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Old 30th October 2009, 12:58   #1
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Default Browsing vs Downloading

Hi guys,

"How do u browse the internet without downloading anything?"

I have had this question that repeatedly comes to mind and seems like a total confusion to me whenever I am having this conversation.

The latest situation came up when I went to Aircel showroom yesterday and enquired about the prepaid plans and the GPRS plans. They said for Rs.98/- I can use GPRS unlimited for a month. I can "browse" for free but if I "download" it will cost 10p/10kb. I could even connect my laptop and use the phone as a modem. Great!

I then asked if I use my blackberry, using the Gmail/Gtalk application, is that downloading? And how do I measure how much I have "downloaded"? He had no answer to that.

So in relation to my question, what did that guy at the showroom actually mean when he said I could "browse" unlimited but "downloading" would cost me extra?

Could someone enlighten me on this?

Prajwal

Last edited by prajwalkashyap : 30th October 2009 at 13:00.
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Old 30th October 2009, 13:33   #2
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prajwalkashyap,

The way i see it "downloading" charges are specified so as to make the consumers feel like they are not paying when they browse (which is actually the same thing!).

The only time i see "downloading" charges being different is when certain WAP services are offered - like downloading ringtones, wallpapers etc ? I might be mistaken here.

In short browsing = downloading. The two are not differentiated when it comes to billing AFAIK.

cya
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Old 30th October 2009, 14:40   #3
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^^+1 As far as mobile companies are concerned, downloading for them means, downloading wallpapers, ringtones etc. Their own rules or definitions. Computer illiterate's will feel great when they say browsing is unlimited free and download is at a cost. The above situation happened to one of my friend, who recently activated GPRS through the same Aircel, when I asked, he told, browsing is free da, so only activated. :o
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Old 30th October 2009, 14:54   #4
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I think the salesperson was confused. Going by the adverts, Rehaan is right. Browsing will be free but if you download ringtones, wallpapers etc from content-provider sites, you will be charged.
Do make sure you understand the fair usage policies if they have any, which may have limits on unlimited plans.
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Old 30th October 2009, 15:02   #5
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what if different protocols are being used?
Browsing mainly uses HTTP where as most downloading uses FTP.
That way a differentiation can be made.
hypothetically.
Im not sure what protocols are used now.
But it is possible to differentiate.

All Browsing is Downloading.
When you access an HTTP page, you download it to your "temporary internet files" folder, and your browser reads the HTML code in it and renders it for you. so essentially as Rehaan said, Browsing = Downloading
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Old 30th October 2009, 15:03   #6
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As people have mentioned here, going to the airtel portal and browsing whats there is free. Downloading something is not.

@Sprucegoose:
You can use http also to download. You wont be using ftp to download on your gprs through portals.

Last edited by srishiva : 30th October 2009 at 15:05.
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Old 30th October 2009, 22:15   #7
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^^ point blank.
Browsing in Airtel live or portal is absolutely free, and once you download, you will receive a message stating some amount deducted.
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Old 31st October 2009, 05:18   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by srishiva View Post
@Sprucegoose:
You can use http also to download. You wont be using ftp to download on your gprs through portals.
yup i know that, i don't know what protocols are used when surfing from a mobile phone though
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Old 31st October 2009, 11:44   #9
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There are just about too many protocols to make a protocol based differentiation. You have HTTP, HTTPS, FTP, Gopher, POP, IMAP, XMPP, IRC, TELNET, SSH, RPC, WAP etc to name a few popular ones that get used in daily usage. For example you use HTTP/FTP/Gopher when you use your browser, IRC for some chat programs, RPC used by your OS (transparent to you), POP/IMAP by mail clients, SSH/Telnet popularly used by Linux users, WAP is a protocol used in mobile devices. My point is its just too hard for the service provider to make a difference. What if you used a non-standard protocol you designed and you have some server to connect to ?

Service providers use the bandwidth to measure usage. And bandwidth means up/down traffic which basically covers any and all usage that is routed through your service provider towards your destination. So when he says that download is chargeable, i can only see 2 options.

1) Like someone already suggested it might be for those VAS options (downloading ringtone etc)

OR

2) The charge is probably beyond a limited free bandwidth say 100MB (i know you mentioned unlimited - but unlimited these days comes with stupid conditions). Beyond which every x KB will be charged and so on (The sales person was plain dumb not to have realized this - am not surprised)

Fyi - Browsing = Down + Up traffic (the requests that you make, like clicking on buttons, typing in URL's, typing this message for example are all Up bound traffic and the results of your request thrown back to your destination, like viewing this message for example constitute down traffic)

Last edited by srikanths1 : 31st October 2009 at 11:50.
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Old 24th March 2010, 13:49   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by srikanths1 View Post
There are just about too many protocols to make a protocol based differentiation. You have HTTP, HTTPS, FTP, Gopher, POP, IMAP, XMPP, IRC, TELNET, SSH, RPC, WAP etc to name a few popular ones that get used in daily usage. For example you use HTTP/FTP/Gopher when you use your browser, IRC for some chat programs, RPC used by your OS (transparent to you), POP/IMAP by mail clients, SSH/Telnet popularly used by Linux users, WAP is a protocol used in mobile devices. My point is its just too hard for the service provider to make a difference. What if you used a non-standard protocol you designed and you have some server to connect to ?
Solution is simple in this maze , All service providers apply a firewall with known ports left open , So when you take a connection for browsing default ports for HTTP and WAP that is 8080 , 9200 and 9201 will left open but ports which you can use for other services say streaming video etc will be charged differently or blocked.

Also a simple program like wireshark ( earlier ehtreal ) is sufficient to analyze the type of data. Usually operators have more sophisticated tools then this.

Quote:
Originally Posted by srikanths1 View Post

Service providers use the bandwidth to measure usage. And bandwidth means up/down traffic which basically covers any and all usage that is routed through your service provider towards your destination. So when he says that download is chargeable, i can only see 2 options.
There are multiple methods of billing the data usage , In India really simple ways are used as market is not matured but usually operator
uses the ports / protocols to find what kind of service is being used
either to block the service which may eat their call revanue ( example VOIP or Video Straming over IP) or charge differently.

On Airtel GPRS in India you can not use any port other then 8080 and 8081 and WAP port by default , So even if you have a SIP based VOIP application you will not be able to use it on Airtel network unless you buy a SIM for which other ports are opened.

AT&T in USA for example offers Video Sharing which is IP based video in conjunction with CS voice call and this service is billed for duration of call and not based on data used for video transfer.

Even if you have unlimited data plan the billing for this data service is differentiated , Similarly if you have data billing based on bandwidth Video Share data usage is not counted again.
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Old 24th March 2010, 14:28   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by prajwalkashyap View Post
I then asked if I use my blackberry, using the Gmail/Gtalk application, is that downloading? And how do I measure how much I have "downloaded"? He had no answer to that.
Did you speak with the sales person there? From the above its clearly evident that he's a typical sales person & does not know what he's talking about. To me every browsing is a form of download; unless the HTML files & images are not transfered from server to client they cannot be displayed.
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Old 24th March 2010, 14:46   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by prajwalkashyap View Post
He had no answer to that.
These guys never have any answers. If he was smarter he would have said "I cannot process your request as our systems are down or undergoing upgradation. That's the standard answer from Airtel.

Quote:
Originally Posted by prajwalkashyap View Post
So in relation to my question, what did that guy at the showroom actually mean when he said I could "browse" unlimited but "downloading" would cost me extra?

Could someone enlighten me on this?
When you open a page you are downloading. After opening it you stare at it for the next 10 hours. According to him you are browsing. Which is free!
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Old 24th March 2010, 15:39   #13
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Guys, guess you are answering for questions raised atlest 6 months back. My sureshot guess is they would have figured out the answer for these question by now.
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