Exchange Congestion

Telkom exchanges operate on a shared infrastructure basis, and their resources are sufficient to operate multiple IP pools and routing rules over this shared infrastructure. Occasionally however, a port, or router becomes faulty. This may disappear when using another ISP, because it may just happen that that IP pool doesn't route over the faulty port or router. If you see this happen, the likelihood is that the exchange's backhaul links are not congested, but there's a specific fault at the exchange that needs to be reported. An ISP cannot report this, but we can assist by helping you to identify the NAS port for Telkom to look at. If your line is not with your ISP, you must do the fault reporting, because this is shared infrastructure, not dedicated. It is a normal, and occasionally expected fault (because even enterprise grade equipment sometimes fails).

What if you still see problems on the second hop, but they're inconsistent? Well it's probably congestion, sorry to say. And again, not something an ISP can help with, as resolving congestion relief requires investment by Telkom into the exchange. It's not something a Telkom tech can do. All that a Telkom tech can do is submit a motivation via the area manager for an upgrade. Such an upgrade goes through a lengthy approvals process, as it is primarily a financial decision that must be made.

Are all second hop problems related to congestion? No. And in fact we find that many are port problems, as the backhaul links are not running at capacity. Often, there may also be actual line faults causing this resulting in the wrong power being delivered to the port as well.

So the bottom line:

  • Are all problems on the second hop indicative of exchange congestion? No, and it's not always fair to jump to that conclusion and blame Telkom.
  • Can it be identified that the problems are congestion related? Yes, but require much deeper investigation and significant amounts of cooperation from Telkom.
  • Is exchange congestion ISP related? No, it physically cannot be. The exchange sits before the ISP's infrastructure.
  • If your line is migrated to an ISP, is it their responsibility to "fix" exchange congestion? No. Congestion at an exchange is actually just increased contention. It's not necessarily a technical fault. It's, for lack of a better phrase, a financial one.
  • If your line is migrated to an ISP, is it their responsibility to report exchange congestion on your behalf? Yes, absolutely.
  • Does reporting exchange congestion help motivate an upgrade by Telkom? Occasionally, if it's reported by enough people.
  • Will reporting congestion again and again improve my chances? No. It doesn't help whatsoever. They use your DM number as a unique identifier when running these reports, so whether it's 2 or 10 reports from the same DM, it is counted as 1 on the report. They also have access to see the uplink utilisation, so they are in all likelihood aware of it long before you report it. The decision however is a strategic one as to whether they invest further into your area.
  • Is it frustrating? Yes, and we sympathise. We really do.
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