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  Category: Articles » Technology » Internet Broadband » Article

ADSL vs. 3G vs. iBurst vs. myWireless

By Bronwen E. Roberts

The upside and downside of broadband Internet in South Africa

Always-on internet all the rage as smaller firms seek broadband connection

THERE is an escalating demand for ADSL, with service providers reporting figures of 100% to 200% growth over the past six months. When the price of ADSL was high the market take-up was slow, but as soon as Telkom reduced the cost, demand escalated.

A lot of this demand is coming from small businesses that have been using a dial-up connection and are realising it is now more viable to use an always-on broadband internet connection.

Where a small business used to pay 11800 a month for 512 kilobits per second (kbps) ADSL line, it now costs about R318 a month.

If a business is spending 30 minutes a day connected to the internet on a dial-up line it will cost about R342, and this could justify an ADSL line.

Small businesses that are using a 64kbps leased line connection at 112 000 a month are now saying they would be better off paying a quarter of the price for ADSL even if it means having a less consistent quality of service.

However, it is hard to satisfy demand and with Telkom there is a four to six-month lag in service delivery.

Having been sold on the benefits of ADSL customers want it now and are asking whether they should go for another type of broadband service such as 3G/HSDPA, iBurst or My wireless instead.

HSDPA is providing good response times and router devices are available that will allow a small business to connect multiple laptop and PC users to the service and share the bandwidth in the same way they would with ADSL.

A bundled 3GIHSDPA router and data card as an alternative to ADSL is available. A number of different mobile data packages are available with 3G and HSDPA, ranging from R350 to R5 000 a month, depending on how many megabytes of data download capacity are required.

The advantage of 3GIHS-DPA is that the service will switch to EDGE or GPRS if the user moves out of the coverage area, whereas with the iBurst and My-Wireless wireless service there is no alternative.

Dual-mode cellular/WiFi phones are available that allow calls to be routed to users over the wireless local area network (LAN) when they are in the office or over the mobile data network when they are traveling, using the same device. This is a lot cheaper than making conventional cellular voice calls, charged for by the minute, because data is charged per megabyte of capacity. This will save companies a lot of money because statistics show that 50% of cellular calls are made in the office environment.

A company should have an internet protocol-capable PBX to take advantage of this new capability. Then, if an employee has a wireless access point at home, he can have VoIP calls routed to him on his dual mode phone from his office.
About the Author
Stand apart with storm telecom: a voice and data provider who offer Faster Internet access - on demand & always on. International and cellular least cost routing ensures you cheap business calls.

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