About wireless internet at Moscow airports

       It has been hot for more than a month in Moscow, and smog caused forest residents to leave the capital. Someone goes to neighboring regions for the weekend, while someone, with more wealth, flies off on an unplanned vacation. There are no tickets, airports are full, flights are delayed, and the only source of news for people stuck and exhausted at the airport is the Internet.


    We decided to see how telecom operators work in such heat in airports.

       So, we conducted our first study at the airports that surround the capital - Vnukovo, Domodedovo and Sheremetyevo. All airports can be reached by Aeroexpress for 300 rubles one way, which we took advantage of.

       At a low start, operator coverage cards were studied to give an idea of ​​who and what is being offered at airports. Megafon and MTS
       coverage cards let us know that we will get 3G at all three airports. Yota claims the Internet is only in Sheremetyevo, and judging by the map, it didn’t reach Vnukovo quite a bit. Moscow coverage from Comstar is limited to the Moscow Ring Road.    Beeline was most surprised - on their website there are already two ( 1 , 2 ) coverage cards. And, even more surprisingly, Moscow is not on any of them. The list of cities with maps is quite large, but there is no capital - apparently, they are hiding something.


    Testing methodology

       Plenty of manure with modems , we were able to bring them all in working condition. In addition to the modems, we got an absolutely “clean” netbook (without the built-in WiMax module), on which no additional software was installed, except for the applications that came with the modems. All devices connected via the same USB port. In the case of Wi-Fi, we used exclusively open access points.
       At all airports, we went up to one of the waiting rooms, choosing a place as close to the window as possible, trying to get closer to the behavior of a regular user. To measure the data transfer rate, our “ dissenting opinion ” service was used .

    image Vnukovo

       We went to Vnukovo from the Kiev station. It’s hot in the cars, there is no air conditioning, but quickly - the travel time was 37 minutes. The end station turned out to be a pleasant surprise, in my opinion, the most spectacular of all airports. But, unfortunately, the amenities ended there. Vnukovo is a huge construction site and a small building of the old airport, which has nothing to breathe and is rather dirty.


       On the second floor of the building, we found a waiting room with the most uncomfortable seats among all airports. Placed in 2 armchairs from the window, we armed with modems.

    The results are as follows:


       The first thing that catches your eye in this table is the lack of results from Yota and Comstar - indeed, WiMax is not represented at the airport. But Megafon perfectly covers the airport with its 3G, demonstrating stable 5-6 megabits. MTS’s affairs are also pretty good - we were able to comfortably surf. Beeline is doing badly - we even had to get up from our place in the waiting room and walk into a tight window, but even so the connection was constantly broken. Perhaps this is due to the heavy load on the base stations in this zone, but this does not change the essence of the matter - it is unrealistic to use such Internet.
       It must also be said that there is paid Wi-Fi, but it is paid, prices are not announced anywhere, how to use it, too. Because of the long lines, we did not dare to exploit, but apparently, nobody uses them there, except for the employees themselves)

    image Domodedovo

       We went to Domodedovo by aeroexpress for the same 300 rubles - the difference is that there are already working ticket terminals at the Paveletsky station, so it’s not necessary to queue at the ticket office. The cars weren’t so hot - either because of the half-empty car, or because of the air conditioning system. I had to go a little longer - 47 minutes.
       At the airport, I immediately went to the waiting room - it is located above the passenger check-in desks, on the second tier. Having risen, I found here such a picture.
       MTS branded a passenger collection point in the center of the airport, distributing free Wi-Fi around. Another plus is the “stand” with chargers for more phones. Of course, we decided not to pass by - it’s a sin not to use such a freebie.


       In the waiting room on the second tier, behind one of the caffeines, there was a row of armchairs standing right in front of the window. Comfortable in every sense and "sit" and "measure."


       Of the GSM-operators, only Megaphone gives a more or less tolerable speed on EDGE. Although the site stated that the airport is in the 3G coverage area.
       Beeline ... once again, everything is bad, although not as bad as in Vnukovo. The speed was low, but stable - only enough for urgent checking of mail, twitter or ICQ.


       MTS showed the worst result - the speed was the lowest. But I believe that this drawback is more than offset by the distribution of free wifi. Although it’s not too fast, it’s free. And how many people she serves ... Russia!
    WiMax didn’t even smell again.

    image Sheremetyevo

       At the Belorussky railway station, from which Aeroexpress runs to Sheremetyevo, there are also ticket terminals. But a ticket to the "business class" can only be bought at the box office - it was there that they promised (for 500 rubles) Wi-Fi, increased comfort, a guaranteed seat and cold water - it was decided to fork out just for the sake of the last point.
       The trip took 35 minutes. In fact, Wi-Fi turned out to be the usual Yota, the connection was interrupted twice for 5-6 minutes (for 15-20 and 25-30 minutes). Water, condo and comfort were indeed available.


       You can write for a long time about the journey between the terminals and attempts to figure out the new numbering. Perhaps I will tell this in the comments if anyone is interested. But before we get back to the bottom line, let me tell you how the numbering has changed:

    Sheremetyevo 1 - Sheremetyevo B

    New terminal Sheremetyevo 1 - Sheremetyevo S

    Sheremetyevo 2 - Sheremetyevo F

    New terminal Sheremetyevo 2 - Sheremetyevo E

    Sheremetyevo 3 - Sheremetyevo D

    Terminal "Aeroexpress" - railway station where trains from Moscow arrive.

       So, below are the comparative tables by terminal. In terminals F and B, there was again free Wi-Fi from MTS - albeit not everywhere, but in the waiting rooms it is, and it is quite possible to use it.



    Draw your own conclusions :)

    The end

       In general, we were pleased with the study - it was interesting to ride with an unusual purpose. As for the Internet - if it really matters, then you can go online at any airport, however, it is unlikely that anyone will want to carry a whole set of modems with them. Let the wireless access operators so far not be able to provide a sufficiently high service, but they are trying in every possible way to close this gap. All airports have Wi-Fi in one form or another - free from MTS, paid Beeline Wi-Fi and Green Zone from Megafon (at crazy prices), as well as paid access points from airports.

       Perhaps we just arrived unsuccessfully and, possibly, on other days, the operators show much more optimistic results. So our research in no way claims to be exhaustive. But I really do not want to spend the best years of my life traveling around airports - it will be great if someone confirms or refutes our numbers on our special map , thereby making a contribution to a socially useful business. After all, the statistics are more accurate, the more measurements will be carried out. After some time, we plan to repeat the measurements, including Skylink in them. We also call for measurements of all owners of wireless modems from mobile operators.

       On the way, the results of measurements from the waiting rooms of the stations and something else - who are interested, do not switch;)

    First image: Press center of Sheremetyevo International Airport OJSC.

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