Zain Beam – First Impression

Post by Mark

Around ten days back I asked if anyone had tried the Zain Beam internet service and a few of you responded with high praise for the service. Zain also read my post and got in touch with me with an offer to try the service for a month, so I jumped on the opportunity and yesterday they installed Beam at my place.

The installation process is supposed to be fairly simple, they install an antenna on your balcony or the roof of your building, and then run an ethernet cable to your apartment where they hook it up to an LTE modem. In my case the installation process was slightly more complicated and took around an hour and a half because they were having trouble finding a strong signal. My building which back in the 90s was the tallest in the neighborhood is now surrounded by much taller buildings and so it was difficult to find a good signal. Thankfully, just as I was about to give up hope, they found a spot on my roof with ample signal and then ran the ethernet cable from it down to my apartment.

First impression? It’s fast! I asked for the 20Mbps connection and I’m getting around 30Mbps which is similar to what other people are reporting. What’s also great is my upload speed is between 10-20Mbps.

This right now is the fastest connection I’ve ever had at home and it feels strange because I’m so not used to having a fast and stable connection at home. YouTube videos play instantly as well as HBO, Amazon, Hulu and Netflix. The video quality from the streaming services also looks to have improved because of my now faster connection. I also managed to update all the apps on my two ipads plus two macs really quickly. I know all this sounds very normal, but you have to keep in mind, my connection for the past year or so has been terrible and I now finally feel like I have fast internet like a normal person.

For those of you who are gonna leave a comment saying I should get LTE or B Wireless or whatever, those services might be great where you are, but not where I am. I’ve had B Wireless for the past 7 years but you need a direct line of sight to their tower for it to work properly. A few months ago I lost what little line of sight I had which is why I had to look for a B Wireless alternative. Regular internet services from telecoms also doesn’t work properly where I live. Zain Bolt which can easily hit 60-70Mbps at the office barely gets 12Mbps at my place and spends most of the time hovering at around 5Mbps. So I understand you might have super fast mobile or fiber optics internet at your place, at mine it’s a different story.

Its too soon to tell if the Zain Beam speed will remain consistent, but I’m optimistic since Zain are limiting the amount of Beams they install per area. A friend of mine also told me these antennas can be upgraded in the future to work with 5G, so Zain could potentially end up providing much faster internet than their current two options (20Mbps or 40Mbps). Personally, if the connection continues like this for a the next few days I’m not even going to wait for my one month trial period to finish, I’m going to sign up right away.

The cost of the service is KD25 a month for 20Mbps, and KD40 for 40Mbps. With both options you need to commit to 24 months which is a tough pill to swallow. But with no better option, I’m willing to commit. If you guys have any questions about Zain Beam or want me to try anything let me know in the comments below.


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Do you have Zain Beam?

Post by Mark

Now that Zain’s Beam internet service has been out for a few months I’m wondering if any of my readers have tried it. I’ve been using B Wirless (Wimd) for the past 6 years but recently I’ve been having a lot of issues and barely getting 10Mbps. It’s not B Wireless’s fault, it’s just there is now a new building blocking the line of sight needed between my building and the B Wirless tower, so my connection is no longer stable.

I’ve considered getting an LTE connection from one of the telecoms but with the testing I’ve done, the speed can vary from as low as 2Mbps up to around 12Mbps. My only other alternative is Beam, but I haven’t heard of anyone using it. So if you have Beam installed, let us know what you think of it.


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100Gbps Internet in Kuwait Starting Next Month

Post by Mark

Kuwait is on its way to become “a country with the strongest and fastest Internet in the Arab world” through the use of optic fiber cables, reports Al-Qabas daily quoting a source close to the Sate Ministry for Services. The source pointed out that majority of the advanced countries provide Internet with a speed of 50 gigabytes, whereas the ministry will provide 100 gigabytes starting from August. [Source]

And somehow I’m still stuck barely getting 10Mbps because I live in Salmiya.


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How to be an Instagram “Influencer” Overnight

Post by Mark

Want to be an instagram influencer? Nowadays buying fake followers, likes and even comments takes only a few clicks of a button. So when I read an article on fake influencers on mediakix last week, I thought it would be worth sharing since instagram influencers are a pretty big thing in Kuwait. The ability to buy followers and engagement so easily now is making it harder for brands to find authentic influencers to deal with which in return is effecting legit influencers as well.

To make things even more complicated, there are support groups of a sort that make it even harder for brands to figure out if the engagement is real or not. Say you want to be a travel blogger, you could join one of these “support groups” which include other travel bloggers and then whenever you post a picture the other travel bloggers will leave comments on your photos and you would do the same back whenever they post a picture.

What I found interesting about this specific article is how they used around $300 to create and build a fake instagram account, and then got brand sponsorship deals. So if the whole influencer situation facinates you, check out the article [Here]


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How Fast is Kuwait’s Internet vs the World?

Post by Mark

The popular internet speed testing website Speedtest.net has a global index that is updated on a monthly basis ranking mobile and fixed broadband connections around the world. So how is Kuwait currently doing compared to the rest of the world?

Mobile Internet
Rank: 56th
Average Speed: 19.59 Mbps

Fixed Broadband
Rank: 83rd
Average Speed: 14.73 Mbps

I’m actually pretty surprised with the fixed broadband speed since I would have expected it to be a lot lower due to the fact that fiber isn’t widespread yet. Actually I’m also pretty surprised with our mobile internet speeds since I rarely get over 4 Mbps unless I’m in Kuwait City and even then it’s usually around 15-17 Mbps.

Regionally UAE ranked the highest for Mobile Internet coming in 7th with an average speed of 43.98 Mbps while Qatar ranked the highest in Fixed Broadband coming in 49th with an average speed of 27.78 Mbps.

For more information and the full rankings click [Here]


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FASTtelco Have a New Look

Post by Mark

A couple of weeks ago FASTtelco launched their new logo and it now matches the Ooredoo logo. Last year Ooredoo purchased FASTtelco and I was expecting them to kill off the FT brand completely, but I guess they decided to keep it as a stand alone brand and instead have it connect back to Ooredoo with the red circles. It works.

I was also checking their website (which is pretty nicely done) and I noticed how much DSL prices have gone down in the past few years. I’ve been pretty much paying the same thing for my WiMD connection the past few years which is KD385 for 10Mbps. But if I could get DSL where I live, for nearly the same price I could have 50Mbps for KD417 or the same 10Mbps connection I have but for just KD132. Such a big difference…


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WiMD is Now B.Wireless

Post by Mark

Over the past couple of months I’ve been getting emails and tweets from readers asking me if the internet provider WiMD shutdown. None of their social media accounts work anymore so people are assuming they must have closed down. Well the answer is no, they haven’t closed down. Instead, WiMD have just done a pretty terrible job at letting people know that they’ve renamed and rebranded to B.Wireless.

Last year WiMD purchased the internet provider GulfNet and a couple of months ago WiMD rebranded GulfNet to B.Online, then rebranded WiMD to B.Wireless and then created a mother company called B.Global which both now fall under. It’s kinda B.Confusing just because of the fact the names are so generic and they renamed their social media accounts but didn’t really tell anyone. I’m a WiMD customer and I didn’t even get an email letting me know about the rebranding or renaming. The only reason I found out is because their marketing manager had told me they were going to rebrand and then sent me the presentation to check out. Not even the WiMD website mentions the renaming.

So if you want WiMD, their new social media accounts are:
Instagram: @bwirelesskw
Twitter: @bwirelesskw

Their website is still wimd.com.kw


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Is Kuwait Under a Cyber Attack?

Post by Mark

Around 10 days back there was a rumor going around that Talabat went under a cyberattack. I got a few messages saying that Talabat accounts were hacked and that users credit card and Knet information was compromised. I figured that was bullshit because Talabat doesn’t save our bank details, I wish it did so I wouldn’t have to enter my Knet information every single damn time I order something. A couple of days later, the Talabat CEO issued the following statement:

“We are aware of the rumors circulating today around Talabat, and would like to reassure our customers that these are absolutely false. We have experienced no disruption within our system and no customer issues have been reported around this. Our online payment is processed via trusted third party platforms and we do not store any banking information on our system. As a business that was established in Kuwait in 2004, data security is paramount to our business model and we have made security and privacy a core part of our structure.” Abdulhamid Alomar, CEO, Talabat

After that things kinda went quiet until yesterday people started leaving comments on the blog and emailing me asking me if Knet was down. Then, this morning a reader emailed me telling me the twitter user DedSec (@DedSecIsHere) had been taking credit for the recent attacks. Based on what I could put together from his tweets, he had previously contacted people at the various institutes warning them of security holes only to be ignored. So I decided to get in touch with him via Twitter and find out what was going on.

First thing I needed to do was verify he was who he says he was and not just someone pretending to be the hacker involved in the recent attacks. So I asked him if he could prove it to me and he replied asking if he should bring down my banks website. Literally 45 seconds later, my banks website was down. Freaky.

According to DedSec, he had been contacting and warning different government and private institutes of their cybersecurity flaws for months now, only to be ignored or told they would fix them soon. But none of them fixed any of the issues he highlighted which left their security vulnerabilities wide open for other hackers who didn’t have the institutes best intention in mind to exploit. Since everyone was ignoring him, DedSec decided to bring down their servers himself so he could grab their attention and hopefully listen to him. He shared with me a list of different businesses that included banks, food ordering websites and telecoms that had security holes, and according to him, the institute with the weakest security system was a payment gateway (lawyer told me I can’t mention which), even though they had received a lot of warnings.

DedSec explained to me that by having a weak security system, it would make it easy to launch attacks on, including “man-in-the-middle attacks” where a hacker can spy on the connection and get the data that is not encrypted properly. So even though your information isn’t saved on their system, there is a potential for it to be read as the information is relayed from your end to their servers end.

The more I spoke to DedSec, the more I realized how frustrated he was with the lack of qualified people involved in securing some of our important websites. His pinned tweet states that Kuwait has talented young people with cyber intelligence that are being ignored. He told me there were hacker groups from Iraq, Iran and the USA who have been penetrating our systems and quietly stealing our data. I asked him how he knew that and he replied telling me that he did what IT departments haven’t been doing, and that is checking the server logs for unusual activity.

As I finish up this post, DedSec’s last tweet states that he has now teamed up with Raed Alroomi (@master_roomi), a retired Colonel and information security and cyber crime consultant to fix the exploits he’s found instead of attacking the websites. Hopefully now with Raed’s help, local institutes will finally patch up their vulnerabilities.

Update: Here is an interview with Raed Alroomi that was just posted onto YouTube that discusses the recent attacks. It’s in Arabic but in short, the attacks this week were DDoS attacks, he recommends you don’t use your Knet card online for the next few days until things settle down, and finally he wants to bring all the Kuwaiti hackers and Kuwaiti IT specialist together to volunteer and run penetration tests on the important government websites. He thinks the government should support the local talent and that they should be more involved in securing important local websites.


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Soon – Free Internet Around Kuwait with Sama

Post by Mark

For the past five years, WiMD has been my home internet provider. Before they came about, the fastest connection I could get at my place was 2Mbps so I’m a huge WiMD fan and feel I owe my sanity to them. When I first met them five years ago I was told they were working on setting up a WiFI network all around Kuwait, and now that project is finally launching.

WiMD is launching a new product next month called “Sama” which will cover various areas around Kuwait providing free internet to the public over WiFi. Currently Sama is covering Souk Mubarakiya, Al Shaheed Park and around 8km of ocean front. In the future Sama will cover Al Shaheed Park phase 2, around 40km of ocean front and other various projects around Kuwait.

Sama will officially launch next month but they’re currently testing out the Souk Mubarakiya location and have given me a code to share on the blog so my readers could access the network and try it out. Here is the information required to connect to Sama in Souk Mubarakiya:

Network Name: Sama Mubarakiya
Access Code: 7550682976

This code can be accessed by multiple users at the same time and the login screen will look similar to the screenshot above, depending on the time of day you’ll see a different sky. If you do try it out please share some feedback.

Also a little bit of information. Last year WiMD bought Gulfnet and this Thursday they’re actually launching the new brand for both companies at a private press conference at the Gulfnet head quarters. So I’m looking forward to that as well.


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Mada to Focus Only on Corporate Sector

Post by Mark

Mada has decided to stop providing internet directly to consumers and instead focus all their effort on the corporate sector. All their retail customers will be shifted to Zain who acquired them back in 2011.

When I reviewed Mada five years ago they were great, like the best thing ever because until they came along, I was on a slow 2Mbps connection. But for just KD20 a month, they were giving me a 10Mbps connect and it was a legit 10Mbps connection at that time. But, in my original review I highlighted a potential issue with Mada becoming popular and the connection slowing down. That prediction turned out accurate since Mada grew too quickly and their connection speed became slower and less reliable. Things got so bad that I ended up moving back to DSL until WiMD came a long.


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