Saturday, 25 March 2017

The Speed of the Internet and The Promise of the PAP

I recently upgraded my internet speed from 200 Mbps to 1 Gbps. With 1G speed, subscribers are expecting a higher and faster speed than before. However, it is not the case. When I feedback to my internet service provider, surprisingly, my internet speed is normal and within the range of regular performance.   
After the upgrade, the service provider provided me an upgraded router (ASUS AC1200) but without upgrading the modem (Huawei Echolife). At first, I suspected it might be due to the modem. The provider’s technician said no and suggested I tried to test the speed with cable connection between laptops and modem. With three older or lower quality laptops, I could only manage to get 90 Mbps.
In fact, the technician told me whether you are using M1, Starhub or Singtel, my feedback wifi speed of 50 and 190 Mbps for different laptops is normal. I got even lower speed of 90 Mbps when I used cable connection. About 1 week ago, I got a new laptop. With cable connection to the modem, I finally managed to have a speed of 800 Mbps.  Here is the result:
Year, Quality (based on purchase price)
2.4G (Mbps)
5G (Mbps)
Cable connection (Mbps)
4 year old, higher
Not available
Lenovo G50
2 year old, lower
Not Available
Lenovo ideapad
3 month old, lower
ASUS Zenbook
1 week old, higher

Internet Provider
Normal speed

The technician also explained that 2.4G can cover longer distance with lower speed, 5G shorter distance and higher speed. To test the 1G speed, you have to connect the laptop to the modem. But modem has only one port for connection either to the router or to the computer. If I want to have 800 Mbps speed, I have to sacrifice wifi service.   
When PM Lee Hsien Loong talked about ‘fastest internet accesses’, is he referring to 1Gbps or 50 Mbps? A subscription of 1 Gbps can not give you a wifi speed of 1G or 500 Mbps.

"We are completely open; we have one of the fastest internet accesses in the world; we have no great wall of the Internet. Where is the restriction?"

Fake or real news?
fake or real news new.png

Depending on your situation and the type of computers, without cable connection, the advertised 1 Gbps will certainly never provide a wifi service that you expect. It cannot even reach the 50% mark of 1 Gbps. Similarly, higher range iphone or Samsung smart phones can reach 200 Mbps but 50 Mbps for lower range Lenovo handphones.    
Perhaps, experts in internet service know how to reach higher speed and fully utilizes the 1G service. However, most of us are ordinary consumers with no technology or technical background, should we content with the advertised 1G service or think negatively about the service providers?
In fact, with 50 Mbps, we can do quite a lot of things, e.g. ibanking, investment in stocks market, Singpass, CPF, fine payment, air tickets booking, facebook, youtube, etc. Maybe this is what PM Lee’s reference of the ‘fastest internet accesses’? You may not need 300 Mbps or 800 Mbps to get things done.
My service provider’s technician said there is little difference for internet speed between my old router (ASUS N600) and the new router. This is especially true when the laptops and smartphones are in the lower quality and cheaper range. Sometimes, I find my old laptops can reach higher internet speed when I use the old router.
It may be not so easy to pinpoint fake or real news.
To the government, when they promise to give you a Swiss standard of living, they are referring to the top range of Singaporeans, residents of Tanglin, Bukit Timah or Sentosa. These Singaporeans can achieve a standard of living even higher than the Swiss. These are the 1G ‘fastest internet accesses’ people. While the rest of us should be content with 50, 90, 190 and some lucky ones 300 Mbps.
The PAP government, in fact, does provide ‘fastest internet accesses’ in the world. This is a real news but depending on your situation, you can also view it as a fake news. The PAP sets a 1G target but only few can achieve.

Promise or empty promise?
Another example is CPF. It is even more complicated than the speed of the internet. Minimum sum is one problem, many cannot reach the target of minimum sum when they reach 55. CPF investment in stocks or property is only for those having extra savings in Ordinary Account. There is a limit on Medisave withdrawal, you cannot any how withdraw your money. MediShield's claim is another complicated issue. ElderShield may be simple. There are also different interest rates, from 2.5% to 4%.
It is hard to understand CPF. An educated friend of mine told me he had visited CPF Board 5 times, each time with different questions. But he still has unsolved questions.
For Singaporeans who want to have Swiss standard of living, you have to look beyond CPF. If you can live without CPF savings and have other financial arrangement, you are in the best situation, enjoying the fastest internet accesses. The PAP government welcomes you as you don’t need any subsidy but pay taxes.         
To many Singaporeans, it seems to be an empty promise. But you cannot deny there are Singaporeans who really can live without CPF savings. These, of course, include our millions-dollar ministers, senior officials, and chief executive officers of government-linked companies.      
So whether it is a promise or an empty promise, all have to do with your fate, your situation. If you are using a cheap and old laptop, you must either content with 50 Mbps or upgrade your laptop. This is why the PAP government introduces SkillFuture. Singaporeans must take advantage of this scheme to upgrade. However, even after the upgrade, there is no promise you can get the Swiss standard of living.
Similarly, the government promises affordable HDB housing, affordable and comfortable transportation, every school a good school, no great wall of the internet (the BBC interview), etc. However, the actual perception can be very different depending on your situation.  For some, it is a promise achieved.  For many, they are still using old computers, old technology, even they upgrade themselves, it is still an empty promise or half full promise.       
What can the PAP government do to make you believe their 'real news? When you view youtube, you can see all those advertisements. The PAP is buying space in the internet with government revenue and is trying very hard to sell you the ‘real’ news - their promise just like the 1G advertisement.

govsingapore   YouTube.png  

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