On March 18, 2010 Mweb announced uncapped internet to a country starved of an internet service that could even nearly be compared to that of our overseas brethren. A momentous day in our history, I remember thinking that we are saved, I remember looking up to the heavens while loading the product page on the Mweb’s site and thanking whoever was up there for the blessing which we had just received.
As I sat waiting for the Mweb product page to load my smile still stretched across my face like a concentration camp victim after finding a baked potato and that’s when it hit me, the word SHAPED loaded feebly down my monitor, my jaw dropped and so did the proverbial penny.
So what does SHAPED mean? Can I still download and go wild with my ‘uncapped internet’ as advertised or is there a catch to this (as always)?
To explain it in the simplest way possible, it works like this:
Shaping is basically a ‘priority order’ set up by the Devil (Telkom). Different functions on the internet utilise separate ports. Browsing, emails and downloading all fit into these different categories and Telkom has decided to choose which ports they deem more important. Which means that during busy hours on the internet you will find that your downloads will slow down due to traffic on the priority ports (browsing and email).
So what does this mean to the average user?
The shaping will affect users differently depending on how and when they plan on using it. If you use you connection to browse, email and pop onto Facebook occasionally you won’t really see the effects of the shaping. However if you plan on using your connection to view online video tutorials or download large files from users across the globe you may get a little irritated. Another factor is the time of day. If you use your connection during the evening or on weekends the chances are you will never notice the lag.
This is no doubt a big step in the right direction for our ISP’s here in South Africa as well as an important landmark in the countries development. The fact that we can now browse more content and at a reasonable speed can only be a good thing. The shaped vs unshaped argument is defiantly worth taking note of but whether users will notice the difference remains to be seen. Remember if you are really determined to have a line which holds it’s own in the international market you can always fork out the cool R2000 or so for an uncapped, unshaped 4Mbps line.
Please note that this article is purely for entertainment purposes and any arguments within are based on opinion.