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Thursday, February 28, 2013

ISP - internet service providers in Kenya

Internet Service providers in Kenya

To get a clear view of the service you will get from an internet service provider, there are some considerations to care about.

These considerations will put to rest the hype you or someone else might be having in comparison to the prices as listed in the table above.

First and foremost, when considering an internet service connection what goes in the mind of ordinary Kenyan is the price then quality comes second. Not so with the honourables, they can have 100 Safaricom modems fully bundled to the capacity and still afford to fuel their cars without any difficulty. Those fully bundled 100 modems can go without use and still be refueled the following month after bundle expiry.

To an ordinary citizen who wants to surf every evening after work or early in the morning before reporting to work without worrying about the size of the files to download or upload for that matter other factors determine what internet service provider one can get.

These factors (main one, the affordability or the price) determines ones choice of an Internet Service Provider.

That’s why in the following lines I will discuss in great detail or in detailed form about the quality against quantity of an internet service providers in Kenya so that you can get a view and feel of the services offered by our ISPs here in Kenya even if you are not part of those Kenyans struggling to stay updated with the developments brought about by Information Technology Age.

Internet Service provider : The Speed

The speed of your internet connection matters just as the cost matters since you won’t be happy to wait two minutes just to view a webpage. And since you will be downloading and uploading videos, music, images and other files you will need at least an average speed of let’s say more than 1Mbps or better but 1Mbps will work fine without too much frustrations. Internet is about downloading and uploading. That’s why when considering an internet connection you should compare the speed minus the cost, the cost minus the speed and then combine the cost and the speed to get the best offer available in the Kenya Internet Service Providers market.

When ISP or Internet service providers talk about their speed they talk about 128Kbps, 256Kbps etc.

Now to understand how Internet connection speed is measured we need a formal knowledge about the computer’s processor and the modem (a device that modulates and demodulates electronic signals and vice versa or in our own terms something that converts digital signals to analog signals and vice versa). Electronic signals are transmitted in 0s and 1s (zeros and ones). These 0s and 1s are called bits hence the term bps or bits per second. 1024 bits equals 1 kilobit. These bits the only who can read them is the computers processor. Not that, other devices in the computer cannot read these 0s and 1s but simply put they can and they do read and understand the language but it is the work of the processor to assign each one work to do. The processor is the captain.

This captain called the processor needs someone to help translate this foreign language called analog and that’s where the modem comes in. The modem will be in charge of translating to the processor and also retranslating what the processor is saying to the analog world. So it would be like taking those 0s and 1s from the processor and putting them in a language that can be transmitted over the telephone lines and again on the other end repeating the same sequence or procedure.

When an Internet Service Provider or and ISP says that they will be offering you an internet connection of say like 256Kbps downlink and 128Kbps uplink they mean that the technology that will be used to keep you connected at that speed is able to process 256000bits of incoming packets in one second and 128000bits of outgoing packets which translates to 256000bits/8 to get the amount of data downloaded (processed) per second and 128000bits/8 to get the amount of data uploaded per second. That will be 32000bytes of data downstream and 16000bytes of data upstream. 32000bytes is divided by one thousand just like (1000gms to 1kg of sukari) to get 32KiloBytes and 16000byte is divided by 1000 to get 16KiloBytes. This is the amount of data you are assured of when links are good.

We use 8 to divide bits to get bytes because 8 bits equals 1 byte. A single unformatted character on your screen or monitor is a byte. The code behind any character or characters on a screen is a single or more units of 8 bits of data e.g. if I want to write character 1 in binary code I would write 00000001, and 2 will be written like 00000010 and so on and on.

Note that KB and Kb are two different things.

The example above might be a little bit technical to understand but put it this way, you are downloading a video from you tube and the size of the video is like say 10MB or 10 Megabyte and you have a connection speed of 256Kbps downstream and 128Kbps upstream. If you are using software like internet download manager (downloading files from the internet is not illegal) your download should complete in less than 6 minutes and at the same time uploading files using 128Kbps upstream. This won’t be the case since your antivirus automatic update will be using a portion of the same downstream resource as well as other exception programs in your windows firewall or any other third party firewall you are using.

Exception programs are programs you allow through your firewall to connect to the internet even if you are not browsing. Examples of these can be p2p (peer to peer) applications, shared printers etc.

Now that you are armed with Know how, it is time to choose who you want to connect you to this spiders web called internet. Yeah it’s the spider’s web and in our next article God willing well talk about the web and spider’s.
and don’t forger to read Terms of Service or TOS.
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