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Connectivity options and their pros & cons

The pros & cons of various connectivity options that are available today.


ADSL is a great cost effective solution for moderate internet usage. The drawback is that it falls onto the Telkom infrastructure of which there is very little control. If you have a bad connection to your local exchange (distance/noise), or if your exchange is saturated, unfortunately nothing can be done about that. If there is a fault on the line or cable theft took place, you are reliant on Telkom to perform maintenance on their own infrastructure according to their service levels.


Telkom Diginet lines are a premium quality wired connectivity service which offers low bandwidth, but with exceptional stability and reliability. These outdated lines are rarely used for internet access, and more commonly for VOIP and business VPNs (where high bandwidth is not required). The drawbacks of this solution is mainly the cost to bandwidth ratio is high, but you do get what you pay for. Other than that, because of the copper cable used for these lines, they tend to get stolen. These subterranean lines are owned by Telkom, and are thus maintained by Telkom and rectifying an outage might take longer.


Fibre is the highest grade of connectivity available and it excels in speed and is cost effective. Once the connection is up and running, its stability is unmatched because the cables are not made from metal they do not carry electric current or signal. These cables also don’t emit or are susceptible to electromagnetic interference. The core of  fibre cables are made of plastic/glass and holds very low material value, especially in comparison to copper cables. This means that theft is not likely. The only drawback is that because of the precise nature of this medium, to repair or maintain this takes a high level of precision and skill, and can take time because the cables run underground.


Microwave radio links are a great balance of all the aspects that are needed for a good quality link. They can carry a large amount of bandwidth with great stability and reliability. They are don’t rely on Telkom and are privately maintained. This increases response time when an outage occurs. The drawbacks are mainly that they are reliant on clear line of sight and are susceptible to radio interference. Interference is easily addressed, because a simple adjustment is all it takes to clear it. It is also rare to “lose” line of sight, as this would mean that there is now an obstruction (new building or tree etc.) blocking your view of your respective radio tower.


Satellite connections are low to medium bandwidth links over a great distance which cause for a high delay. For internet usage, this is not a terrible loss as a few seconds rarely impacts browsing. The drawback however comes when this is used for communication mediums such as VOIP and video calling. Then the delay is much more apparent. These solutions are rarely used and are considered more of a last resort for extremely remote areas as this service is very costly and limited.

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