Tag Archives: fibre

Singapore Broadband Internet Plan Speed Comparison

A fellow forum user, Sunblock, of Xtremeplace.com wrote a post asking about FTP performance with broadband internet fibre plans compared with his existing Starhub Cable 100Mbps plan. I thought that it would be interesting to do a realistic comparison, so I offered to set up a server to allow us to run some performance tests.

I’m on Starhub’s Maxinfinity 100Mbps fibre plan which I find to be quite fast and reliable. I asked for other users who are on M1 or Singtel to join our testing session and received one reply for each service. I also asked a couple of people who were on Starhub’s Maxonline cable plan to run some tests too.

Test Environment

The main objective was to determine the advantage of one plan over another for FTP usage from Singapore to the USA. The easiest and cheapest way I know to get a server in the USA is to use Amazon Web Services (AWS), so I set up a “small” instance running Amazon Linux in the US West region.

After logging on to the server I ran a system update to make sure everything was up to date. I also installed Apache and vsftpd for HTTP and standard FTP testing. A 100MB file was uploaded to the server and placed in the correct directories for HTTP, FTP and SFTP testing.

Finally, I distributed the key files to the testers to enable SSH and SFTP connections.

Tests

1. Download 100 MB file via SFTP.

2. Download 100 MB file via FTP.

3. Download 100 MB file via a web browser (HTTP).

Results

Plan SFTP FTP HTTP
Starhub 100Mbps Cable 320 KB/s 370 KB/s 50-80 KB/s
Starhub 100Mbps Fibre ~300 KB/s 239-255 KB/s 2.50-6.4 MB/s
M1 50Mbps Fibre 220 KB/s N/A 70 KB/s – 1.4 MB/s
Singtel 200Mbps Fibre 450 KB/s N/A 300 KB/s
Starhub 100Mbps Cable N/A N/A 50-70 KB/s
AWS Singapore 2.3 MB/s N/A 2.47-2.6 MB/s

Note: The upload speed via SFTP was 254 KB/s from my home PC running Filezilla. FTP tests were added at a later time, so only two people completed them.

Running through the results:

Sunblock’s 100Mbps Maxonline Cable plan offers consistent SFTP and FTP performance, but the HTTP performance is simply shocking.

My own Starhub Maxinfinity fibre plan offers consistent SFTP and FTP performance, but screams along for HTTP. In fact the 2.50 MB/s was a one off and all the other tests were in the 6 MB/s range. I thought that this could be due to some local caching, but then surely the cable plans would also get this benefit.

The M1 fibre plan has the slowest SFTP performance and can get up to reasonable HTTP speeds, but seems rather inconsistent.

Singtel’s 200Mbps fibre plan offers the best SFTP performance amongst the local providers, but it’s still not fantastic. The HTTP performance is poor in comparison with the other fibre plans.

To confirm Starhub’s abysmal HTTP performance on its cable plans I contacted two other people who both averaged 50-70 KB/s.

My AWS server in Singapore (micro instance), returned a healthy SFTP result, but couldn’t match my own HTTP performance on Starhub’s fibre plan which I was quite surprised at.

Conclusions

Given the huge difference between the SFTP result on my AWS server in Singapore and all other tests I am guessing that the local ISPs are engaging in network shaping for both SFTP and FTP. This is also reinforced from running the SFTP test repeatedly and seeing  close to 300 KB/s each time on my own computer.

HTTP performance on the other hand shows dramatic differences across technologies and providers. Starhub’s cable plans have terrible HTTP performance, while their fibre plan is great. Singtel’s performance was particularly disappointing, especially given it is from a 200 Mbps plan.

In the end there doesn’t seem to be much point for Sunblock to move to a fibre based plan from any of the local providers. His cable plan performs within the same range or better than the fibre plans for FTP, which is his main concern.



I Succumbed to Singtel mio TV!

I finally succumbed to getting Singtel mio TV installed, using the ADSL (Telephone) option and not the fibre that I wanted. After watching the first Forumla 1 race of the season at someone else’s place I decided that I couldn’t do that all year, especially when the Brazilian race is on at some ungodly hour!

I went into the Singtel centre at Parkway Parade and after a long wait got to speak to a guy there. I confirmed that I couldn’t get mio TV on fibre and signed up for the ADSL version with an 18 month contract at roughly $40 per month. The installation appointment was set for a 10-14 days later.

When the Singtel service guy came over I explained the issues with using the telephone line (bad locations of the points). He eventually gave up trying to get one working (which I told him was not connected) and ran a new line from outside my apartment into the existing conduit for my fibre and Starhub cable.

The second Singtel guy arrived to install the ADSL modem and the mio TV box. The ADSL modem is now sitting where the fibre was terminated in the living room. A network cable then runs around the side of the living room to my rack to connect to the mio TV box.

While not the solution that I wanted at least I can watch the EPL, Formula1 and the upcoming Rugby World Cup. I watched my first game of EPL at home this season on Monday night, Liverpool v Man City. Liverpool won convincingly 3-0, so I think it must be because I was watching! 😉



Starhub’s Home Zone Works on Fibre!

I recently posted on Solving Mobile Phone Reception Problems with Femtocell Technology, specifically Starhub’s Home Zone service. I now have an important update regarding the use of my fibre internet connection with the Home Zone service.

Starhub called me to let me know that they would like to terminate my Maxonline service (internet over cable) as they have resolved the compatibility problems with Maxinfinity (internet over fibre) and the Home Zone service (femtocell). While I was happy with the news, I asked Starhub if I could please test the service for a while to make sure it worked well. They agreed to get back to me after the specified time to confirm that everything was working correctly.

I’m happy to report that the Home Zone service is working well on the Maxinfinity service with no problems at all since changing over. I’d have to say that the service is very stable now when compared with my initial experiences. I’m happy to recommend it to anyone who wishes to solve their mobile phone reception problems.