ADSL network congestion may be to blame for the slow speeds and high latency reported by many ADSL subscribers. This is according to Internet Service Providers (ISPs) and consumers who are trying to resolve these problems.
Numerous ADSL subscribers have reported performance degradation which is blamed on congestion within Telkom’s ADSL network – often at exchange level.
Some users have even been forced to downgrade their uncapped ADSL bundle speed to compensate for their poor ADSL connectivity.
The issue of congestion on Telkom’s ADSL network is nothing new. As far back as 2010 the growth in subscriber numbers, higher ADSL speeds and increased bandwidth usage were blamed for putting pressure on Telkom’s backhaul capacity.
Jansen said at the time that the congestion was seen on Telkom’s backhaul network and between the DSLAM and the exchange.
ADSL ISPs give feedback
MWEB ISP CEO Derek Hershaw said that there are periods when their network is busier than normal – typically from 4pm to 6pm on weekdays – where they have to manage capacity.
However, exchange congestion on Telkom’s network is the major contributor to deteriorating speeds Hershaw said.
“We know that about 25% of their DSLAMs are congested, which Telkom is trying to address,” he said.
“The poor quality of the copper and the distance from exchange are the prime cause for the erratic service,” said Reed.
Fialkov said that while exchange congestion exists, it may also be an easy way for ISPs to blame Telkom rather than troubleshoot the problem.
Poor ADSL speeds: What you should do
Hershaw said that users who experience deteriorating service levels should phone their ISP to investigate.
He explained that Telkom will not disclose that their DSLAMs are congested, which means that ISPs are often falsely accused for poor speeds.
Fialkov joked that other than consumers “picking their religion of choice and praying”, the only thing an ISP can do is to log a fault with Telkom.
“Once Telkom accepts that there is an exchange problem, we have to wait for them to fix it, which usually takes 60 to 90 days,” said Fialkov.
Fialkov added that they find it very frustrating that Telkom’s helpdesk can actually see the bandwidth usage at the exchange, but ISPs cannot.
“We have asked for this visibility previously and it has been denied, so we have to go through the very tedious testing process instead of just looking at the exchange usage graphs,” said Fialkov.
Reed advised users who experience erratic speeds to reset their router and contact their ISP to assist with resetting the ports and fault finding.
“In some cases alternative solutions or changing exchanges (if feasible) is the only way forward,” said Reed.
Telkom mum on ADSL network congestion
Telkom was asked for feedback regarding congestion on its ADSL network and at exchanges (DSLAMs), but the company did not respond by the time of publication.
Telkom also did not say what ADSL subscribers can do if they are suffering from poor service levels.