Afrihost recently introduced their now well publicised R29 / Gig ADSL plan for prepaid bandwidth. As this is much much lower than the R49/ Gig that prepaid bulk bandwidth costs at WebAfrica, my ADSL provider for the last three years.
As I use lots of bandwith every month (40 – 50 GB) I sat up and took notice when the offer surfaced. It would save a lot of money each month, but then performance is also an important factor. I use and supply lots of local services, so local bandwith performance is as important to me as international performance.
There is thus good news and bad news with the ADSL bandwith that comes from Afrihost (via the IS network). Local traffic is noticibly slower (Click the orange graph) whereas international traffic is noticibly faster (Click the green graph).
Tracerouting local sites hosted on Webafrica and Telkom ADSL show a significant increase in route hops, from typically 5 to over 10, and an increase of between 40ms to 70ms in ping times. International ping times on the other hand is roughly 100ms quicker. This has been confirmed with multiple sites, using Nagios, Smokeping and PingPlotter.
For now I am willing to live with the slower local speeds, considering the cost saving, but will keep a WebAfrica account going for a dedicated VOIP link, as the performance of VOIP over Afrihost ADSL is simply not acceptable, due to the increased latency.
Some concerns remain, like the “there is nothing I can do about it” comment from the support guy when I asked him to amend my original order from 20GB/month to 50GB/month. I guess I will really find out what their support is like when I get to need support.
Gian Visser, CEO of Afrihost has taken a bold step by introducing the below cost offer, and so far it seems to have paid off. Let’s hope it is sustainable without affecting the quality, else I suspect many new customers will reconsider the value for money attraction.