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Asianet DOCSIS 3 Broadband Plus Review
Arun posted a topic in Other Broadband DiscussionBroadband just got broader for me, thanks to the new DOCSIS 3 Cable Modem internet service from Asianet Satellite Communications, available now in Trivandrum and Kochi. Asianet Satellite Communications (not to be confused with Asianet the channel which is under a different management) has been providing broadband internet services since 2000 in Kerala through their Hybrid Fibre Coaxial cable network along with Cable TV services. DOCSIS 3.0 Asianet provides internet service using Cable Modem and uses the DOCSIS (Data Over Cable Service Interface Specification) standard. They have been using DOCSIS 2.0 for many years now and they have recently implemented DOCSIS 3.0 which allows a much higher maximum throughput. DOCSIS 3.0 achieves that by using multi-channel bonding (using multiple channels simultaneously for download/upload) while DOCSIS 2 cable modems uses single channel only. So a DOCSIS 3 cable modem with 4 bonded channels can provide 4 times the bandwidth of a DOCSIS 2 modem. Along with the DOCSIS 3 modem you need to have the DOCSIS 3 based package subscription also. The service should be available in most parts of Trivandrum and Kochi now. Since they already have the DOCSIS 3 compliant HFC cable across all parts of the city, availability is not much of a problem unlike DSL ISPs who cannot expand here now due to restrictions for laying fibre. For plans above 8 mbps the DSL ISPs have to use fibre-to-home which is available in very few areas only; so Asianet has an advantage here. Packages UPDATE: The new and current packages are listed here: http://www.asianetdataline.com/brdplus.aspx <old package details>The current packages are costlier and that might be the reason why Asianet hasn't even announced the availability of the DOCSIS 3 service and is probably running like a trial now. Their website isn't updated about the DOCSIS 3 service or packages either. Since the current packages will soon be replaced by new cheaper packages, I will post the upcoming new packages for the DOCSIS 3 service: Please note that these new packages are not available yet and it is not known when it will be launched, but might happen within a month or so. The data limits are on the lower side; but with the combo offer (i.e. with Cable TV package) the data limits are reasonable. I would opt for the Xtream 1625 package at Rs.1625 per month with 50 GB data limit per month once the new packages are available. The cable modem cost will be Rs.3500, which when compared to DSL providers is a bit more expensive. The current packages are costlier where I now have 20 mbps speed plan with 25 GB data limit at Rs.2500 per month. However the cable modem was cheaper at Rs.2500.</old package details> Modem The cable modem is a Cisco DPC3825 8x4 DOCSIS 3.0 Wireless Residential Gateway which has WiFi support: The modem configuration page has lots of configurable options and is accessible in browser using the modem IP. For the login details you may have to contact the person who came to install your modem as the default login does not work. Performance / Speed / Reliability Asianet's cable modem internet service (DOCSIS 2.0) does not have a good opinion in general as far as stability is concerned with varying speeds and packet loss. The new DOSCSIS 3 plans might be able to change that perception as the performance has been "good" at least for the 1 week that I have used. The speed has been consistent and for Indian servers I have been able to get almost 20 mbps download all the time. For international (UK, US) servers I was able to get around 16 - 17 mbps download speed most of the time. For upload speed I was able to get 3 - 5 mbps for Indian servers and around 2-3 mbps for international servers. ICMP commands are disabled at Asianet's end and hence ping, trace route, etc. will not work. They will not enable it and the only way to have it enabled is by opting for a static IP address (discussed later). So I have to rely on the results from speedtest.net and pingtest.net to know the ping times: 30 ms - Bangalore 180 ms - Gloucester, UK 250 ms - New York, US Asianet has a web based login process to start the internet session. The web portal also shows you the exact data usage when you login so that you can know the limit left. The "My Account" portal also has detailed usage information. The web based login is not required if you have a static IP address for Rs.2500 per year. I might apply for the static IP for the ICMP support and the loginless connection. However you have to apply with a photo ID proof, etc. which is weird when you have already given those details for the connection! One you are logged in, there is a session check every 10 minutes; which means if there are no PC's or devices connected, it will get logged off automatically. So if you shut down your device for more than 10 minutes you will have to re-login. This is a problem when you are connected to VPN because the network layer changes in your PC to the VPN's network and the session check will not get an acknowledgement. When I contacted Customer Care about it I was told that they will make a change at their side for my connection so that the session will continue to work as long as there is data activity every 20 minutes. VPN worked fine uninterruptedly after this was changed. I accidently found out that using remote DNS (like Google DNS, OpenDNS, etc.) decreases the speed of the connection. When I changed back to Asianet's DNS, the speed was better (by at least 1 - 2 mbps) and the difference was like day and night when testing on PS3 where the download speed when using Google DNS was around 3 mbps and when I changed to Asianet's DNS it jumped to 15 mbps. I don't have a clue on how DNS can make such a difference in the download speed. As far as stability is concerned, it doesn't score well as there were multiple connection dropouts in the past week. The cable modem appears to be very sensitive that it hangs and requires a reboot sometimes. After googling I found that this issue was reported by many (cable modem is popular in US with many providers there) and the reasons could be a problem in the cable modem itself or voltage fluctuation or a problem in the line. I am not yet sure what the problem could be but for the past couple of days there were no connection drops. There were a couple (or 3) outages where the technical support personnel told me that there was an issue in the line and it was rectified within a few minutes whenever I called. So the uptime reliability remains to be a concern and I hope they improve on it as its early days for DOCSIS 3. There are no toll free numbers for customer care, but the local customer support is good enough as you get connected directly to someone when you call and the first person of contact does seem to be able to check most issues. For some issues they will call back and usually does so within a few minutes. Verdict One week usage is not enough to make a verdict especially when DOCSIS 3 was implemented by them recently. Maybe I will be able to give an update after a month or so. But for now the speed is great for what they promise, good responsive customer support and "not bad" uptime reliability (99.5% for the past week). Usually speeds on cable modem (at least for DOCSIS 2.0 with Asianet) can vary a lot when there are too many users at a time. So once the existing DOCSIS 2 users upgrade to DOCSIS 3, it remains to be seen if the same level of service can be maintained by them in the future.
Review: Size XXL - Samsung Galaxy Note (N7000)
Karthik R posted a topic in Other handsetsPreface Samsung recently made the announcement that they sold 10 million Notes worldwide. While the device's 5.3-inch screen seemed a questionable choice at first, the Note has proved to be a genuine success for Samsung so much so that it is planning to launch a successor with bumped up specs later this month. Competitor LG attracted by success of Note launched LG Optimus Vu which was also well received. The Note deserves kudos as being the device to popularize this new size. Galaxy Note has been given the status of a hybrid device between a tablet and a smartphone. It has the specs under the hood that can match any top of the line smartphone, but its gigantic proportions is what makes the Note deeply intriguing in the first place. I'm opening this topic to review the Note (N-7000) which I bought last month, upgrading from Motorola Photon 4G. The Basics 1.4GHz dual core Exynos CPU, Mali-400MP GPU, 1GB of RAM, an 8 megapixel camera in the rear (with flash) and a 2 megapixel camera up-front. And the usual suspects are present - Bluetooth 3.0, WiFi 802.11 a/b/g/n, accelerometer, digital compass, proximity, barometer and light sensor. 16GB internal memory which can be extended up to 32GB via microSD card. S-Pen makes debut with the Note. Hardware This review will mainly focus on the defining feature of Note i.e. form factor and the monstrous display. Aesthetically, Note is a prodigious version of the Galaxy SII. If the SGSII looks agreeable to you, then you will positively like the appearance of the Note. The Galaxy Note might have borrowed some features from the Samsung Galaxy S II, but the screen definitely isn't one of them - the latter's Super AMOLED Plus display has been switched for a new HD Super AMOLED screen. The biggest change is in the resolution, which has sky rocketed from 800 x 480 pixels on the earlier one to 1280 x 800 pixels here. Yes, that's the same resolution as 10.1'' tablets like the Samsung Galaxy Tab and comes just short of the resolution of my 15.6" HP pavilion 2103TU laptop (1366 x 768). This translates to 285 ppi pixel density. The only downgrade here is that the 'Plus' moniker has now been dropped from the end of Super Amoled which means they have shifted from the regular RGB to PenTile technology (i.e. with two sub-pixels in each pixel rather than three subpixels, which lowers the effective resolution). But with Note you will be hard pressed to spot evidence of the Pentile matrix causing jagged edges and pixalation. The screen is gorgeous and watching HD movies, browsing webpages and playing HD games is simply a joy. size comparison - Samsung Galaxy Tab 2, Galaxy Note and Galaxy S3. Is this the best display? No, IMO the HTC One X deserves the top spot as the SC-LCD2's color balance, clarity and viewing angles is better and the Note's display looks washed out and the brightness is relatively low at times. Again this is all subject to individual's perception. In spite of its gigantic 5.3-inch display the Note is remarkably slim measuring just 9.65mm and weighs 178 grams which is thankfully evenly spread. Samsung has also kept the bezel to a bare minimum. This trim, lightweight form helps make the Note manageable in a single hand although a second set of digits will be indispensable when you are typing as our thumb won't be able to encompass every corner of its humongous display. Software Out of the box, we have TouchWiz interface running on top of Android 2.3.6 Gingerbread. An update to ICS is now availble which also brings in extra multimedia features and a range of new S Pen optimized apps. S Memo and S planner are two apps that should be mentioned. S-Memo is the special notes app, which will allow you to leverage the possibilities of the included S Pen. S Planner is a facelifted calendar app. Performance The Galaxy S2 has a 1.4GHz dual-core Exynos processor. In use the phone feels incredibly quick – whether you are browsing heavy web pages or swapping between applications it never feels slow. It can play full HD videos without breaking a sweat, though I found the Home screen lagging sometimes after closing an application and returning home and while applying graphic intensive live wallpapers. Benchmarking, though not fully reliable, is a good way of measuring the overall performance of a smartphone's internal hardware components. I personally prefer Antutu as it is a comprehensive Android benchmarking app that produces consistent results. Antutu measures an Android device's CPU performance, 2D and 3D graphics performance, memory speed and internal and external storage read/write speeds. It combines the results for each test and gives the device a final score. The Note scored an impressive 6185. In the more popular Quadrant Standard test, Note hit 3087. Under moderate use (which included 70 mins of voice calls, 2 hrs of watching HD movies, an hour of browsing/readers hub, numerous mails/texts. The auto-sync and auto brightness setting was turned on) the 2,500 mAh battery struggled to last a day and half. The Bad Pocketability is an issue due to its XXL size. Using the Note as your day-to-day, on-the-go phone doesn't seem to be the most practical or comfortable option. The phone suffers from occassional lag which is simply unacceptable considering its premium positioning. The battery life is just mediocre and particularly so when you are on 3G network. The S-Pen (stylus) is not very responsive. No dedicated camera key. Not exactly a defect but hot swappable microSD card would have been a welcome addition. After updating to ICS many of the users are facing low free RAM and battery drain issues. - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - Thanks to my friends Saiesh and Gokulan for letting me play with their Tab, S3.
Nokia X2-01 Review
arnuld posted a topic in Other handsetsHi guys, I have used NOKIA X2-01 for 3 months (or 5 months ? I don't remember). Here is what I have observed. Its no-frills phone, boasts no 3G, no MP cameras but a basic phone priced at 3550/- when I bought it: Pros: Excellent keypad: not comparable with E5 of course but at this price very good keypad. Texters will love it. Interface: S40 interface is quite good. I liked it everytime I saw or used it. In fact, I will say one of the best. Size: Size of phone is quite good in hands. Neither small as BB, nor bigger to be uncomfortable. Its base is little bit thicker than usual and shape is contoured a bit which may look strange at first but that special-shape makes it easier to hold it and form a stronger grip when you are taking it out of your pocket. Sound Quality: Sound quality in call is very good, voice is pretty clear whenever you talk/listen on both sides, not even a single time it will be of lower quality. Volume of ringing is average/medium. Just less than those songs played on indo-chinese crap with irritating-high volume. Cons: Speed: Phone is slow, whenever you open Inbox and it has lots of SMSs then it pops up with a messahe written "Opening Messages" and while closing another pop saying "Closing Messages". When you connect/disconnect the calls there is always 1-2 seconds lag in response. Battery: Does not last longer, have to charge it everyday if you talk for 2 hours everyday. VGA Camera: It has VGA camera, so camera lovers just forget this phone. You know how useless VGA is. Call Drops: I have checked different reviews on internet. Searched hundreds of gooles pages but no one seems to have call drops issue with this phone though I faced lots sometimes. Don't know whether location of my rented house is like that. Loudspeaker: Don't ever turn on the loudspeaker. I think at 3550/- its the best QWERTY phone you can get. I don't usually buy NOKIA but this was one of the best phones I ever had.