Got A Reliance Data Card
Posted in: Technology
I bought a Reliance data card on 2nd Jan. Let me share my experience having used this wireless internet soultion from Reliance for almost a fortnight. Anyone considering to buy this may find this post useful. I have also mentioned how to improve the connection speed.
Need For Wireless
I bought my laptop some months ago and was considering what internet plan to go for. Here in Siliguri I can’t go for my favourite Dataone (that I have at home) as that needs a wired landline connection. Also, a pity that Airtel broadband is not yet available in Siliguri. So wireless seemed to be the perfect option - it also has the carry-it-along advantage. I was unsure which data carrier to go for until a friend told me about Reliance’s freedom @ night plan.
Reliance Netconnect Plans
There are many plans to choose from. All are expensive I tell you. The one that suited me is the Freedom @ night plan. It offers unlimited surfing in night hours i.e. 10 pm - 6 am for a monthly rental of 400 INR and daytime surfing charges 0.50 INR per minute.
Getting The Data Card
The data card comes mainly in 2 models - USB and PCMCIA. The prices are 2890 INR and 2850 INR respectively. There is an activation charge of 330 INR. I went for the USB one as it can be used in both desktop and laptop. Besides, I thought there might be some heating problem with the PCMCIA as it is internal.
To get the data card you have to go to any Reliance Webworld or Reliance Communications outlet or computer shops. I got it from a Reliance Communications outlet on Hazra road (opposite Paramount Nursing Home near Hazra more), Kolkata. As for any other postpaid connection, you need to carry these documents - an identity proof (voter card, PAN card, etc.), a residence proof (ration card, electric bill, phone bill, bank statement) & a passport size photo. After two days I got a call from reliance for verification, they even went to my house to verify - the formalities of a postpaid connection.
Setting it up
Run the installation disc and follow the instructions to install the Reliance Netconnect software. Insert the data card in the USB port or PC card slot when asked.
The installer registers the data card as a modem and adds a dialer software. The software interface allows you to connect/disconnect, send/read SMS, make/receive calls, change settings. It shows the connection speed and bandwidth used. However, the bandwidth and timer readings are reset everytime you disconnect making it impossible to keep track of total bandwidth or time usage. Netconnect installs an internet optimizer software called Netbooster which accelerates surfing speed by reducing the quality of images in real-time.
This modem relies on the same tower as mobiles. A mobile tower is too busy handling calls to and fro and you can’t expect a dedicated connection. As a result, the connection is erratic. I have used it in Siliguri and Kolkata.
Siliguri: Every now and then the connection dies - although it is connected speed becomes 0 kbps. Chatting on Gtalk is next to impossible as I get dc almost every minute. Surfing speed is not bad, does the job. After 1 or 2 o’ clock in the night the connection becomes somewhat stable allowing me to surf with peace of mind. Those who are on time-bound plans will find this erratic speed all the more irritating.
Kolkata: Better speed and surfing experience. The connection is more or less stable and doesn’t drop usually. Gtalk experience is also good.
Delhi: A friend who has used this in both Delhi and Siliguri reports far worse speeds in Delhi compared to Siliguri which is really surprising.
Tips to increase the speed
I continuously ping a server (google.com) to keep the connection alive. This way the connection remains active all the while and chances of getting dc are significantly lowered. By continuous pinging, I am able to chat in Google Talk. Surfing speed also improves considerably this way.
Now how to ping? Open command prompt and type
ping www.google.com -t and hit enter key. The command prompt can be invoked by going to Start > Run and typing “cmd”. Vista users need to enter “cmd” in the Search box under the Vista Start menu.
Value for money
I think the tariff pricing could be lower. The price for the data card is reasonable but the monthly tariffs are not. The problem is the wirless internet market is yet to mature and there is not much competition in the sector. Reliance will tell you the reason behind such pricing is it is wireless. But considering the quality and speed of connection this is priced steep.
Tata indicom has a similar offering. Though I have not used that, I think both are in the same league when it comes to speed. The Airtel data card is priced higher at 5000 INR. Then another option is using your mobile phone as a modem and subscribing to the Airtel Mobile Office. Mobile Office offers unlimited internet access over GPRS or EDGE (depends on your area). The cost in West Bengal is 498 bucks per month. Then you have the 199/- monthly rental plan for BSNL postpaid users which is also unlimited EDGE internet.
With the launch of 3G the speeds will increase.
I can surf most sites smoothly. I can keep in touch with friends online. Can download small files of megabytes sizes. I can research on net. Chat with friends. Orkut pages load pretty fast. People at home can see me on webcam (video quality sucks due to slow speed). I can have voice chat with friends. So this serves most of my needs. However I can’t rely on Reliance if I have to give an online exam which is timed.
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