Monday, June 6, 2011

Experiencing the Future (of the Internet)

Almost 2 decades ago my friends and I kidded each other one hot summer day that in time we'd be in touch with each other through our PCs. During that time we had no idea what the internet was (it wasn't commercially available), so we had no idea that one day we'd indeed be in touch with each other through this platform. We knew that we'd eventually part ways because we were going to go to different universities (me in DLSU, one in UST and one in UP), but we swore to keep in touch with each other.

We did, through snail mail then eventually through email, Friendster, chatting through YM, then came Multiply, calling each other through Gtalk, then Facebook and Twitter. Each iteration allowed us to share more about our lives (despite the distance) and collaborate on the cloud (especially during my wedding!). We also hopped on different ways to connect online - first through dial-up, then DSL and now through mobile internet.  Usually though the means to connect to the internet can't catch up with what we do online.


I am online most of the time because of work and I'm quite dependent on the "cloud" so I'm really fussy about internet speed. I had to upgrade my DSL plan last year because my requirements weren't being met by the lowest DSL plan. So I jumped on the chance to try out Smart LTE in Boracay. Smart LTE stands for Smart Long Term Evolution. It just essentially means that we can experience much faster internet - up to 25x faster (assuming you are using 2Mbps connection) and up to 50x faster in the future. A 4 gigabyte file which usually takes hubby 16 hours to download (his log files for his website) would just take approximately 30 minutes. Or uploading a 320+MB file which would take an hour or two would just take about 5-6 minutes. To me it just means humaharurot na internet!


I asked Allan Siao (Smart's technical lead) why they chose to showcase this new technology in Boracay. He said that it was marketing's idea to challenge them to implement it there. He showed us a diagram which compared how 3G/HSPA vs. LTE technology worked. 3G/HSPA required more transpo and access gateways versus LTE which was essentially flat (or straight). Both though have trouble with obstructions (walls/rain/fog). Speed is also dependent on the device you are using, so that meant my 3-year old jalopy of a laptop wouldn't be able to maximize the available capacity of LTE.

Anyway, here's the first glimpse we had of Smart LTE. Speedtest was done using a newer laptop using Firefox. Download speed was 44.49Mbps, upload speed 2.94Mpbs.


I asked Allan if the browser you use would make a difference and he said that it would, so I asked them to do a speedtest using Google Chrome. Download speed was 52.67Mbps, upload speed 2.85Mbps.


I thought I'd test Smart LTE using sites built using HTML5, so the first thing I did was to play Angry Birds on Google Chrome on HD! It brought me great joy to be able to play Angry Birds on a high-speed connection because there wasn't any lag.


And then I tried playing around with some Google Chrome Experiments.


Watched Youtube Movies.


Watched Janette's live stream interview of Anne Binuya (Smart Bro team).


And the an online book, "The 20 Things I Learned About Browsers and the Web".



For the rest of my stay I tried out Smart LTE by doing my daily routine - opened 3 browsers (Chrome, Chrome Incognito and Firefox) and opened more than 10 tabs for each browser, accessed my data on the cloud, checked mail, chatted, Gtalk voice calls, uploaded photos, and hopped from one social networking account to the other. I can say that I was more productive since I wasn't worried about the speed even though I was using my 3-year old laptop.

I hope that Smart LTE would be available soon (they said late 4Q 2011 or early 1Q 2012). Pricing isn't available yet and I hope it would be very affordable! This would also be awesome for schools that would be using tablets this schoolyear (ask Mr. Jun Lozada and Neil Andrew Nocon about their two separate projects) and since was able to do it in Boracay perhaps they can also make internet connectivity better for schools in Mindanao. :)

 With bloggers Van, Az and Mark.

  With Rezza, Az, Anne, Gay, Kyle, Janette, Mark and Van. 

Thank you Smart for allowing me to experience the future of the internet!