What is BDIX and what are the benefits of it?

BDIX is an IXP (Junction) where ISPs and other data service providers gets connected among themselves. It was established in 2004. It is a not-for-profit venture of the Sustainable Development Networking Foundation (SDNF) Bangladesh.

How IXP work

Why BDIX?

Internet Service providers used to get bandwidth from various upstream providers from various part of the world through- Submarine cable, VSAT, MicroWave Links etc. When data transmission from one ISP to another ISP was required – it used to go through the upstream providers round the world and come back to the destined ISP. I remember I had two different Internet  connection in my two PC and did a traceroute – and guess what!! There were 20+ nodes it had to pass from one IP to another. This created a lot of latency. Moreover, it was a very inefficient way of communication as data from one computer had to travel half of the world to reach the other one in my next room.

Some prominent ISPs in Bangladesh could well understand the fact and was eager to create an exchange among them so that local Internet traffic may routed locally. Year 2004 – United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) took the initiative through the project named “Sustainable Development Networking Programme” (SDNP). With the help of some individuals and ISPs BDIX was established.

From then more than 50 ISPs and Mobile/data operators got connected through BDIX.

 

What are the benefits?

Saves International Bandwidth

Well it is easy to guess what the benefits are. Local bandwidth remains locally. It means when one user from an ISP sends a files to another user in another ISP – the data does not need to travel out of the country. This keeps the International gateways free of data required to travel within the country. This saves the precious International Bandwidth.

Low Latency

Another benefit is – very low latency. In case of local traffic – data first goes to the BDIX from the source ISP and BDIX routes the data to destined ISP. This is only a matter of 3/4 hops/nodes. This means data travels faster.

High Data Volume

One major benefit is – a huge data can be transferred among the the local users. Since ISPs can get high bandwidth easily from BDIX.

Saves a lot of money to ISPs and End users

Low Cost + High local bandwidth – causing most of the ISPs to get connected to BDIX. BDIX bandwidth is way cheaper than actual International Bandwidth. Moreover, ISPs are creating local FTP server – where they store a bulk of movies, songs, games etc – which used to consume a lot of International Bandwidth. Now users download movies, songs, games etc – but it doesn’t use International Bandwidth keeping that one for much important uses. ISPs are now able to offer very low rate for Internet subscription as they can serve more people with less International bandwidth. End Internet users are getting higher bandwidth at lower cost.

New Features and Services

A lot of local sites have emerged with live TV facility, Local FTP servers, game servers etc. Volume of Data is not a problem if it remains locally.

 

Redundancy

We are developing our own local Internet through BDIX – and if for some reasons – International gateways are disrupted – we are less affected. Although International data transfer may be interrupted but local data communication will still remain running.

 

BDIX membership fee:

10,000 taka for 100mbps port

20,000 Taka for 1GB port.

 

Please visit BDIX website to learn more about them.

BTCL Reduces bandwidth cost by 41% – Effective from 1st April 2014

Good news for Bangladeshi Internet users!! BTCL has further reduced the price of Submarine cable (SEA-ME-WE4) IP Bandwidth. Effective from April 1st – users will be able to get 1 Mbps (MegaBits/second) dedicated bandwidth at only Taka 2800 per month. It was Taka 4800 per month per 1 Mbps previously.

This will be applicable to all BTCL customers (Home, corporate and Resellers).

This surely will have a very good impact on the ICT sector of Bangladesh. But a lot will depend upon how the ISPs react to this new pricing. Surely they won’t cut the pricing by 41% and reduce their revenue as they have other operational costs. Rather they’ll probably increase per user bandwidth or give more GBs of data transfer to volume based Internet clients.

This indeed is an appreciable initiative by the Government. I believe our new young ICT State Minister Mr. Palak has some influence in this.

Bangladeshi mobile operators hold a major share of Internet distribution channel. It will be interesting how these mobile companies rearrange their Internet service offers after this price reduction. Most of the companies are selling 1GB volume at around 300 Taka which is sky high compared to BTCL Bandwidth cost. The real benefit of this price reduction will be ensured if the mobile phone operators reduce their Internet prices. Because – Internet through mobile operators are still the easiest way for general people to be connected to the Internet.

Qubee with so called “Sky is the limit” package!!

Qubee could well understand their lacking in business policy making. Their product design was not successful initially. They came up with more flexible packages later on. But still they found that Bangladeshi people are not responding well enough with their packages capped with data transfer limit. They are now offering two new packages withdrawing all previous offers of 256 & 512 kbps. The current packages are as follows:

Source: Qubee website

Source: Qubee website

Initially the packages seemed very lucrative to me compared to many other available options in the market. I became curious and called the qubee hotline to know more about it. I asked the qubee representative what actually they tried to mean by “Fair Usage Policy”. They answered me that If some one’s usage is very high, they are going to warn the user at a certain point. This means with 256/512 kbps speed, if someone downloads continuously qubee is  going to “WARN” you that your usage is violating “FAIR USAGE POLICY”. Then I asked whether they are going to impose any restriction if someone violates the Fair usage policy. They answered me that the packages offer unlimited usage and they are not going to impose any restriction. Then finally I asked them what if someone continues to download violating the fair usage policy and the warning? To be honest they didn’t answer this question of mine directly.

What this means is that they will probably reduce the bandwidth after some time. This is not an old practice in Bangladesh. We have seen GrameenPhone/Citycell offering unlimited internet packages and after few days their throughput (Speed) going down when the number of subscriber went high. This will probably happen to qubee customers also.  These ISPs are there for business. The cost of dedicated 256/512 kbps is way higher than what qubee offers. 512 kbps dedicated bandwidth (through submarine cable) costs 9 thousand taka (1 mbps = 18 thousand taka). Qubee is offering it with 2250 taka.  I’ll leave the rest to your understanding.

Smile (Eastern Link BD) a renowned ISP has been shut off for illegal VOIP operations.

Smile.com.bd a popular isp with thousands of clients were forced to shut their operation off  by BTRC as they were found to be engaged with illegal VOIP operation (call termination). I heard that BTRC in cooperation with RAB raided their office on last thursday and siezed VOIP devices.

Few months back another ISP named Maisha Technologies Bangladesh (mtlbd.net) were forced to shut off for same reason.

I usually use Xnet (xpressbd.net) at my home, but in my office smile’s corporate solution were used. 1 of my friend called me on last thursday and told me that he has been DC from internet & he was using smile. I found myself netless when I came to office on saturday. Rakesh, 1 of my friend who works for a renowned ISP informed me that smile was raided and all their operations were shut off completely. Later I found the manager of my office complaining that none of the many smile supports were available. However 1 of the top official of smile called him later and informed that they were doing alternate arrangements. Today, when i came to the office I found the Internet is back and heard that smile provided some new IPs (static fixed IPs for corporate connection).

When I checked it using traceroute I found that they were using a new ISP named ispros (ispros.com.bd). Smile is now using ISPROS’ bandwidth through their backbone or might have handed over the backbone to ISPROS.

I checked the bandwidth by downloading a big file using IDA and found that the speed now ranges between 25 to 30 Kilobytes per second which earlier was 50 to 60 kilobytes through smile. It is understandable that 25-30 KB is not bad enough in this scarcity, but the incident is an example of pure lack of professionalism in providing services since the VOIP devices were seized right from SMILE’s office. Moreover BTRC should not instantly shutoff an ISP like smile which has thousands of clients including many corporate clients. Many of the organizations that depend heavily on Internet for their operations were in complete outage.

On the other hand smile’s unprofessional attitude (Website down as it was hosted in local server using their own bandwidth and all the support being off as well) has proved that how volatile the Internet facility in Bangladesh is. BTRC should not only take these types of actions only but also monitor and ensure that Internet users are not disturbed by any action of BTRC and ISPs. BTRC should take an alternative arrangement and then go for actions.

I also heard from a reliable source that smile is transfering the ownership (and backbone as well) to another ISP (if not ISPROS).

DIGITAL BANGLADESH !!! (not sure what it means)… if we really dream anything like that, BTRC & and all the ISPs should show more proffesionalism in future and ensure flawless connectivity.

Hasibul Islam