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The World of Broadband 2016 (Philippines)

I have noticed a sharp increase in requests for "Broadband" help from my friends here in Tagaytay.  One of the remaining challenges is the generational (at times) lack of knowledge on what it takes to get/remain connected to already compromised services from the ISP (Internet service provider) here in the PI. I would like to just list a few key words along with my opinions to start the dialog.

…. a few key terms to get everyone on the same path follows:

If we go back in history we had the UN agency called the ITU, or International Telecommunications Union, who sets telecommunication standards for the world. The ITU coined the terms 1G, than 2G, 3G and 4G… now 5G, the technical standard for wireless or modulation protocol (i.e., wireless internet service).  I will not focus on the first 2 generations since most countries/locations are well past the former "analog/ mixed analog technology".

3G        -  Circuit switched wideband digital protocol with data.
                Often viewed on our phones or data devices as:  UMTS/ WCDMA & EvDO

3.5G     -  Always-on digital protocol with data.
                Often viewed on our phones or data devices as:  HSPA

3.75G   -  Circuit switched digital protocol with data. 
                This is where 3G & 4G merge but do not become full LTE yet.
                Often viewed on our phones or data devices as:  HSPA+ / HSDPA / HSUPA

4G        -  Packet switched digital protocol.  Allows true VOIP.
                Often viewed on our phones or data devices as:  4G  /  LTE  /  WiMAX

4.5G    -  Upgraded digital rate protocol.
               Will be viewed on our phones or data devices as:  LTE-A

5G       -  Yet fully developed protocol.
               Reported to be viewed on our phones or data devices as:  5G

Important Tech legend

HSPA      = "High Speed Packet Access"
HSDPA   = "High Speed Downlink Packet Access"
HSUPA   = "High Speed Uplink Packet Access"
HSPA+   = “Evolved High-Speed Packet Access.”
WiMAX   = “Worldwide Interoperability for Microwave Access”
LTE        = “Long Term Evolution”

Please feel free to ask related questions or share your personal experience with past or current wireless broadband speeds you use here in the Philippines.  I do realize that some are very happy with any speed they get, may never be interested in the technical aspects and will never engage in sharing detailed technical exchanges.  I hope that all can learn how to cope with all of the current and future issue that are before us and look forward to all contributions.

P.S. Some about to retire and move to the Philippines may wonder what cell phones, routers or pocket wifi devices will work the best here?  Here is a great way to get answers and learn what others have used to achieve a broadband connection.

Calif Native,

As always another helpful and informative post.  Thanks for sharing.

Calif-Native and others,

For anyone interested in technology and interactive definitions this website is a great place to learn about the technical world and best of all it's FREE!!

http://techtionary.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/07/techtionary-ui.jpg

TECHtionary website link:

http://techtionary.com/00/index.html

Thanks TeeJay,

You provided a great resource!!! 

All Others: 
Expats from the UK - Please find below a 2016 review of top rated cell phones and tablets from the UK:  http://www.4g.co.uk/phone-reviews/

Expats from the USA - Please find below a 2016 review of top rated cell phones and tablets from the USA:  http://www.digitaltrends.com/best-4g-phones/

Note: For many reasons related to connectivity, US based devices should be from GSM carriers (ATT, T-Mobile & Selected Verizon units) and not from CDMA carriers  (Verizon, Sprint, & Metro) unless they provide devices with both capabilities.

Here are the reasons (in simple terms) for the above cautions. Globally, LTE frequencies are based on selected frequencies and "Bands" within the selected frequencies which are assigned or purchased by the TELCOs.  One must understand the frequency and band spectrums each provider uses in order to match the device they intend to use with the provider's bands. 

Example:

Smart broadcast LTE in the following LTE frequencies and bands: 
2100/1
1800/3
850/5
700/17
LTE-A or 4.5G (in Boracay Island only)

Both Smart and Globe use LTE with Smart using band 1 the most while Globe uses band 3 the most here in the Philippines.  Smart also starting to use the other two bands for better coverage in weaker signal areas and to spread to the provinces.

However, ATT USA uses the following 4 LTE frequencies and bands:

700/17
850/5
1900 /2
1700/2100/4

In comparison, phones from China that are not allowed in the USA use LTE Bands:
1/3/5/7/8/20

An American expat must make sure their ATT device has the other LTE freqs/bands built in or the best they will get in the PI is 3G.  In general, the iPhones from both ATT and Verizon have the greatest number of LTE frequencies built in. The Verizon high-end devices have both CDMA and GSM/LTE capabilities and now come unlocked. 

In summary, using a US based iPhone 6S, the LTE  Bands include: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 7, 8, 13, 17, 18, 19, 20, 25, 26, 28, 29.  This means both an ATT or Verizon iPhone 6S will connect to either Smart or Globe LTE towers here in the Philippines.

To add one more mix to the alphabet soup of acronyms and techno-talk - When the focus is on the emerging LTE-A devices, they are out there and available globally in Sept 2016.  Since most LTE connections will max out at 75Mbps the next step LTE-A is currently at 225Mbps with a total possible 300Mbps. 

To add some confusion, there is one other major set of obstacles to move through as a person watches the terms change by global locations.

Example:  LTE-A (or LTE Advanced) is the term used in South Korea and the USA.  However, in Singapore, France, Qatar, and the Netherlands, it’s called 4G+.  Therefore an expat retiring from selected locations will need to adjust to the marketing terms used to categorize any device purchased while in that region.

To be sure, the Philippines will have a major set of issues trying to obtain true LTE-A speeds.  Here is why - The ITU requirement for true LTE-A requires that a mobile network must fulfill a number of benchmarks.  Significant features include offering a peak data rate of at least 100 megabits per second in a mobile mode (i.e., when the user is in a car or train), and 1 Gigabit per second (1 Gigabyte (GB) is equal to 1024MB  or 1000000KB) in a fixed position (such as home or office).  There are phone categories that will add additional layers of potential confusion so I will limit this by just saying try to get a "CAT 4" or higher phone.   

Some have asked me to explain megabyte vs. Gibabyte, etc.  Trust me, you do not want me to post much on this topic unless you just love math.  If that is the case, I will just say that a Google search on those terms along with Terabyte, Petabyte, Exabyte, Zettbyte, Yottabyte, Brontobyte and Geopbyte will give you all the math review you need for the next few decades.

The Philippine's commercial wireless network is barely reaching the min. LTE benchmarks in prime areas and mostly broadcasts data within the HSPA+ spectrum. Watch this video for a great 4G vs LTE technology explanation. http://www.digitaltrends.com/mobile/4g-vs-lte/

Nonetheless, expats need to understand what they already have and need to retain or be ready in the near future to update or obtain their unlocked devices that support both LTE & LTE-A broadcasts to stay with the game.   Ideally, we should be looking for Cat 6 phones (i.e., phones with 300Mbps down and 50Mbps up capabilities.  So where can one get such a device and what are the model numbers that come with a Cat 6 LTE-A capability?

Samsung Galaxy S4 (South Korean version) one f the first LTE-A phones.
Samsung Galaxy S5 (newly released for the South Korean market)
Huawei Ascend Mate 7
LG G3 (32GB version)
Huawei Honor 6
Google Nexus 6
Z5 premium (single sim)

Although with slower speed caps (150Mbps down and 50Mbps up) the following Cat 4 phones are reported to work with LTE-A systems:
iPhone 6, iPhone 6 Plus, Samsung Galaxy Alpha, Samsung Galaxy Note 4, Samsung Galaxy Note 3, LG G3 (16GB), Sony Xperia Z3, Sony Xperia Z3 Compact, Sony Xperia Z2, Sony Xperia Z1, Sony Xperia Z1 Compact, HTC One M8, HTC Desire Eye, HTC One E8, HTC One Mini 2, Samsung Galaxy S5 Mini, LG G2, Oneplus One, Google Nexus 5, Sony Xperia Z Ultra, Huawei Ascend P2, Nokia Lumia 930, Nokia Lumia 830 and Nokia Lumia 1520.

…… a final comment.  No matter your current or future phone selection, please be aware of the SAR ratings of any phone you talk on as it relates to placement near your head. What is SAR?  It is, "a measure of the rate that body tissue absorbs radiation energy during cell phone use called the specific absorption rate (SAR)."

I always try to use a bluetooth device to keep the handset away from my head.  Here is a very good article to review on this topic: http://cellphones.procon.org/view.resou … eID=003054

Happiness and health to all!

Hi...I occasionally read these blogs and I'm a little perplexed as to why you think the average Filipino living on merely enough money just to make it through the day, would or could make any sense of what you just wrote. Do you really think they have a need to know all this technical data?  Who is this meant to benefit?

@ arty5987,

I am also perplexed about your being perplexed about an expat posting info to help other expats in an expat forum?

- Perhaps it is not clear to you as to what website we are on, it's purpose and whom most of the postings are meant to benefit??? 

- Perhaps you have not read the forum rules on "OPINIONS".  The rules read, in part: 
 
"The entire concept of this forum is to promote the free exchange of information and ideas. Therefore, everyone has a fundamental right to form and express their own opinions, provided that they comply with the terms of use of the website."

- Perhaps it is not clear why one expat would share info for other expats??? 

- Perhaps you feel this website is for the pleasure, benefits and primary use of the "average Filipino living on merely enough money just to make it through the day…..."?  Yet, there are thousands of posts regarding travels, cars, marriages, equipment, visa runs and adjusting to life in the PI that have nothing to do with "poor" locals you identify. 

- Perhaps the intended target audience can be detected when a person reads, "P.S. Some about to retire and move to the Philippines may wonder what cell phones, routers or pocket wifi devices will work the best here?  Here is a great way to get answers and learn what others have used to achieve a broadband connection."

Or maybe when I said, "An American expat must make sure their ATT device has the other LTE freqs/bands built in or the best they will get in the PI is 3G.  In general, the iPhones from both ATT and Verizon have the greatest number of LTE frequencies built in.", it means the intended target audience is made up of expats about to retire or retired here in the PI. 

Even when your profile reads "American looking for information about Philippines" you question my post regarding an American posting technical information about the Philippines for fellow Americans / other expats. Why would you post such a question?

Is it your view, suggestion or concern that expats posting here need to adjust their posts to match your views of "the average Filipino living on merely enough money just to make it through the day, would or could make any sense of what you[i] just wrote." and this is what has you a "little perplexed"? 

Nonetheless, have a great day.

This little app for Iphones and Android devices seems not to be to perplexing for anyone wanting to check their network.   ;)

https://www.fing.io/

TeeJay

WOW... Did really get you to write another speech??? All I was saying in simple terms ( notice I didn't need the BOLD type) is that whether your an American expat or a Filipino, most if not all phones will work over there if unlocked. And WiFi is whatever the service will allow. (Which is horrible not matter which way you look at it). All the technical data will not change anything.. Or just buy a phone in the Philippines. But since this is s forum... You can provide any and all the info you like.

Actually most unlocked phones will not work as the frequencies change from provider to provider and country to country and in the case of the Philippines a unlocked GSM quad band LTE / 3G capable dual sim phone will allow you to work in both the US and other countries as well as the Philippines simply by purchasing a sim card with the dual sim capability allowing you to change to the provider in the country in which you are residing without having to remove the sim from the country you left.  CDMA / GSM phones are also available allowing for use with both Verizon cdma networks in the US and GSM networks in the Philippines provided the GSM includes the frequency range used in the Philippines. 

I believe the frequencies were listed by Calif native in a previous comment and provides valuable information when bringing a phone to the Phil.

GSM world frequencies:
http://www.worldtimezone.com/gsm.html

Frequency check by country:
https://www.frequencycheck.com/countries/philippines

Example: Samsung Galaxy Tab:

Device Frequencies Samsung Galaxy Tab S2 9.7 LTE SM-T819N - Philippines
Carrier
2G
3G
4G LTE
Carrier Frequencies Globe
Result 900MHz, 1800MHz
Result 900MHz, 2100MHz
Result Band3-1800MHz, Band7-2600MHz
Carrier Frequencies Smart
Result 900MHz, 1800MHz
Result 850MHz, 2100MHz
Result Band5-850MHz, Band3-1800MHz, Band1-2100MHz
Carrier Frequencies Sun Cellular
Result 1800MHz
Result 2100MHz
Result Carrier Network does not support 4G LTE

Your Wi-fi or internet service quality depends on a list of variables and a little knowledge can be very useful when dealing with the provider and getting what you paid for though the device you are using can also make a difference in signal strength as well as in the case of wireless, the proximity to the carriers tower, the capacity of the equipment, the antennas used and your location with regard to sector and interference.

A pocket Wi-fi device used in the home has disadvantages built in as the home will weaken the signal reception and what may be a decent signal on the porch becomes horrible in the home. In this case proximity and line of sight do make a difference as does the device.

In our home we have Globe LTE with an antenna mounted outside the home with the height of the antenna adjusted to maximize the signal and line of sight with the tower.  Recent upgrades to the equipment with regard to capacity and the migration from Wi-fi to LTE have given us exactly what we pay for and reliably.

Cellular signal propagation:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Line-of-sight_propagation

Yagi antennas to boost cell phone signal:
http://www.ubersignal.com/blog/yagi-antennas/

Lastly. All phones are not created equal.  In the case of US providers they have people in system performance positions both indoor and outdoor who test phones for reliability and ability to send and receive signals to the appropriate tower and the most expensive phone is not always the winner.

A little research and some knowledge as shared by members like Calif-native and others can help in making the right decision with regard to your internet service, phone service and how to deal with your provider when they simply tell you "We see no problem sir". When you can bury them in their own bs you oftentimes, with knowledge and persistence, find that you need not settle for less than you paid for.

In our area Globe wireless is great and reliable while Sun and Smart are not and PLDT does not have the facilities build-out to provide broadband service to our home.

Hope this helps,

TeeJay

The detailed info provided by TeeJay is very important for those wishing to learn more and have a good connection experience here.  One of the sources that backs up what he has posted 100% focuses on the subject of best cell phone network switching rate, antenna reception and LTE speed tests can be found here:

http://www.androidauthority.com/best-4g … g4-612827/

Those of us that live here may want to have this info to complete a buy decision.  It should not matter if knowledge is shared to all persons that read this forum (regardless if they are a "poor local" or an expat).  Nor should it matter if the delivery is by speech, sign, carrier pigeon or SMS.

To continue a very informative thread, at least to those interested in the technological subject matter, I will add a few items with regard to how technology is affected by interference in the cellular world and the service you receive.

The following link offer free tech course in troubleshooting Rf problems. Simply create and account and go to the learning section and learn:

Link:
https://www.anritsu.com/en-US/

The convergence of Wireless and Internet. Summitek / Tessco video:

Link:
https://youtu.be/u6HnqDE7loY

Most cell towers in the Philippines seem to rely on Microwave transmission of their signal from tower to tower and the Central Office facilities.
Improperly aligned or damaged antennas as well as interference from other sources or simply faulty equipment and connections can affect the quality of both your cell phone signal as well as your wireless internet.
For those interested, free tutorials are readily accessible on YouTube as well as from Microwave equipment and test equipment manufacturers that can be found by simply using your browser and searching for them and in some case establishing an account such as was previously mentioned with the Anritsu Corporation.

YouTube link for microwave transmission:
https://youtu.be/oiyFdermEy8
https://youtu.be/Hd-CIQkzNTg

For those not interested, please ignore.

TeeJay

I think PLDT is one of the broadband her in t he Philippines , in fact this a largest and fastest internet, i think.

Why have I seen this post only now? Thank you for sharing this information. This is very helpful especially with people like me who does not have a technical knowledge when it comes to internet stuff.

@Zanelenard - I don't entirely agree with PLDT being the fastest ISP because it varies on the location (just like other ISPs) and PLDT loves fluctuations, which could really be a bummer especially if you are working on something that needs a consistent flow in the internet connection.

What I hate about the internet here in the Philippines, and I'm sure if this is also the case in other countries, but when it rains the internet connection is also affected. I don't know if it is just my bad luck that every time that it rains, the connection is either incredible slow or fluctuating. If this happens in other countries too, who am I to complain if it is a fact that nobody can do anything about it.

MaroBautista :

What I hate about the internet here in the Philippines, and I'm sure if this is also the case in other countries, but when it rains the internet connection is also affected. I don't know if it is just my bad luck that every time that it rains, the connection is either incredible slow or fluctuating. If this happens in other countries too, who am I to complain if it is a fact that nobody can do anything about it.

If your internet connection is on copper cable and the splices and connections from the providers equipment to your home or place of business are not secured against the weather, ie exposed splices or exposed overhead splices and splice containing cases or even the connection at the end user, then the corrosion that has already affected your service is affected even more in rain and wind storms to the point where you may loose your connection altogether.

If you have DSL there are distance requirements that your provider should adhere to with regard to the length of the cable from their equipment to your home. If the distance exceeds the recommended lengths provided by the equipment manufacturers, then your signal will become degraded or nearly useless.

Bad and corroded copper or even fiber connections can worsen in wind and rain so you can start by checking the connection to your home, if it's corroded then it needs to be cleaned.

Something called bridgetap on copper connections can really hurt your connection  by causing an imbalance or loss of signal on your line. Technicians should remove it before connecting you, but I doubt that it happens.

Bridgetap question and answer on a bad DSL connection:
http://arstechnica.com/civis/viewtopic. … p;t=942966

Hope this helps,

TeeJay

Thank you for this, Sir TeeJay. What you said actually makes sense. :)

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