Fallen Giants

Taking the baton from fallen giants

The old fallen giants hand over to Fibre

Evotel working with the RCCF in rustenburg helping to create a safe environment for all.

Advancement in technology

We live in the era of fibre, but since the advent of the internet in the early 1990’s, there have been various advancements in technology and methods to access the internet. It started with Asymmetric Digital Subscriber Lines (ADSL) later DSL, a technology relying on copper lines. Then we saw internet access granted through much faster and more stable Fibre Optic Cables (Fibre), and as mobile phones and mobile technologies became all the rage mobile internet access came to the fore. Mobile access also developed over time from 2G (second generation) technology to 3G, 4G, and the latest 5G mobile option. There is also satellite internet access, which as its name suggests utilises satellites to connect people to the internet.

ADSL or DSL and Fibre access are also called Fixed Line Technologies because it can only be accessed from a specific physical location where the lines are installed. Fibre’s connection is very stable, but the Wi-Fi connection linking you to the fibre is where the problems can be, due to signal strengths that are influenced by how far you are from the router, limited bandwidth and congested frequencies as well as interferences experienced from the weather.

Advantages of fibre

Each of the above-mentioned internet access solutions all have or had a place at one point in time. All of these old fallen giants have had positive and negative aspects to consider.

If you are always on the move and need internet access wherever you are, the benefit of mobile access is of course self-explanatory. You can be almost anywhere in South Africa and get access to the internet through either 3G or 4G. The 5G technology, however, though currently offering the fastest internet access speeds of up to 20 Gigabits-per-second (Gbps) with an average data rate of 100+ Megabits-per-second (Mbps) is unfortunately scantly available and only in big cities. Of course, all the usual parameters of wireless interference will also be present.

The 5G mobile network is still minute compared to 4G and fibre network coverage. It’s a new mobile technology and the infrastructure is expensive to install. As is usually the case with any new technology rollout, the rich and highly populated areas are always first to gain access to the technology. This means that the major cities, like Johannesburg, Pretoria, Cape Town, Durban and Bloemfontein are the first to have access to 5G. Only then will it be followed by the surrounding areas and then only, much later, will the infrastructure be erected in the provinces and far-flung regions. Again, first in larger towns before reaching more rural settlements, if at all.

GOne are the days of the old fallen giants of internet transmission methods

Disadvantages of ADSL and why it’s dying

ADSL, which is now considered an archaic and very slow connection option and is dying fast, was once the only way to connect to the internet. Not only is it now very slow compared to the other connection options, it also isn’t stable. Because of the rampant theft of copper cables that access to the internet, ADSL is down a lot of the time and the repair and the replacement of copper lines takes a very long time. That is if such repairs are even going to continue in the future. Telkom has indicated that it will be switching off its ADSL network and migrate all of its copper-based infrastructure to fibre.

Fibre networks are more reliable, than the old fallen giants. Fibre contains no copper components, only glass, to transmit data over the line and it has no resale value. This means that there are less instances of fibre lines going down due to cable theft. If, however, there is a fibre cable break, repairs are also done in mere hours, rather than days and weeks or even months.

4G VS 5G fibre

Depending on your data package, fibre internet speeds range, from 20Mbps to 1Gbps speeds. Lightning fast compared to ADSL speeds of max 24Mbps (download with ADSL2+ on your line) and DSL speeds of up to 400Mbps (download) and 8Mbps (upload). 5G technology can offer internet access speeds of up to 20 Gigabits-per-second (Gbps) with an average data rate of 100+ Megabits-per-second (Mbps). From a speed point of view it sounds like an immediate winner and must have. But speed isn’t everything and there are reasons why 5G is not the best internet access option available today.\

Fibre internet replaces the fallen giants

Why 5G isn’t available everywhere

For the time being, fibre is the best and most reliable internet access option available to most people. Especially to those living in smaller towns in the regions like Northern KwaZulu Natal, Mpumalanga, the Northern Cape and Limpopo. The faster 5G technology is simply too far off from becoming a reality for areas outside of the major cities. This is due to the lack of expensive infrastructure in these areas, which will still take a couple of years before these outlying, small-town areas are covered. The 5G services are also prohibitively unaffordable to the average man on the street and middle-income households. If you have fibre access already, you should count yourself lucky. Take comfort in the fact that fibre is still here to stay for a long while still.

Move over to 4G

For the relative broadband speed fibre offers users there isn’t, at present, any other solution that ticks all these boxes and can be described as a viable contender for what you pay and what you get. If you don’t have fibre yet and still use ADSL or DLS services, then it is time to upgrade to fibre without even thinking of 5G.

For those of you who are gamers and use high-end video conferencing for business, 5G’s higher latency of 4 milliseconds compared to fibre’s 1 millisecond latency could also pose problems and negatively affect your gaming experience and video conferencing quality.  

Overall, fibre’s future is bright. It will continue to be the most popular and widely used type of internet connection for years to come.