We are starting a section on the quality of service, whether it pertains to individual Internet Service Providers (ISPs), the Saudi Telecom Company (STC) or King Abdul Aziz City for Science and Technology (KACST). Each one of these is responsible for certain parts of the internet infrastructure in the kingdom, as highlighted in our overview on the Technical Setup of the Internet in Saudi Arabia.
Comparative ISP Line Utilization
The following utility, provided by the Internet Service Unit, displays a comparative line usage of the international link, for allISPs in the kingdom. The output is updated every 5 minutes. This is very useful todetermine how over-subscribed your ISP is, and whether the bad performance you aregetting is related to this load. The display has colored cues. Very useful!
Evaluation based on Users' Experience
A new way of evaluating the ISPs has started. The utility is from the Saudi Masters web site, and is an end-user ISP Evaluation Form.
If you have something to say about your ISP, then fill the form on, so others can benefit from your experience. Please be fair and objective.
The most common problems that dialup users face are:
- "Your call cannot go thru" / No Answer / Busy
This is the most dreaded problem, and indicates that the local exchange is unable to establish more connections to the "360-" internet numbers assigned by STC. The cause is that more people are using the internet than there is capacity to handle it. This is an STC problem, and the ISPs have no control over it. Do not blame the ISP for that.
This means that the PPP/PAP (Point to Point Protocol / Password Authentication Protocol) session between you and the modem has dropped. In some cases it may be an STC issue, in others it could be an ISP issue. Also, it can be your local phone line itself (or the PBX, if you are using one). It is worse on some days than on others. Sometimes it is so bad, that you cannot stay connected for more than 3 minutes or so!
- Invalid User name and Password
This could be for various reasons. Maybe you typed the wrong user name or password? Maybe you are "sharing" the account with someone else, and he/she is logged on? Maybe your account expired without renewal. In almost all cases, this is an ISP issue, and not an STC one.
- Proxy Errors
This could be either an ISP error or KACST error. Some ISPs have more flaky proxies than others.
- Connection successful but cannot browse at all
- Connection is very slow
News items on service problems
- An article dated 15 November 1999 entitled Saudi Telecom Criticized for Poor Internet Services in DITNet.
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