Balancing Uncapped

Erick Wiese~Bosveld Internet

Maybe I’m not the one to talk but we have no real uncapped in SA. And this
will probably be really off topic but……

There is always user problems when it comes to uncapped. For instance “i
signed for a 384kbps uncapped solution but i can only download at 20 kbps”
or “why is torrents so slow” and to make it even worse they use encrypted
torrent downloader’s multiple machines and external hard drives( port 443)
that makes it almost impossible to detect. All “they” the client wants is
to download and download and download movies to resell for 20 bucks to
friends and family to make up for the R200 – R400 they pay per month and
they would do 180 to 250 Gb per month. 180 Gb =184320 mb = @ R400 it boils
down to less than 1 cent per mb. I would love to pay that price per mob.
And then they are always complaining they can’t download fast enough. Now
the big players sell “uncapped @R99 per month” and they complain about the
price as well because now you overcharge him and his buddies. Yes they do
rollovers and fair usage policies but the client only see the add. UNCAPPED
FOR R99 per month. If you go install at client and you see multiple
external drives be very awake.

I have tested it myself with encrypted utorrent if setup in a certain way
it will suck an 4mb adsl line dry that the copper crack. It will make any
other network user also suffer that wants to go to banks. With my setup i
direct bank traffic to certain wan only because Absa does not like jumping

Now you get downloader’s via normal working customers that wants to get into
the bank and their email but they can’t as the downloader’s are sucking
everything out of the connection they can.

If say you have 200 (Fictional amount of customers)customers and only 15 of
them are heavy downloader’s. You will be dealing with about 75 other
clients that have poor connectivity or this morning i can’t go into Absa
could you come look. Now you jump in your bakkie or send techy to client
REMEMBER : Those 15 clients switched on their machines started or is busy
downloading 20 to 30 different torrents each and they are off to work to go
use their boss adsl internet to receive mail and play with facebook all the

So one day you get real fed up because you know you can’t bill customers and
you did the tests.

I took one 4mb line and tested several companies that do uncapped versus the
capped solutions for about 2 months. The outcome is that uncapped is not
reliable and capped solutions is not the answer if you going to do uncapped.
I also found out that capped solutions torrents go much faster up to 400kbps
due to the fact that you pay for what you use and not fixed amount per month
as capped as explained by the following article I tested
them all vodacom mtn IS access openweb mweb webafrica diggichilly capped and
the uncapped if i could find it i tested it, some was test account they give
you for free and some not.

I decided to either terminate them or stall (shape P2P a lot) Better option
is – terminate “them” Tried the shaping and then the phone starts ringing at
12 at night. ” There must be a problem with network. You ask what . Client
say its torrents are slow only downloading at 5-9 kbps You ask how many
torrents he is downloading . Client say 15 of them and everyone is going at
5-9kbps. You go through routine of asking if he can browse and send and
receive mail. Yes he can. Will look into it . Next morning he (client) is
on your case. COMPANY A (where i get my bandwidth) send out this lekker
notification that you used your connection for illegal downloads of
copyrighted stuff and they want to terminate the contract. Lekker notice to
start Monday morning. Do you really know how much torrents and porn people
download. You will be scared and amazed at the same time.

I did it the hard way after 3 months of shaping P2P I even paid a Mikrotik
advisor to check my settings and make changes and he didn’t come cheap. He
could not find a problem except that we still use 8 adsl lines running at
4mb -lol…… I then decided to bite the bullet … I do have a fair
knowledge of mikrotik and ubnt products and i knew who the culprits were.
Took stats of last 6 month usage of every client i had and discussed it
individually face to face with clients what new package was the right one
for them. I also made peace that i will not be able to help everybody that
comes my way. I still go the extra mile for any customer or potential
customer but i will rather say that i can’t provide customer with service
than give them bad service. Just go look at connections at 3 in the morning
and you will spot them – the heavy users. I send out 15 termination letters
with AUP stating that they misuse network (contracts are month to month with
one month notice My contract also states that i am not forced to say why i
want to terminate with AUP.) to the 15 and they all want their money back
because you are terminating their services. and you think R6000-00 is a lot
to give up per month on income.

Now you think 15 customers @ 2400 = R36000 rand is a lot of money to give
back. Must i not reconsider my actions. Well my friends it is peanuts
against the hours and hours and the months of frustration and the late at
night phone calls from regular customers that cannot go to say Absa or any
bank for that matter to check if their salary has been paid in so your debit
order can go off tomorrow morning. You will have frustrations till you do

Then i read the following article

I’m not forcing anyone to do what i did and i am a very impulsive person. I
literally went from client to client explaining that uncapped is not going
to be offered anymore. And at the end it worked out for me.

Network got so quiet after we switched over to capped solutions that i at
first thought there is something wrong on network. We still do prioritising
of traffic but we do not limit any traffic anymore by shaping or limiting
download speeds. I literally thought this is it. This is the end. Phoned
everyday a couple of customers for week to check if they have problems.
Told them it was spot checking. Nothing wrong on network. They say network
is going good. My fault reporting line went from ringing almost all the time
to dead quite. Checked it by phoning number myself several times to make
sure it works or is not redirected to cell phone.

Then it struck me…. that now i have the time to go to my own customers
grow my network and ask my clients what they want and the best thing is i
didn’t have one complaint from a existing customer except two power adaptors
that got zapped by lightning in the last two months. I had more time to
spend on VOIP… PS : THANK YOU MOHAMMAD I had time to take that 15 units
and go put them up for demo purposes at competitors and new clients free of
charge for a month. If you do not like it i will come and take it down and
put the old system back for you. I told clients it was demo units and i will
carry warranty for them for 12 months and gave them big discount. Did it in
writing with clients. Got 75 present back of the R36000-00. Got 15 new
clients between R400 and R575 per month back on network I’m happy, my
customers happy and they are referring customers to me. The shortest wait
was 17 hours for demo client to come back to me to ask “where do i sign” He
said it took him literally the next morning to go into bank site to make

I’m fair towards my customers. I show them how to go do a speed test from
their machine or machines. Setup favourite for them so they do not forget
where to look and we have a rollover system of 500 mob to 2 Gb of data free
per month, dependant on what package the client have with us, for all our
customers that is “using” a little bit more than usual this month. And they
know they are capped. They can log in to check how much data the used per
day. They get warning send to them. The works and we scan for viruses and
spyware for free at installation…while we scan computers we answer all
their questions and tell them what they can expect from us. We send them
welcome letter with all the stuff we discussed and the routes to follow if
they do have a problem and how to escalate it. And my number is always on
and if my number is off it is because I’m out of signal range. We have
complaint number to log calls.

Back to question :

I do not know the member’s situation.

Why is the customer asking for ping and download performance logs.
Is client excisting client or not ?

If he is excisting client :

What kind of queues does member have? Priority to certain stuff….on AP
Firewall rules the member use ? for instance tarpitting stuff..
What kind of backhaul does member use. ADSL
If adsl what is the ratio between clients per adsl ?
Where does member get his cap from ?
Does client signal level have something to do for asking ping performance.
How much cap is the client using per month ?
If member sells only uncapped does he have fair usage policy in place…
How long is members terms and conditions – mine is 3 pages and its small
What anti virus does client use. Is his machine clean or maybe zombie
Does member block certain ports on network.
Does his contract state it is a best efford service – uncapped.

There is alot of stuff to take into consideration to help member and the
client looks like he has some IT experience or have someone that feeds him
bits of info…? Or client was burned in the past by previous wireless

If member is using bandwidth from company A he should look into company A’s
aceptable user policy (AUP) to help him set up his own. Its good to know
how your provider looks at AUP to help addapt your own AUP. Our AUP can
change anytime and on contract it states that customer knows that AUP can
change due to unforseen circomstances ( 3 page fine print)

For one person uncapped means 4 Gb of data per months and for another it
means he must download 200GB this month. The word “uncapped” is wrong its
not uncapped but only the big companies buy bulk cap and a way to prioritize
traffic on their side because they do pay big bucks for their backhaul. I
wish i could only get the money some providers spend per month on their

Kbps Silver National Plus Gold Burstable IP Transit
Gold Capped (75/25) Gold Capped (50/50) Gold C (25/75)
1984kb/s R 18 260.00 R 13 737.00 R 33 149.00 R 41 267.00
R 25 912.00 R 28 083.00 R 30 254.00

And that is only 1984kb/s TIDIS line from Telkom. There is people spending
up to R750 000 per month and i think this is their way to recover the costs
by selling uncapped products. They use rollover policies to cover that
clients do not get out of hand to minimize damage by heavy users to their

My approuch to giving service is to over provide your customers with the
service you do give them. Spoil them a bit with fast and reliable
connections. Look after your current clients first and then new customers
which you want to put onto network. Remember its the existing clients that
pays the bills. Try to make sure they get what they pay for even if you are
a bit more expensive than your competition. A price war is the last thing
you want to get yourself in. It normally means at the end of the day that
nobody is making any money. What it means is that if you do sell uncapped
please make dead sure that you can provide the service before you sell it.
Make sure you have the capacity to do it 24/7 and you do have a short term
solution for fail over action if something hits the fan.

Dont let the ball fall. We in the bushes have less competition than you guys
in the concrete kingdoms. It doesn’t help expanding and buiding new high
sites or telling people you can do 80km with a cpe to get them onboard and
then three months down the line they do not believe your story anymore.
There is people out there doing it still today. There is customers of a
rival network thats emails has never worked for more than 1 week at a time.
I fixed it for the one client and now he is my client… A potencial
customer phoned me today and asked me why i am more expensive than the guy
that can do 80 km cpe links uncapped and i do not want to do over 35 km
links to customers with cpe equipment and i cap people. You know what
someone with same idea will comes along and by doing it right from the
start, take your clients away one by one with service. Not price but
service. The basics works – internet, email and voip. Do you know how
“lekker” it feels to have a potential client phone you telling you he
compaired your service at the neigbor with his exsisting service and he
wants to come over to you. Paying double per month because your service
works. How will you ever get the client back if he is willing to pay double
you charged him.

What im trying to say is to give your customers the best service you can and
a little bit more. Do not over comit yourself. You can fix the problem first
by identifieng the problem and fixing that. Otherwise you will cycle clients
( get new ones and old clients terminate) if you do not fix the problem. In
the long run it will only benifit you. Does not matter if you have 20 or
2000 customers. SERVICE is the key to your domain in wireless. They
expect to be treated fair and i will never bribe a customer with freebies
like free equipment to get him onto my network.

For the member with the problem. I really hope that you can sort it out.
Maybe something i have said will help you to sort it out or to rectify the

Best regards
Erick Wiese