Thursday, June 5, 2008

Yet More on Internet

The past few days have seen such slow Internet speeds and so many intermittent outages that it has driven even me crazy, and I'm no Internet freak.  Mary is the computer expert in the house--neither the cats nor I have the patience for it.  She was an Apple-certified Mac consultant in a former life, and actually likes that sort of thing.

Anyway, we'd both had it this morning, especially as I was trying to upload and having a terrible time of it.  Mary checked out both the Internet connection and the speed, and while clearly part of our problems were due to the server, just as clearly not all of them were.  

The problem may be bandwidth coming into the country.

Simply put, bandwidth is the amount of information that can be transmitted from point to point in a given time.  It doesn't matter, really, how good your Internet service provider is, because if the volume of traffic exceeds the bandwidth capability, you have problems.  At the very least, you slow down.  The US is experiencing bandwidth problems due to the very high volume of graphics being transmitted--and it just keeps increasing.

About a year ago, a post appeared on one of the Boquete lists, I think, explaining that with the increased volume of traffic here in Panamá, bandwidth into the country was becoming a severe  limitation.  He claimed that Panamá did NOT have very much bandwidth coming in.  It isn't so much the increase in the number of private, Panamanian users (given the costs, the poverty in the country, and an economy that is  tanking, I doubt that that growth is very high in real numbers) that is the problem so much as it is commercial use and ex-pat use; both of those tend to be very heavy in graphics--images, videos--and that eats up bandwidth like crazy.

There are tests for that sort of thing, but even Mary is unwilling to put the time in on it.  It is what it is and we live with it.  I worry far, far more about good weed eater técnicos than I am ever going to worry about bandwidth.  If it gets too annoying, I'll simply give up blogging, which is not at the core of my emotional survival, and go out and plant flowers.

It actually may be a combination of low bandwidth within the country as well as coming in from outside the country.  I suspect that you have to pay for incoming bandwidth, just as you have to pay for everything else--none of it is free--and my guess is that Panamanian Internet providers do not access a whole of of bandwidth for financial reasons.

Either way, whether due to ISP low bandwidth or incoming to the country bandwidth, the problems we've been having today are not due solely to our server fluctuation in and out of reality.

I had forgotten to include this sort of information in my two other posts about Internet services, so I thought I'd just get it out of the way now.

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