Bandwidth Priority

We receive a lot of queries about bandwidth priority. We hope you will find the answers you’re looking for below.

What is traffic prioritization?

Traffic prioritization, or bandwidth prioritization, is a traffic management method used to assign priority levels to different traffic protocols, such as Gaming, Peer to Peer (P2P) or Voice-over Internet Protocol (VoIP).


If you are online and your speeds suddenly slow right down, it is usually due to traffic prioritization.


The broadband network is like a highway. When the traffic is light, all vehicles are able to flow easily at their speed-limit. Some lanes of the highway have been reserved for important traffic, such as buses or emergency vehicles. During rush hour, ordinary vehicles are forced to slow down. However, traffic in the reserved lanes can continue to travel at high speeds.


Bandwidth prioritization works much the same way.


Why does Webafrica use traffic prioritization?

We want our customers to know what to expect from us, so we are always open and upfront about our products and services. Most internet service providers priorities traffic in some way, but we’re one of the few who are happy to share the specific details with our customers.

Webafrica prioritizes traffic in order to:

  • ensure that our customers receive a fast, high quality and sustainable online experience, all the traffic on the network is prioritized by type
  • prevent network flooding: without traffic prioritization, P2P and other high volume downloads, traffic could flood the network and slow down speeds for time-sensitive applications such as games, virtual private networks (VPN), VoIP and live streaming
  • provide a service relative to the amount each customer pays in terms of usage and experience
  • prevent non-time sensitive download traffic from slowing down interactive applications
  • allow us to adjust the network in the event of an unusual peak in traffic, or in freak situations (e.g. a network outage)

Throttling rating system – Uncapped and Capped accounts

How it works: A script that runs over the network calculates the average usage in your area. When your usage significantly exceeds that of the average determined on the network, the 5-star throttling process commences. Please see the Webafrica star rating system.

This usage is generated and monitored over a 10-day rolling period. Please keep in mind that usage between midnight and 6:00 am is unlimited and does not affect your star rating or daily threshold.

i.e. Using 2 GB per day on your Home Uncapped 2 Mbps plan, will not affect your rating and will keep you in the safe zone.


How is the traffic prioritized?

Below are the various Bandwidth Priority Profiles that explain the specifics of how traffic is prioritized.


Silver
Titanium
Gold
Platinum
 Browsing
Medium
Good
High
High
Voice over IP
High
High
Very high
Top
Gaming 
High
High
Very high
Top
 Video & audio streaming
Good
High
Very high
Very high
 Secure web (HTTPS)
Good
High
Very high
Very high
 Security (VPN)
Good
High
Very high
Very high
 Terminals
Good
High
Very high
Very high
File transfer 
Medium
Medium
Good
Good
Peer-to-peer 
Best effort
Best effort
Best effort
Best effort
 Other 
Medium
Good
High
High


This table shows how our products fit in the different bandwidth profiles:


Silver
Titanium
Gold
Platinum
Products
Home Uncapped
Home Capped
Home Capped Pro
Business Capped Pro


Business Uncapped
Business Capped




Business Uncapped Pro


Please note that an application that is not using the standard port may not be identified correctly, which will result in the traffic being classified as “Other” and therefore having a lower priority applied.

Ranking Prioritization: Highest to Lowest

  • Top is the highest priority traffic and is prioritized over any other profile
  • High has more importance/priority than “Medium”
  • Medium is the same as “Best Effort”, unless there is a big back-up on the network, then “Medium” traffic will be prioritized over “Best Effort”
  • Best Effort has the lowest priority profile and does not provide any certainty of priority


How does prioritized traffic compare to unshaped traffic?

With unshaped traffic, all traffic types are treated the same. While this may sound attractive, it is actually problematic as there is no intelligent traffic management. So protocols such as P2P and other download traffic could choke the network as no provider sells ADSL on a 1:1 contention ratio. This could slow down time-sensitive applications (games, VoIP VPN and streaming) and interactive applications (Web-browsing and email).

By using traffic prioritization, we can ensure that critical applications have a higher priority and will remain fully operational regardless of the current network load. In addition, by effectively using traffic priority management we also reduce the chance of the network becoming congested in the first place.


Does Traffic Prioritization help during high-demand or outage situations?

Yes. In high demand situations where unusual events result in high network traffic, such as streaming coverage of live sporting events or Windows and game updates, real-time applications are made a priority. To maintain a usable experience for interactive applications, there may be tactical rate-limits applied to certain traffic types. In this scenario, the objective is to protect the experience of time-critical and interactive applications.

During outages, we are able to manage the network’s lowered capacity according to the conditions the network is under. This will alter the customer experience according to the changing demands.

In the event of a large scale network failure, for example, if we were to lose a central pipe, we might have to block all advanced protocols on all accounts and rate-limit all accounts for all other traffic. This will help us provide at least a bare minimum real-time service for as many people as possible. For example, we may limit all P2P and File Transfer Protocol (FTP) traffic and rate limit other traffic at 512kbps.


We prioritize bandwidth so that you can have a quality online experience, saving you from horrible traffic jams and any subsequent ‘road rage’.


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