Why did I wait so long?
For a while now I have been considering changing from 3G to ADSL. The reasons were simple: I no longer have a job, so could not afford 3G prices and as I very seldom travel these days do not need mobile connectivity. If I do - well, and other coffee shops offer free Wi-Fi so I can always make do. I was also always against another contract with Telkom and never trusted Telkom to deliver ADSL and voice on the same line without problems. But surprise, surprise.
The packages chosen.
I researched modems / routers quite a bit with very few but very specific requirements. I needed one wired connection (for emergencies) and two or more wireless, so my partner and I could use the network simultaneously. Installation must be simple (even though I have fair IT and network knowledge) as I wanted to go the self-installation route. Eventually I chose the Netgear DGN2000 (sold here as Netgear N-300): it gave the range required to cover my house, 4 wireless ports, was acceptable to Telkom and most importantly was on special at Computer Mania: R1200 instead of the R1500 at the competing IT retailer.
I chose Afrihost's ADSL package after comparing directly with Mweb and my current email ISP - VOX/Atlantic. I would have stuck with VOX - they offer a good first time package but they required a 12 month contract which I was not prepared to sign. I also checked briefly on prices from number of providers and although some proved cheaper than Afrihost, Afrihost responded to my queries quicker and more completely. Their policy of no long term contract, 1 month notice, and top ups (if required) would cost the same per GB as the 'contract' rate. I went for 2GB as I used between 1GB and 2GB on 3G a month and my partner uses 500MB a month.
In a phrase - almost dead simple. My main problem was the delay of a week from Telkom after ordering the conversion. They have a nice touch though - after receiving the go-ahead (DSL enabled on my home-line) they don't start billing for 7 days, so you have a week to set everything up. Afrihost took all of an afternoon to get the papers, fax my ID and configure. They also have a nice billing policy - I started on the 4th of the month so they pro-rata'ed my 2GB allowance and the bill: 27/31*2GB, and 27/31*R58.
After receiving the go ahead from Telkom I set everything up. Netgear loaded easily and configured easily BUT....it wouldn't connect. The buttons were all lit (power, DSL, Wi-Fi, Internet), our two computers could communicate (once I worked out the intricacies of Windows networking) but no internet access. First call to Telkom (and this was my only hastle) did not solve the issue. As it was now after 9 at night all subsequent calls were not answered . . .
The next morning I contacted Afrihost who quickly checked and said I have been configured, etc., so it is Telkom's problem. I have to admit my heart sank as I started hyperventilating.... It took three calls: the first said I needed to confirm my Telkom line but as I could'nt connect to do so couldn't help me further. She told me to phone the ADSL (technical) experts who told me they don't deal with SIO (self installation) so back to the original help desk. Finally an extremely helpful person. I still don't know what the problem was: my router setup was correct on my PC, but she told me a way to check my router directly (DOS command) and although I never changed anything, this reset something and I was connected.
Ease of use: Excellent. We switch on our laptops and are connected. With 3G we often had to try to connect three or four times every morning, and at least once a week ad to re-boot to reset everything. We have not been dropped once, even through heavy storms in Cape Town, whereas with 3G every storm knocked us out and we experienced intermittent drops. Sorry I lie - I was configuring the security settings while playing on-line poker and was dropped. That will teach me...
Speed: I am on the slowest package: 384kbps, yet my load speed is as good if not better than I ever got with 3G. Even with two of us on the router there is no degradation of service.
My only problem: oh dear Vodacom, Nashua. On about the 29th March I gave my months notice and requested my contract terminates on 1st May. After receiving no feedback I requested whether this had been actioned, and received confirmation that it would convert on 1st May. On 28th April still having +- 700MB available (I check daily) I was kicked off the network. With a sinking feeling I phoned Nashua who informed me they were having network problems. That evening on re-connecting I was told I had no airtime left! Yes, I had been disconnected on the 28th.
Nashua assured me that they had requested termination from Vodacom on the 1st and washed their hands of it. Vodacom (through Vodacom4me) assured me it was a Nashua problem and washed their hands of it. On 5th May I finally escalated my complaint at Nashua(I had lost 700MB through this early disconnection, and had to rush out to buy pre-paid at some exorbitant fee) and received a prompt note that this would be investigated. I have had no further feedback, but will put the response on record when it is received.
Why did I wait so long??