:37 AM
IMO the answer is that they do not have enough infrastructure for the amount of users they currently have.
https://www.olx.ph/all-results?q=b315 (https://www.olx.ph/all-results?q=b315)

Agree 100%.  Last week, ticked at the slow rates on top of the fact that with them going so slow now(i can no longer watch any games that I stream to watch from the USA when someone else is connected via my wifi) I asked for a 2nd line to be run into our home.  A new line just for my use.  I was turned down.  According to the woman on the phone, and later the guy at the local office that I went to just to make sure...they reached their line limit. 

They guy actually told me they went over by more than 50...but money talks.  His words on the money talks.  So that also could be why things are slowing down.
Title: Re: Internet Woes
Post by: FastWalk on December 09, 2017, 02:08:00 PM
anyone have the myBusiness Copper plans from globe.   I was planning to get one of those.  It is 50 GB per day.  well at least it is supposed to bee ...
Title: Re: Internet Woes
Post by: HappyBee on December 12, 2017, 01:22:28 PM
Thanks @Lee2 for all your suggestions. I do think the unit is on its way out, in my experience the Smart pocket wifis only last about a year and a half, so this is no exception.

It grates me when gadgets only last for a while and then need to be thrown out... what a waste.
Title: Re: Internet Woes
Post by: HappyBee on December 12, 2017, 01:28:34 PM
In most cases this slowdown is not because of physical constraints or your local/regional network.  But because the ISP wants to maximize their profit margin by not purchasing sufficient bandwidth from the backbone provider.

These companies will have to smarten up once the Chinese move in! I can't wait...
Title: Re: Internet Woes
Post by: lost_in_samoa on December 12, 2017, 04:49:30 PM
Chinese move in! I can't wait...

On the one hand competition is always a good thing.   Corporate collectivism is definitely the villain here.

On the other ..... Well ...... Communist collectivists are not noted for freedom of speech or the free flow of information.  Their infrastructure is designed for censorship and control.

We may end up with all the bandwidth in the world ..... and be too afraid to say anything.


Just thinking.
Title: Re: Internet Woes
Post by: HappyBee on December 13, 2017, 03:12:49 PM
On the one hand competition is always a good thing.   Corporate collectivism is definitely the villain here.

On the other ..... Well ...... Communist collectivists are not noted for freedom of speech or the free flow of information.  Their infrastructure is designed for censorship and control.

We may end up with all the bandwidth in the world ..... and be too afraid to say anything.


Just thinking.

Guess I am excited for completely selfish reasons, like having good quality and less expensive internet :D
Title: Re: Internet Woes
Post by: lost_in_samoa on December 14, 2017, 07:10:40 AM
completely selfish reasons

Nothing selfish or wrong with wanting a better deal.

Think global, act local.
Title: Re: Internet Woes
Post by: FastWalk on December 14, 2017, 08:57:45 AM
Nothing selfish or wrong with wanting a better deal.

Think global, act local.

amen to that.   

that is a nice saying.
Title: Re: Internet Woes
Post by: HappyBee on January 17, 2018, 12:29:13 PM
Just thought I'd post an update on my "internet woes".

I decided after months of 2G internet to call Smart and ask if they can do anything.

As usual, when I called Smart I didn't have to wait on hold and the staff were kind.

They checked my router settings and found they were correct, and said that they suspect it is the "location". I had established that the router is OK by trying it in a larger town and found that the signal was very strong.

Smart said they would call me back and let me know the results of following up the issue with one of their engineers.

When they called me back, they said that they have concluded that my internet problems have been caused by having "too many subscribers in your area". I take this to mean that there has been an increase in cell phone users in our area, and simply having all those phones communicating with the tower has slowed it all right down.

They said they have plans for expansion in our area but can't tell me when.

I am glad they took the time to follow this up for me. But the quality of internet in the provinces here is just pathetic. And why the drop in connection was so sudden is puzzling to me... perhaps they reduced our bandwidth allocation here and sent it to somewhere more populated?
Title: Re: Internet Woes
Post by: Lee2 on January 17, 2018, 07:28:45 PM
Glad they were nice but I have found that like you, they rarely have any real answers. One answer to too much use of late, if true, might be the 4G unit I posted about below, thus in the price range that many more people can afford it, but if you wish to confirm that the only tower you can reach is overloaded, then you might wish to try the internet in the middle of the night to confirm that, and if no faster in the middle of the night, then they are full of it.
 
Personally I feel that my last suggestion the Hauwei B525 or later units with an antenna aimed at the closest tower or another tower farther away might work better for you but it is expensive and there are no guarantees.

Another less expensive suggestion I can make is that you might wish to try the latest fairly inexpensive LTE Unit that recently came out the middle of last year, since it is retailing for p1,995, the Smart Bro Prepaid LTE Home Wi-Fi  (http://www.technobaboy.com/2017/08/04/smart-launches-smart-bro-prepaid-lte-home-wi-fi/) and it comes with 10G free data good for 7 days and more important it supports the 700MHz LTE band, so 7 days of included internet lowers the price and the new band, if available at your closest tower or any tower you can reach, would make your internet much faster but if there is no LTE available anywhere in your area, then I doubt anything will help.

Title: Re: Internet Woes
Post by: Gray Wolf on January 17, 2018, 10:16:32 PM
Nothing selfish or wrong with wanting a better deal.

Think global, act local.

I think globally, and act hillbilly  :D
Title: Re: Internet Woes
Post by: ABCDeVil on January 26, 2018, 05:41:51 PM
I know this thread started 4-5 weeks ago and I am so sad for all the folks outside of Manila/Pampanga/Zambales areas. About one year plus ago, PLDT along with other partners in crime, started laying "fiber", mainly in Manila. This was to help and support the Financial HQ (namely Makati) with powerful internet connections. This being said, along comes one of many companies (ISPs), particularly for us here in Zambales (east end) Converge controlled, layed and connected fiber from Manila - Pampanga, now into Zambales. Prior to this, many foreigners used pocket wifi's, cable from CATV, SKY, Globe etc, with the best on offer, was upto 50mb, but really only getting 20 if you were lucky, with most cable ISPs giving only about 3mb.  A few months ago, I heard about Converge in our local town (Olongapo), well I cancelled my CATV cable internet, saving P850/mth but only getting 3mb on a good day, usually in the wee hours of the night/day. So with Converge, we get 20mb for P1500/mth unlimited. Also, if there is any interruption, I just text to a tech and I am dealt with promptly and service is back up and running quickly. As I test the speed, regularly I average between 19.85-22.48 mbps download and 20-250 mbps upload. Of course, with any ISP service, there will or can be, a split second when the service is off/on, that is infrequent and as I said, a split second. The only time I notice the stoppage, is when I am playing an on-line game, otherwise it is not really noticed.

My advice to everyone, is to look around, especially in the bigger cities/towns for companies with fiber. Yes they exist, outside of Luzon, I know, but do not know any company names. We only use a pocket wifi, when we travel, but half the time, we use the hotel wifi. Good luck and good hunting.

NOTE: don't be fooled with ANY company offering "copper" high speed, for bigger bucks, as "copper" in PR is unreliable, to say the least. If at all possible, the only solution is "only" fiber. The subsequent problem with speed only comes from the ISP server or a line break somewhere, between server and your home.

Good luck to all, hope this helps.