The ins and outs of our internet connection

Many would struggle to remember what life was like without the internet. It’s the technological lifeline which connects us to what matters most to us. It’s hard to imagine what the aviation, transportation, financial, gaming, health and other sectors – as well as remote learning and working – would be like without the internet, says Mandy Calleja, head of corporate communications, GO plc.

We reflected a little on this in our last two articles where we spoke about the internet and the importance of connectivity. 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?

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 we are always technology ready but, more importantly, 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 and today, a broadband connection is no longer a luxury.

Behind this technology lies complex technological and infrastructural planning, a wide variety of skills and a huge financial investment. 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 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 offers unlimited possibilities.

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 Wi-Fi connection is imperative.

However, we have all experienced occasional interruption. 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 is 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.

• The position of the Wi-Fi router: positioning the router 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 Wi-Fi coverage and improve your overall internet experience. For even better results, mount your Wi-Fi router high on the wall, or even the ceiling.

• Concrete or brick walls are Wi-Fi enemies: The thickness of Maltese walls and the way our houses are constructed can impact the Wi-Fi signal because they absorb a significant amount of the Wi-Fi signal. Gypsum walls absorb far less.

• Microwaves: Microwaves can impact a Wi-Fi signal, as can other devices that work on frequencies. Microwaves operate around the same frequency as wireless routers. Even the slightest radiation that escapes a microwave can disrupt the Wi-Fi signal.

• Neighbouring devices: interference can also occur from neighbouring connections.

This is why GO has also developed technology to counter these ‘barriers’ to ensure you get to enjoy the best internet experience, from every corner of your home.

GO SmartHub

Our engineers have developed SmartHub – an innovative modem that combines the power of TrueFibre, with our mobile network to ensure our customers’ TrueFibre connection never fails. In the event of a disruption in the broadband network, the modem automatically and seamlessly switches to mobile internet -without you even knowing. This functionality is particularly important for those who depend on an uninterrupted broadband connection. It is also useful to those who need a plug-and-go internet service as the device can be easily transported from one location to another.

GO Smart Wi-Fi

As we move closer to the idea of a ‘smart home’ and all our devices are connected to Wi-Fi, having an excellent Wi-Fi experience is as important as having a physical connection that delivers the best technology available. The idea behind GO Smart Wi-Fi mesh is that it ‘blankets’ the entire household with multiple nodes (also known as pods, or extenders!) 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 Wi-Fi signal remotely and proactively address any issues that may be encountered.

And contrary to a router and range extender combination that would necessitate a manual switch between the networks as you move from one room (or zone) to the other, with GO Wi-Fi mesh, you only have one network with one name and password, allowing you to move about without the need to manually switch from one network to the other.

Wi-Fi solutions for business

GO understands that many businesses have a different and evolving set of needs and priorities when compared to a typical household. Be it a small shop or a chain of retail outlets, connectivity is paramount, whether for stock management or for making and receiving payments. This dependency will continue increasing with cloud connectivity becoming a major component of business network architecture.

We are leveraging our extensive fibre network to provide reliable, efficient and secure connectivity solutions, locally and internationally, within and between premises, as well as to the web. If we take Wi-Fi within a business environment as an example, it will typically need to support many more connected devices, but also be able to segregate Wi-Fi used for the operation of the business from the Wi-Fi traffic used by guests.

Businesses such as restaurants, cafes and hotels which provide Wi-Fi 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 Wi-Fi service for their teams to be able to work. This can be achieved only through the deployment of efficient, tailored Wi-Fi setups; solutions which we offer our business clients to ensure they can thrive.

Strong Wi-Fi connections have become more of a priority than the enhancement of broadband speeds.

Data we obtained from an independent survey showed us that Wi-Fi connectivity issues are the source of at least 60 per cent of calls made to telecoms call centres.

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

We have recognised that Wi-Fi was an issue, and we left no stone unturned until we found and deployed products and solutions that are designed to address these realities. This is why we shall keep investing 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.

Connect with us on chatbot at www.go.com.mt, via Facebook Messenger, on WhatsApp on 7970 7970 or by calling 80072121.

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