MTN cautions service disruption

MTN says it is in the process of upgrading its Deep Packet Inspection, which may lead to service disruption.

Former security architect at Avaya, Thomas Porter, defined DPI as a method to filter packets on a network by not only looking at packet headers, but the data contained in that packet too.

In addition to promising a number of security benefits, DPI is also used to let networks prioritise certain types of traffic. Known as traffic shaping, Porter said that it could even be used to block some peer-to-peer protocols.

Though DPI offers networks many benefits, it has also been criticised for the risks it presents to net neutrality and user privacy.

In March, the group announced a R10 billion investment in capital expenditure, earmarked for 2015, to improve the coverage and quality of its network.

“This massive investment has been allocated for infrastructure upgrades across the country in order to optimise the network and provide better service and connectivity to our customers,” MTN said.

It noted that network upgrades have already commenced at various regions across the country and entail, among others, the construction of new base stations, the refarming of existing voice spectrum for deployment of new generation technologies such as the Long Term Evolution (LTE) network.

Upgrades in KZN, Northern Province, Mpumalanga, Gauteng and Centurion outside of Pretoria have been successfully completed this week, MTN said.

“We are currently upgrading our DPI connectivity and this might result in intermittent service disruption when streaming on certain website in the areas where upgrades have not taken place.

“We wish to apologise profusely for any inconvenience caused. The upgrades are expected to be completed by the beginning of May,” MTN said.

It also said that, in the event of a power failure, MTN base station are powered by batteries or generators, adding that part of the group’s investment is to ensure that all base stations are capacitated with the necessary batteries and generators.

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Update: An earlier version of this article used a definition of DPI from Wikipedia. This has been cited properly and expanded to provide better context for how DPI is known to be used in South Africa.

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MTN cautions service disruption