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Frequently Asked Questions

Q1: You say that for technical/financial reasons the UIA subscription cannot be made optional? I am not convinced. Can you say more?

Q2: You say that service will be comparable to the popular 6 Mbps ADSL scheme that ISPs sell for 599 + VAT = 641 baht/month. How do you provide 6 Mbps to each of 1600 users given a total of 300 Mbps? Are you not capable of doing simple arithmetic?

Q3: Those were a lot of paper calculations in answer to the last question. And, on top of that you say there “might” be congestion. How do I know for sure what I am getting out of the UIA?

Q4: You say that of the 300 Mbps bandwidth to be purchased, 50 Mbps will be reserved for academic and related use, while the rest for UIA. What do you mean by "reserved" for academic and related use?

Q5: Of course, we all hope that the UIA succeeds and changes our lives. But what if it doesn’t? What if it is a flop? Do we get our money back?

Q6: Do I need to sign a contract with the IT Helpdesk for UIA? Do I need to do anything to prepare my computer?

Q7: I just arrived as a new student and am puzzled to learn that my respected seniors who, in fact, will be leaving soon to well-paid jobs do not pay for UIA, while I, who will be living on a shoestring budget at AIT for the next few years, have to. Why?

Q8: I am a student and see that the AIT Student Handbook specifically mentions free internet for students. What’s going on?

Q9: I am a currently enrolled student with a lease agreement starting prior to the UIA start date of May 1, 2011. Now, after May 1, 2011, I want to change my room. So, I will have to sign a new lease agreement. Does this mean I will have to start paying UIA fees?

Q10: I leave with my family and we have several computers at home (and other devices) all connected to Internet, some use WiFi; how can I share the UIA access with the other members of my household?

Q11: UIA is said to provide 24/7 access. Will I be able to connect from from home, through UIA and work from a lab or a classroom at the same time?

Q12: We, wife and husband, are both working/studying at AIT. We share the same home. Will we have one or two accounts to connect to UIA?

Q13:  When this UIA in fully implemented, will we access external websites without logging in to the AITNET? Or we still have to login?


Q1: You say that for technical/financial reasons the UIA subscription cannot be made optional? I am not convinced. Can you say more?

A1: When the IT Committee started negotiating with ISPs the first option we explored, in fact, was introducing optional ADSL service on campus comparable in quality and price to that offered in residences off-campus. A survey of our infrastructure showed, unfortunately, that the quality of existing phone lines in campus would not support high-speed ADSL. Investment was required to revamp the lines which no ISP was willing to make even though we offered them guaranteed coverage of AIT for multiple years. Their concern was that our user base is just too small to generate the revenue to be able to recover the investment in new phone lines.

However, our intra-campus network cabling is of high quality so the solution recommended by all the ISPs was simply to pump in extra bandwidth through these lines. This then led to the proposal for AIT to purchase bulk bandwidth. However, we faced two problems to be competitive: the bulk had to be significantly big and we needed a stable base of subscribers to generate sustainable revenue. Optional subscription would not guarantee either. We were, therefore, driven to the model of mandatory subscription as the only one technically and financially viable. (We remind you once again that, as noted in the section on UIA Rationale, because of its unrestricted nature, UIA must be paid for by users and not the Institute.)

Nevertheless, the IT Committee is the first to admit that making subscriptions mandatory is not ideal and even unfair to some. Unfortunately, we had only the choice of doing either nothing or trying to solve the Internet access problem with a less-than-ideal approach. We decided to choose the latter because we could think of no perfect solution.

Q2: You say that service will be comparable to the popular 6 Mbps ADSL scheme that ISPs sell for 599 + VAT = 641 baht/month. How do you provide 6 Mbps to each of 1600 users given a total of 300 Mbps? Are you not capable of doing simple arithmetic?

A2: ISPs don’t provide each user with a dedicated 6 Mbps line. In fact, typically, they plug 30 to 50 users into one 6 Mbps board – betting that varying access patterns (heavy/light, morning/night, etc.) will mean each one “sees” sufficient bandwidth when on-line.

Assuming an average of 40 users to a board, then the “real” slice of bandwidth available per ADSL user is 6/40 = 0.15 Mbps.

In our case, dividing the 250 Mbps for UIA by 1600 users, we get bandwidth per user of 250/1600 = 0.156 Mbps. In fact, if we divide the whole 300 Mbps, including the 50 Mbps academic part because campus residents will have use of this during their workday as well, then the bandwidth per user is 300/1600 = 0.187 Mbps.

As you see, either way the user experience is expected to be at least as good as the ADSL 6 Mbps deal. However, multiple users with similar usage profiles (e.g., students) might mean congestion. Whether this problem will, in fact, arise is hard to predict. Only observing the UIA traffic after implementation will tell.

Q3: Those were a lot of paper calculations in answer to the last question. And, on top of that you say there “might” be congestion. How do I know for sure what I am getting out of the UIA?

A3: Firstly, with the UIA bandwidth increase you should “feel” the difference immediately sitting at your computer in download rates, particularly for image-heavy pages and videos. If you want hard numbers, you can get those too by running bandwidth speed tests.

We recommend
Speedtest.net. This (free) site allows you to choose servers in different parts of the world to test both upload and download speeds. If you are reading this before the UIA is implemented, we suggest that you record your current upload/download speeds to Bangkok (local), US, Europe and Japan (make sure when you are doing speed tests that you don’t have any other downloads going on). Then compare post-UIA. The numbers won’t lie.

Q4: You say that of the 300 Mbps bandwidth to be purchased, 50 Mbps will be reserved for academic and related use, while the rest for UIA. What do you mean by "reserved" for academic and related use?

A4: It means that when you are accessing the Internet from an academic/administration building your connection will be through the 50 Mbps line; from a residential building it will be through the 250 Mbps line.

In addition, the academic 50 Mbps will be subject to the AUP (AIT Acceptable Use Policy). Filters will be installed for this purpose to exclude non-academic sites and we will monitor to prevent excessive downloads (as defined in the AUP to be more than 1 GB in a 24-hour period by one user).

Note in this connection that filtering is not an exact science and sites that are occasionally of genuine academic interest might end up being excluded at first. Requests to whitelist particular sites may be made to the IT Committee; however, we hope that users will as a first option try to access such sites through the UIA, rather than try to unblock them in the academic part.

Q5: Of course, we all hope that the UIA succeeds and changes our lives. But what if it doesn’t? What if it is a flop? Do we get our money back?

A5: The only way to genuinely assess the UIA is to implement and actually use it for a few months and, unfortunately, this cannot be done for free. We have to sign a contract with an ISP to get going. We are going to do so with CAT for an initial one-year period.

It’s almost impossible that we will not see any improvement in access speed because the bandwidth will indeed increase from 50 Mbps to a total of 300 Mbps. Another point not to lose sight of is the "U A" part of "UIA", in particular, Unrestricted Access! As explained in the Rationale section, Institute-funded bandwidth is subject to the AUP, which would mean blocking non-academic access. In particular, entertainment/leisure/social sites (inlcuding such popular ones as Facebook, Youtube, etc.) and almost all .com sites would be inaccessible. UIA assures users no restriction at all in on-line activity (except, of course, laws of the land). 

In any case, the IT Committee plans to do a user satisfaction survey early 2012 after the UIA has been in place a few months. If the conclusion is negative, then it is a simple matter to scrap the UIA at the end of the 1-year contract period. In this case, since there is zero infrastructure investment, the Institute will not lose anything. However, users will have paid a year’s total of fees which cannot be refunded; it will have to be considered the price of an honest but failed attempt to make progress.

Q6: Do I need to sign a contract with the IT Helpdesk for UIA? Do I need to do anything to prepare my computer?

A6: No and no. The UIA will be automatic and always-on for all residential units (except ST3) after the start date. Access will be through the same network cable that you currently use so no need for any reconfiguration. 

Q7: I just arrived as a new student and am puzzled to learn that my respected seniors who, in fact, will be leaving soon to well-paid jobs do not pay for UIA, while I, who will be living on a shoestring budget at AIT for the next few years, have to. Why?

A7: As pointed out earlier, the UIA is viable only in a mandatory subscription model, subscription being 400 baht/month for students. However, for students who started before the implementation of UIA this expenditure was something they had never budgeted for. For this reason it was only fair that they not be forced to take on an added burden. However, newer students like you were informed before starting at AIT and, therefore, hopefully, budgeted for the extra fee.

You might also ask your seniors how poor Internet access was at AIT before UIA, and if you are indeed lucky to have plentiful access in your room to do as you please from day one.

Q8: I am a student and see that the AIT Student Handbook specifically mentions free internet for students. What’s going on?

A8: Academic access is indeed free – the Institute pays the cost. However, UIA cannot be free as explained in the Rationale section; it has to be paid for by the user.

Q9: I am a currently enrolled student with a lease agreement starting prior to the UIA start date of May 1, 2011. Now, after May 1, 2011, I want to change my room. So, I will have to sign a new lease agreement. Does this mean I will have to start paying UIA fees?

A9: No. All students with a lease agreement starting prior to the UIA start date do not have to pay UIA fees till they graduate, even if they change rooms and sign a new lease  in the interim. Student who when on exchange and interrupted their lease for a period of time will not be charged UIA when they come back to stay at the Institute.

Q10: I leave with my family and we have several computers at home (and other devices), all connected to Internet, some use WiFi; how can I share the UIA access with the other members of my household?

A10: You can install a router, with or without WiFi capability, to share the UIA acces with several computers in your residence. HelpDesk can help on that matter. You will have to use a computer connected to the router to authenticate, then any device will be able to access Internet through UIA.

We have successfully installed the routers TP-Link TL-WR741ND and  D-Link Wireless N150 Home Router. This does not mean that other brand or model would not work. To connect desktop computers, you need a router that offers several (usually 4) LAN ports.

A misconfiguration of a router may cause disruption of traffic for the other users of UIA. You are advised to seek HelpDesk help to configure your new router.
As a rule, you should connect the blue connector to the network connector outlet on the wall and connect the yellow connectors to your computers and other devices.

Q11: UIA is said to provide 24/7 access. Will I be able to connect from from home, through UIA and work from a lab or a classroom at the same time?

A11: At present, AIT authentication allows only one connection at a time, from anywhere on AIT network, either a residential unit or an academic building. A solution will be implemented to allow simultaneous connections:

– one from the academic buildings, it's legitimate for any AIT stakeholder;
– one from the residential unit, it's legitimate for UIA paying member.

Q12: We, wife and husband, are both working/studying at AIT. We share the same home. Will we have one or two accounts to connect to UIA?

A12: UIA is charged once per residential unit, whatever the number of AIT persons staying there. So there is only one account per home. But you can share this account with other members of your family, please see Q10.

Q13:  When this UIA in fully implemented, will we access external websites without logging in to the AITNET? Or we still have to login?

A13: Thai law requests that you authenticate yourself before you can access to Internet; you will have to log-in every time. That will be with a separate account, dedicated to UIA access, please see Q11.