The National Railway Line of Turkey

The Computer Corner

When traveling far away from home, the Internet is a vital communications link with friends and business left temporarily behind. Anywhere in the world we go today, we are almost always able to find a way to connect to the Internet via Wi-Fi or other means. This is almost as though we were still connected at home because the Internet seems the same Internet wherever you may go.

Well, it is and it is not… not exactly. At home, your ISP (Internet Service Provider), such as Telmex or Megacable, provides you with essentially unrestricted access to the entire Internet. There are exceptions, such as Telmex blocking port 25 because spammers who send billions of spam emails were using that, so the company wisely blocked them from doing so. But for the most part, your home Internet access is unrestricted and uncensored. But it is not the same when you are away from home.

When you use publicly available shared Internet, such as the Wi-Fi in hotels, airports, etc., there are often restrictions you do not know about, except that you might notice some things that worked at home do not work on the road. This can be quite frustrating when nobody tells you why this is happening.

An exception is TCDD (Türkiye Cumhuryeti Devlet Demiryollan), the national railway line of Turkey that clearly states its Internet usage policy, and does so in English to boot. When a user boards one of its high-speed bullet trains, it comes complete with high-speed wireless Internet, with some restrictions plainly stated.

Log your mobile device onto the Wi-Fi in a comfortable TCDD rail coach and you will be presented a message saying, “Dear guest, in order to provide equal service to all passengers…” Then it goes on to list that the following censorship is in place. Peer-to-Peer (Torrent) downloads are blocked, so do not plan on downloading movies. Software updates (Windows, Mac OS, IOS, Android, Antivirus) are blocked, an extraordinarily smart move by TCDD—otherwise, on the second Tuesday of every month when all Windows computers update, that would have saturated the train’s Internet connection. Live video or music streaming is also blocked, meaning that you can surf Facebook but without viewing the bandwidth-hogging elements. And VPN (Proxy, TOR) applications are blocked so nobody can get around the aforementioned restrictions. The policy also states, “During your travel, you have 100MB Internet usage quota. Your session will be terminated if quota exceeded.” Fair enough!

So the bottom line is that TCDD has done a superb job of providing high-speed Internet to all its passengers while blocking out all the bandwidth-hogging applications that would otherwise permit one passenger to ruin the experience for everyone else on the train. Above all, very special thanks to TCDD for honestly and openly stating its policy.

Charles Miller is a freelance computer consultant, a frequent visitor to San Miguel since 1981 and now practically a full-time resident. He may be contacted at 044 415 101 8528 or email FAQ8 (at) SMAguru.com.

 

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