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Broadband

Download speed tests were conducted by the TRCSL on fixed and mobile broadband services which was confined to Colombo and its suburbs. That was the first stage of monitoring. This will shortly be spread in to other parts of the country to measure the speeds experienced by the subscribers.  The tests will consist of a number of stages focusing more on wireless broadband services to ....

 
Download speed tests were conducted by the TRCSL on fixed and mobile broadband services which was confined to Colombo and its suburbs. That was the first stage of monitoring. This will shortly be spread in to other parts of the country to measure the speeds experienced by the subscribers.

The tests will consist of a number of stages focusing more on wireless broadband services to deal with QoS issues in general. The monitored results of fixed wired broadband services using ADSL were uniform irrespective of the locality. However in wireless broadband based on WiMAX and HSPA are prone to rapid QoS changes due to the properties inherent in the technology.

QoS variations in HSPA mobile broadband

The QoS monitored in HSPA broadband is fickle and widely varies from point to point even in close neighborhood. For example, two individual subscribers living in close proximity using the same base station to access the Internet would not be able to receive the same level of service or the QoS due to many factors. Some of these factors are not directly attributed to the network traffic or the congestion presence at the last mile. Failure in carrying out routine base station optimization to obtain best signal levels would be one of the reasons for these problems in 3G HSPA services.

HSPA: More field work required by operators

The provisioning of International bandwidth from the operator’s gateway is not the ultimate solution to improve the quality of service in broadband services. It must be supplemented by fine tuning of the entire network right up to the customer premises. In this context an extensive level of field work is needed on the part of the operator to uplift the QoS in HSPA 3G broadband services. Indeed this would be a huge task for all wireless broadband operators in the country. However, network optimization and quality assurance practices have not been performed as required by the service providers to the satisfaction of the subscribers in the past. This situation has changed since the beginning of broadband QoS monitoring exercise executed by the TRCSL.

Regulator-Operator interaction leads QoS improvements

The findings of the tests carried out by the TRCSL broadband monitoring unit (TRCSL BMU) are always communicated to operators for necessary actions. This regulator-operator interaction process has able to open up a new avenue in telecommunication sphere in Sri Lanka that in turn helps operators to take remedial action speedily. The comparison of periodic results shows a significant improvement with time in all broadband services in the country. TRCSL would anticipate that this trend will continue in time to come as operators have geared up fully to meet the aspirations of the subscribers.

Broadband Standard: Based on findings

Findings of the speed tests are a valuable input in the process of developing a standard for broadband services in Sri Lanka. The development of a standard for broadband requires a consideration of the characteristics of all technologies used. Findings are to be analyzed carefully to avoid causing unfairness to certain technologies and services. In this context different standard will be applied for 3G mobile broadband service which would be flexible to HSPA technology and industry requirements. This helps 3G operators to rollout HSPA services across the country with fewer burdens on CAPEX and at the same time offering a decent QoS level to customers. Setting up a minimum speed standard with higher value for HSPA services could lead CAPX and OPEX to increase suddenly causing hardships to operators during roll out stages.

Standard for HSPA 3G mobile broadband

Taking all into consideration standards will be defined for all broadband services in the country in the time to come, where the download speed will be given minimum value. For 3G mobile broadband services the anticipated minimum speed range would be 28% from the total advertised bandwidth. In other words in HSPA service with advertised bandwidth of 3.6Mbps the minimum expected reading should be 1Mbps. These speed readings will be taken upon the download of data from designated international servers. However this minimum speed will be increased to 60% of the advertised bandwidth in fixed wired and wireless broadband (unlimited category) with a lower level margin (Maximum Tolerable Negative Variation MTNV) fixed at 50%. This parameter will not be applied in HSPA services. In volume based broadband services (Fixed wired and fixed wireless) the minimum speed will be fixed at 80% from the advertised bandwidth.

None of these standards will remain static and will be subjected to change as the technology evolves. The technical feedbacks of the operators were taken in to considerations in evolving standards.

Standardization fosters broadband

The broadband standardization is vital for the growth and proliferation of high speed broadband (HSBB) Internet in Sri Lanka. Another aspect of the introduction of a standard is the prevention of the spread of substandard broadband services especially to underserved areas. It is noted that in some countries substandard broadband services are provided to rural areas in the guise of “connectivity” to bridge the masses. The impact of provision of substandard broadband services could cause unaccepted results that would lead broadband development to retard immaturely.
The standardization further ensures the quality of service in broadband that unleashes the true potentials of high speed broadband.

TRCSL will include parameters such as tolerable speed variations and the methodology for speed testing in line to the proposed standard in the future.

Broadband rollout: FTTH desperately needed

In the process of roll out of high speed broadband networks in the country the attention must be paid to the optical fiber networks that would play a key role in broadband development. The optical fiber is known to be the only contender in broadband who could defeat the bandwidth barrier to link subscriber with high speed connectivity. The other technologies use for the delivery of broadband has many technical limitations which would restrict the delivery of speedy Internet services to the customers.

The deployment of Fiber to the Home (FTTH) will be needed to release the latent powers of broadband to the society. This deployment enables the delivery of multiple services to the end user cost effectively than any other technology would be capable of. The drastic drop in OPEX would enable the operator to expand services and to improve the QoS levels to meet the growing bandwidth demand which would be expected on our networks in the future.