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Fibre Connectivity FAQ's

Do I need a license to offer Fibre Connectivity services?

Yes. ICASA requires you to have the necessary licenses in order to provision and operate a Fibre network.

More information on the Licensing in South Africa can be found in our Electronic Communications Licensing section by clicking here.

Throughput testing - How fast can the network go?

Before you test just how fast your network connection is, remember that you are limited by the package by which you have purchased. Even if the equipment is capable of carrying higher speeds, you may be limited by your package.

What is the actual usable capacity of a particular network link?

You can get a very good estimate of your throughput capacity by flooding the link with traffic and measuring how long it takes to transfer the data.

While there are web pages available that will perform a “speed test” in your browser (such as http://www.dslreports.com/stest or http://speedtest.net/), these tests are increasingly inaccurate as you get further from the testing source. Even worse, they do not allow you to test the speed of a given link, but only the speed of your link to a particular site on the Internet. Here are a few tools that will allow you to perform throughput testing on your own networks.

bing

http://fgouget.free.fr/bing/index-en.shtml. Rather than flood a connection with data and see how long the transfer takes to complete, Bing attempts to estimate the available throughput of a point-to-point connection by analyzing round trip times for various sized ICMP packets. While it is not always as accurate as a flood test, it can provide a good estimate without transmitting a large number of bytes.

Since bing works using standard ICMP echo requests, so it can estimate available bandwidth without the need to run a special client on the other end, and can even attempt to estimate the throughput of links outside your network.

Since it uses relatively little bandwidth, bing can give you a rough idea of network performance without running up the charges that a flood test would certainly incur.

Are there are Bandwidth Optimisation mechanisms available?

Yes, there is one Bandwidth Optimisation facility which has been well accepted amongst providers called ViBE.

Information on how ViBE works and other Bandwidth optimisation methods can be found in our Forum under Bandwidth Optimisation.

How dependable is Fibre connectivity?

Fibre systems can be designed to provide "5 nines" availability.

Properly designed systems are virtually unaffected by most external elements. Design engineering includes an availability statistic which states a given percentage uptime. Design goals are so-called "5 nines" or 99.999% availability which translates into a few minutes per month.

Other than the effects of a cable cut, the only other variable is the equipment itself, which is no different than any other electronic device.

Is Fibre only for Internet, or can it be used for Voice as well?

Absolutely!

The degree of latency is very low since Fibre transmission travels at light speed which makes this a perfect transmission for Voice communication.

How secure is Fibre connectivity?

It depends on what you're sending, and the system that you use. When it comes to IP, if the information is encrypted before it is transmitted, then depending on the type of transmission, it can be very secure.

In some cases, manufactures equipment can sense when a potential hacker attempt is made, and will shut both ends down. In other cases, specific matches between transmitting and receiving are part of a design, so unless there is an exact match, hacking of data becomes impossible.

How long can I expect to wait to get service?

This really depends on the Fibre Provider (feasibility) and the internal process for applications. Based on our market experience, this can take anything up to 6 months - if feasible for the provider.

What is Contention and what does it mean?

When a user is connected to the Internet using broadband technology they are sharing the connection infrastructure with other users.

The term contention is simply a ratio used to measure the extent of this sharing. As an example, the typical contention ratio for Fibre services is between 5:1. For example on a package with a contention of 5:1, up to 5 other users may share the equipment and bandwidth in the exchange.

An analogy would be driving a car in peak (rush-hour) and off-peak traffic. During the rush hour you contend the road with everybody else and it may take you longer to get to your destination than during off-peak. This industry-wide method is used by all broadband providers.

Network operators have the ability to provide varying contention ratios since they own and operate our their network, and upgrading capacity on a sector to maintain a guaranteed contention ratio is relatively simple which enables the provider to guarantee its services levels.