Afterword

ThimphuTech was the first technology blog in Bhutan. We started writing it in 2009, just as broadband and mobile internet started to take off. (Although internet in Bhutan was launched in 1999, it was either super-slow or super-expensive, and was only used by a selected few).

In the blog, we wrote about technology and food, but also about plenty of other stuff. The blog became popular and influential in Bhutan. A companion bi-weekly column -- Ask Boaz -- was published for many years in the Kuensel, Bhutan's national newspaper. (The complete Kuensel columns are available as an ebook, Blogging with Dragons).

We stopped updating the blog when we left Bhutan in 2014, but the information within the posts can still prove useful, and thus we decided to keep it online.

We thank all our readers.
Tashi Delek,
Boaz & Galit.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

New server to improve response time, not bandwidth

The Kuensel recently reported that according to Bhutan Telecom officials, "internet services would be much faster" following the launch of a new DNS server. Unfortunately, this is not accurate. While we might notice an improvement in the response time  - i.e., the time it takes until the download or upload starts - the download and upload speeds are not expected to improve dramatically.


The DNS server is basically a service that translates domain names (which are easy for humans to remember, such as facebook.com) to the numerical addresses used internally by the Internet (for example, facebook.com's numerical address is 69.63.184.142). When we surf to facebook.com, our laptop will first need to find out the numerical address - also known as the IP address - of the Facebook server. For that it will need the DNS server. But once the IP address is found, the DNS server is no longer needed. Our laptop now uses the IP address to download the webpage from the Facebook server using the existing infrastructure. So while the webpage will start downloading a tad sooner than before, the improvement we see might not be significant.

Users I talk to are complaining about Bhutan's international bandwidth (in-country bandwidth seems to be OK). While the new DNS server is definitely a step in the right direction, there's still room for improvement.