China’s internet could be best described as an open intranet, where domestically hosted content can entail blazing fast speeds, while connections to servers outside of China can be slower than finishing an entire Finding Waldo book. Many internet users in South China utilize the Chinanet network through China Telecom, a network with strong domestic interconnections but extremely congested pipes for international internet transit.
For those of us that can’t really live without uncensored journalism and cat videos on Youtube, we’re forced to resort to VPNs and other circumvention tools, generally reducing our speeds even further.
For those of you in certain parts of the People’s Republic of China, most notably Shanghai, you may be interested to hear that CN2, a still-censored but far less congested network, is available for an extra surcharge of 200 RMB+ a month.While CN2 is still limited by the Great Firewall of China, VPN/Proxy/Shadowsocks connections are generally far more reliable and stable, making it possible to stream 1080p off Youtube and enabling other high-bandwidth applications. You might get 5mbps at best for Chinanet to your (Asian) VPN, but Chinanet should be a dramatic improvement.
The requirement? A foreign passport.
While certainly more expensive, it’s definitely worth it for any stay in China.
- Go into a China Telecom Office.
- Ask for 国际精品网.
- Present Passport
- Look at cat videos and gawk at Baidu.
Alternatives: Fyzhuji Shadowsocks relays your data with CN2 (via Chinanet) for a nominal fee to an outbound Asian server.