Home Lifestyle Load shedding: Why it affects internet connection and signal

Load shedding: Why it affects internet connection and signal

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Load shedding is back and South Africans are once again scrambling to find alternative sources of energy.

File picture: ANA

LOAD shedding is back and South Africans are once again scrambling to find alternative sources of energy.

These power outages do more than just frustrate and keep us in the dark. They also leave businesses without power, making it impossible or very difficult to handle daily operations. Network connections cause a serious problem for fibre providers and users. In addition to this, it also has an impact on our cellphone signal. But why is this the case?

How load shedding impacts internet connections

When load shedding happens, many fibre users lose their network. This is because when the electricity comes back, too many users try to reconnect at the same time. This causes a significant delay because the systems that control the network become overwhelmed.

It might take two to three hours for everyone to be connected again.

Why does load shedding affect the signal?

According to cellphone networks, load shedding gives them little time to charge the back-up batteries at cell towers.

MTN SA’s executive of corporate affairs, Jacqui O’Sullivan, said: “These batteries generally have a capacity of six to 12 hours, depending on the site category, and require 12 to 18 hours to recharge. The constant outages are starting to have a direct impact on the performance of the batteries. If outages continue, the battery’s integrity is compromised because of insufficient time to recharge and due to the excessive drain on the battery.”

A Vodacom spokesperson explained that once power is fully depleted, the tower stops working entirely. Depending on the configuration of nearby towers, this may cause customers to experience an intermittent service or an area to black out entirely.

Cell C’s acting chief technical officer, Schalk Visser, said: “During extended periods of power failures, back-up systems are not sufficient, resulting in a negative impact on customers as well as an impact on revenues.”

How to be prepared when load shedding strikes

Put the proposed load shedding times somewhere where you and your family will see it so everyone can have enough time to prepare for power outages.

If possible, invest in a few high-wattage solar powered lights for your garden and a few LED lights for inside. Light is a deterrent to burglars.

Make sure to keep your cellphone charged or buy a portable phone charger.

If you need to manually open and close your gates when you get home, try to have someone meet you at your entrance.

Use padlocks, burglar bars and deadbolts to provide an extra level of home security that isn’t power-dependent.

Alarm systems, garage doors and electric gates rely on electricity so make sure that they all have good back-up batteries.

Keep a torch or a solar- or battery-powered light that is charged beforehand in multiple, easily accessible locations around your home.

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