RBGAN: Details about
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by Matt Blair
What does it cost to use the RBGAN? After the initial
purchase, usage fees are charged based on how much information
you send and receive. The direct cost is US$9.74 per megabyte,
or approximately US$.01 per kilobyte. But in regular usage, what
does that mean? Here are a few examples of what it costs to transmit
|A 500-word text-only email
||about 5 cents
||about 15 cents
|A two-page Word document
||about 45 cents
|A photo taken with a three mega-pixel digital
Note: All prices in US Dollars.
To determine the
size of any web page in Internet Explorer, right-click and then
select Properties. Look for the size, which is listed in bytes.
At a cost of about one cent per kilobyte, you can then estimate
price of the page by dropping the last three digits (or dividing
by 1000). For example, if the page size is listed as 27,182 bytes,
the cost is about 27 cents.
There is also some variable amount of overheard
involved depending upon whether the information is sent over
a secure or unsecured web connection, via
ftp, as an email attachment, etc., so it is a good idea to round
up when making cost estimates. You can keep track of your current
usage using TeleNor's account management system. (See the RBGAN
Tips page for details)
Video (and audio) streaming should be used with careful consideration,
as they will incur significant bandwidth fees.
Also, many computers have programs installed that
run in the background, and make use of network connections
when they are available.
Even if these programs are not visibly running on your computer,
they can still generate network traffic behind the scenes,
and this traffic will affect your monthly bills. Possible culprits
- Automated Windows Updates
- Automated anti-virus defintion
- Other programs checking for updates or patches
- File-sharing programs like Kazaa
We do not suggest that you disable
either Windows Updates or anti-virus definition updates, but
it is a good idea to change
the settings so you can control the bandwidth used by them. We
recommend that all machines be cleared of spyware and file-sharing
programs before field deployment.
Web-based Email Accounts
We have received several questions about using
web-based email accounts over the RBGAN, and our research provides
a good example of how important it is to pay attention to bandwidth.
In most cases, we encourage our user community to use email client
software such as Outlook, Outlook Express, or Eudora to access
their email via the POP3/SMTP/IMAP protocols.
Our test scenario involves receiving a 2k (kilobyte)
message and sending a 3k reply. Using POP3/SMTP or IMAP, there
would be a few kilobytes of
overhead as your mail software logs in and out of the server.
Assuming that this overhead is 4k, the total amount of traffic
is about 9k, so the cost would be about 9 cents. (All prices
in US Dollars.)
Now consider the same scenario with web-based
email. The email server has to 'draw' the screen for
each page as you are working with your email, and this boosts
the network traffic considerably. We tested two different
web-based email accounts. The first is a relatively sparse interface
provided by the IMail software
package, a standard feature provided by our own web presence
Communications. The other account is a 'free' account provided
by Yahoo Mail. Here are the results:
|Viewing a 2k message
|Sending a 2k reply
|Return to Inbox
|Total Bandwidth Used
|Total Cost (at $9.74 per megabyte)
Unless it is specifically designed for low-bandwidth
usage, we expect all web-based email accounts are in the range
of 10 to 20 times more expensive than using mail software pre-installed
on your laptop
Please note that there would be significant differences
in the bandwidth used by Outlook installed on a laptop, and Outlook
Web Access (aka OWA). We have not had a chance
to directly evaluate the amount of traffic generated in an OWA
session, but it would probably be similar to the results above.
If you are unsure which version of Outlook you are using, check
with your IT staff.
there are any additional applications you plan to use over the
RBGAN, HumaniNet can assist you in analyzing the bandwidth costs,
as well as assess any security considerations related to these
applications. Please contact
us for more details.
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