With everyone today wishing to know their Internet connection speed and what can be done to speed it up and with the present day’s increasing demands in terms of online communications, it is unsurprising that Phuket’s Internet Service Providers – or ISPs – have started improving their services even at dramatic levels. Consequently, the general SOP (“Screams Of Pain”) level has fallen significantly this year compared to what it was two or three years ago, with Phuket service providers such as 3BB, True, CAT, TOT, Island Technology, iPStar and a series of Cable TV companies now providing quite reasonable Internet services. Moreover, anyone who is unhappy with their current service can choose a different provider at any time thanks to the immense variety of ISPs, some of which provide excellent deals, currently on the market.
Nevertheless, a harder question to answer is which ISP in Phuket is best in terms of speed, security and overall value. There is no simple answer to that, but anyone residing in Phuket could always access phuketinternetspeed.com, a simple and consistent international download speed measurement tool that has been in place since January 2008. With around 20,000 observations currently in the database, any or all of the data there can be viewed at any time, allowing anyone looking for Internet options to find a suitable ISP in their area. Moreover, the tool can also be used by those who want to complain about their already existing service or by the ISP themselves to analyse their own service levels in the “real world”.
As times and Internet speeds are changing, however, so will the test, in order to provide more accurate results, by implementing a new technique, called “cache” (pronounced “cash”).
Cache has appeared due to different components within the computer industry operating at different speeds, which sometimes vary by entire orders of magnitude. For example, the CPU chip on a system is extremely fast compared to the main memory chips storing the data for it, while the hard drives are yet another order of magnitude slower than the latter. For this reason, the cache has been developed as a specially reserved location in the faster area that manipulates the data from the slower one. In a CPU, for example, the cache is the very fast location next to the processor that gathers the data from the memory chips and relays it to the CPU, after which it returns the CPU’s response back to the memory chips, depending on requirements. As a result, a consistent CPU cache can improve the overall functionality of a PC by even more than an entire order of magnitude.
In Phuket, and all around Thailand, for that matter of fact, ISPs are increasingly starting to implement caches into their equipment in order to minimize the number of instances where they need to actually connect overseas in order to retrieve international web pages. To exemplify this in a nutshell, if someone accesses a website outside Thailand, such as cnn.com, the ISP needs to retrieve the entire web page from its actual location in the USA before displaying it on the user’s computer every time that page is accessed. However, if the ISP is smart enough to store a copy of the web page into its own web cache, located, for example, in Bangkok, it only needs to go to the USA to retrieve it for the first user who accesses it. After that, anyone else trying to see cnn.com will receive the same page significantly faster – and at significantly lower costs for the ISP in the long term – with the ISP only needing to check whether or not the original page has been modified (a more complicated procedure detailed better at is.gd/CH7AFT). That will not be the case most of the time, so the ISP will only need to retrieve the copy of the page from its own cache in Bangkok.
As caching is changing both the way data is retrieved and the relevance of speed tests, more details of what the new generations of such tests will look at will be provided in a future article.