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.

Monday, October 21, 2013

Moody Broadband

Lately, many people I talk to have been complaining about deteriorating broadband speed. Some have even said that they often find 3G faster than broadband! My broadband connection at home too has been giving me trouble this weekend; it's not the first time that it has slowed down to an almost complete halt. Calling the support line at 1600 has proven to be futile, as the representative has insufficient technical knowledge and the blame is often put at the customers' equipment ("try to reboot the computer").

So, I decided to check what's going on.

Last evening, I started investigating. First, I used a Windows utility called tracert to find the route between my home and www.druknet.bt. The utility shows the list of intermediate hosts between my computer and www.druknet.bt:



My home is shown in the first line (192.168.1.1), and www.druknet.bt is the 4th and last line (202.144.133.45). In between are two intermediate hosts that forward the information to the final destination. The host my home is directly connected to is shown on the second line, 202.144.159.15, and is a DrukNet router.

Once I got that one figured out, I continued to the next step: ping. Ping is a useful little utility available on Windows, which measures the round-trip time between my computer and any other host on the Internet. I used it to check the round-trip time to the DrukNet host closest to my modem, 202.144.159.15. By running ping with the '-n 50' option, it sends 50 packets to the destination host and then measures the round-trip times. Here are the results:


The ping utility shows a serious problem. The round-trip time - which is supposed to be less than 50ms, shows numbers ranging from 23ms (good) to 3808ms, which is almost 4 seconds. That's unreasonable. That's more time than is needed for an Internet packet to travel to the moon and back. The 4% error loss to the nearby is also an indicator of serious trouble.

Usually, this issue is a result of oversubscribing: letting too many users share the same pipe. Another option is faulty equipment. (It can also be a result of a bad subscriber line, but this was ruled out as the modem shows excellent line conditions.)

This morning at around 9:30am, I tried my ping test again. Surprise! Everything's back to normal:


My guess: Someone at DrukNet reset the faulty equipment. From my experience, this behaviour will repeat itself occasionally until DrukNet cuts to the bottom of the problem.

If you share a similar experience, kindly post your comment.