Afrihost recently launched the first of its two proof of concept (POC) networks – called Afrigreen – with the aim of improving the ADSL service it provides customers.
The ISP announced it would conduct trials of two POC networks in the wake of numerous complaints about a poor quality of service on its network.
Currently, there are around 3,000 Afrihost clients who have access to the Afrigreen network, with “well over a thousand clients connected to and actively using the network”, said Afrihost CEO Gian Visser.
“We have added every type of client: Super-users and mom-and-pops, capped and uncapped clients, business and home users. We have ensured that the conditions are as close to real world as possible.”
No deadline has been set for how long the trial will run, with Afrihost monitoring performance and looking for problems as they arise.
Part of the testing involves using new upstream providers, including Neotel, and different network configurations to find the solution which works best.
Afrihost’s “Afrigreen” ADSL tested
MyBroadband’s Staff Writer signed up to take part in the Afrigreen testing, and tried out his new account over a 2Mbps and 4Mbps line, both situated in Centurion.
General browsing at home in the evenings and at work during the day was smooth, and working in the back end of the site, even on the 2Mbps line, was pleasant.
Video streaming in 720p and 1080p on the 4Mbps line was fine, and performed to the same standard as the “regular” 4Mbps Afrihost account. It should be noted that the Staff Writer had almost no issues with his original Afrihost connection before the POC network was launched.
There were occasional connectivity problems with the POC account, and on a particular evening (for around an hour) not even web pages would load. 95% of the time, though, the performance was as expected.
The 4Mbps line hovered around the 3.5Mbps mark for downloads, and 0.4Mbps for uploads, on average. Ping to local sites was good.
The 2Mbps line rendered similarly good results.
Downloads on the Afrigreen network worked well, too. On the 4Mbps connection, download speeds hovered around the 400kB/s mark on average, as shown in the torrent download test below.
Not all smooth sailing
While our tests of the Afrigreen network painted it in a good light, not all who tried out the service were impressed.
The MyBroadband Afrigreen feedback thread, which allows users share their thoughts with Afrihost about the POC network, shows that it’s not smooth sailing for all clients.
One MyBroadband user only managed to squeeze a 7Mbps download and 0.49Mbps upload out of his 20Mbps business DSL line.
The user also complained of poor FTP and browsing performance using the POC network.
The latest on Afrigreen, and upcoming Afriblue
Afrihost CEO, Visser said the company was happy with the overall performance of the Afrigreen network so far, following “initial teething issues”.
“The feedback from our clients has been extremely helpful in moving this project forward. Bearing in mind that Afrigreen is a proof of concept, we’ve exceeded our expectations in terms of performance,” he said.
He said the new network was the “next step forward in our evolution as an ISP”, allowing the company to offer a stable and solid experience to clients.
“Our decision to create our own network is not based on MTN’s network (Afrihost’s major shareholder) or a breakdown in service or our relationship.”
“MTN agree and support us in our vision to have more control and insight over our own network.”
“Having said that, there is no question that we have had, and are still experiencing, some issues over the past few months, but we are convinced we are over the worst of it and are excited about the future.”
Visser was unable to confirm a launch date for the second POC network, Afriblue, due to setbacks and pending feedback from stakeholders.