Singtel Broadband Promotion – To Upgrade or Not?

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

Singtel sent an email to ask how is the performance of my Wi-Fi and the Broadband connection. My impression from the email is that they want to know how they can attract more people to their services or what they think is wrong with WhizComms, my current provider. (https://whizcomms.com.sg/).

TLDR version: Singtel Broadband Promotion Plans gave a lot of things that are not worthwhile for me to switch over. Worse, they did not provide an option for a no-frills plan and that force people to look elsewhere. If Wi-Fi performance is important then a PROPER setting up the Mesh devices to maximise the data transmission speed should be at the top of the list. That said, buying new Wi-Fi6 routers won’t solve your issues at all. 

A service to help homeowners set up the network devices PROPERLY give more value to customers and provide a no-frills plan to your current customers to make it cheaper for them to stay.

Getting a new, faster internet connection or the new Wi-Fi 6 Router will not improve your network performance. Look instead to re-configure or re-locate your Mesh routers and connect your desktop and SmartTV directly to the Router to get the fastest speed possible for smoother Netflix video streaming. You may even need to include the use of Power over Ethernet solutions to improve network access at places not touched by the wireless Access Point radio signal.

Here are my thoughts after going through their survey.

1. Network devices DO NOT need to be upgraded every time you renew your contract. Network devices are now good enough to last 2 rounds of contract renewals (i.e. 4 years or more). 

I got my WiFi 5 Deco M5 mesh way back in 2017 and I am still using them and renewed my WhizComm contract for the 3rd time. So Singtel is trying to earn a bit more money with an OEM Router/WiFi Access Point by charging around $10 for a single unit or a two-unit Askey Mesh at $18 (or $432 over 2 years) for something you don’t really need. 

Just for a quick comparison, I can get a 3 unit Wi-Fi 6 TP-Link Deco X60 for $32 more at $464 from a local IT shop online. Save the money if you do not need new Wi-Fi devices. If your network is slow, you have to reconfigure the network to improve wireless signal reach. Do go to the bottom of the article for more information.

And following my tests with Wi-Fi 6 devices, it has the fastest speed when the devices are next to the Access Point BUT they cannot penetrate walls and doors efficiently because they are using very higher frequencies to transmit data. Yes when you have multiple devices the Wi-Fi 6 routers and access points made data transmission more efficient but if you cannot reach those access points then it doesn’t matter how fast the data transmission is.

You need more than 500MB of data for Mobile Broadband these days. Photo by PhotoMIX Company on Pexels.com

2. Mobile Broadband Line of 500MB is not enough. This is useful when you have a mobile device in need of a mobile network like a SIM-enable tablet or laptop. Then again what can 500MB do in a market full of cheap data connections with no contract like Singtel’s own GOMO 50Gb for $20, Circles Life and GridMobile $18 for 20GB plans? 

If you are using this SIM for a laptop the data usage will be much higher than the 500MB and will resort to these no-contract data plans anyway. 

How many times have you used the telephone over your smartphone? Photo by NEOSiAM 2021 on Pexels.com

3. Home Line is so yesterday. How many of us still use a home line when most of us are communicating with our phones’ WhatsApp? True, there will be people who would feel more comfortable with a home line but I suggest cutting it if you can count with your fingers the number of times you call the home line in a year.

4. 12-Month complimentary Singtel Home Protect is not that useful. This is something that only homeowners will appreciate but it did not entice me at all since I already have home protection scheme when I sign up for CPF loans. Some may want Home Protection Insurance policies but it is best to find a customised solution according to your financial needs with a proper Insurance company. Having more policies don’t help too as you cannot claim from multiple policies for more benefits except for health insurance policies.

It is good to have a home insurance policy if you are a home owner but get it directly from your favourite insurance company that matches your financial situation. Photo by Kindel Media on Pexels.com

As you can see, even though Singtel gave you so many things in the package, most of them are not really ‘influential’ in the scheme of things and you should just use Singtel’s “no-frills” plans. Then again, finding it on Singtel website is close to finding a needle in a haystack.

The Crux of the Matter is how good an Internet access service is depended on how good the links between the ONR (the optical Network Router) and your devices are and not just between the ONR and the backend network.

If your Wi-Fi devices are passing data at just 200Mbps speed, it does not matter if your service provider gives you 2Gbps Internet speed because the bottleneck is at your Wi-Fi network system. So do not be duped to think about buying a faster 2Gbps access or buying a new WiFi6 router because the issue will still be the inability of the router to reach parts of your home.

Granted not everyone is well versed on how to place the routers, extenders, wireless access points or to make use of the MESH or Power Over Ethernet devices to maximise the reach of the Wi-Fi signal and get a more consistent data transfer rate for all your devices. But the onus is to at least learn so you don’t pay for something that does not work.

Knowing how to set up a network may take some work but helps you to save a lot of money and bring joy when devices are speedy Photo by Field Engineer on Pexels.com

So here’s my 3-step plan to help improve your network at home for the newbies.

  1. Connect your desktop with a Cat 6 UTP cable (commonly known as network cable) to the ONR. Cat 6 cables are rated to transmit data at 1gbps. To be future-proofed buy a Cat 7 cable instead. This will also free your Wi-Fi network to other devices too. Will it look ugly? Sure but you will have a better Internet experience. That said, connect your TV directly to the ONR too for better video streaming with Netflix, Amazon and Disney+.
  2. Re-jigged your Mesh network to maximise reach. You can follow instructions from Techgoondu.com
  3. If you face difficulties getting Internet access in certain parts of your home despite your best efforts in step 2, then using Power over Ethernet (PoE) network devices is the easiest way to get coverage. I have used TP-Link’s TL-PA9020P Kit to link my master bedroom to the ONR to have a faster wireless connection.

A lot of times customers keep thinking buying faster Internet access to their home will miraculously mean their Wi-Fi access will also be faster is not accurate. To measure the performance of the Internet Service Provider based on your Wi-Fi access speed is really unfair for most cases. You will realise that 1gbps is more than enough for most cases even for gaming.

Make sure you can get 80% of the marketed speed from your desktop/laptop with a direct connection to the ONR first using the network cable and then look to improve the Wi-Fi network performance. 

Just to share, my WhizComm Internet speed using Singtel fibre network is 947Mbps with a direct network cable to Desktop and my Wi-Fi5 access speed Mesh – 190Mbps / PoE – 46Mbps (time: 7.25pm). So you can see, the only device that will enjoy a faster internet speed if I upgrade will only be my desktop.

DISCLAIMER. This post is NOT sponsored by Singtel, TP-Link or WhizComms. All views expressed here are my own private observations and experience and paid for by myself.

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