How many times have you called the customer care just to complain about shitty internet speed? Let me guess it’s somewhere between countless and infinite. This is the case if you are residing in mostly crowded places. And even worse if everyone around is just as much of a bandwidth freak as you. Let me explain about how ISP’s of Nepal are being dishonest about internet bandwidth. And provide you with some insight regarding the ISP bandwidth contention ratio in context of Nepal.
Before we get into the heart of this article, let us first understand the technical bits. Let us establish a common ground to move along at a constant pace. If you already understand the tech terms you can comment below if I have made any mistakes. If not let me first provide you with the details. What in the name of the supreme power is contention ratio? And how does it affect me? I will be sharing why the ISP you’re subscribed to is kinda’ being fraudulent about bandwidth.
What is contention ratio?
It’s not something new, you have already been hearing it with an entirely different name. You might be accustomed to hearing something called sharing ratio whenever something serious arises. Most of the time people fill the sentence with unnecessary jargon to sound extremely cool. Regardless, let us first understand that contention ratio is actual term for sharing ratio. Now that we have cleared ourselves with the term. Let us look at what is contention ratio. It is sometimes refereed to as over subscription ratio.
The word contention in English language can be roughly understood as an agreement. And the term ratio is just the relativity among the two quantities. Hence we can simply understand contention ratio as the agreement to share a channel by multiple customers at once. A channel is a line through which the customers can access the internet.
Now the agreement here is not a signed piece of paper used for official use. Rather, It’s just a technical negotiation or the logical division of partitioning the bandwidth among the customers of that ISP. The ISP’s anywhere on the earth do not provide 1:1 contention ratio for a normal household user. The ISP provides 1:1 ratio but it’s not only for corporate users. And they charge corporate users very high for such leased lines.
How does it affect me ?
The point to be noted is that the higher the ratio of contention the larger the number of customers. The ratio 20:1 or 1:20 shows that the bandwidth is being shared by 19 other customers alongside you. And it severely degrade your internet speed during the peak hours.
The question how does it affect me at this point in time is a bit too naive. Because every consumer is being affected by this behavior. You are sharing your internet speed with at least 8 others which includes you. Think about the quality of service you are able to achieve.
Also there is not much you can do about it except for maybe getting frustrated about the issue.
Why am I sharing my bandwidth ?
Simply put if they cannot share the channel among other users nearby. They will not earn enough profit from the business, it’s just normal business strategy. It doesn’t really cross a normal user’s mind but maintaining servers and other technical equipment is costly. But the sharing is not necessarily bad though, because most of the users are not utilizing the full bandwidth. And this is the thing which the ISP’s exploit to make more profit.
Now the downside of this is that when everyone is demanding high bandwidth the congestion will slow everyone down. Because contention ratio is just multiple number of people sharing same bandwidth. The ratio 1:20 means that 1 connection is being shared among 20 other customers. The number 1 here represents the total bandwidth let us say 20 Mbps. Hence, each customer get only about 1 Mbps if the prevalent ratio is 1:20.
But slowdowns are not constant
The question that hit me after I first heard about contention ratio is: If my connection is being shared how am I able to download at the specified speed? This is a really well put question, not because I was asking it. But because it makes sense right? If the data is being shared among multiple users why am I getting the promised speed most of the time, let’s say while downloading.
To simply answer this question I have to say. It is because the everyone is not utilizing the total bandwidth at the same time. And even if they are total users are not engaging in bandwidth intensive tasks. Also the equipment are advance enough to prioritize the division of bandwidth if there is extra room. But during the peak hours there is nothing to smartly allocate. Hence, the spiky slowdowns.
It has also got something to do with the sudden burst of bandwidth demands.
ISP’s dishonesty about bandwidth and contention ratio
The ISP and bandwidth contention ratio in Nepal is one of the worst to witness. They are not very loyal or considerate to their customers. They’re not transparent about their policies and even prices. All of the ISP have at least 1:8 contention ratio. This makes sense when it comes to our household internet bandwidth.
And the condition is even worse for the rural area where they might even have a higher ratio. Because from my findings they mostly only utilize Facebook and YouTube. So if you do something else you will instantly notice the slowdowns.
Also looking at Subisu’s website we can find that practical achievable bandwidth is about 37 Mbps per channel. And they further claim they can bond up to 8 such channels which makes it a whopping 296 Mbps. But these speeds are shared among maybe a whole region.
But on the other hand Vianet claims to provide dedicated speed (No Sharing Ratio). I don’t believe this is true, but being a Vianet user for over 4 years. I have to be agnostic in this matter, because I haven’t really have any issues. But then again they might have some serious infrastructures. But it does not really mention how it achieves such extraordinary claims.
And lastly WorldLink does not really provide any details regarding this matter in their website. If you have any factual proof please feel free to comment it down below.
We cannot surely tell if it’s right or wrong to have such contention ratio policy. But it surely is wrong to not be transparent with your customers. Because we as customers pay high price to get a decent internet speed for our everyday needs. We all can agree about the policy of ISP for bandwidth contention ratio in Nepal is ridiculous.
Please do comment what do your thoughts about this matter.