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Wednesday, May 19, 2010

BSNL 3G: Settings and Speed Check

3G is the current buzz word all around India. BSNL introduced it first and rest are following soon. Auctions are almost done and most of the major providers like Airtel, Vodafone etc should be launching it by 3Q-4Q 2010.

I bought the 3G SIM from BSNL, but since number portability is not yet implemented and also because BSNL is notorious for lousy network and call quality, I am going to stick with Airtel as my primary phone. I will keep 3G as my backup internet connection and also to try out the 3G features on my new Samsung Galaxy Spica (GT-I5700).  Here is how to turn on 3G and use the BSNL 3G network

1) Make sure your phone is set to work on 3G network:
In some phones you have to select "WCDMA" (UMTS) in network mode settings. In Spica, 3G is turned on automatically as long as you haven't disabled it specifically. To disable 3G:  Settings -> Wireless & networks -> Mobile Networks -> Use only 2G networks (saves battery)

You should see "3G" written somewhere on your phone screen if it is connected to 3G network.

2) Create a new connection profile:
Now depending upon the phone, goto Connection settings, there create new connection profile and you are only required to specify APN and you are done. APN stands for "ACCESS POINT NAME" .  In Spica, Settings -> Wireless & networks -> Mobile Networks ->Access Point Names -> New APN

You are required to specify following APN for BSNL 3G settings:
APN = bsnlnet (that's it, leave rest everything as it is)

Most of the phones should connect to 3G when you save and exist, else try restarting the phone.

I compared the 3G speed (Bangalore) vs 1mbps Airtel broadband via WiFi
As you can see above, the max I got for download is 381 kbps and upload of 359 kbps. Not as expected, but still a huge leap over the gprs/edge (~40 kbps).

It is not yet time to disconnect your broadband, but you can definitely consider 3G as your backup connection and for emergency connectivity while travelling!

More info:

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