Why Afrihost’s Port Elizabeth fibre traffic is routed through Joburg

Afrihost customers using Frogfoot’s fibre network in Port Elizabeth will have to wait until the end of 2020 or the start of 2021 for lower latencies on their connections.

Despite Port Elizabeth being located closer to the Cape Town Internet Exchange (CINX), these customers are currently having their Internet traffic routed through the Johannesburg Internet Exchange (JINX).

The extra distance results in increased latency on their connections, which is particularly problematic for cases where high responsiveness is essential, such as in online gaming.

MyBroadband readers complained about this to Afrihost, complaining that the situation has been ongoing for around seven to eight months.

We asked Afrihost and Frogfoot for feedback on why this routing was necessary, and when customers can expect this to change.

Problems with capacity

Frogfoot explained the strong surge in fibre uptake in combination with the current additional demand created by the pandemic provided challenges to its underlying available capacity.

In order to address this, Frogfoot gave Afrihost and other ISPs the option to terminate Port Elizabeth-bound traffic in Johannesburg to alleviate the current congestion.

Afrihost told MyBroadband that it decided to use this option because the current route via Johannesburg remains the best option to ensure its clients do not experience other network-related issues such as packet loss.

Frogfoot said their tests showed the routing resulted in an increased latency of about 20-25ms.

“This latency is still within acceptable ranges and does not affect our users’ experience to the point that we’re receiving complaints,” the operator said.

Frogfoot said it was currently negotiating to get more than double the existing capacity in the short term and is looking at all possible options.

“The only current options available along the coast is Telkom and Broadband Infraco,” Frogfoot noted.

It was therefore busy deploying a dark fibre network in conjunction with other partners between Cape Town and Durban, as well as from East London to Johannesburg via Bloemfontein.

“This will effectively provide Frogfoot with unlimited capacity on these routes,” the operator said.

It is currently aiming to have this capacity ready by December 2020, but due to challenges such as COVID-19, there is a possibility that this might be pushed back to the first quarter of 2021.

Frogfoot said it was doing “everything in its power” to finish the upgrades as soon as possible.

Now read: Home vs Business fibre – Why there is such a big price difference

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Why Afrihost’s Port Elizabeth fibre traffic is routed through Joburg