GO p l c : The Ins and Outs of our Internet connection

What lies behind our connectivity…

The Internet is so deeply engrained in our everyday life, that many of us would struggle to remember what life was like without it. It is profoundly burrowed in our social and economic fabric – most sectors and industries completely depend on it, whether directly or indirectly. It’s the technological lifeline which connects us to what matters most to us. People are online as soon as they wake up in the morning, catching up with latest news, their email, or checking in with their loved ones. Our education system is completely transformed with immediate access to endless resources, and remote learning was only possible because of the Internet. It’s hard to imagine what the aviation, transportation, financial, gaming, health and so many other sectors would be like today, without the Internet.

We reflected a little on this in our last two articles where we spoke about the Internet and the importance of connectivity – connectivity between people, between machines, and between the two. We touched upon how the Internet is the powerhouse behind emerging industries and how this power comes with its own security and safety risks and what we can do to mitigate these. The question is, how often have we thought about what lies behind the Internet? What makes up such a critical component in our everyday life? This is what I would like to focus on in this article. I shall be talking a little about fibre technology, the difference between an internet connection and WiFi experience, what contributes to this different experience, and most importantly, what solutions are out there to ensure that no one is left behind in a world dominated by digital technologies.

Our purpose as a company is to drive a digital Malta where no one is left behind, which means continuous investment in Malta’s digital infrastructure to ensure that we are always ‘technology ready’ but, more importantly, to ensure that citizens and businesses always enjoy the best that technology has to offer.

In the space of a few years, we have progressed from dial up speeds, to ultrafast broadband connections that are powering the digital economy and emerging industries. The growing demand for high speeds has rendered ultrafast broadband a commodity in an ever-more connected society. Today, a broadband connection is no longer a luxury available to the elite few.

Behind this technology lies complex technological and infrastructural planning, not to mention a wide variety of skills and a huge financial investment that runs into millions of Euros. Since 1975, GO has kept thousands of homes and businesses connected to the rest of the world.

From day one, it has embarked on an ambitious investment plan that makes it the biggest investor in Malta’s digital highway. Its past is characterised by a copper network. Its present and future is TrueFibre.

Fibre is the ultimate in broadband technology and takes connectivity to a whole new level. It is the fastest and most reliable way of accessing the Internet. It can power your telephone, TV, and Internet modem, allowing you to have multiple users simultaneously connected, without compromising the experience. The beauty behind TrueFibre is that it is completely future proof, and the possibilities it offers are unlimited.

Fibre is about speed and reliability. Some people compare the broadband speeds on fibre technology to the speed of light. This is not surprising considering that fibre optic cables carry information using entirely light-based technology. A fibre connection is made up of a glass strand that is thinner than a human hair. This synthetic material has the capacity to carry over 25,000 calls at any time! You can download images or videos, share photos in record time, watch video on demand and in high definition, play online games – all uninterrupted. Today, most of us experience the Internet on wireless devices, so a strong and reliable WiFi connection is imperative.

However, we have all experienced interruption from time-to-time, and the increased frustration that comes with it. So why do some of us occasionally experience an interrupted service with such cutting-edge technology? Why does the internet speed fluctuate between what is recorded on the network to what one experiences at home? Why does the experience differ from one household to another? Firstly, it’s important to understand that the speed entering a household from a wired connection can differ from the speed experienced on a wireless connection.

Here are a few reasons why this could be happening.

  1. The position of the WiFi router: positioning the router somewhere towards the centre of your house, as opposed to the corner of the room, which tends to be the ‘go-to’ spot, will significantly increase your WiFi coverage and improve your overall internet experience. For even better results, mount your WiFi router high on the wall, or even the ceiling.
  2. Concrete or brick walls are WiFi enemies: that’s right! The depth of Maltese walls and the way our houses are constructed can impact the WiFi signal because they absorb a significant amount of the WiFi signal. Gypsum walls, on the other hand, absorb far less.
  3. Microwaves: Believe it or not, microwaves can impact a WiFi signal, as can any other device that works on frequencies. Microwaves operate around the same frequency as wireless routers. Even the slightest radiation that escapes a microwave can disrupt the WiFi signal.
  4. Neighbouring devices: interference can also occur from neighbouring connections.

The good news is that we do have a solution, to make sure that you get to enjoy the best internet experience, from every corner of your home. Routers, nodes, pods, extenders? What’s the difference? What do I need? If you have ever asked this question, then read on.

GO Smart Hub

GO’s investment goes beyond the infrastructure. We continuously strive for innovation, in technology, products and services. In fact, our engineers have worked closely with an international vendor to develop the Smart Hub – an innovative modem that combines the power of TrueFibre, with our mobile network to ensure that our customers’ TrueFibre connection never fails. Essentially, what this means is that in the event of a disruption in the broadband network, for whatever reason, the modem automatically and seamlessly switches to mobile internet – you would not even know because you will continue to enjoy an uninterrupted broadband connection.

This functionality is particularly important for those individuals who depend on an uninterrupted broadband connection, for example, those who permanently work from home, or have children following online schooling. It is also useful for those individuals who need a plug and go internet service as the device can be easily transported from one location to another.

GO Smart WiFi

As we move closer to the idea of a ‘smart home’ and all our devices are connected to WiFi, having an excellent WiFi experience is as important as having a physical connection that delivers the best technology available. The idea behind GO Smart WiFi mesh is that it ‘blankets’ the entire household with multiple nodes (also known as pods, or extenders!) that are strategically placed to provide full wireless coverage in every corner of your home. The best part of this solution is that it is cable free and there are different compositions in how one can place these nodes to suit different households. It also comes with a dedicated App, which also allows parental controls and a host of other user-friendly features. On the other hand, by means of a specialised support service, GO can also monitor the health of your WiFi signal remotely and proactively address any issues that may be encountered.

The name “mesh network” itself implies that every component of your WiFi system is working together, and the seamless experience is a perfect example of this.

On the other hand, a router and range extender combination for example, will necessitate a manual switch between the networks as you move from one room (or zone) to the other. With GO WiFi mesh, you only have one network with one name and password, which means that as you move about your home, you’ll never have to manually switch from one network to the other. Simple!

WiFi Solutions for Business

We also understand that many businesses have a different and evolving set of needs and priorities when compared to a typical household. We understand that businesses today, be it a small shop or a chain of retail outlets, depend almost totally on their connectivity, whether it’s for stock management or for making and receiving payments. This dependency will continue to increase in time with cloud connectivity becoming a major component of business network architecture. That is why we are constantly looking to tweak and improve the range of different ways that we can help them get connected. We leverage our extensive fibre network to provide connectivity solutions, locally and internationally, within premises, between premises, as well as to the web. What is more, we are also aware that these need to be reliable, efficient and secure. If we take WiFi within a business environment as an example, it will typically need to support many more connected devices, but also be able to segregate WiFi used for the operation of the business from the WiFi traffic used by guests. Businesses such as restaurants, cafes and hotels which provide WiFi service to their clients, need to ensure they have a setup robust enough to cater for quantity of users, quality of experience for all users and security of the network being made available both to internal users processing confidential business data as well as guest users trusting the business with their data. This also applies to office environments, where companies need to provide stable and secure WiFi service for their teams to be able to work. This can be achieved only through the deployment of efficient, tailored WiFi setups; solutions which we offer our business clients to ensure they can thrive.

Wi-Fi connectivity issues are the source of at least 60% of calls made to telecoms call centres. This is supported by an independent survey which shows that unless broadband speeds are experienced seamlessly across the home or business, then the customer experience falls short of what the connection is actually capable of. In other words, a strong Wi-Fi connection has become more of a priority than further enhancing broadband speeds.

GO has invested heavily in its TrueFibre network over the years and, to date, remains the only operator that offers TrueFibre up to one’s living room. However, due to several factors explained above, customers may not experience the full capability of its state-of-the art networks as the speeds reaching their homes, are not necessarily the speeds experienced on their respective devices.

We have invested a great amount of time, energy and resources to ensure that we stay connected to our customers, understand their needs and their pain points in order to address these as effectively as possible. We recognised that WiFi was an issue and left no stone unturned until we found and deployed products and solutions that are designed well enough to address these realities.

Connect with us on chatbot at www.go.com.mt, via Facebook Messenger, on WhatsApp on +35679707970 or by calling 80072121.

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