Can I ask another question which doesnt seem to have been clearly answered. I understand that the equipment in the exchange is managed by Telkom despite being dedicated to either IS or Mtn as the case may generally be. This would imply that congestion likely happens on a service provider specific basis. i.e. if I the exchange is continually congested than the best option for me would be to change to the alternative provider as his equipment is not likely to be as congested (could possibly be worse) but at least the point is that it would be different?
OK, since the previous post from Afrigenie that lead to the above post about dedicated ISP hardware at the exchange, we've seen some questions start spouting our way about it now. Let me put this to rest for you: the ISP has no dedicated hardware at an exchange - there's simply no need for it and it would be financially ridiculous for Telkom to do so. I suspect that some people don't quite understand the cost of enterprise-grade routing infrastructure and the number of ADSL exchanges around SA, if they're to believe this. It would result in a couple-hundred million Rand investment Telkom were making into each backbone provider, for what return or purpose?
There is a dedicated set of IP pools that belong to the ISP, allocated over shared hardware. If for whatever reason Telkom have seen fit to allocate an ISP their own piece of hardware for whatever reason, at one or two exchanges, it is not policy, nor because the ISP is supposed to have dedicated hardware there. Telkom exchanges operate on a shared infrastructure basis, and their resources are sufficient to operate multiple IP pools and routing rules over this shared infrastructure. Occasionally however, a port, or router becomes faulty. This may disappear when using another ISP, because it may just happen that that IP pool doesn't route over the faulty port or router. If you see this happen, the likelihood is that the exchange's backhaul links are not congested, but there's a specific fault at the exchange that needs to be reported. An ISP cannot report this, but we can assist by helping you to identify the NAS port for Telkom to look at. If your line is not with your ISP, you must do the fault reporting, because this is shared infrastructure, not dedicated. It is a normal, and occasionally expected fault (because even enterprise grade equipment sometimes fails).
What if you still see problems on the second hop, but they're inconsistent? Well it's probably congestion, sorry to say. And again, not something an ISP can help with, as resolving congestion relief requires investment by Telkom into the exchange. It's not something a Telkom tech can do. All that a Telkom tech can do is submit a motivation via the area manager for an upgrade. Such an upgrade goes through a lengthy approvals process, as it is primarily a financial decision that must be made.
Are all second hop problems related to congestion? No. And in fact we find that many are port problems, as the backhaul links are not running at capacity. Often, there may also be actual line faults causing this resulting in the wrong power being delivered to the port as well.
So the bottom line:
Are all problems on the second hop indicative of exchange congestion? No, and it's not always fair to jump to that conclusion and blame Telkom.
Can it be identified that the problems are congestion related? Yes, but require much deeper investigation and signification amounts of cooperation from Telkom.
Is exchange congestion ISP related? No, it physically cannot be. The exchange sits before the ISP's infrastructure.
If your line is migrated to an ISP, is it their responsibility to "fix" exchange congestion? No. Congestion at an exchange is actually just increased contention. It's not necessarily a technical fault. It's, for lack of a better phrase, a financial one.
If your line is migrated to an ISP, is it their responsibility to report exchange congestion on your behalf? Yes, absolutely.
Does reporting exchange congestion help motivate an upgrade by Telkom? Occasionally, if it's reported by enough people.
Will reporting congestion again and again improve my chances? No. You'll simply peeve off your ISP and Telkom. They use your DM number as a unique identifier when running these reports, so whether it's 2 or 10 reports from the same DM, it is counted as 1 on the report.
Is it frustrating? Yes, and we sympathise. We really do.