Mostly Everything

The No Bullsh*t Speed Test of SMART’s LTE (Warning: Video is 25 minutes long)

There is a satellite station for the LTE booth located near my hotel. I heard that they degraded the signal to “divert all power” to the central booths where Rico Blanco performed. I got a bright idea. I decided to do a real speed test. What would happen if we had a degraded LTE signal (without shifting to HSPA) trying to go through several layers of concrete? I was at the Real Maris Hotel. The center stage is located near Aria in D’Mall fronting the beach. That’s relatively far PLUS the fact that my hotel room is located near the road. At the booth I am guaranteed over 50Mbps — that’s about 6 MEGABYTES per second. But in the real world, I don’t think this will hold true given location of you in conjunction to the cell sites and the number of users accessing the signal.

Also, what if we were pinging servers from the USA? Here’s a screenshot of what kind of speeds you are getting if your server is located in Washington and the sites you are accessing from the PH are not cached OR not being downloaded from a dedicated server.

So I ran back to my room, skipped a massage (haynaku), fired up my ScreenFlow and spent the next 30 minutes making this actual speed test. I promised myself that I would post whatever findings I had here — good or bad.

You be the judge!

Mostly Everything

Mbps is not Megabytes per second but “megabits” per second

N.B. If you’re knowledgeable about this subject, please leave a comment to refute or add to this post as we’re all trying to understand what makes good or crappy Internet.

One of the biggest confusions of consumers when purchasing Internet plan subscriptions is that they think Mbps means megabytes per second when in fact it means “megabits per second” and there’s a huge difference. It’s partly the telcos’ fault as they aren’t very gung-ho about these educational campaigns for consumers. I think they should start helping consumers understand what exactly “2Mbps” means in the real world application. Also they should start including a value called CIR or Committed Information Rate or the average bandwidth per x number of households in a given area. Now that’s useful!

Here’s a tool to help you calculate ideally how many kbps you should be getting with your Internet provider commitment.

In other words, if your telco is selling you a 2Mbps connection, your ideal burst speed (say you’re downloading a torrent) should peak at around 250KBps (that’s kilobytes per second not kilobits per second — remember that kbps is kilobits and KBps or KB/s is kilobytes). But that’s the best speeds. I don’t think it takes into account CIR. So if I’m using my Android phone on HSPA to tether Internet to my laptop and I’m getting 60-120KBps (which I got in Palawan since I’m probably not exceeding the CIR, but not in Manila which is definitely more dense), then it really could mean that my telco is delivering actual average speeds. Please, telcos, I think we should level up the way we communicate our Internet-related products as we move on to 4G technology! 🙂

Mostly Everything

SMART Communications launches LTE

By the time you read this post, I’m still in the middle of the ocean, finishing our last day of diving Tubbataha Reef. When I get back, I fly, almost immediately to Boracay. I’m there with my partner-in-crime Andi9 so we’ll be streaming live soon!

SMART is launching LTE technology and doing the entire demo in Boracay.

LTE is a modulation technique that is designed to deliver 100Mbps (DL) per channel and give individual users performance comparable to today’s wired broadband. It was bound to happen. The question was when. To put things into simpler terms let’s have a look at a short history of how mobile phones work:

2G GSM Technology
Remember your Nokia 5110 and 3210? There. Calls and SMS. That was 2G connectivity.

2.5G Technology
This was the first shot into surfing the Internet with your phone but we were using WAP sites. Remember WAP? Yung parang pangit na website designed for mobile phones using GPRS? That was it. Add your ringtones and picture messages. It got a little better when phones started using EDGE connectivity (popular with BlackBerry then) but that was still not …

3G and 3.5G Technology
This is Internet today. It’s workable but not comparable to the wired connections we have at home. You could surf, email, chat, do your social networking, but it was honestly a bit hard to do things like online gaming and downloading huge files.

4G Technology
This is the next generation of connectivity. 100MBPS. On your phone. Built on top of existing technology. No, you cannot use your current phones or USB dongles to access these speeds. The only phone I know that’s capable of accessing this network is the HTC Thunderbolt. Yeah I think SMART is deploying LTE at the same time as Verizon in the USA. Not sure if the Thunderbolt is launching here though because there’s a slight difference in setup with the LTE here and the one in the USA. I heard they’re shipping in dongles.

So yes if you’re planning on buying a new USB dongle for mobile Internet, I suggest you wait a few. That’s because you can practically achieve faster speeds with costs similar to your current plans.

I’m not sure when exactly SMART is making the commercial announcement (i.e. data plans and rates) but if you leave a comment here they will probably get back to you as a number of them read this cute site.

Oh and just one more thing. In case you’re wondering what the difference between LTE and WiMax is, well the former is GSM-based technology: phones. While WiMax involves a completely new set of hardware and is designed for WiMax-enabled devices.

Mostly Everything

This week, we’re giving away a Galaxy Tab with a one year Superstick plan from Globe

Good morning, weekend! This week we have another contest sponsored by our friends from Globe Tattoo. This contest will run from today till 12 noon of Friday (so please note the deadline is different from the previous months). Globe is giving away two prizes! The first prize is a Galaxy Tab with a one year free Superstick postpaid plan so you can surf the Internets. On top of that, the winner will get to choose one of my other participants to give away a Tattoo MyFi prepaid kit!


1. Share something about YOURSELF – a story, photo, or video that you haven’t shared online before. The funnier, the crazier, the juicier, the BETTER!

2. Post the story or a link to your entry (it maybe a blog, photo or youtube link) as a comment to this post.

3. The best entry (to be chosen by me) will win a Galaxy Tab with a FREE Superstick Postpaid Plan for ONE YEAR (worth PHP 15,588)!

4. There’s MORE. The winner can SHARE his victory to one of the contest participants! He can choose one entry who will win one (1) Tattoo MyFi Prepaid Unit!

5. This contest is valid from today till Friday, 11 February 2011 1200 noon. Guys, not midnight OK? 12 noon. Contest is open to PH residents above 18 years old.

6. Since this is my contest, I have final say in all the decisions.

P.S. Since we’re on the subject of Sarah Gaugler and Tattoos, this is a photo essay we did at UNO Magazine featuring tattoo art (and yes, with Sarah Gaugler!)

Mostly Everything

“Jayvee, you’re the first person outside Microsoft Philippines to see this”

EDIT: My friend Johnny Benitez from Microsoft has also posted his first impressions on Facebook.

Before I continue let me just say that I haven’t felt the adrenaline of chancing upon a gadget like this since the early 2000’s. Back then when it was a battle between Palm and Windows Mobile, I’d have Elbert Cuenca calling us to hurry over to Microwarehouse to see a then flagship m515 in the flesh, complete with blurry photos. I had been working on getting this scoop for a while and finally, effort paid off.

This is an industry exclusive. I’m apparently the first person outside Microsoft Philippines to be able to hold the new HTC Mozart, the first Windows Phone 7 device launching before the holidays. Thinking of an iPhone for Christmas? Hold your horses first.

Above: The new events calendar is color coded to match different synched accounts (via email including Google Calendar, Microsoft Exchange Server) and yeah even Facebook Events … all color coded baby.

Here’s what you need to know: