01998: Sietch Infrastructure Upgrade

So after years of faithful Bayantel patronage, we've finally switched over to the dark lord of Philippine telecommunications companies, PLDT. But despite their reputation and how they still operate with the power of a monopoly. they're still the best option for internet in most parts of the country. And given my long-running issues with Bayantel and their inability to address our speed issues or even allow us to upgrade to a faster plan, we officially made the switch as of yesterday.

And I have to admit, I was rather surprised at how quickly things took. I had formally filed our application on February 20 via their website and in less than two weeks, they got us installed and such. And since our unit was already wired for Bayantel DSL, this actually made installation a lot faster for the tech and he was done in less than an hour. I think my only annoyance thus far is the fact that you don't get a choice in terms of your modem. The standard issue is a WiFi-enabled modem, thus making our existing router a little redundant. I could daisy-chain the two devices and just rely on the older router to support us, but for now I've reconfigured out network to run off the PLDT router to give it a shot. If anything, it has allowed me to create a virtual network for guests that I can keep isolated from our primary network, so that's a good thing.

The real clincher was seeing if there'd be a noticeable difference when playing Star Trek Online, which is the key service issue that drove this switchover. Bayantel generally delivered on committed browsing speeds but had issues with special services like online video chat and MMORPG support. And so I really happy when I was able to run the game in the middle of the day at a decent level of performance - something that was largely impossible with Bayantel. I finished a mission without timing out and it didn't take me too long either. So kudos to PLDT.

My only remaining hassle is formally severing ties with Bayantel. As much as I've already called in a request to disconnect, I still need to go to a Bayantel office to surrender our DSL equipment and fill out the disconnection papers. At least it's not as bad as the older Bayantel process that required customers to write a letter to Bayantel explaining the reason for the request. I swear, Bayantel really needs to catch up with the times and get away from all this physical paperwork. At least Globe and PLDT have decent online portals as far as I can tell, and maybe that will change given Globe owns Bayantel as of late.

But on the whole, things appear to be doing well. We signed up for the 3Mbps plan and our very first speed test clocked in at 2.7Mbps, which isn't too shabby. Will keep monitoring things and I hope this makes sense in the long run.