Remote working has made us realise just how important it is to have a stable and secure internet connection that allows us to continue doing a wide variety of tasks, and more importantly, stay connected to our colleagues.

Internet usage differs from job role to job role. Some staff members may be required to use the UCT Virtual Private Network (VPN) all day to access secure systems such as SAP, while others are only required to log on when they need to access a network drive or to install updates.

Your job role and home situation therefore determine what type of internet connection you need to successfully work remotely.

When you choose an internet connection, there are three main considerations:

Let’s have a look quick look at what these items entail.

Connection type
Connection speed
Data caps
  • Fibre is the strongly recommended option if it is available in your area.
  • A Wireless ISP is a good alternative if fibre is not yet available in your area.
  • Fixed LTE is the recommended option for areas that don’t yet have fibre or a wireless ISP, or if you don’t want something permanently installed. You still need a high data cap though.
  • Mobile LTE is the recommended option if you work in different locations often. It can get very expensive if you need a high data cap.
  • Connection speeds are quoted as download speed/upload speed.
  • Is an independent measurement and not related to data caps.
  • An average user will be able to get by with 25/25 connection speed.
  • The more devices that are connected to the internet, the faster the connection needs to be.
  • Consider everything in your house that uses internet, not just your work computer.
  • You do not need to choose a connection speed for Fixed and Mobile LTE. They will always operate at the fastest available network speed, which is usually an average of about 20/20.
  • Completely unmonitored connections that do not have any usage restrictions are called uncapped, unlimited or unmetered connections.
  • Where possible, always opt for an uncapped or unmetered data cap connection so that you don’t have to worry about how much data you’re using.
  • Some uncapped connections still have usage policies that might automatically slow your connection speed down if you use too much data. Always check the specific option you’re considering.
  • A fibre to the home connection is generally uncapped without usage policies, but you should always check this.
  • If you opt for an LTE connection, always pay close attention to the data cap.
  • Some Fixed LTE providers offer unlimited data but restrict the time of the day it can be used.
  • Choose a data cap that will provide enough data for a full month as top-ups can be very expensive.
  • It can be difficult to determine what your specific data cap needs are if you don’t know what your personal real data usage history is.

With this brief overview, answer the following questions to help you decide what option would best suit you.

If yes, then
If no, then
Does your area offer fibre? this is the recommended option for those who mostly work in one location.


Do you work from multiple locations?

you may want to consider either 

you may want to consider either 

Do you use the internet in the same way most times, or does your use change frequently?

read more about

Can you afford ±R800 a month?

you may want to consider either 

  • Fibre (for a more permanent solution)
  • Mobile LTE (if you frequently work in different locations)

we recommend using

How many devices typically connect?

read more about

What do you use the internet for?

see how much data specific tasks use:

data usage stats

Connection type

It’s the technology that connects your home network to the internet. In South Africa there are four main types of internet connections.


ADSL has been the standard always-on fixed line connection for many years. It uses your normal Telkom home landline to connect to the internet. Telkom is currently phasing out their ADSL infrastructure and soon this option will no longer be available.

You can no longer sign up for a new ADSL connection, while existing ADSL connections are being migrated to fibre or LTE by internet service providers. ADSL is, therefore, no longer an option for internet connectivity.

Fibre to the Home (FTTH)

Fibre to the home is a physical connection using a fibre cable installation. The cable is made of a very thin strand of glass fibre which uses light to transmit data making it very fast.

It is the recommended option if it is available in your area.

Fibre to the Home considerations:

  • Stable, reliable and fast connection type
  • Ideal for using the UCT VPN and Microsoft Teams meetings
  • Available in a variety of different connection speeds
  • Hardly has a data cap
  • Not affected by the weather
  • With the right UPS backup, it can work without interruption during loadshedding or power outages
  • Cannot be moved, allowing it only to be used where it was installed
  • Allows you to connect via a network cable or home WiFi
  • Fibre providers often offer free installation as well as month-to-month contracts.
  • Many fibre providers may charge a cancellation fee if you cancel the service within the first 12 months. Check with the provider you select about their cancellation policy.

Recommended service providers
Vox | Afrihost | Webafrica | RSAWeb

NOTE: Use FibreTiger to quickly compare available fibre packages at once for fibre internet and pricing.

Wireless ISP (WISP)

A wireless connection via a Wireless ISP is very similar to a fibre connection. Instead of installing a fibre cable to your home, a long-range wireless device is installed on your roof to connect you to the internet. It looks similar to a DSTV dish.

If your area doesn’t have fibre yet, it may be covered by a Wireless ISP, which offers nearly as good a connection. You can then check if there are wireless ISP options in your area.

Wireless ISP considerations:

  • Does not normally have a data cap, but some Wireless ISPs do. (See section on Data Caps below)
  • Slightly less stable than fibre but still a fast connection type
  • Can only be used at the place where it has been installed
  • Allows you to connect via a network cable or home WiFi

Recommended wireless service providers
Sonic Wireless | Wibernet | Level7 | Herotel
Many areas have local Wireless ISPs, so have a look around your area too.

Fixed LTE

Fixed LTE is a cellular 3G/LTE connection that is provided as an alternative to a fixed-physical connection but provides many of the same features. Fixed LTE offers much cheaper data rates than a standard mobile LTE option but is designed not to be portable; instead, it can only be used in one place.

Fixed LTE considerations:

  • Available with and without data caps, so be sure you select the right option for your needs (see section on Data Caps below).
  • Has no physical installation so is less permanent
  • Is much less stable than both fibre and a Wireless ISP but is still a fast connection type
  • Ensure that the provider you select has fixed LTE coverage in your area as this option is not as extensive as 3G/LTE and mobile network coverage.
  • Should not be used as a portable solution, as fixed LTE coverage is much less reliable than mobile LTE options.
  •  Allows you to connect via a network cable or home WiFi but is dependent on the router supplied by your internet provider.
  • LTE providers may have degraded connectivity or even be unavailable during loadshedding and power outage.

Fixed LTE should be used if you don’t have fibre or a wireless ISP in your area, or if you want something that you can take with you when you move home (provided it has coverage at your new location).

Telkom and Rain are the two main providers of Fixed LTE options in South Africa.

  • Telkom
    • Telkom resells their Fixed LTE offering through internet providers such as

Afrihost | Webafrica | Vox

  • Rain
    • Differs from other cellular providers as they are a data-only network
    • Offers affordable LTE connections with unlimited data caps
    • Offerings are usually month-to-month
    • Coverage should be checked before signing up ,as they are not available in all areas.
    • Be aware that some offerings are only available at specific times.
    • Connectivity options

Mobile LTE

Mobile LTE uses the same core technology as Fixed LTE but is more portable and has better coverage. It is, however, much more expensive than any other connectivity option.

Mobile LTE considerations:

  • Usually has a very strict and low data cap. So, if you have high data needs, do not consider mobile LTE as this is by far the most expensive connection type per gigabyte.
  • Is the least stable connection type
  • The router or dongle can be powered by a USB port or internal battery.
  • Is portable, so if you need to work in another location, you can take your device and connection with you.
  • A USB dongle can only be used by one computer or laptop and does not provide WiFi connectivity to other devices.
  • A MiFi router is only accessible to WiFi-enabled computers.
  • LTE providers may have degraded connectivity or even be unavailable during loadshedding and power outage.


Available LTE options

Mobile network providers, Cell C, MTN, Telkom and Vodacom, offer a wide range of data packages. You can either sign up for a 24 or 36-month contract or opt in for a month-to-month option. These options either include a fixed amount of data you can use per month, or are uncapped. This article provides pros and cons to consider when choosing between contract or prepaid.

  • Vodacom
    • Very good coverage and speed.
    • Data pricing is high, but average for this connection type.
    • Contract options
    • Prepaid options
  • MTN
    • Very good coverage and speed.
    • Data pricing is high, but average for this connection type.
    • Contract options
    • Prepaid options
  • Cell C
    • Coverage is not as good, and speed can be slower in peak usage.
    • Data pricing is often lower than Vodacom and MTN, but you should always compare.
    • Contract options
    • Prepaid options

Connection speed

Internet connection speed is like a water pipe. The wider the pipe, the more water can flow through it at once and more people can access it. If the pipe is too thin and you turn on too many taps at once, you won’t have enough water flowing out of them.

Connection speed works in a similar way. The connection speed is the amount of data that your connection can send or receive at once. So, the more applications and devices using the internet in your home, the faster the connection needs to be.

Internet connection offerings from service providers usually contain three crucial pieces of information:

  • Download speed
  • Upload speed
  • Data cap

Data caps are covered in the next section, but it must be mentioned that data caps have nothing to do with connection speeds.

Download speed is how quickly you can receive information, files and data from the internet.
Upload speed is how quickly you can send information, files and data to the internet.

The most important thing we need from your internet connection is download speed. For example, viewing a website, watching a video online, watching and listening to a Microsoft Teams meeting, downloading files and reading email are all download tasks.

This isn’t the only thing to consider when choosing an internet connection though. You also need the ability to upload (or send) data to the internet, which is then the upload speed.

For example, sharing your webcam and talking in a Microsoft Teams meeting or video conference, saving a file to cloud storage like OneDrive, or sending email and files to someone else are all upload tasks.

Measuring speed

Speeds are measured in megabits per second, which tells you how many megabits you can receive or send per second through your internet connection. The higher this number, the faster the connection is and the more quickly you can send or receive data.

When you look at an internet connection offering, the download and upload speed will usually be expressed as download speed/upload speed. For example, a 50mbps download and 25mbps upload connection will be displayed as 50/25.


When choosing an internet connection speed, consider what your work and home requirements would be for using the internet. Devices such as computers and laptops, smart TVs, CCTV systems and gaming consoles all use the internet, and will affect your connection speed.

  • A standard UCT staff member who attends some MS Teams meetings, works with email and occasionally uses the UCT VPN should opt for a connection speed of around 20/20.

  • If you are more than one person working remotely, or have children that may also use the internet for schoolwork or entertainment like watching videos or playing games, consider a connection speed of 50/25 or even 100/50.

Data caps

The third piece of information you will see when comparing internet connection packages are data caps. Data use is completely different to connection speed and is not measured by speed but rather by how much you use.

To use the water pipe example again, if you have a wide pipe but only have one tap open a little way, you will only use a small amount of water even though there is much more water available if you need it. You’re monitored on the amount of water you use, not the amount of water that is available for you to use at once.

Everything you do on the internet requires transferring data to your device. This includes reading an email, watching a video, downloading a file and opening a website.

This data is measured in megabytes and gigabytes (1 gigabyte is 1000 megabytes).

Some tasks are therefore more data intensive than others. Watching a video on YouTube for example, uses much more data than reading an email.

Just like connection speed, depending on what you do at UCT, you will have a different data cap requirement. For example, if you need to log on to the UCT VPN often and for long periods of time you would use more data than if you were just using Outlook to read and respond to email.

It is therefore important to carefully consider how much of your job requires you to use the internet and what your budget allows. Every additional connected device uses more data, so make sure the connection and data cap you choose is sufficient for your needs.

Usually, the most data intensive work we do at UCT is video conferencing and virtual meetings.

Estimated data usage for some applications

Zoom meeting in HD video calling Consumes about 1GB of data per hour
Watching a video on YouTube or Netflix Consumes about 1GB of data per hour
Teams meeting in HD video calling Consumes about 450MB of data per hour
Listening to a radio station online Uses about 100MB an hour
Opening an average website Uses about 5MB of data
Sending or receiving an email Uses about 3MB of data