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Issue of December 2002 
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VSAT for me

Dear Soutiman,
I would like to know how long it would take to get a broadband connection for our existing office at Aranari, Perambalur District, which is about 300km south of Chennai. Our existing office at the above location already has a 56K modem connected to a phone line and we have Internet access.

We also need a broadband connection for faster Internet access to access our servers in Melbourne, Australia.

Siva Kumar

Dear Siva Kumar,
Joyjit Chatterjee of Comsat Max has responded to your query. It's as follows:
It is possible today to provide Internet access anywhere across the country on a VSAT-based system. The solution involves installing at the client location a terminal which comprises a 1.2 meter antenna and associated electronics. The indoor electronic unit has full routing capabilities and connects to a single PC or LAN.

The traffic to and from the client location is carried on a satellite link to our Master Earth Station in New Delhi which has a thick pipe to the Internet through VSNL on fiber. We have multiple gateways and offer guaranteed access to the Net equivalent to or better than 99.5 percent of the time calculated annually.

The advantages of accessing the Internet using VSAT are, anywhere and anytime availability, high uptime, and consistent performance. On a dialup link especially in remote locations, it's impossible to predict how the last mile would behave. Chances are that the maximum speed would be 19.2 Kbps or lower, even though the modem can support a higher capacity.

The costs are as follows:

1. A one time expenditure which includes supply of the VSAT equipment at site, installation, integration with client equipment, and activation of the link: Rs 1,35,000/- Taxes are extra on actual.

2. Service:
64K Internet Bandwidth (1:4 Compression): Rs 2,30,000/- per year
128K Internet Bandwidth (1:4 Compression): Rs 3,85,000/- per year

Service tax extra on actual.

It should be possible to activate the link within two weeks. The most time is consumed by the transportation of equipment from Mumbai.

VSAT at my institute

Dear Soutiman,
I read your article 'Connectivity: The VSAT way' in the June 2002 issue. The article was very informative and
convinced me about the utility of the technology. I need help from you to make a decision.

I work in an educational institute in Himachal Pradesh. We have around 70 desktop computers linked through a LAN in the institute. We want to provide high-speed Internet connectivity to each desktop for the benefit of our students.

Please suggest the appropriate connectivity and access technology for the link. How much bandwidth do you think I should commission? Do I need to install additional hardware at my premises, if yes, what will the expense be?

Dr. R.C. Sharma

Dear Dr R.C. Sharma,
You can get in touch with the VSAT Service Providers in your city if they have an office in your city, or in the nearest Metro, New Delhi. As an alternative you can look for telecom providers for leased line access.

VSAT deployment needs you to install receivers at your premises. VSATs may have high initial cost but is very
flexible and does not suffer any of the downtime-related problems of a land line. A leased line is a possible alternative, in which case you may need to install a leased line modem/receiver at your premises.

The amount of bandwidth you need will depend on the capacity and budget. A rough estimate for the 70 workstations is a fractional T1 line.

Concerned about Internet security

Dear Brian,
I congratulate you on your informative article on the different ways to access the Internet. I'll be subscribing to Internet connectivity from Hathway soon, but have received reports from users of this service that they have problems with security.

The users claim that others on the LAN can access their PCs. If I disable file and printer sharing (in Windows) and use a firewall like Zonealarm, will my PC be secure, and will I still be able to access the Internet? What steps do I need to take to ensure security? Is there any firewall you recommend for my Windows 98-based PC?


Dear Mehernosh,
As you are aware, accessing the Internet through cable presents a string of security hazards. With an always-on connection like cable you have a static (fixed) IP address. So if a hacker or some malicious program gets your IP address, it becomes easy to target your computer.

Since you are an individual (not a corporate user), the onus to secure your PC is entirely yours. But here are a few precautions to take:

  • Install a personal firewall software and configure it well
  • Install anti-virus software and update the virus definitions every week
  • Disable file and printer sharing in Windows
  • Set the Internet Security level to medium or high in Internet Explorer
  • Whenever Windows offers to save passwords, click 'No'
  • Clear your Cookies and Temporary Internet Folders after each surfing session
  • Don't store sensitive information like credit card numbers on your PC

There are several personal firewall and antivirus packages available. Although it's against our editorial policy to recommend products in this column, my advice to you is, ask around and go in for a popular product. Ask about the support offered and the subscriptions program. This is necessary for keeping your software updated.

Call Center solution

Dear Sandeep,
My company lately has plans to focus on the business of call centers. In this regard I want some information regarding the kind of hardware needed to set up the facility and the respective prices.

Ravi Shankar
Head, Stretegy and Planning
VisualNat Pvt. Ltd

Dear Ravi Sharma,
To get an accurate picture of the solutions and expenses you must give me details of the number of seats, space, and other considerations. It's best to get in touch with professional solution providers since they are better equipped to provide accurate answers to your queries.

I've forwarded your query to Jayesh Chitania of Cisco Systems, here's an excerpt of his reply:

Hello Ravi,

Many thanks for your interest in call center solutions. The solution comprises hardware and software that need to be engineered based on your business's immediate and long-term plans. We will be pleased to visit you and discuss your interest and requirements. And to begin the information exchange, we request you to check the following URLs:

Business Benefits of Cisco's IP based Contact Center (IPCC)

The components of Cisco's IP based Contact Center (IPCC)

WLAN regulations

Dear Brian,
I read your article on WLAN Implementations in India, in the September 2002 issue of Network Magazine. In countries other than India, one does not require government approval to use 802.11b WLAN radios, since these utilize the 2.4GHz unlicensed band of the spectrum.

Around July this year, the Indian government considered deregulation of indoor use of WLAN equipment based on the IEEE 802.11b standard. Can you update me on the latest developments towards deregulation in India? Is there any source I could go to for checking the exact reference?

Mahesh P. Bhave

Dear Mahesh,
The Indian government is yet to pass a resolution on this. When this does happen, one will not need a license for setting up an 802.11b WLAN within the same building. So corporate offices will benefit from this.

Following that, there will be a move to deregulate outdoor use of 802.11b WLANs, but that is expected next year.
To quote Pramod Mahajan, India's Communications and Information Technology Minister, "The Indian government has moved to deregulate indoor use of WLAN equipment based on IEEE 802.11b standards. A plan to deregulate outdoor use of 802.11b WLANs is also in the works, but may take until the end of the year to complete. Also expected is further deregulation of licensing rules for the 2.4-GHz spectrum."

If you'd like to track developments on this front, you can visit the following website: Wireless Planning & Coordinating Wing (DoT)

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Copyright 2001: Indian Express Group (Mumbai, India). All rights reserved throughout the world. This entire site is compiled in Mumbai by The Business Publications Division of the Indian Express Group of Newspapers. Site managed by BPD