Monthly Archives: October 2007

WISP and ADSL services compared

MyBroadband published an article comparing ADSL to WISP services today: WISPs versus ADSL

Everybody loves the underdog.. if they know about the underdog. It’s nice to see the smaller and more dynamic network providers (WISPs) get publicity and mind-share. MyBroadband is currently the most popular local technical community portal, with a readership of about 230k unique visitors per month.

If you get a bit of a deja vu feeling.. yes, you did see my comparison very much like this not too long ago.

“Let the animals run the zoo!” (-:

SA Broadband Value for Money Comparison

I was interested to see how the Amobia and Frogfoot products compare to the rest of the SA consumer Internet market so we did some research and drew up a spreadsheet. I wanted to see how the Frogfoot Wifi “neighbourhood sharing” model would compare. The idea is that traffic gets aggregated to a shared Internet connection so all the users share the cost of the line which brings the overall cost down. I also wanted to see how Amobia’s Wireless Broadband compared to the ADSL, 3G/HSDPA and iBurp services.

Note: I compared “all inclusive” services, connection and traffic.

Pick your format.. jpg, pdf, ods (source).




Hmm.. seems WordPress does not like .ods uploads, I’ll just gzip it.

ps. We updated the Amobia website, it now has a Javascript calculator for business VPN services. The Amobia consumer services have been bumped up in speed.

Do the work you want to be doing

“Do the work you want to be doing”. This sounds lame, even if I say “it’s true” will it sound lame.

It’s just too simple and idea. People manage to live in their little worlds of illusion.. safe from self criticism and self analysis. Once you’ve labeled the “thing” you do, you just kinda get on with it.

Trouble is.. the work you do is very important. Your work is key to your happiness, sense of progress, fulfilment, forward momentum and self actualisation.

Earlier tonight a friend visited to pick up a scarf which he had forgotten at the last GeekDinner. He had just returned from a talk at the UCT GSB about just this topic… do what you want to be doing.

One of his comments were that: he thinks, I am doing what I want to be doing. It took me a while to realise.. because of the “labeling things and just getting on with it” idea I talked about earlier, but he is right.

It’s a pretty liberating idea. Try it. I almost did not trust the logic at first, maybe because the idea is so simple, but after giving it some thought while making myself dinner, it makes sense.

At the end of 2005 I was working for a big brand corporate culture company. It was like a 6 month sabbatical from doing what I love to do, to doing what I had to do. I learned lots (technically), but the best thing was that I found the reasons and motivations to return to what I love doing. Made me appreciate it so much more.

The sad thing is how quickly we forget. It’s nice to be reminded. Maybe I need to write it on my wall. I love what I do… I know what you are thinking, “it’s too simple”.

Connecting Khayelitsha Library, Telkom: 6 months, Amobia: 3 days


Last week I received an email from Jonathan about the IkamvaYouth‘s Telkom Toyi Toyi plans.

IkamvaYouth had planned a protest march because of Telkom’s poor service and long delays in connecting their Library’s computer lab in Khayelitsha. They have been trying to get an ADSL line installed since March 2007. They paid a deposit in May. Since May Telkom have indicated that it would install the line during the following month, every month, until September. Telkom then changed their minds and could not install because there was “no infrastructure” in the area.

This is unacceptable. The lab is widely used by IkamvaYouth’s learners and volunteers, other learners from surrounding schools, and community members (including small business owners, students from tertiary institutions, job applicants, community-based organisations and writers) – all of whom have been patiently waiting to be connected to the world wide web.

A 3G connection also did not work.

On Thursday I contacted the library and asked if they would be interested in an Amobia connection. I submitted a site survey request, which happened on the Friday afternoon.

An Amobia site survey team visited the library and confirmed that they could connect the Nazeema Isaacs Library as part of the SchoolWAN project.

The installation was completed this afternoon (Tuesday). Their wireless CPE is configured and the link is up. Their CPE is connected to the SchoolWAN VPN server.

A Telkom install team also (finally) showed up at the library today to install the ADSL line. According to Joy (who organised the protest).. they showed up because of all the bad publicity Telkom was getting. I’m not sure if they managed to complete their install. Let’s assume they did.

Telkom took about 6 months. Amobia took 3 business days.

Did I mention the Amobia link is free as part of the SchoolWAN project?

Frogfoot has agreed to sponsor 3GB of Internet traffic per month to get them started. SchoolWAN is looking for sponsorship of more Internet access for the schools.

I suspect the protest march is still going to happen, I think they are still cheesed-off about waiting 6 months… I would have been. It’s planned for Friday the 12th at 14:30.

UPDATE: It was just another Telkom survey, they could not install the ADSL line. So Telkom are taking 6 months.. and counting..

Proper Name brands in SA telecoms

Branding is a hobby of mine. Here is a list of good brand attributes I have collected (feel free to share yours):

  • Short
  • ‘Proper Name’ Brand
  • Fairly simple
  • Suggestive of category
  • Alliterative
  • Easily speakable
  • A bit different and unique
  • Own the .com domain
  • If you hear it on the radio, there is a good chance you will spell it correctly

First some history.

Last week I was driving and noticed somebody advertising a “” email address. Why Surely a billion++ Rand company can do better than that.. don’t they have the big name advertising firms on their payroll?

Have a look at Looking at the WHOIS data, the domain was registered on 7 March 1999.

The commercial Internet business started (I’m guessing) around 1993 in South Africa. What was Telkom doing between 1993 and 1999? Another interesting one is, created 23 Aug 1995. I’m very sure I had a dialup account before that date.

Ok, so they missed the whole “Internet thing”. We all knew that.

What’s interesting is the number of other ISPs which don’t fit the good brand attribute list.

I’m a bit lazy to write a script to do some WHOIS dumps.. so let’s just do a quick scan of the ISPA member list..

Some of the big ones.. 25-Aug-94 September 30, 1994 16-Jun-1992 2001-12-28 14-May-1993 13-dec-1999

Oh, this is good.. 27-sep-2007
now that’s a real winner in the branding game.

Strange how many of these are taken by domain squatters.

The only ones I would list as useful, from a list of 142.. hmmm..

I’m obviously a bit biased (-;

A unique, proper name brand with .com domain is by no means the be-all-and-end-all and I can understand there is some simple locality to doing business in just one country.. but I’m sure it helps in the long run and shows that some thinking was done before the business started.