Thursday, February 21, 2013

[In Review] Wateen Broadband

Pakistan is going through an Internet boom and there are a lot of internet service providers [ISPs] available for buyers. However, I have seen a lack of reviews for these ISPs which would have helped people weigh-in the pros and cons of each connection before actually acquiring it. I have seen people blindly delve into endeavors they tend to regret later on so I have taken an initiative in providing Pakistan's Internet community with some unbiased ISP reviews - fromm the viewpoint of a customer.

Wateen has been a major player in Pakistan's broadband scene for quite some time now. It has the distinguished achievement of rolling out the first commercial WiMAX network in the world and this has been a cornerstone of its success. My experience with Wateen is a fairly good one since I acquired their 1 Mbps Unlimited connection in October 2010.

Installation was done pretty quickly. My external Motorola CPE and the wiring were affixed on the same day that I placed the order. Internet services started later that evening.

Quality Metrics:

The speed of the connection remains close to the one advertised. I normally get around 130 kbps+ for direct download and 28 kbps for upload. Top speeds in torrents remain the same however recently there have been instances where I feel my P2P traffic is being throttled. Torrents with seed/peer ratio of even greater than 1.0 tend to hover between the 20-30 kbps range during download. This speed even goes down to 1 kbps on some occasions. Upload speeds are unaffected. The connection regains its lost torrenting touch after 1 am in the night and continues like that till 12 pm in the afternoon. On the other hand, the ping remains pretty good at between 85-120 ms within the country. (There was no good PingTest server close to my location.)

Recently, Wateen has resorted to throttling torrent speeds.

During my stint with Wateen I haven't experienced any drastic downtimes. Once or twice only I guess. Although, some times you would have to bear with a barrage of DNS lookup failed errors.

Device quality:
I have an external Motorola CPE which is fairly sturdy and weather-resistant. However, these have been discontinued and Wateen now offers the trendy looking Bolt devices. I haven't tried these yet.
One of the new Wateen devices. These devices are USB powered and Wi-Fi capable.
Customer service:
Their internet service was of a very good standard so I didn't have many encounters with their customer service reps before I contacted them a couple of times for the purpose of this review via email. All my queries were answered within a 24 hour period and comprehensively as well. Wateen's selfcare portal is inclusive and you will find everything regarding the management of your connection right here.
The well-rounded self-care portal of Wateen.

Wateen's unlimited packages are not unlimited in the true sense of the word. One would expect an implementation of a fair usage limit of around a couple of hundred gigabytes but Wateen are very thrifty in this matter and their fair usage limit is set to 40 GB. This is very low when it comes to today's multimedia heavy 'net usage.

The Bottom Line:
Wateen comes highly recommended from my side based on experience. There standard of services is fairly satisfactory although their torrent throttling and transfer caps won't satiate the avid downloader. 4/5 stars.

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