All ADSL Services are Not Equal

All ADSL Services are Not Equal


When it comes to broadband Internet access, South African businesses have never had it so good. Not only are they spoiled for choice when it comes to how to connect – there’s ADSL, 3G, Leased Line, Fibre, Wireless, VSAT – but prices have plummeted.

In fact, it’s possible to get a “broadband” connection for under R30 per month. Incredible. It almost sounds too good to be true. And if it sounds too good, it may be – particularly for a business that requires a reliable, fast Internet connection.

The greatest risk to business productivity as bandwidth becomes more affordable is the plethora of bargain basement deals that are available – deals that are based on compromised performance.

The challenge for any business is to choose the right connection – at the right price.

For businesses with high traffic volumes as well as those for whom high levels of productivity is essential, uncapped ADSL remains the most affordable option.

But not all uncapped ADSL services deliver the same level of performance. Many ADSL options are designed for home users and may not meet the needs of a business for connectivity that is reliable and fast.

Even if ADSL solutions appear to offer the same specifications and claim to be “business ADSL” solutions, they may not deliver the same performance level. For example, an (up to) 1Mbps business service from one provider may not perform at the same level as the (up to)1Mbps business service from another.

Questions to ask your ADSL service provider:

  1. Is the service shaped or unshaped? A shaped solution can be extremely slow at times.
  2. Is it throttled in some manner or form? A throttled solution can also be extremely slow.
  3. Is priority given to some kinds of traffic over others such as peer-to-peer applications? And if so, how will this affect my business’s traffic?
  4. Is there a rolling threshold on the uncapped allowance?  If so, what happens when you reach that threshold?
  5. Does the service have connectivity redundancy on its international links? This is essential if one link goes down.
  6. What value-added services do you provide?
  7. Do you provide round-the-clock technical support?
Derek Hershaw
Derek Hershaw, CEO of MWEB ISP, joined in 1998 as general manager of the Dial Services Division. In 2003, he took over as general manager of Operations, managing the front and back office customer support environments and became CEO of MWEB ISP in December 2009. Before joining MWEB, Hershaw worked for Norwich Life for nine years, primarily in their Client Services Division. He holds a BCom (Honours) degree in Economics from Rhodes University.