Kkkkconnectivity…I feel almost like whathisname in that movie. My connectivity certainly seems to have a pronounced stammer. I’ve had many an argument with @jyotibhargava about how connectivity has improved in general in the country and while I do believe it has, we have our blind spots for sure. One large blind spot is Goa. In general Goa seems to be a state of extremes. You can come here to party hard or you could be here to relax and chill. Either way time stands still and sadly so does your Internet connection. Not just the Internet but communication connectivity of all forms. We’ve been in and out of Goa for many years now and for the last four we have a small flat that we tend to use during the school vacations as a quick getaway from the city. The biggest challenge I have faced here is getting either phones or data cards to work. I have tried pretty much every provider but the story is the same. Arpora is in a valley and surrounded by trees and hills, add to that the small villages around have not permitted the cellphone companies to put up any towers, the result is really poor signal quality and even when you do see a few bars of glimmer and hope, the make/break provides for some hilarious conversations.
Last year, I came to Goa armed with wanting to solve this issue. I was carrying a Tata Photon+ data card which was highly recommended by many users in this region along with a BSNL 3G SIM, an Airtel 3G Sim, a Vodafone 3G SIM and a Reliance Netconnect+ which seems to be sitting in my bag at all times. None of them worked. Well at least not enough or in a sustained manner for me to even collect my email, forget about doing anything else on the Net!
I even rigged up an external antenna for the data card which I had heard was working rather well for someone not far from where we are. I guess my little antenna actually needed to be on the roof at the end of a six foot bamboo pole cause the little one I made did not seem to help much.
This time round I am in Goa for a little longer than I usually am and I very definitely needed to solve the issue. On one of my visits I noticed a restaurant close by was offering free WiFi, I soon became a patron and chatted the owner up to figure out where the connectivity was coming from. It turned out to be from a cable provider who extends his network via WiMax. I promptly called the provider and hoped that he would be able to give me a connection too. Turns out our building did not have line-of-sight to his network so that was a bit of a fizzle.
After several phone calls and follow-ups, he seemed to agree to provide me fibre-to-the-home. The problem was I would have to bear the costs of the one-time installation and then of course, a monthly rental for usage. All this assuming the local TV cable mafia would actually allow him to pull a new cable in the area. A long and agonising week later, we finally had a cable coming into the house and thought the problem would finally get resolved. It did to some extent but with it comes a whole host of other problems. The provider insists on using 24Online as his billing and bandwidth management solution and that has issues. The biggest being the requirement of a client to be used to login, which rules out using a router. Fortunately the provider was aware of the situation and agreed to let me use my router and used the routers MAC address for access controls.
After two days of usage, I found that once again I was totally “disconnected”! Apparently, the “fibre has been cut” and it would take fifteen minutes to rectify. That sure was the longest fifteen minutes I had experienced. Funny it seemed almost like 13 hours. While, the fibre break had been rectified, the SysAd at the providers had not removed my IP address from the DHCP pool and lo and behold my IP address was assigned to somebody and else and nothing worked. I fought long and hard and finally had the issue sorted out. Maybe, just maybe this will be the end of the issue.
In the meantime, I do require a new WiFi router, my trusty little Hame is just not strong enough even to provide a signal within such a small apartment. Well, it does provide enough of a signal but it is accompanied by an equal amount of noise. I do have connectivity, though a very limited amount of it and am restricted to being in the same room as the router but I guess that will have to do for now.