Openweb ADSL duplicate accounts, shaping, throttling explained

Over the last few months Openweb has come under fire from users about ADSL account sharing, excessive shaping, throttling, and providing false company information.

Some of the forum discussions include Openweb sharing account details, The truth about Openweb, and Are Openweb throttling capped accounts?

MyBroadband contacted Openweb CEO Keoma Wright about some of the allegations in October 2013, with follow-on questions this week.

Openweb ADSL account sharing allegations: October 2013

MyBroadband asked Openweb about the account sharing allegations in October 2013, and the company said at the time that it does not share any accounts. The full response from Wright below.

We acquire our own IPC through Internet Solutions. We then manage the capacity as we see fit. Sharing an account would be pointless as we pay on capacity basis – we create our own shaping policies, contention ratios, etc.

By using this method we benefit from the skills of a world class backbone, yet have the freedom to manage our accounts as we see fit.

A while back we made the decision to not log usage stats for uncapped accounts as far as possible. We feel it goes against the essence of what uncapped stands for. We also have no desire to throttle folks based on their usage.

We advise clients to use our control panel opposed to the generic IS control panel, as our panel is custom written for this unique setup we have with our supplier.

Clients may see many connections if they use third party trackers that are not OpenWeb branded. Unfortunately we cannot guarantee what is displayed here due to the way our system is setup.

If a client feels that their account has been compromised in any way, they must please contact [email protected] so that we can investigate.

We also advise clients to change their passwords on a regular basis to avoid any compromise that might take place.

There are products we sell on a per account basis with IS. These will feature usage tracking via the traditional methods.

If a client wishes to have their usage tracked, we will be able to move them to the ‘vanilla’ IS per account product, which will feature usage tracking.

Openweb ADSL account sharing allegations: June 2014

MyBroadband asked Openweb about the continuing allegations about account sharing, with examples posted by users. Wright’s response below.

We do not actively share accounts between users. A while back we have had a few cases where the system handed out the same username and password to a number of clients.

We swiftly corrected the issue when it was brought to our attention and believe we have managed to resolve the issue with the few clients it affected.

We also discovered a case about a month ago where human error (staff member) played a role in assigning a username and password to 3 x clients. We investigated the matter, and it was found that this was not done intentionally. When one of the clients contacted us, this was quickly resolved.

We believe we have most of the above listed problems sorted out. However, if a client suspects an issue, they must please contact us on – [email protected] so that we can investigate each matter on a case by case basis.

We also advise clients to change their user passwords regularly. As there are thousands of ADSL routers online using their default admin login credentials, it is easy for folks with negative intentions to gain access to their user details.

We are also in the process of a developing a port lock facility, which will allow clients to lock their ADSL account to an ADSL line.

We do not sell stock standard ADSL accounts. We do not purchase on a per account basis from our upstream provider. We purchase chunks of capacity on 3 x different IPC links, one in Durban, Johannesburg, and Cape Town.

We then run our own set of shaping policies, account prioritization and service level profiles. There would not be much point in intentionally sharing the same username and password as we effectively pay for the capacity, not the account.

Shaping and throttling ADSL accounts

MyBroadband asked Openweb whether they shape or throttle ADSL accounts, and about their policies in this regard. Wright’s feedback below.

We do not throttle. Depending on the account type the client has purchased, shaping is applied. When applying shaping, our network looks at the following criteria:

  • How busy it is at the time;
  • The service level the client has purchased – e.g. Gold, Standard, etc.; and
  • The priority the client has on the network related to the selected service level.

Shaping is then applied from the heaviest protocols to the lightest, excluding browsing.

If a client has priority on Gaming for example on their account (e.g. Gamers King) Game play will be excluded from the shaping on their account as well.

If a client has an unshaped account, all protocols and ports and traffic types are treated equally. These products also do not have a ‘usage limit’ attached to them. They are completely unlimited.

Openweb ADSL upstream providers

Questions have been raised about Openweb’s ADSL upstream providers. Wright said that they use the Internet Solutions and MTN backbones.

“The majority of our products run on our network powered by Internet Solutions,” said Wright.

Blocking access to http://users.isdsl.net/

Some Openweb clients reported that they would like to access http://users.isdsl.net/ but that it is blocked. Wrights’ response is below:

Users wishing to activate usage stats on their accounts must contact [email protected] or request this via the control panel.

2 years ago we made a decision to not actively monitor usage stats on our uncapped accounts by default after some ISPs started throttling their users after a certain amount of GB’s used.

We then setup our radius and network accordingly. Many of our clients prefer us not to know how much they have used. However, due to client demand most of the new accounts purchased have usage stats activated by default.

Due to the latter, we advise clients to view their usage stats only from the OpenWeb control panel.

Many users have also published stats from http://userstats.adsl.saix.net/.

We do not purchase capacity from SAIX. Based on our research, some account stats are accurate, others are inaccurate. Some clients cannot login with their ADSL username and password into this resource, others can login and no data is displayed.

For this reason, we cannot endorse any information displayed on any third party usage monitoring tool. If clients would like to view their usage stats, and the facility is not available on their control panel, they can request for this feature to be activated.

Incorrect company information

There have been allegations of incorrect company information related to Openweb. Wright explained the situation below.

Our CC registration name is Open ISP cc trading as OpenWeb. We have been registered since 2005. We also have the pending trademark for the brand name ‘OpenWeb’.

There was an error on the CIPRO registration information regarding our physical address. We have since requested them to update this.

We have an admin office in Durban. However, we do not operate our call centre or e-mail support from this office.

We are a proudly ‘Cloud Based’ ISP, with staff working from all over the country (and the world). This allows us to pull from a much larger talent pool as well as save on costly physical overheads. It also allows us to scale up or down as load demands.

As we are not operating in a physical retail environment, and serve clients from all over South Africa, there is no need for a large office. We prefer passing the savings on to our clients, as we have been doing for the last 9 years.

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Openweb ADSL duplicate accounts, shaping, throttling explained