How not to report on load shedding

I thought this article just might inform me as to why the internet (mobile) networks go down during LS. :frowning_face:

Yeah it is very thin on details. I think one reason is quite simple. The ADSL/Fibre routers go down. All the mobile devices then pile onto 3G/4G/LTE. The contention ratio goes up… the speed comes down.

It is worth it to spend a little money to power your router from a battery pack. I saw one outfit selling a R70 cable (with a boost converter) that changes 5V into 9V or 12V. Plug your router into an ordinary USB battery pack…

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My point is that the internet services should be backed up during power outages.
My experience is that the broad band internet infrastructure is but the cellphone networks aren’t.
Here in the Cape peninsula the cellphone signal dies immediately the grid goes down. So are the mobile networks now also living and dying by grid power being available??

As far as I understand, some cellphone towers have battery backups for a while, but even these don’t survive a full 2 hour loadshedding. Many of these fail within the first 30 minutes or, if there’s loadshedding soon again, fail almost immediately. Probably not recharging as quickly as needed. Presumably the power draw of cellphone towers are much more than backing up some wired networking infrastructure…

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The cell tower batteries are stolen, costs the cell companies millions each year, they cannot keep up with the replacements, so I read a year or two ago.

What is misleading in that article “These batteries generally have a capacity of six to 12 hours, depending on the site category, and require 12 to 18 hours to recharge."

6h (12 h to recharge) - 12h (18 to charge) capacity… having run 2h or 2 x 2h in ±24 hours, I don’t understand how those sums work ito recharging.

Possibly because the sites with 6 hour capacity doesn’t run the same chargers as the ones with 12 hour capacity. Makes complete sense too… I’d put a bigger charger on the 12h sites too!

The point is that it takes twice as long to put the energy back worst case), so we can handle up to 8 hours downtime out of 24. That means that above stage 4 (which at least in Cape Town means you are out about 6 hours a day), you’re looking at depleted batteries and (worse) damaged batteries in cases where lead-acid is still in use.

happily running a small 1000W UPS… been keeping all cozy the last couple of days, do have to get newer batteries though, the old one’s lasted 15min, and it’s only like 300watt load on the UPS.

Carte Blance did a thing about this a while back, waiting for them to start fitting those batteries with GSM cards that board case GPS location.


JBay atm, twice a day, 3 hours a shot,
atm we normally down 7-9 or 10am and then 5pm - 7 or 8pm, but we also had a third shot last night, 11pm - 1 am.


People have been putting these into their UPS’s and it seems to work.
Im trying some in the gate motor this weekend.

ye, heard about them… but also heard they like R1000/each, well thats a couple of normal 12V 8AH units at R200/each.


R750 on which is normally the most expensive website.

UPS’s are not designed to be cycled daily, but that shouldn’t be the case with yours.

Luckily they are not…

so Thats R1500 for 2 then… maybe down the line…


Our church’s tower acts as a cell tower. Generally with loadshedding each provider will come and drop off a backup generator to try and keep it running during outages. From what I can tell the batteries don’t last through higher stages and they normally do that when they know it’s going to be a week or two like it was announced for this week.

The street next to ours’ fibre went down earlier this week during loadshedding. The ISP’s tend to get quite good feedback from Vuma’s system and it was in fact confirmed that the Vuma infrastructure catering for that area (situated at a school) went down as the backup generator ran out of diesel. A couple of hours later a diesel truck pulled up at the school and it hasn’t gone down since.

Yeah with fibre it is for that reason worthwhile to get an ISP who you know has good backup power. It should start to be part of their marketing material!

The ISP don’t install the fibre and maintain it: e.g. in Joburg pretty much all the fibre installations are done by Vumatel who the lease the connectivity to the ISPs…

My MTN signal immediately drops from LTE to 3G when loadshedding in my neighbourhood starts. Throughput drops from ~70 - 80 Mbps down to < 1 Mbps. Calls impossible to get through.

It is one of the first reasons why I got a mini DC-ups for my router (before I got PV) – to basically have the fibre and wifi available. WebAfrica on OpenServe has not gone down once during load shedding - it really is quite astonishing.

Colleague’s 2000VA UPS is less than a year old, he runs his Wifi + one 10W bulb + his laptop from it. Works from home and because of all the cycling and partial recharging his UPS (with stock 7Ah batteries) already lasts less than 1 hour (he could comfortably get through a 2.5 hour Tshwane loadshedding slot in the beginning).

So I’d say it might be worth it, seeing that these can last 2000 cycles at 100% DoD…


Just to add to this I have experienced many unhappy clients with their internet backup units:
The 7Ah battery that is used is pretty good bang for your buck but although I drum into the heads of my customers not to unplug the unit or allow the unit to be disconnected from the mains many of them contact me during major power outages like the one we are experiencing to say that the battery doesn’t have any capacity…
The unit is often not that old so the only reason the battery is trashed is they have left it in a discharged state (the one sure way to trash a SLA battery!)

In my previous life when I helped people with UPS batt replacement, I learned a little bit about Royals and also 12v 7ah batteries.

Royals were the go-to, but the 12v 7ah cells, those I used 12v 9ah CBS cells … more expensive, but they lasted longer.

Won’t name brands, but I made a few cents on the lead prices of the mound of 7ah cells I had to replace from some brands.

Today, IF I was to get back into that game, I would use small Llfepo4 6ah cells parallel/series = 12v 12ah bank, as I tried with my 24v APC. Beats the pants off the 12v 9ah cells in my opinion.

But I’m out of that game … so no skin anymore … but experiences, that I “paid for”, is shared for free. :wink:

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