ADSL killed my baby
The arrival of voice over IP and cloud-based telephony undoubtedly started a new era in South African telecoms.
However, the reliance by small companies on ADSL as a link for their voice communications is threatening the uptake of VoIP and putting their business at risk.
Because ADSL is a ‘best-effort’ technology, it is not suitable for business-critical voice communications. Providers quite simply do not have control over the number of subscribers accessing the service, and can therefore offer no guarantees.
And in many areas, as Telkom exchanges become congested or fall into disrepair, the ADSL service becomes unreliable, and hence unusable by business standards.
Way too often, downtime or poor quality voice results in frustration, lost business and a growing belief that VoIP is not ready in South Africa. The truth is, 90% of call quality problems can be attributed to the quality of the connection.
Not good enough
Of course, you may be connected to an upgraded Telkom exchange that isn’t over-contended, making for an acceptable email and Internet experience. But how will you know if your connection is suitable for voice?
Downloading 1 megabyte of data in a minute or two may seem like a reasonably good experience, even if the download stopped entirely several times or broke up while downloading – because it would still be usable.
But not so with voice – if this was one-minute conversation you were having, you would be ready to throw the phone against the wall or shout at your service provider (to no avail).
Typical ADSL quality issues
The following quality issues routinely occur with best-effort connections like ADSL:
Audio fading in and out
Audio resembling talking under water
Jittery voice (constant breaks in the conversation)
Calls randomly dropping
By George Golding, MD, Euphoria Telecoms