We are happy to say that our network move was generally successful, however there is still some work to be done to get the best possible performance for all our clients. Right now we’d like to give you a little bit of insight into the who’s, the how’s, and most importantly, the why’s.
We’ve had an awesome relationship with IS over the years, and will continue to work with them for our hosting products. We partnered with MTN to build a brand new network, to allow us a lot more control over how we manage our products. The opportunity to offer better, more innovative products and service to our clients was the deciding factor in the move.
Due diligence and technical research started at the beginning of the year, and our team met regularly with MTN to discuss everything, including the kitchen sink. Every aspect of the move was planned to the finest detail. We also ran weeks of trials and testing internally, as well as an open trial with users from rAge and MyBroadband to get real-user feedback prior to launch. While this was a very helpful process, the bulk of the fine-tuning could only be done once the changeover was complete, under real conditions.
Despite the complexity of the move, it was mostly successful. Our main setback related to the provision of IP addresses on Telkom’s ADSL infrastructure, resulting in approximately 10% of our ADSL clientbase not being able to switch over.
Fortunately, our engineers identified the problem early (in the wee hours of the morning after the midnight switch) and thus we were able to provide an immediate workaround while Telkom resolved the problem (which was completed around midday).
So far a lot of the feedback has been positive, with most users experiencing better performance than before. However, some clients in Cape Town specifically are finding higher latencies than previously due to traffic being routed via Johannesburg at present. This is a temporary measure to monitor and improve network parameters more effectively. Once the network is fully optimised, we will roll out dedicated capacity with our tried-and-tested system in Cape Town to alleviate this.
The network is currently being closely scrutinised, and we are pro-actively implementing various strategies to maximise performance across all prioritised services like VoIP, FTP, HTTP, etc as well as optimizing gaming speeds (latencies). There may be short periods when performance deteriorates temporarily as these changes are implemented. We will not rest until get we every last ounce of performance out of our network, but bear in mind that it is brand new and being configured for the first time.
We are committed to giving everyone the best service and performance possible, but there are certain restrictions. The capacity of the Telkom ADSL infrastructure, such as copper cable quality and distance to closest ADSL exchange, will have a big impact on performance. For example, on a 4Mbps ADSL Line (even under optimal conditions) you will rarely ever experience a full 4Mbps service as there are overheads in the data transfer, latencies on content servers and DSLAM local-loop congestion. Realistically you are more likely to receive in the region of a 3.5 to 3.8Mbps usable connection (approx. 80-95%). Also, if you have a ping in the region of 15-60ms for local servers it is considered good.
With all of this said, we’d love to hear what your experience has been so far.
If things are good and you’re happy, please drop us a tweet or facebook post, and that will give us a sense of what’s going right. If it’s anywhere between not-so-great and catastrophic, please post a message on our newsroom, email us on firstname.lastname@example.org, call us on 011 612 7200 or SMS Help to 32541 so we can immediately give you assistance.