Guides for novices
Hanx on Broadband


Broadband is a generic term, which means high speed access to the internet in our context here.  ADSL (DSL, XDSL), cable modem, soon to be available via power lines (yes our 240V power lines), and optical fibre lines are all broadband.

Singnet & Pacnet offer broadband, specifically ADSL, services on 256Kbps or 512Kbps speeds.

SCV offers cable modem service on shared 1.2Mbps bandwidth.

Singnet offers Magix, available with its broadband ADSL service on 512Kbps speed.

ADSL & cable modem are internet access methods which connect you to the internet.  Everyone of us (the older ones) knows our 56Kbps (max ~48Kbps) dialup analog connection.

Magix is content services on the internet, which include movie on demand (which is why only 512Kbps version is offered), portals, etc. and hence requires membership login to access them.

You don't have to subscribe to Magix contents if you only need broadband access to the rest of internet. Just simple broadband, and hence the cheaper price.

Magix service used to be available on ATM, which was a PC only feature. Later ethernet version using ADSL modem was available and us Mac users began to rejoice.

Even though ADSL modems are used by Singnet for both Magix & broadband, their performance do have perceivable difference with Magix having an edge. I believe Singnet purposely tweak its switches for guaranteed bandwidth for their big files (movies) performances.  The ADSL modems used by both were
different but seem to be the same type now although I haven't tried swapping the ADSL modems so I don't know if they are exactly the same type.


Now about these services and our beloved Macs.

First, Macs works with ethernet version of the modems best.  Macs don't work (need) with any of the ISP supplied startup programs (so far).

Macs work with SCV cable modem (ethernet version) without additional modem driver or access programs. Both OS 9 & X have built-in support to use the cable modem.  Macs using SCV is the simplest way to get broadband into the world of internet right now.

Macs also work with Singnet & Pacnet's ADSL modem, albeit not so straight forwardly.

First the modems.  For ethernet (RJ45) ADSL modem, you'll require less software.  If you run OS X, you DO NOT require additional software/driver. For OS 9, you'll need 3rd party software to connect to ISP for
authentication.

If you use a router, some routers like Linksys have built-in support to do the connection and login for you so your OS doesn't matter here.

For USB ADSL modems, Macs do need drivers for them.  Some USB ADSL modems (I know of 2 right now) do have Mac OS 9 drivers so you can use them after installing the drivers.  As far as I know, all free USB modems offered by Singnet & Pacnet do not have Mac drivers.  Still, you'll need a 3rd party software to access & authenticate via the ADSL modem.

I don't know of any Mac OS X USB ADSL modem driver available.

Despite Singnet's claim that its broadband services do not support the Mac platform, they do work.  The general idea is not to ask them about Macs, it's just another case of the Best-Denki-Stupid-Salesman experience.

Ask around, this list for sure, for all information you need, weigh your options - costs, speed requirements, etc - and go there and sign up for the broadband service you want.

Both Singnet & Pacnet offer a modem USB-to-ethernet trade-up program in which you pay extra (S$98 for Singnet) for the ethernet ADSL modem.  DON'T tell them you have a Mac or you'll get that Best-Den-blah-blah experience again.  Just tell them either you have an old PC with no USB ports or you have used up all your available USB ports and you HATE to have a USB hub lying around your table.

If you have a router, DON'T tell them that too.  ALL ISP (Singnet, Pacnet & SCV) made you sign contracts that specifically forbidden you to connect your modem to a sharing device (hub, switch, router) and meant for 1 user/computer only.  This is to prevent users setting up home (or office) LANs to share the single connection.  This is also why they only offer USB ADSL modem free to subscribers as most routers available now only have ethernet port for modem connection.  (although I recently came across one router with USB/ethernet ports).

If you are not offered a modem trade-up program, do you own.  Either sell the free USB modem or bring it to Sim Lim Sq and ask the shops there if they'll do the same.  You may have to pay more but hey, you got it for free and any saving is good saving.  Got a friend to do it this way.

A good way too, is to go to Sim Lim Sq (again) and look for shops that act as resellers for Singnet or Pacnet broadband services and haggle out a package for yourself.

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