Saturday, June 17, 2006

Under the shady apple tree

I am reclined on a swing sofa with my Apple Powerbook G4 under an apple tree in the yard of my family summer house in Carnikava, writing this blog online through an adequately fast Triatel wireless internet connection (EV-DO) and a D-Link wireless router. My son, 10, is inside also surfing with his laptop, some kind of Windows machine.
This is what always on is all about. A wonderful sunny afternoon, gentle breeze and the whole world just a click away. Next summer, I imagine I can try an HSDPA connection that promises up to 3.6 Mbps (the Triatel is benchmarked at around 1 Mbps, but does between 256 Kbps and 600 Kbps).
Nice as this is, I sort of feel compelled to fold up the computer and do my one big Saturday pleasure -- read The Economist (for once, it actually got delivered on Saturday to my Riga apartment so I could drive out here with it). I will write some more stuff later about another future vision for Lattelecom and stuff they may be doing for the European Parliament.


sarma said...

I like the mood shot. A nice Latvian breeze hints of times long gone by.
I guess telecoms are not always the most fascinating topic!

Anonymous said...

Hi Juris! Very nice photo with an Apple under the apple tree. An Apple never falls far from the tree I guess...
I find this blog very interesting as well. Not so strange maybe. I am very interested in telecommunications (true, it pays my rent as well) and I happen to be interested in Latvia too. I didn't expect to come this close though when I googled for "telecommunication latvia" :-)
Triatels EV-DO solution would actually allow me to install internet access at the in-laws' place just outside Jelgava. At least it seems that Triatel has coverage over there and since Lattelekom so far refuses to replace the old soviet copper cables we do not need to consider fixed DSL for a while ;-) or rather :-(
I wonder what upload speeds you end up with (benchmarked and in reality)? How about latency, is it acceptable for VoIP ?

Solnyshok said...

Hi Juris

I am testing Triatel with my laptop and it works, but not quite the way I would like it to. I have that USB figer sized thingy that gives me only 230400 bps upon connection. Did you do any magic to get it work on higher speed?

Juris Kaža said...

I have a large radio modem with two antennas linked to a D-Link wireless router with an ethernet cable, then the signal is broadcast around the summer house on WiFi. Strength varies from 250 to 600 Kbps. Who knows, maybe moving the boxes around would help.

Solnyshok said...

Thanks, I learned that Triatel is not allowing p2p on their network, so this is not an option for me.

btw, as I am now in the process of getting an internet connection I would like to share my experience with lattelekom service. I posted connection request with them 10 days ago, and nobody called me back. I called them only to learn that somebody eventually will call me back. lol. unfortunately that wireless thing did not work out. I will have to wait for them, and hope that their upgraded 10Mb/11.99Ls/month will eventually reach my Marupite district.

btw, do you know if that it is still legal in Latvia to bundle phone contract with intrenter contract?

Solnyshok said...

i meant "internet contract" :)

Juris Kaža said...

What's this about P2P and Triatel? You mean peer to peer? I know of someone who "obtained" some software for his PC laptop via the Triatel link. BitTorrent apparently worked. As for bundling, Lattelecom offers DSL which needs an active phone line (I think). This could be taken up with the regulator. I wonder how Latnet re-sells Lattelecom's DSL...? Other internet services can be ethernet or cable based.

Anonymous said...

Solnyshok: I am afraid Juris is right about Lattelekom and DSL. It's another thing whether they are allowed to do so or not. Anyway I do not know anything about the status of this bundling issue in LV. In many EU countries this "separation procedure" is going on and in several countries it should actually already be possible (yeah, "should"). Providers and especially the old privatized state companies (most customers) do literally everything they can to frustrate this process. In Germany I have understood it ended with that providers were allowed to charge extra for customers that do not have a fixed telephone line through them. These network fees strongly remind of what you'd pay for the fixed telephone line ;-)

As for your USB modem "thingy" it might very well be the modem that is limiting. For instance none of the phones Triatel offers comes even close to 1 Mbps when used as a modem. Most end up with 150 - 200 kbps. I do not know the specification of your USB device, but again: this might be the limiting factor. Otherwise as Juris already suggests, moving around might help. For EV-DO it generally is recommended to do the way Juris did: Set up antenna(s) connected to the EV-DO radio modem for best signal strength and then distribute the signal through a (wireless) local network.

It sounds weird Triatel not allowing P2P services. The fairly popular service provided by "Skype" basically is a P2P service and if Triatel "blocks out" that as well as file sharing services I think it is useless for many of us. On the other hand, it reduces the amount of transferred data. Those of you a little bit more familiar with CDMA technology will know that a CDMA network works fantastic as long as you are one of the few users in the network. If these "few" are becoming "many" the quality of service drops rapidly. On the 450 MHz frequency band which Triatel uses there is not much space for extra carriers to boost the network capacity. It is however rather suitable for a country like Latvia with a relatively large "countryside" where the user density is low.

Sorry for the long reply. Maybe a bit of an off-topic, but by no means intended to spam this blogg

Solnyshok said...


on p2p: apparently some people got skype and bittorent working, but during a 2 day test period I did not figure out how to get edonkey to work as well. There is information that Triatel is going after heavy users and cutting them off according to terms of contract. here are 2 links:


triatel warning letter-

I actually think Triatel is right in their approach, they just need to be more explicit about it. And they are just not good for heavy users. BTW, the other big CDMA EV-DO provider Verizon and Sprint in USA, do the same. You could google up dozens of discussion of that "unlimited" ev-do limitations. For those staying with triatel, I wish that Triatel becomes more active and brings more goodies that Verizon already has, like Motorola Razr V3c and those nifty PCMCIA cards.

on phone contract bundling: I was digging the net on the issue, but the only info I could find was referring to LLU (local loop unbundling) that is (according to my understanding) a current trend in USA and Europe to allow independent ISP/telcos to use incumbents' networks to access the households. There is also info that in US, some providers do offer bare DSL (or "naked DSL"), however, I was not able to find anything on this issue in Europe.

:) Happy midsummer!