Zit Seng's Blog

A Singaporean's technology and lifestyle blog

Dark Secrets Of M1 Fixed Broadband

I’ve found a few misfeatures of M1 Fixed Broadband that are significant enough to be show stoppers for me. Although these are not really secrets or purposely hidden misfeatures, they are not obviously stated up-front. I believe the more “techie” broadband users would not tolerate such misfeatures too, so I thought I will share about them before anyone commits themselves to a subscription contract.

My MaxOnline contract has expired (for some time actually) and I’ve been evaluation re-contract options. One alternative I was exploring was to switch to M1’s new fixed broadband service. It is basically a no-frills package that gets you about the lowest $/MB bandwidth. For users with specific broadband requirements, jumping to a new provider always raises the important questions of whether the new service will work for them?

Since the old days of SingNet ADSL which required users to install a program on their PCs to “dial-up” their broadband connection, I’ve been rather cautious about exactly how a broadband service will work. It will be a show stopper for me if a software needs to be installed to dial-up a broadband connection, and the said software only installs on Windows. What if I use Linux, or Mac OS X? What if I want to plug in a wireless router?

Okay, back to the problem with M1 Fixed Broadband. I’ve asked around, and waited for guinea pigs to sign-up. There are two show stoppers for me.

The first is that your broadband access requires login through a captive web-based login portal before you’re able to get normal Internet access. This is similar to how Wireless@SG works, as do many other wireless and broadband networks intended for mobile ad-hoc internet connections. But hey, this is fixed broadband! There is nothing mobile or ad-hoc about it. Your cable modem is fixed. In fact, M1 still requires you to register the HFC MAC address of your cable modem to activate the broadband service.

If you’re thinking it might not be too bad if all you had to do is to login once and be online forever, you’re mistaken. Login sessions last 24 hours. So you have to re-login every 24 hours.

The web-based logins make it inconvenient to run “servers”. Now, I’m not saying I want to run a public Internet website from my home. But I do want my home PC to be accessible, so that I can grab documents, photos, and various other files from anywhere else. I keep my data at home, and I want my data to be accessible from anywhere I go. There are many other reasons why people would want to do something similar too: Check on webcam at home, stream music from home, etc.

Yes, of course, we could write clumsy scripts to do auto re-login. But I think M1 should wake up and realize the stupidity of what they’re doing.

The second issue is of graver concern. It seems M1 interferes with your web traffic. From what I am told, M1 tries to do some magic to reduce the quality of images on webpages that are delivered to you, so that pages load faster and bandwidth is saved. At the same time, they insert a whole bunch of messy javascript into the HTML web content, so that when you mouse over the images, the original image content is downloaded.

As a matter of principle, I find this totally unacceptable. Sometimes there are legitimate reasons to modify content. For example, web proxy servers routinely insert a header line in the HTTP response to tell you of their presence. But it is a whole lot different to actively interfere with the actual application data, to transform it, to mutilate it, and to inject data that did not exist in the first place.

This could be a “value added feature” on a very limited bandwidth network for a mobile device with limited processing capability. But excuse me, we are talking about broadband cable service with speeds up to 100Mbps, with computers having plenty of memory and processor power.

Incidentally, I have heard many various complaints about various applications being blocked. For example, MSN Messenger doesn’t seem to work. I’m not sure if these are just temporary glitches or intentional attempts by M1 to disable other application traffic on their network. You can certainly read a lot more complaints about M1 Fixed Broadband by Googling around.

It seems M1 Fixed Broadband is like taking several steps back in the technology evolution.

14 thoughts on “Dark Secrets Of M1 Fixed Broadband

  1. You are lucky then. If you need speed, you can consider Starhub’s 12mbps plan Plus (comes with 1mbps wireless braodband)
    . It is priced at $81 per mth , but they are giving you a free OSIM Massage Chair retailing for S$1500.

    IF you do a simple calculation, you would be paying $20+ per mth if you can sell off the massage chair.

  2. I think M1 fixed broadband is based on Starhub’s infrastructure. Maybe Starhub is the culprit purposely doing all these things? 😛

  3. You can try m1 broadband 4mbps .. tested at westmall on SAT 3pm. consistently getting download speed from AMD.Com at 400KB/s. Upload is supposed to be 1mbps but it only attained 400kbps using speedtest.net

  4. I think mobile broadband is the way in the future. No need for fixed. Just like fixed phone lines nowadays are being replaced by mobile phones even in the homes.

  5. My starhub maxonline contract has expired for a few months now and i was planning to take on a new one but i don’t know which service provider to choose from,as i’ve heard comment that singnet disconnect your connection at times and m1 may not be a good service provider all that is left is having a re contract with starhub but the promotion at comex 09 for starhub is so expensive

  6. you are correct m1 suck! this week m1 disconnect my internet for 3 time all at midnight, call them up they say urgent maintenance for up to 3 hours, now m1 disconnect my internet again force me to restart! to all using starhub do not change service provider trust me, m1 need to login everytime you off your computer.

  7. I totally agree with this blog post. The mandatory login really sucks. It should be like Singtel and Starhub where upon swithcing on your computer, you’re automatically connected. M1 required you to login first for what silly reason I don’t know. I’m stuck with their fixed broadband plan for another 6 months. And sometimes there’s this error ‘Failed to login’ and I called 1627 but they’ve closed for the day they said. At least have a 24-hour customer service line. Aiyoh…

  8. two hands up.. fully agreed… my wife just call up and gave them a lashing..
    1. She was already flaring knowing its an M1 issue with the sudden network down thingy
    2. My wife then call the broadband helpline and realized service has closed for the day, which pisses her more. She then went 1 big round through the mobile helpline and got to a lady. poor lady to face the wrath of my wife.
    3. Wife asked why network down, lady replied got outage issue. Wife asked so from 9pm onwards, i do not have to pay for broadband service. lady dumbstruck. wife then asked that she wants a discount for not being able to use the network now.
    4. Woah… got a 1 day cut off the bill next mth….

    best part…. i text my sis and got to know that it’s not an outage issue, my sis is still able to use… hahaha

  9. Hi everyone…
    I got so pissed today after reading about all this m1 broadband thing…

    last night, i was trading on options in usa market, with google (goog) stock… guess what, was in the profit of us$800 , wanted to sell off but realised network down. thought it was laptop . rebooted twice, still nothing. switched to my wife’s laptop got no network… finally use my trustworthy touchProHTC mobile as modem… only to realise google rebounded, lost usd$1200 !

    Is m1 going to be honest enough to admit their mistake? not sure though…

    but one thing for sure is that they lost my trust. Pls get your fundamentals right first… your broadband must work every second !! if not, pls sort out your arrangements with starhub !!

  10. the same for m1 mobile broadband. they are unable to deliver the speed the promise avertise.
    I “upgrade” to the 7.2 mps and only found that they can only provide 2mps the most… which is
    even worse before the “upgrade”. have tested at several locations and every time still get same results.

    when made complaints, they give general replies claiming it is shared network? so why should customers
    upgrade when it is not even close to the speed one desires? the phantom engineers of m1 says it is ok.
    and they just gave general replies. how can it be ok if any time within 24hr the speed is the same??
    do they really go physically to check or just report back generally??

    i have yet to see a resolution from m1


  11. Totally agree M1 sucks and always claim line everything ok even when keep dropping. When they sold me the line claim they in control not starhub but after that everything run to mommy starhub who is yet another similary bad provider for broadband only.

    Been with starhub for short period but their service sucks too x10 if u not on maxonline I think as broadband access is so slow singnet wins hands down.

    regret not seeing this blog sooner now kena wait for the stupid contract to run out.

    cheated by M1

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