Note: this article refers to Malaysia but can be used for any ISP in any country.
Rightio. Malaysia. Truly Asia:
Country that brings together cultures from all around the world.
Country that is rising in development and other fancy shmatts.
Country that leeches all its internet from Singapore’s undersea cables.
TM.net, TMNET, TMnet, Tm.net, tmnet or however the hell they spell it is the major ISP in Malaysia. It has a famous reputation … for being slow. I think some people have switched over to this new thing called “Celcom Broadband” but that’s still picking up pace – and not everybody is comfortable with Wifi yet in this country. The other alternative is “Jaring” – I hear they’re now offering broadband services, but I haven’t heard much about it. Anyways, back to TMnet. Slow, you say? Yes. By this I mean download speeds of 3-4kbps. By this I mean packet loss. By this I mean random disconnects. By this I mean a dumbass on the other end of the support line (Nah, some are decent). This has been generally accepted as the norm here – but don’t lose hope! There is nothing but salvation at hand.
So, my fellow Malaysian, I offer you some tests to check whether or not it’s your router that’s screwing up, your router to TMnet connection that’s screwing up, or of it’s TMnet that’s serving you those long hours of slow internet connections – if any at all.
Luckily when the internet is playing hide and seek, the one service I can still easily access is IRC chat. IRC chat is one of those things I believe a lot of people are missing out on. At the same time, I realise it weeds out a lot of the idiots on the Internet. Anyway – one day my Internet learned this awesome new trick called “play dead” … so I asked for some advice on IRC. Here’s what the overall plan was to debug the problem:
- Ping your router to check if the problem is the connection from your computer to your router.
- Do a traceroute to find out the IP of your ISP (TMnet).
- Ping your ISP (TMnet) to see if the connection problem is from your router to TMnet.
If you notice the problem at step 1), perhaps it’s a cable issue or get a new router. If it’s a step 3), you know it’s to do with however the cables are set up in your neighborhood. If you don’t notice a problem in those three steps, you know it’s your ISP that’s causing all the trouble.
So, how do I check?
If you are on Windows, the first thing you want to do is open up your command prompt. This can be done by going to Start -> Run, and typing in ‘cmd’ (no quotes) then pressing enter. Once done, start by doing a simple ping to see what’s going on. Type ‘ping google.com’ and leave it to run for a while. Once it’s gone on for a fair bit (30 seconds should be enough) stop it and check the packet loss and number of milliseconds it takes for each packet. If you see packet loss or if it takes a long time (over here, 300ms is average), you have problems.
Right, let’s start debugging it. Let’s first find your router IP. Type ‘ipconfig’ and look for your gateway IP. This probably looks something like 192.168.1.1. So, like before, ping it by typing ‘ping 192.168.1.1’ – obviously if your IP is different, change it. Leave it for a while, then check the results.
If you are experiencing packet loss here, you’d probably want to check your cables and router hardware. If not, move on.
Right, time for the traceroute. Type ‘tracert google.com’ and let it run. When it’s done, look through the results. The first IP should be your gateway IP (eg: 192.168.1.1). Look at the next IP that shows in the output. Ping that ip with ‘ping xxx.xxx.xxx.xxx’ – obviously replacing the IP with what it shows. Let it run, and check the results.
If you are experiencing packet loss here. Sucks to be you. Call the TMnet guy to try and sort things out.
If you didn’t experience any packet losses in those stages, and it all worked fine – welcome to the club. Let us all moan asynchronously (because we have no ability to coordinate – obviously) and suffer as one as this means it’s just your ISP causing the issue. Feel free to give them a phone call and shout at them for a while. It won’t really help (they probably won’t understand anyway – “Packet? Eh? You mean nasi lemak packet? We TMnet. We no sell nasi lemak”) but it’ll make you feel better.
Note: the style in which this article was written may not truthfully describe the situation of TMNet nor internet in Malaysia. Narration and description has been written in the attempt to arouse humour – with the author, Dion Moult, not liable to any effects due to the interpretation of the above text. Dion Moult will comply to any requests to remove or modify the above post given proper authorative position.