As South Africans, we are all aware of the impact that load-shedding has not only had on our lives and our overall quality of life, but on how businesses operate, too.
With the frequency of load-shedding occurrences ramping up, and with more and more of us working from home during the Covid-19 pandemic – at RSAWEB we believe it is now more crucial than ever that you have access to reliable, always-on Fibre internet in your home.
With this in mind, we spoke to Mohammad Cassiem, our Support Operations Centre (SOC) Manager, about the pre-emptive steps RSAWEB as a business took in order to ensure you, our loyal customer, didn’t experience breaks in service and that you continued to receive the best experience possible.
Q: What was the catalyst that inspired you to come up with and create a strategy focused solely around load-shedding?
MC: ‘’Regular load-shedding occurrences have had a huge impact on the lifespan of the batteries that used to provide backup power to our access nodes. After each load-shedding cycle, the running time (how long the batteries last) of each battery is reduced. To remedy this, our aim was to plan ahead, and follow-through with a solution that catered to the ‘unpredictability’ of Eskom power and the challenge posed by the quickly degrading lead-acid batteries we were using.’’
Q: What was your biggest challenge in terms of ensuring always-on internet being available for all our customers throughout the country?”
MC: ‘’Load-shedding events in Cape Town typically last up to 2.5 hours, whereas in Johannesburg it is far more unpredictable – the actual load-shedding event can be 4.5 hours long but the power can take up to 6 hours to restore. This is why we used the worst-case scenario, being Johannesburg, and applied a strategy nation-wide, with its needs as the standard. With this said, we invested in a more resilient inverter solution to replace our existing UPS backup power devices. These inverters, coupled with the higher capacity batteries, can easily provide 6 to 8 hours of backup power, allowing our customers to have uninterrupted internet access through the ‘dark times’ brought on by load-shedding.’’
Q: What was the outcome of this strategic planning and making these infrastructure upgrades?
MC: ‘’By planning ahead, replacing the old UPS devices with new inverters, and investing in more resilient batteries, we have been able to ensure that our customers, and the Johannesburg customers in particular, are fully covered during these unavoidable power outages. Thanks to the new upgraded backup power inverter solutions, our customers all over the country receive the best possible uptime.’’