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Afrihost FAQs
Uncapped DSL FAQs - Afrihost

Frequently Asked Questions

Uncapped DSL FAQs

Why should I pay for an Uncapped account when I don't get full speed on downloads?

Uncapped products are advertised as semi-shaped on all our marketing material, including our website, but you can be assured that you will get premium real time services (as opposed to throttling down your entire linespeed like in the past or what our competitors do), no matter what time of the day or how much bandwidth you've moved.

All our uncapped products deliver a great download experience if the demand on the network allows us not to apply shaping or throttling to applicable products. Premium Uncapped products will deliver premium real time services even when shaping is applied, no matter what time of the day or how much bandwidth you've moved. Home Uncapped accounts can be throttled (line throughput is restricted on all services) as well as shaped at times of high network demand. Throttling is only applied when a user has exceeded a set threshold (based on a 30 day rolling window). Our intention is not to shape Business Uncapped accounts, however there could be some instances of extreme network congestion which necessitates shaping be applied to deliver a better overall experience. Our Capped products are not shaped, and may be a better option if you prefer never to have to worry about shaping or throttling.

I am experiencing very slow browsing speeds (on or can't connect to Gmail / Internet Banking, etc. Is this due to QoS?

Our QoS (Quality of Service Prioritisation) only affects downloads and not real time services such as banking, gmail, youtube etc. If you are experiencing slow speeds across the board, chances are that this may be an issue related to something else - like a fault on your line, router or Telkom exchange, and we will need to troubleshoot the problem to assist you better.

Am I being shaped or throttled because I downloaded too much, and how much should I download in order to avoid shaping?

We do not use pre-defined download thresholds, so there is no "target" amount. Our QoS policy is implemented on the basis of available capacity, and not on set values.

Does Afrihost have enough capacity to satisfy its client's needs?

We currently maintain multiple IPCs across the country - divided into the North, East and South regions. We actively monitor and upgrade our IPC capacity to ensure that our clients have access to the best possible internet experience and value for their money.

What can I do to get unshaped?

There may at times be traffic prioritisation, particularly during peak times like Office Hours, but we will always give the best possible bandwidth speeds when demand for real time services decreases. The degree to which downloads may receive lesser priority is determined by the demand for real times services, and downloads, at any given point. Only an unshaped product like Capped accounts are unshaped 24/7/365.

Will I ever get line speed on my downloads?

We are constantly giving back as much bandwidth to downloads as possible as we see demand for real time services decreasing. During low demand periods (generally after hours, and overnight) downloads will run at much better speeds, often at full line speed.

What do you mean by peak and off-peak times? What are those times exactly?

Peak and off-peak refer to the level of demand, and therefore cannot be fixed times. Trends and events which determine the demand for services will differ from day to day, though general Office Hours are consistent with peak network usage, and after hours and overnight are off-peak hours and generally times when demand for bandwidth decreases overall.

Why does it feel like throttling? I get a consistent download rate during hours when my downloads are shaped.

We split our Uncapped user base into groups according to their usage patterns (not threshold totals) and this determines the degree to which their downloads receive priority. This is dynamically managed, though if the user does not move in between groups, the downloads speeds may appear constant. But there is no way to predict download speeds as they can potentially change at any given moment, based on available capacity.

Why do some people not get shaped as heavily as others?

We analyse usage patterns of the individual user, which in turn groups them into batches of users who are given different levels of priority. Users can be changed from group to group in a short space of time, which is dynamically managed by the system, but users on the extreme end of the spectrum will have differing experiences, i.e. heavy users will consistently get slower downloads during peak times, while light users may not experience this to the same degree.

Please explain Uncapped shaping in more detail

This Policy will try to explain as clearly as possible what you can expect from your Uncapped Afrihost ADSL account. We want our Uncapped Internet experience to be the best it can be. In order to do this we manage our network by prioritising the different kinds of traffic used.

There are two main types of traffic that you can use when connected to the Internet:

Instant, Realtime traffic protocols such as: Web browsing (HTTPS); Live Streaming (YouTube); Secure browsing (HTTPS); VOIP; Email; Terminal services (SSH)
Non-Realtime Downloading protocols such as: HTTP Downloads (downloading a file from your browser), Torrents (BitTorrent), News servers (NNTP)
In order to  ensure that everybody has the best experience possible, we will manage our network by prioritising the types of traffic to make sure that our clients' Internet experience is as fast as it can be - no matter the time of the day or the utilisation of our network. We will never throttle nor shape any of the Realtime  services at any time of the day or night - no matter what your overall usage is. Your speed will be as fast as your Telkom ADSL line allows for Realtime traffic (Actual speed is dependent on line speed, distance from the exchange, quality of  the cabling in your area and current capacity of your Telkom exchange).

To make this possible, we will shape non-Realtime services during our busiest times. Non-real time services will be shaped on a sliding scale, with our higher bandwidth users getting shaped more than lower bandwidth users, only on these services (NEVER on real time services). This will ensure that our network is not congested and that all of our clients' experience is not negatively affected.

If left completely unchecked Torrents and non-Realtime downloads would use most of the network capacity, which makes the use of all other types of traffic very slow, unstable and unpleasant for all clients. We need to manage the non-realtime downloads of our higher bandwidth users so that everyone (including them) can have a great Realtime Internet experience.

What does this practically mean?

This means that on an Uncapped account - no matter how much overall data you download - you will get the fastest Realtime Internet experience that your line can handle for 24 hours a day.  For our high bandwidth users users, non-Realtime Internet traffic (such as torrents) will be dynamically shaped during peak network usage so that congestion can be prevented and a good overall quality of service can be guaranteed. During non-peak usage, everyone (even the highest bandwidth users) will get as close to full speeds on ALL types of traffic (Realtime and non-Realtime) as the network will allow.

If you are one of our higher bandwidth users, when are the peak times that your torrents and non-Realtime traffic will be shaped?

In general, peak times on our network are between 08h00 and 0h00 every day. This means that non-Realtime services will be shaped on a sliding scale, with higher bandwidth users getting shaped more than lower bandwidth users, and the higher bandwidth users will not get full speeds during these times for non-Realtime services (Realtime services will continue at full speeds).

Generally, after midnight and before 08h00 each day, non-Realtime traffic will be less shaped (or not at all) and you will get the fastest speed your Telkom line (and the network) allows.

Please note that the times mentioned here are meant to give a general indication of possible network behaviour. Since the network management is demand based, Afrihost cannot guarantee shaping or absence of shaping at a specific time - as this is entirely dependant on collective user behaviour (demand for bandwidth) at any given time of the day.

What determines who will be shaped (or who is a high bandwidth user)?

Our system looks at a variety of factors, such as bandwidth consumption patterns and historical usage, to determine which users are grouped together. The system does this dynamically, so there is no set guideline to determine how you will be grouped or shaped, as it is determined by the network capacity at that point in time.  The network management system determines how to optimise the available network capacity to benefit all clients and give the best possible overall internet experience.

Are there ways around QoS so I can download more?

The QoS is an important feature which protects the integrity of the network and ensures that all clients get the best experience. We strongly discourage (and take active measures to prevent) clients from using means which bypass or override our network management. This constitutes abuse of our network, and will be dealt with as such.

How much can you move each month?

This will depend on your Internet usage habits.  All Realtime usage will not be throttled or shaped. Non-Realtime usage may be shaped during peak hours.  You can click here to see how many GBs our current high bandwidth uncapped clients are getting on our Usage Leaderboards.

We hope that this helps you understand what we define as Acceptable Usage, how we plan to manage the network and what this means for you. If you have any questions please send an email to and we will answer it and add it to our FAQ (if it's not already there).

Will I always get my maximum line speed all the time?

We provide the best internet experience we can. Unfortunately, sometimes this involves factors outside of our control, like your ADSL line or demand on your local Telkom exchange, as well as demand on our network. So while we'll do our absolute best to give you the very best speeds possible at all time, performance may vary from time to time, depending on the factors mentioned.

Uncapped accounts may also be subject to shaping, so speeds experience will depend on whether it is an unshaped service (realtime streaming, gaming, browsing, etc) or shaped service (non-realtime downloads or P2P service, etc).

What if I change my mind and want a different package?

Not a problem, simply log in to ClientZone and edit your Package. Mistakes do happen, so if you need to change a package again you can, but you're limited you 2 package changes per month. 

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