Afrihost explains ongoing network problems - TechCentral

Afrihost explains ongoing network problems


Afrihost subscribers who buy broadband ADSL bandwidth from the company have complained vociferously in recent weeks about problems achieving advertised speeds using the Internet service provider’s backbone, with many saying the experience has fallen far short of expectations.

The company’s CEO, Gian Visser, has now written a letter to clients explaining what he believes is causing the problems and how its engineers are trying to fix them.

“The traffic and bandwidth on our ADSL network is managed by devices made by a leading overseas technology company. These devices manage all the different type of traffic protocols (such as video streaming, online games and peer-to-peer torrents and downloads) at different times, depending on how much capacity is available on our network,” Visser says in the letter.

“Unfortunately, they have been behaving inconsistently over the last few months for some reason. It has been a tricky problem to deal with because there were times everything seemed fine and we weren’t sure exactly where the problem was.

“We have been working closely with MTN and the device hardware company over this time to try to get to the bottom of it, but the problem has proved way more challenging to solve than any of us expected.”

MTN recently acquired Afrihost for an undisclosed sum.

According to Visser, the software on the misbehaving devices was upgraded early last week in an attempt to improve traffic management and improve ADSL clients’ experience. This was done after months of research and development by the unnamed technology supplier and after weeks of testing by Afrihost.

“Unfortunately, since the updates, for reasons we are not completely sure of at this time, these appliances have not been working as expected. They are not classifying all types of traffic correctly,” Visser’s letter says.

Gian Visser

Gian Visser

“This means that we cannot properly shape some key traffic, such as certain types of peer-to-peer torrent downloads, because the devices are not always picking these protocols up accurately.

“This, in turn, means we cannot manage the network usage as effectively as we need to, which leads to the network performing sub-optimally when it is filled to capacity.

“When our network is stretched to capacity, our ADSL clients contend and fight with each other for bandwidth and thus sometimes get poor and inconsistent speeds. It also means that there are times that their latency and pings are high.”

Visser says top networking engineers from MTN as well as engineers from the unnamed device manufacturer are “working around the clock” to solve the problem.

“An engineer from the overseas company flew in and is working with the top engineers from Afrihost and MTN. We are also in constant and direct contact with all the engineers based overseas and everybody is working around the clock to solve this as soon as possible.”

He says he can’t say when the problem will be resolved. “I am hopeful that we will all have sorted out the problem very, very soon.”

To try and ameliorate the problem, Visser says Afrihost has upgraded its capacity with Telkom.

“Because of not being able to control the traffic properly we — together with MTN — are literally spending millions extra at the moment to try and give a decent service while we’re simultaneously trying to solve the problem with the traffic controllers.”  — © 2014 NewsCentral Media


  1. See that smile? I bet that’s the smile of a millionaire who has no idea how the internet works.

  2. I actually quite liked his email. Takes balls doing that. And taking the time to explain. “Helkom” would have just said the fault has been resolved or there is no fault.

  3. Voted 1 of the best CEO’s in SA, and you trying to tell me he doesn’t understand how the internet works? what a chop!

  4. Greg Mahlknecht on

    I think it looks like the grimace of a constipated man. No idea why he lets sites use that photo 🙂

  5. Ive been having very bad speeds. But the team has been in constant contact with me asking to please test and revert the results. Its not easy being in a support role, and I take my hat off to these guys even though I am frustrated with the inconsistent speeds. Thanks for the efforts so far!

  6. Gerhard van der Westhuizen on

    What really irks me about both Afrihost and Telkom is that they’re fast to demand payment but present their clients with absolute mediocrity, If you’re lucky enough to get service at all! South African telecommunication should be 100% privatised asap! We keep hearing about how fast internet is getting in SA but here I am paying my ass off (over R1200 pm) on my adsl and I can’t even get 4mbps, and then that’s without the massive throttling. But that’s only when the internet actually works – at the moment I’m actually using my phone’s 3G because you guessed it – my internet is down again and has been down for the last 2 weeks now. Redelik al gatvol.

  7. Afrihost’s download speed reminds me of my old US-Robotics dial-up modem back in the days. Whatever you say Mr. Visser, your network speed is nothing to brag about.

  8. I am in a high density area where MTN signal should be strong (my Afrihost device links to MTN) But I average 0.1mbps which is pathetic to say the least. At my 2nd office I can obtain up to 6mbps.
    I have over 100 emails on record begging for assistance! I was promised MTN would install an antenna, this was a month or more ago. I’m told and quote “I’ve been nagging them on a daily bases for them to attend to this, but it seems MTN are slacking.”
    The buyout by MTN was bad news for Afrihost and clients. MTN are only interested in making money. Please opposition, hurry up and fill the void that Afrihost has left.

  9. ‘Piet Promise’ of note. Constantly blaming their tools as bad workmen do. If Afrihost were not so obsessed with trying to shape everything to shite, this would not happen. It’s a constant tussle between subscribers who want a decent speed with optimal data, and a company who wants to save money by restricting everything and adding too many customers to the pool.

  10. I have been battling with Afrihost mobile data for several months now.. so I don’t think something has only just stopped working as expected. I think it is a case of not having the infrastructure in place to handle the uptake!!!

  11. This is my latest reply from Afrihost regarding my 4 month problem of no signal. Credit to Afrihost for trying at least, as for MTN, this says it all –
    Thank you for the mail, I’m truly sorry for not getting back to you sooner.
    I have been calling MTN for a very long time, and have also been trying to get
    hold of one of their superiors (he probably on long lunch or at golf! – my words) to get some assistance, but am failing to do so, but have not given up, and will try my level best to get you proper feedback.
    Again, my sincerest apologies for the wait.
    Thank you for your time.
    Warm Regards
    Afrihost Quality Control

  12. Afrihost is useless , my website still not online , they cant do a simple backup and restore , they now are escalating it to server admin. When MTN took over things went down . they cannot be the best webhost this year its impossible. There shared hosting sucks. Its cheap and fast to signup but the website is slow and you cant run a shop nor provide a service to clients.I have two sites with them and I hate my own website speed can you imagine people visiting it. Is there any other hosting provider in SA or elsewhere that’s good ? pleeeezz advise.

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