“We did not build a Wi-Fi hotspot with a shed. We put up waiting sheds in bus stops with an add-on Internet connection.” – that was the premise behind Manila’s new project in improving public transportation. While most people do liked the idea, a few people thought otherwise. I tried it myself and found my expectations exceeded.
Just like most days, I found myself in the University of Santo Tomas, and along España Boulevard lies one of the said bus stops. With the surrounding area being extremely spacious and open, I estimated the WiFi’s signal strength to be as far as 120ft before disconnecting.
Now that would sound extremely strong for public WiFi, but then again, keep in mind that there were no hindrances to the signal. The WiFi signal dropped a few bars once I entered a nearby building in UST. Nevertheless, I’m sure students inside UST or people living inside the buildings across the street would find this very convenient.
Note that their portal is looking for advertisers, just like how the waiting sheds are going to host ads and not just “epal” posters.
Once you connect to the WiFi, you’ll be asked to sign-in into the network. You will be greeted by a welcome page then a registration page. You’ll be asked for your full name, age, mobile number & email-address. Right there and then, you will be handed out your username and password on the page itself. If that’s not enough, you’ll be receiving a text as well.
I used the same username and password two days after; one username = one device.
There’s a specific time limit for use, but anyway you can register all over again.
The Speed & Experience
We took a speed test on the connection and we managed to get 1.62mbps down and .34mbps up.
Looking around, we noticed that there was no one on the waiting shed to be found using their mobile devices. However, as I’ve said, I’m sure students & other people inside buildings nearby can access that too, and in UST alone, there were so many students sitting within 120ft away in open space.
Two days after, I tried it again. This time however, I found the internet to be quite unstable. Speedtest barely registered the upload rates, connection timed out in the Play Store a lot of times, ping was inconsistent, and I can’t send my tweet.
On another note, we were able to access Facebook, Twitter, Google & all of the stuff you’d expect - even porn.
So basically that leaves us with somewhere. Here is a quick recap and here are the things we should take note of:
- The range is really good (approx. 120ft) – good enough to keep you entertained when it’s traffic… or even when you just live nearby.
- Connecting is easy, but if you intend on being a parasite, you’ll need to get used to registering again and again.
- Internet is fast enough (around 1.5mbps down & .3 up), but never to upload huge amounts of data – even tweets with photos. If bad luck catches you, expect slower speeds.
- The ISP is Bayan Telecommunications, Inc.
For safety, I guess that depends on you now & the location. Your safety varies whether you’re freeloading in a building, hanging out in a school campus, sitting down stuck in traffic near the bus stop or just staying on the waiting shed itself with your MacBook Pro out and your Beats on.
As much as I’d like our government to prioritize other things, I still think this is a job well done & implemented. At least now, to those who need internet, emergency or not, we now know that it is more accessible than ever – reliable too.