Vodacom Lesotho driving IPv6 launch after deployathon

Vodacom Lesotho is on track to launch commercial IPv6 services in early 2019, following a head start it acquired during an IPv6 deployathon, supported by Workonline, at the Africa Internet Summit ’18 held in Dakar, Senegal in April and May this year. We caught up with Ithabeleng Chabana from Vodacom Lesotho’s core networks team, to find out more.

During the deployathon, Chabana and her colleague, Malefane Khoete, successfully advertised Vodacom Lesotho’s IPv6 block to an upstream provider. But this was not as easy as it sounds. “I expected to spend about an hour on it, but we ran into a lot of challenges. Workonline helped us with things that we would never have been able to overcome if it were just the two of us,” she says.

“But they  didn’t take over. We were doing the work and when we ran into a challenge, they gave us time to reflect and troubleshoot while they provided consultation and asked the questions that allows us to really understand the problem, so we could get to the solution. It really was a joint effort.”

In addition, Chabana says, “being the only woman in the room was quite intimidating, but the guys were very welcoming and it was never implied that I was struggling because I am a woman.”

Back in Lesotho, progress has continued with the IPv6 project getting the stamp of approval from management, and the project plan itself being refined with the help of AFRINIC. The current timelines see Vodacom Lesotho launching its first commercial IPv6 service with an enterprise customer that has its own block of IPv6 numbers, in the first quarter of 2019.


Limelight Networks taps Workonline for IP transit in Africa

When expanding its content delivery network onto the African continent, Limelight turned to Workonline for local insight and quality IP transit.


As exciting as any new growth opportunity is for a business, there is naturally a steep learning curve when venturing into new territory. Top global Content Delivery Network (CDN), Limelight Networks, was convinced by the potential of providing content services to a rapidly growing pan-African audience, but knew it needed to understand the market and the technology landscape first. This would allow it to get the best local insight, meet the right people and ultimately strike up valuable partnerships with local service providers to successfully deploy and offer the highest quality connectivity service for its customers bringing content to the African market.


The team at Limelight had already met the Workonline Communications team at various Internet industry events around the world, so when the CDN started planning its first point of presence (PoP) on the African continent, it made sense to tap into Workonline’s on-the-ground knowledge and experience. The previous introductions “made it easy to strike up a personal relationship and reach out to them early on in our Johannesburg PoP planning process and gain valuable insight into the South African Internet ecosystem,” said Jonny Martin, Director of Network Strategy and Interconnection at Limelight.

Ultimately, as well as this vital industry insight, Workonline also provided Limelight with a diverse and flexible IP transit solution that provides the essential, reliable connectivity between the rest of the Limelight global network and the new PoP, located in one of Teraco’s vendor-neutral data centres, also housing NAPAfrica, Africa’s largest internet exchange.

“This service we designed with Workonline allowed us to reduce the risk associated with entering a new market,” said Martin. Workonline’s robust wholesale connectivity gives Limelight the low latency needed to deliver content services consistency, plus provides an immediate backup in case of outages elsewhere in the ecosystem.
Launched in the first half of 2018, the new PoP allows Limelight to offer a wide range of content services in sub-Saharan Africa. The service has seen growing interest from across the region and includes content delivery, storage, web acceleration and security services targeted to a number of vertical markets. The CDN’s global customers include the BBC, Marvel, Napster, Nintendo and NTT DOCOMO.


In addition to Workonline’s market insight and its network’s pan-African reach and quality of service, Workonline’s attention to customer service was important to Limelight. “Workonline is easy to deal with and was both willing and able to tailor a solution to our technical and commercial needs,” said Martin. “Services were delivered accurately and on time, and Workonline has been quick to assist us and work through any issues as they arise.”

“Workonline continues to be an ardent supporter of the South African Internet ecosystem, and this extends to the many international operators that are expanding into the market,” concludes Martin.


Thanks to the success of Limelight’s first PoP on the African continent, the CDN plans to establish a base of local referral and resale partners across the region. It is also planning a second PoP in Nigeria to bring content even closer to its customers.

“The more content which is brought closer to African Internet users the better. Content being closer to the user has a positive impact on the cost of Internet access, and the quality of service. The entire continent benefits from regional interconnections developing, which in turn is often spurred by operators wanting to reach content present at major African Internet hubs,” said Edward Lawrence, Director of Business Development at Workonline.

About Limelight
Limelight Networks, Inc. (NASDAQ: LLNW), a leading provider of digital content delivery, video, cloud security, and edge computing services, empowers customers to provide exceptional digital experiences. Limelight’s edge services platform includes a unique combination of global private infrastructure, intelligent software, and expert support services that enable current and future workflows. For more information, visit, follow us on Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn.

About Workonline
Workonline (AS 37271) is the fastest growing IP transit network in Africa, and one of the top three largest in Africa. The company is focused on providing highly scalable, high quality, and flexible service options to meet the needs of carriers, Internet service providers, content providers, and mobile operators. Visit, and follow us on Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn.


Senior Workonline Communications engineer, Michelle Opiyo, gives us the lowdown on the recent Advanced Routing Workshop that Workonline offered in conjunction with Tespok early in November.

During the advanced routing workshop, the participants had an opportunity to gain practical skills and gain in-depth understanding of Internet interconnection, explore IPv6 and most importantly build their networks and become part of a community of engineers. Indeed, some attendees got to solve operational issues on the spot just from being in the room with someone who had dealt with a similar issue before, and sharing experiences with one another. This is exactly why we host these training sessions, not because we have all the answers but because when we come together everyone's contribution adds to the whole.

The four-day course set out to equip network engineers with the skills required to configure and operate large scale networks using Border Gateway Protocol (BGP) according to the current industry best practices. This is important because the Internet relies on individual interconnected networks to act for their own good as well as the good of their directly connected networks to achieve end-to-end connectivity and enhance security.

Workshops like these give engineers the opportunity to practise complex concepts in a safe lab environment and empower trainees with practical skills that are immediately transferrable onto their own networks. Participants were able to relate their day-to-day activities to the course content and better understand how to build scalable networks and leverage their peering and transit relationships. This helps them improve network performance and user experience as well as drive down their cost of operations by efficiently utilising available resources.

Not only was the recent workshop attended equally by men and women, it was led and organised by a female team. A clear sign that women are stepping up and showing up to the proverbial table within the community.

From here, we’ll continue to build the community of network engineers through programs such as these, as well as Beers for Engineers to encourage growth of the peering community within the region. We also have plans to run the same course purely from an IPv6 perspective to catalyse deployment of IPv6 within the service provider networks, so watch this space…

ZAPF #3 : an engineer's perspective

Report from the third ZAPF event: GOTI, WCNOG & telemetry monitoring

We co-hosted the third South African Peering Forum in Cape Town, South Africa in November, during AfricaCom week. It was the biggest meeting yet, with sponsors including Workonline, AMS-IX, DE-CIX, Facebook, Flexoptix and LINX. Thank you to all, this wouldn’t be possible without you.

Workonline senior network engineer, Robert Jooste, shares his highlights of the day:

Andrew Owens from NAPAfrica shared news of an interesting Teraco initiative that is intended to benefit the Internet in South Africa. They have launched a cabinet called the Good Of The Internet (GOTI) where people can host services and kit that is of benefit to the entire industry. Currently it is only serving DNS servers, but the plan is to expand this over time. A fundamental principle of the GOTI cabinet, however, is that it cannot offer services for free that other ISPs would charge for, or would compete with customers of Teraco. I’m very keen to see what will happen with this cabinet and how it would change the Internet in Southern Africa for the better.

After Edrich De Lange from INX-ZA and Thusa Connect spoke about the success of KZNNOG and the “basic formula” it follows, the room erupted with excitement as the Cape Town community discussed the feasibility of creating their own network operators’ group. A 15 minute talk soon turned into a 45 minute session as the founding of the Western Cape Network Operators Group (WCNOG) was discussed. In fact, the new NOG bagged its first two sponsors for its first two meetups then and there. A mailing list was set up, and once logistics are finalised, you should look out for the kick-off of the WCNOG!

As an active member of the KZNNOG, I can say that this is a very exciting thing to happen in our community. This allows us, the network operators, to regularly expand on issues that we face, collectively work on solutions and then implement them. This also hopefully heralds more active involvement by the South African Internet community in discussing, voting and making a difference to the Internet in Africa and policies within AfriNIC.

Andrew Alston from Liquid Telecom spoke about telemetry monitoring which is set to totally change the way we monitor our networks. Telemetry monitoring will replace simple network management protocol  (SNMP) completely, which is good news as SNMP is slow and causes our routers to work harder than they should. By contrast, telemetry monitoring is easy on the routers and updates happen in real time as opposed to the 5 minute average that SNMP offers. This is a fairly new thing in networking as it has only been around for about two years.

For more about the South African Peering Forum, see



Tuesday, November 13, 2018 – Cape Town & Singapore:

Workonline Communications, one of Africa’s top three transit networks, has established a Point of Presence (POP) in the Equinix Singapore data centre, effectively establishing a gateway between networks in Africa and Asia-Pacific.

Workonline Communications is a leading provider of IP transit and wholesale connectivity services in Africa. Workonline operates multiple POPs across Europe and Africa. This expansion into Singapore extends the edge of the company’s network into Asia-Pacific and will significantly improve performance between Southern Africa and Asia-Pacific.

“Through this expansion, we now offer an important opportunity for Asian networks looking to reach Africa with the lowest possible latency. Workonline’s primary path is over the South Africa Far East (SAFE) cable system between South Africa and Singapore, which provides much better performance than current market alternatives,” says Edward Lawrence, Director of Business Development at Workonline Communications.

Due to the choice of cable system, combined with the deployment in Singapore, Workonline can now provide its customers with the lowest latencies possible between the Southern Africa and Asia-Pacific regions. The latency on the Workonline network between Johannesburg and Singapore now stands at 117ms, compared with approx. 397ms when using traditional paths via Europe.

After careful consideration, Workonline chose to deploy in the Equinix SG1 International Business Exchange™ (IBX®) data centre, one of the three data centres in Singapore, namely SG1, SG2 and SG3. Equinix Singapore data centre campus is Asia-Pacific’s network hub, with the most networked data centres in the region. The campus houses many of the international and regional networks connecting South Asia, and is also the leading point of access to one of the world’s three Global Roaming Exchange (GRX) peering points. There is a dense concentration of financial services companies, cloud services, biomedical sciences, IT, communications, media, physical sciences and engineering industries.

Equinix is a global Interconnection and data centre company, operating 200 carrier-neutral data centres across over 52 metros. Through Platform Equinix®, which provides access to vital ecosystems, customers can interconnect to one another and to more than 1,800 available networks, as well as more than 2,900 cloud & IT providers. This means users can reach 80% of the world’s population in less than 20 milliseconds, inside the most interconnected data centres in the world.

Andrew Rigoli, Vice President of Corporate Development & Strategy, Equinix Asia-Pacific said, “As a regional Interconnection hub, Equinix data centres in Singapore house dense networks, cloud and IT ecosystems that will enable Workonline Communications to provide its customers with low latency and high performing communications services. At the same time, Workonline Communications can utilize Equinix facility in Singapore as a gateway to other Asian markets.”
About Workonline
Workonline (AS 37271) is the fastest growing IP transit network in Africa and one of the largest in Africa. The company is focused on providing highly scalable, high quality, and flexible service options to meet the needs of carriers, Internet service providers, content providers, and mobile operators. @wolcomm

123NET extends Workonline relationship for West Coast

Fibre ISP 123NET extends Workonline relationship for West Coast expansion

Already a long-term customer of Workonline, it was an obvious choice who to turn to for IP transit and connectivity when KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa based 123NET expanded its FTTx services to Melkbosstrand near Cape Town.

“We need a reliable IP transit provider so that all our different customers’ expectations, whether home or business users, are met,” said Kalin Bogatzevski, CEO of 123Net. “It is very easy to work with the professionals at Workonline. We give them our target, explain our needs, and soon we have a solution that works in terms of quality and price.

“The biggest challenge users face is South Africa is the lack of high quality and well-priced Internet Access services in South Africa. Now South Africans have the chance to jump directly to the cutting edge thanks to the fibre technologies we use, combined with the IP transit we take from Workonline.”

The 123NET team builds its own fibre infrastructure, from digging the trenches, laying the pipes, rolling out the fibre, splicing, and connecting last-mile customers. They then support and manage the entire service themselves. Their services are currently available in Umhlanga and Durban North, and Melkbosstrand is currently under construction with the first customers already connected.

Entersekt taps Workonline for resiliency and redundancy

Mobile-first fintech service provider Entersekt taps Workonline for international resiliency and redundancy

Entersekt is a Stellenbosch-headquartered software company serving financial institutions and other service providers in Africa, Europe and North America, so the redundancy and resiliency of its services are paramount. To ensure this, when it recently established a new hosting facility for its client-facing services in Cape Town, South Africa it specifically selected multiple transit providers, including Workonline, that use a wide range of international cable systems.

“We prefer to employ services from transit providers that have a good local and international peering footprint. Highly reliable local and international connectivity and optimal latency are both key to our business,” said Albertus van der Vyver, cloud architect at Entersekt. “We also see it as an advantage to purchase transit from a wholesaler with direct international reach, to simplify and expedite turnaround time for issues related to international peering problems or carrier outages. Pricing is also a very important factor. For us, Workonline met all these requirements.”

Entersekt’s investment in the provision of high quality IP services for the distribution of their software has meant that they can offer their end users with higher levels of resiliency and reliability, resulting in a superior user experience. Their market-leading authentication and app security product, Transakt, is used by millions of people in 45 countries to secure their mobile and online banking and m- and e-commerce payments. Entersekt has recently also expanded into mobile payment enablement, providing banks with a growing menu of third-party mobile payment services which they can quickly and easily switch on within their own apps.


We checked in with Jackie on what’s going on in the East African ICT market, and the role Workonline is playing. She also shares her tips for doing business in East Africa.

East Africa has come a long way, with affordable internet coupled with smartphone adoption leading to growth of the ICT market in both the public and private sectors of the economy. As a result, we now have much higher ICT penetration levels than was earlier forecast.

The unification of business, legal and regulatory frameworks has positioned East Africa as a solid economic bloc. This has led to innovation, service diversification and network sharing, not forgetting the increase in regional connectivity, convergence and disruptive Internet of Things (IoT).

As more organisations slowly migrate their ICT assets to cloud architecture, the role of robust, flexible and open access networks can no longer be under-estimated in East Africa. At Workonline, we are proud to enable an open and fair competitive environment. We are here to bring a fresh wave of strategic partnerships, flexibility, experience and knowledge into the region.

We look forward to the development of a vibrant, sustainable, growth-orientated ecosystem in East Africa.

Top tips for doing business in East Africa:

Have a passion for the industry
Understand the business culture across the region.
Form strategic partnerships
Take a customer-centric approach


What happens when a group of tech savvy entrepreneurial friends start imagining their ideal fibre ISP? One where they would get the speeds that they paid for and weren’t just a number in a support queue. They go ahead and build it, of course. Which is exactly what the founders of Cape Town-based ISP, Atomic Access did, launching to friends and family in February this year and officially in August 2018.

Workonline has been there from the get-go, offering not only competitive prices on IP transit, but a minimum committed rate and burst peak rate commercial structure that suited Atomic’s needs. This meant that Atomic only signed up for a small bill but had the ability to ramp up traffic if they needed to as they grew. Which they did, and at that point Workonline offered them the flexibility to renegotiate their contract much sooner than anticipated.

“Workonline has allowed us to hit the ground running with their very competitive pricing and was key to helping us launch our ISP,” says Nicholas Soper, Atomic Access MD and co-founder.

But it's not only the affordability and flexible pricing that was important to Atomic. “The free IPv6 transit is very cool and pushed us to be a dual-stack ISP from the get go,” says Soper.

And the third piece of the puzzle, says Soper, making Workonline an important partner for this feisty new ISP, is the people. “They are approachable and friendly, knowledgeable and experienced, and care about the upstream issues that affect us,” says Soper.