Here is what Afrihost’s impressive new ADSL network looks like

Afrihost announced in November it had moved its clients to its new network, and that it was performing well.

Afrihost CEO Gian Visser told MyBroadband that while they are still fine-tuning the network, he believes Afrihost is delivering a great overall Internet experience to its clients.

“Our new network is already using 31.4% more capacity than our previous network did,” said Visser.

The new Afrihost ADSL network has been built from the ground up, with the help of Echo and Three6Five.

Afrihost made sure it has the best traffic management software and hardware, by buying the “best, latest, and most-expensive machines from Sandvine”.

Afrihost’s IPC from Telkom

Visser has now provided details about the network, including its IPC capacity and its basic network build.

Afrihost’s ADSL network has three IPC regions: Johannesburg, Durban, and Cape Town. ADSL users are automatically routed to the closest IPC location to ensure the best latency.

Each of these IPC locations are housed within Teraco data centres. “These locations offer our new network a very central core to multiple networks – Telkom has multiple entry points to the network,” said Visser.

Using 10 separate links to Telkom, Afrihost catered for both growth and redundancy. “Each location has been built with redundancy in mind: We have 4 cables in Johannesburg, 4 cables in Cape Town, and 2 cables in Durban,” said Visser.

The setup allows for failover of up to 50% of the infrastructure in each region – thereafter alternative regions can be used.

The IPCs in the current format represent up to 100Gbps in capacity. “The IPCs use 10Gbps multiple infrastructure, rather than the multiple 1Gbps infrastructure we used before,” said Visser.

Previously, physical infrastructure needed to be installed to perform an IPC capacity upgrade.

“However, with our new network we have available capacity ready to be switched on, which enables us to upgrade our IPC capacity far quicker than before.”

He said it will now be easier to plan infrastructure upgrades.

“The Teraco POPs serve as large nodes for Telkom, and adding capacity to these nodes is relatively simple. The core network also allows for additional capacity to be added if required.”

Peering and local bandwidth

To serve its national connectivity needs, Afrihost has opted for NAPAfrica as its predominant peering point. The NAPAfrica peering points are housed within the Teraco data centres.

“Afrihost is a significant contributor to the traffic passed through these nodes. Direct peering has also been established where required to enhance and better manage peering with specific providers,” said Visser.

“The peering through NAP has been enabled as open peering, which allows any party who also peers… to peer with Afrihost at the NAP locations.”

Afrihost also has national transit in place. However, users are brought in and served through the closest location, minimising the need for extensive national transit.

Visser said that JINX and CINX access is available via Internet transit, but that no direct peering has been set up at these locations.

“The traffic through NAP is significantly more than the traffic that ultimately passes through JINX or CINX,” said Visser.

International connectivity

Afrihost uses multiple cable systems for international capacity. “This allows for both redundancy and also ensures low latency for our clients.”

He said Afrihost’s new network uses WACS, Seacom, EASSy, Sat-3, and SAFE to complete international paths.

Network equipment

Afrihost’s network in each region is built on a multi-million rand Juniper core network, comprising predominantly of MX and EX technologies from Juniper.

“Each region is also built with primary and failover, allowing for an outage on any piece of equipment.”

He said the Juniper core is robust, and key to their overall network performance.

“We also have the most advanced Sandvine traffic policy control machines housed at each of the 3 IPCs.”

What Afrihost’s new network looks like

Afrihost Network

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Here is what Afrihost’s impressive new ADSL network looks like