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How to select your ISP - Internet in Vietnam

It's probably one of the first thing you may ask, right after getting the key of your apartment or house. How about internet ?

Here are some information about Internet in Vietnam:

Technology
Basically, you have 3 types of connections:
- ADSL, Asymetric connection (Good download speed with a max of 20M but lower upload speed with a max of 1M, which is okay for a basic use of internet, but if you want faster download or more important, faster upload, to share pictures, send email attachment, publish some videos, etc... you will need a different technology). I actually suggest you not to go for ADSL, unless no choice.

- Fiber (Usually FTTH - Fiber To The Home), most reliable way to get internet, yet quite accessible in Vietnam. It's a symmetric connection (Same download speed than upload speed) and can reach very fast speed. But in Vietnam most of the commercialized offer, only go up to 80 or 100M. Which is already very fast. (But very expansive at that level)

- Cable, we don't usually talked about this, but internet cable is available in Vietnam. Some providers even offer up to 160M. It's a very different technology but seems to be offering pretty good results in Vietnam, while being less popular.

- Mobile network, the 4G have been recently commercialized in Vietnam (by some ISP) and is available in few district of few cities. However, it seems the feedback are not so great about 4G (I personally never got more than 15M, which is already much better than the local 3G, but still far from the technology potential). For your housing, don't bother using a 4G router at the moment.

The choice of technology will be based on prices and availability. But you cannot go wrong with Fiber.

Providers
For ADSL and Fibber, the 3 most popular / bigger on the market are:
- VNPT (FiberVNN), from the Vietnam Post & Telecommunication, #1 market share, pioneer in the field, as most of the Post and Telecom companies
- Viettel, military owned, with a large non-commercial infrastructure, #2 market share
- FPT, a large private corporation, specialized in IT applications (Internet, distribution, consulting, etc...), #3 market share

Then for cables, the 2 most popular are:
- CMC
- VTCNet
working together actually.

International connectivity
Each providers have their own infrastructure and connectivity, but once you need to access international website outside Vietnam (Which is probably what we all need), the infrastructure remains the same for all (Some providers relying heavily on some connection more than others).
Vietnam is connected by the rest of the world by 4 submarine cables:
- AAG (Asia America Gateway), the biggest of all with 2.88 Tbit/s, where probably 70% of the traffic goes
- SMW3 (Southeast Asia - Middle East - Western Europe 3),
- TVH (Thailand-Vietnam-Hong Kong),
- and the IA (Intra Asia), mostly for Viettel.
The thing is every year those cables are being damaged by all sort of things (rupture) and in this case, the connection is impossible. The network need to be rerouted to the others cables.
As the capacity of those 4 cables are quite limited, any interruption of one will case serious slowdown of Vietnam internet. We recently have the AAG under maintenance for quite some times.
Every year the cable goes down (2 or 3 times a year).

The land connectivity is not so great neither, as for example, the land cable that goes through China only has a connectivity of 120 gigabit/second.

Great news however, 2 new cables are coming:
- AAE 1 (Asia Africa Euro 1), heavily invested by Viettel, that will land to Vung Tau, with a capacity of 40TB/s where Viettel will have the right to use 2TB/s. I suppose they will resell this right to others. (VNPT has also invested in the cable), Supposed to be ready by end of the year, great to reach Europe
- FASTER, a 60TB/s cable, connecting US again (AAG is) will probably be ready end of this year or beginning of next year. Here again, Viettel and VNPT have invested there. (Not sure about how much of the cable they can use).
Obviously, those cables are being used by others neighborhood countries, but will greatly enhance the connectivity of the country.

Prices and packages
Some ISP offer special packages (With TV, MOD,..). I will only share for the basic internet.
Actually, you can all the information on their official website. (And it's best to check, as those offer might be regularly updated). Feel free to use Google Translate to get an understanding.

Assuming you are looking for a FTTH connection:
For FPT, you could check here: http://www.fpt.vn/san-pham/ftth-2.html
For Viettel, here: http://vietteltelecom.vn/ca-nhan/co-dinh/dich-vu-ftth
And for VNPT, there: http://www.fibervnn.vn/home/index.php?/ … -mytv.html

You will find several offers, at different prices and speed.
Usually, they split their offer in 2, the consumer based (Cheaper and up to 40M) or the professional/techy (Up to 80M or 100M).

The prices can start as low as 150,000VND per month (Assuming you take a long term contract, which I don't recommend as competition is fierce) and as high as 15M/month.
The choice will depends on your needs and budget, but the main difference between professional ones and consumer ones, is the international available bandwidth.
At equivalent contract speed (40M from VNPT as example), you will either pay 455,000/month or 780,000/month. But with the second option, you will be guaranteed 512kb/s of international traffic.

I have never been a fan of guaranteed speed for consumer, even if I'm having the FPT 40M package (Fiber Business) with 1.5M guarantee, as usually, if you do not have such contract, but the capacity is enough, you will benefit great download/upload at full speed. Only when an issue happen, you won't have the priority. (Which arrive very often actually !)
However, if the maximum speed of consumer package does not satisfy you (Which was my case), you will have no choice than using such package.

I suppose with the 2 new undersea cables, the international connectivity should be greatly improved. I hope they will either increase the speed of their package or reduce their prices (Especially for their premium ones).

If I had to choice, I would probably go for Viettel based on their latest investment overseas. But the best will be to do some real tests. (Speedtest and co).

Hope it helps for new comers.

Feel free to comment or share your experience.

Thank you for your very detailed analysis of the local internet connectivity.  I was using  VNPT adsl2 when in VN. It was satisfactory, not good and its speed seemed to be improving.

Thank you so much for this. Would you be able to elaborate a little more on the international traffic?

I am getting ready to move to Vietnam for several months, but the only thing that is holding me back at the moment is the uncertainly about whether or not Vietnam's internet connections will allow me to telework in VN.
I'm a full time remote worker. The tools that I will be using for my job are quite bandwidth extensive. Besides the underwater internet cable issues, could you let me know if more about this international traffic? Do you think I'll be able to connect to perform my work through a secured VPN connection to the US using a mid-range residential connection from Viettel or VNPT?

Thank you in advance.

Happy it helps you.

I was not able to find proper data (in english at least) about the international capacity of VN providers. But basically, the main undersea cable breaks couple of times a year and it will become difficult to do heavy-bandwidth job during peak hours. (Will have to wait off peak).
In your case, I suppose you might be able to avoid such peak hours (7pm or so, etc..) with flexible hours (Hopefully).

But I'm quite confident with the new cable AAE1 the situation will significantly improve. (The old main cable will only represent 30% or so, of the total VN capacity, compared to the 70% as of now...).

And Viettel might be the one with the highest international capacity with these new cables. (Obviously, to be compared with their number of users).

For VPN, i've been using time to time a VPN (on one of my French dedicated servers) with no issue. Speed was good enough.

Welcome to VN then !

Be aware that if you live in an apartment you may be tied to one ISP due to an exclusive contract with the entire building.  Our building had VNPT and it was poor at best.  If you plan to move to an apartment, it might be a good idea to check.  We were also limited in the speeds we could choose, perhaps due to the building's wiring.  To get a truly high speed connection like fiber optic, you may have to rent a house.

I have heard from several people that Viettel is the best.  A friend had Viettel at their home  and both movie streaming and Skype communication to the US were very smooth with no visible buffering.  This family has a rich patron in the US and my guess is that they had the highest speed connection offered.  The fact that Viettel is wholly owned by the Armed Forces probably has a lot to do with their capability as well.

TIGV is absolutely correct about the frequency of one ISP per building. But, in at least some neighborhoods, you may find that only one ISP is available for the neighborhood. This is especially true for Fiber Optic.

Note, rather than picking an ISP first, pick the ISP that works best in your neighborhood/building. I selected my current ISP because it was the only one that provided fiber optic to my neighborhood and I am happy with my service. What counts is the best service at your location, not the brand.

Articles like this illustrate the true value of Expat.com

Thanks Mickeymac

Hear here!!

..we all appreciate accurate info...            :idontagree:

Hi guys,

I've changed my ISP from FPT to Viettel. (For 10M more at roughly same price)
I was on the 50M, now on 60M and I also hope the international infrastructure is indeed bigger as I was referring in the 1st post.

Actually the technician came once to install the modem and connect my own router, but got an issue, so he came the following day with his own router all pre-configured to install it.

I was not home so I couldn't check, but it was not that difficult to configure the router.
They use PPPoE as usual but the specificities is that they use VLAN as well and you will need to set it up, using the ID 35 for internet.
I had to google quite a bit to know that they were using VLAN. I'm actually quite surprised the technician did not check this.

Anyway, all working now and I hope this post will help someone that is in the same situation as I was ;)

Hi guys,

Bumping this thread for new inputs.

Dudumomo, How is the 60m package from viettel going? How's the international connectivity so far? Besides the rare infrastructure outages, are there issues with throttling, data cap, etc in accessing international sites?

I am looking at viettel's fast 60 or 80 business packages for the guaranteed international bandwidth connection (hope the guaranteed 1-2 mbps international bandwidth remains a minimum and non existent event. Yikes!)

Is it difficult to sign up to the business packages as an individual? I won't be working for any group in vietnam since I work online. I can only provide a passport and a visa. Will I have issues?

Also, is signing up for the business package an overkill? is the fast 40mbps package enough? I don't really need a very fast internet connection. I will be quite happy with a 5-10 mbps. What I need is (a not less than 5 mbps) guaranteed international bandwidth connectivity where I won't have issues accessing international sites.

I am aware that there are sites that are banned but I wont really be needing them anymore.

I look forward to any input on my points above. Thanks in advance.

Hi,

I don't know how difficult it is to sign up on a business package, but the Fast 60M or Fast 80M can be done easily as an individual.

In term of speed, my Fast 60M works great (DL and UP, I usually have close to 7.0mo/s, so great performance, including from US/EU websites).
In term of international bandwidth, I did not encounter any issue on "usual day". Actually, last week, Viettel had a major issue (One of the most impacted), as Vietnam suffered from issues on the 3 cables, including the brand new one, inaugurated in early Jan.
During that time, internet was very slow and I did not have my 1 -2 mb guaranteed...

It was actually a major issue and all ISPs have been impacted. (But Viettel probably the most).
A bit disappointed there, but it would have been similar with the others I suppose.

Except this issue, I'm very happy with Viettel now. (I got my static IP, a faster connection for close to the same price, etc...)

Talking about the technical issues on the submarine cables, we're right into it. Both IA and AAG cables are broken at the moment, the connectivity with the rest of the world is close to zero at some moments of the day. If you rely heavily on the Net to work like me, it's a real pain.

More reading around here: http://e.vnexpress.net/news/news/intern … 1616.html.

From what I understand, they have only one ship to fix the cables, and the cables are breaking faster than the boat can repair.

arebillout :

Talking about the technical issues on the submarine cables, we're right into it. Both IA and AAG cables are broken at the moment, the connectivity with the rest of the world is close to zero at some moments of the day. If you rely heavily on the Net to work like me, it's a real pain.

More reading around here: http://e.vnexpress.net/news/news/intern … 1616.html.

From what I understand, they have only one ship to fix the cables, and the cables are breaking faster than the boat can repair.

I use a vpn for all my usage, mostly because I'm in coffee shops and hotels and know there are some very talented and sneaky people around...in other places in Asia it works fine but here seems to drop over and over again...could this be down to the cable issues you've mentioned?

I live in Quan Cam Le (Cam Le District) Da Nang.

We have 3 optic fibre connections available on the pole out the front (The passive optical splitters are actually on our pole).

We have VNPT, FPT and Viettel fibre available.  My solution is to purchase all 3 for around 160k-180k per month.

I can then jump between them.  Most of the time one will work when the others have slowed.  Recently though I suffered a bit even with double redundancy I think due to two cables being cut at the same time.

My experience is that Viettel peaks at the fastest speeds but my VNPT connection is more reliable.  FPT is somewhere in between.

Thanks for sharing!

I should update my post with a new package available.
FPT have just launched a 1Gbps (Yep, 1,000M!!) and for relatively low price (<2M per month).
1Gbps both ways.

Few speedtest I've seen shows something like >700M. (The hardware or server might limit).
It is probably the beginning so it is all great and perfect, but it is still impressive to see that in Vietnam.

The OP briefly mentioned, without elaborating on the fact he used his own router. I had oodles of problems with slow speeds when I used the VNPT Vietnamese mad rougher. I finally had them come out and hookup my Netgear U.S. purchased rougher and things work great now for my needs.
He did mention VPN. I have found while living in VN that every IP I have had gets blacklisted ALL the time. Many businesses and others I deal with in America will block me when this occurs. So I have had to use a VPN. I currently use PVN and like it.
To the OP when you say expansive do you mean it literally or do you mean EXPENSIVE?
Also, could you perhaps do a separate post or a separate explanation on the configuration of, say, a Netgear router. The techs that came out to install mine first said it could not be done. They left for much of the day, came back and hooked my router in series (piggybacking on each other). That is, the fiber optic cable is dropped from the street into my Netgear router, then is fed into the VNPT router. It seemed at the time that my service would be as good as the weakest link. But the problems did go away and it seems to work good. But I don't think it was configured differently like you briefly spoke of. How would I go about configuring the Netgear rougher so it alone can be used.

GREAT post by the way. Thanks so very much for the time and effort you put into it. I hope you are not a VNese citizen or the mods may delete this post. Just teasing, I understand their point. But good conversation can be had, no matter your citizenship.

Thanks Diazo,
Expensive indeed...i have difficulties to imagine an expansive price ;)

And nope, I'm not VN. This post is always 1 year old now (Still valid) so I hope Expat.com will not do like most ISP in Vietnam...censorship ;)

When I was with FPT, I was not able to access Twitter (Not for few days, just cannot access at all). I've helped someone that with Viettel, was not able to use Safari on its Mac, or any Apple software connected to internet.
At the end, we simply needed to change DNS to bypass ISP block. (Simple to do, but annoying)

Diazo, regarding your idea on how to configure a router, it's a good idea, but there are so many different routers with different way to do it. I'm using an Asus one. I don't mind sharing, but the options will be different for Netgear, DLink, TP-Link,...

Thanks Dudumomo,
  I have had problems with Safari in the same way. All these acronyms are Greek to me for the most part. Sure wish there was a way to configure my Netgear to process my fiber optics w/o having it linked to the VNPT router.
Once again I tagged onto an old thread. I am sorry. One of these days I will learn to read the date. Great post at any rate.

If you face this issue, others surely as well.
Will do!

Edit:
I cannot do a full guide for each hardware, but I gave general directions.
http://www.expat.com/forum/viewtopic.ph … 63#3671713

I hope it can help some expat.com members ;)

WOW great info DoDo. Now if I can interpret it and do it on mine. Sure appreciate all the great info.

Working on trying to set up my FO using just my Netgear router now. Found some other helpful info on the VNPT router (iGate GW040-GPON Optical Network Terminal). But I am afraid to start unplugging and reconfiguring. I am understanding you correctly that I can do away with the VNPT router and just configure my Netgear, correct.

You will still need your VNPT device, but you can turn it into a modem only and let your Netgear router do the rest.
Feel free to post some screenshots or ask questions if unsure ;)

Thanks so much dodo. Your so very kind to help us all out. This computer stuff is hard for us ole farts to understand. Heck I am still using a chisel and a rock to write letters to folks, especially if I can not build the fire on a rainy day to get the smoke signals going. You know we did not have to use router then.the smoke just went the direction of the wind. So if your friend lives south of you you wrote all of them on a day the winds were out of the South. The Northern friends we waited until out of the North. Eventually everyone moved from the West to the Count because they never were able to receive smoke signals out there in the west. Must have had a VNPT router! :=)

hahaha.
Glad to have a router then ;)

Just a short update,
Viettel is now starting to the use the new cable AAE-1, connecting Europe, East African and Asia. This is the second new marine cables connected this year.
The ping / latency to Europe should now decrease. (Used to go through US first).

Also, it will help to reduce the dependency on others cables and mitigate some outage.

I think VN is now well equiped for international bandwidth. Hopefully, we will see better and better commercial package to come. Like the FPT 1GBPS connection. Anyone tried it?

We have viettel here in Q9 and it is bloody  crap. Anything would be an improvement

Hi eodmatt, do you know your package? And how so crappy? (international bandwidth issue? High ping? slow download? etc...)

I am having Viettel Fast 60M and I am actually hosting a lot of applications/files (I became the official mirrors in VN for several projects).
Every day, I upload around 250GB to 300GB. So pretty heavy user and it works "mostly" great.

I had FPT before and it was not bad neither. (Viettel International bandwidth seems better tho)
I'm thinking to move to FPT again for their 1Gbps package.

Hi Mate,

We have the top of the range bundle with cable TV included.  But the internet speed is mostly slowish and intermittent. We have complained several times but we only have one choice of internet supplier here, the company having done a deal with Khang Dien the estate managers (TVB!).

eodmatt :

We have complained several times but we only have one choice of internet supplier here, the company having done a deal with Khang Dien the estate managers (TVB!).

This confirms my experience posted in #5.  Possibly some crony capitalism at work on a minor scale.

I used this  http://beta.speedtest.net/   to confirm problems with my last ISP in Hawaii and switched as a result.  It should work in VN.  Notice what site it Pings to.   Using your own provider if possible should yield the most accurate results.   Note too that it returns results in Mbps not MB/s.  The ration is 8:1

I achieve >300 Mbps but it is overkill for me.  Usually 100 Mbps is sold as "super fast internet" here and is more than adequate for personal and most small business use.  I switched providers because my first delivered 300 Ethernet, but not for WiFi as we were tied to their modem and it was older  2.4 GHz type. Like Matt's case it was tied to the TV.  Our current service is separate.  Matt:  Are you using an Ethernet cable or WiFi?   You might consider going to Ethernet and separating the TV connection, then testing to see if it is better.

dudumomo :

I am having Viettel Fast 60M....

I'm thinking to move to FPT again for their 1Gbps package.

Your 1 Gbps (Gigabit/sec) translates to 1024 Mbps.  That is smoking hot.  :sick

THIGV :
eodmatt :

We have complained several times but we only have one choice of internet supplier here, the company having done a deal with Khang Dien the estate managers (TVB!).

This confirms my experience posted in #5.  Possibly some crony capitalism at work on a minor scale.

I used this  http://beta.speedtest.net/   to confirm problems with my last ISP in Hawaii and switched as a result.  It should work in VN.  Notice what site it Pings to.   Using your own provider if possible should yield the most accurate results.   Note too that it returns results in Mbps not MB/s.  The ration is 8:1

I achieve >300 Mbps but it is overkill for me.  Usually 100 Mbps is sold as "super fast internet" here and is more than adequate for personal and most small business use.  I switched providers because my first delivered 300 Ethernet, but not for WiFi as we were tied to their modem and it was older  2.4 GHz type. Like Matt's case it was tied to the TV.  Our current service is separate.  Matt:  Are you using an Ethernet cable or WiFi?   You might consider going to Ethernet and separating the TV connection, then testing to see if it is better.

dudumomo :

I am having Viettel Fast 60M....

I'm thinking to move to FPT again for their 1Gbps package.

Your 1 Gbps (Gigabit/sec) translates to 1024 Mbps.  That is smoking hot.  :sick

As far as I can work out, the TV is on cable downstairs and the internet is fibre optic cable up to a wifi box wth two antennae on the first floor - we have 3 floors. Lemme use the test site you gave a link to and I'll get back to you.

Cheers

matt

The test using your link failed the first time I tried, due to "socket error".

The second attempt showed that both up and down speeds are around 37.5 Mbps. Which is pretty poor actually. But another issue is that the internet appears "intermittent" with very regular times when you attempt to access a website and bugger all happens until you try again for a second or third time.

Second test gave a similar result with ping time given as 4ms in both cases.

I'll try connecting direct, but the prob is that my wife uses the internet simultaneously, although her needs are not bandwidth hungry, for her work and we have visitors who need to log on to our system too.

I was a bit surprised by the test result BTW, because the internet here doesn't feel like 37.5 Mbps, it feels almost like what I used to get on dial--up in the UK years ago.

Incidentally we (or rather my wife) had a polemical adventure getting the  Viettel engineer to install the router upstairs on the first floor (in my study) when we moved in just over a year ago, as this just "isn't normal" according to him. Even though the ducting  in the walls and puller string had already been installed by the builders.

And using testmy.net ten minutes later the speed was 26mbps

Another odd thing was that last year, in answer to a question on this website about how expats found Vietnam, I posted a somewhat critical, but honest response. The next day I found that my ip address had been blocked! It remained blocked until a couple of weeks later when I met the senior Viettel engineer one Sunday lunchtime in the coffee shop here and asked him why my ip address was blocked. He couldn't answer, but it was unblocked later in the day.

Do you have an Ethernet cable from the router in your study directly to your computer instead of using Wi Fi?  You need to differentiate between your baseline speed (Ethernet) and your router's WiFi capability which may be a lot less.

I'll have to dig one out or go and buy one, back soon ...

If you are using Internet for working, should be considered other services, it is normal one

I know, but I like to use the internet when I'm in bed, in my study, down stairs, up stairs and sometimes out on the porch if its a nice day and I sit out there with a pot of coffee and  banh mi.

But I can live with a relatively slow internet and use a direct connection when I want to send documents or graphics. But what peeves me are the constant delays and blank screen episodes when I try to log on to a website, especially a technical website and the internet just dithers.

Similarly, trying to do online banking is a pain in the rectal orifice and very often a desire for a quick look at bank balances turns into messages like "The Operation Timed Out"

I just want it to work thats all.

It might indeed come from your wifi.

To clear this out, if you could redo some testing, by using ethernet cable, it will help to understand if you have an issue with your internet connection or simply your router.

Regarding your IP that has been blocked, may be Expat.com blocked you. And the unblock might have been because either Expat.com put a number of days to block you (No idea what they do) and then automatically unblocked you, or the Viettel guy changed your IP.

I will do some testing and see - and it wasn't expat.com that blocked me it was viettel as I couldn't get anything to work on the internet unless I used a vpn. However once I had spoken to the viettel engineer my internet magically came back.

Thanks for the help!

I had 100 MBPS in Korea in 2006ish... :P

Vietnam still has a lot of catching up to do. My current connection is only 40.

eodmatt :

I will do some testing and see - and it wasn't expat.com that blocked me it was viettel as I couldn't get anything to work on the internet unless I used a vpn. However once I had spoken to the viettel engineer my internet magically came back.

Thanks for the help!

Strange.... but I get it...

Well, Mr Vietnam, we have now 1GBPs connection.
Of course Vietnam is far behind KR, JP, HK, TW,... in term of network, but cannot expect something different. I was actually quite surprised to get 60M haha.

But it is coming ;)

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