Wireless Connectivity in Rural Nigeria
PROVIDING WIRELESS CONNECTIVITY FOR RURAL COMMUNITIES
LESSON ONE: INTRODUCTION
The Fantsuam’s experience
The attempt to provide wireless connectivity came about as a result of a serious need to provide the last mile connectivity to rural communities at affordably cost. Knowing the financial implications of having internet connectivity, the only options people in rural communities could have access was through wireless. And by the virtue of their unique location it has not been possible for private sectors to think of investing or moving their businesses to rural areas. They would have a lot of hurdles to face in terms of trying to bring even, and not to talk of even making profit. From our experience a few of them came to start businesses around, they could not continue and had to run back to the big cities.
So I can only see civil societies like ours being the only organization that would think of working among rural people and try to get them be part of the world -wide information society. In trying to do this Fantsuam Foundation identified a number of communities and institutions around where we work. This is with the intention of providing wireless connection to this location. Initially 13 locations were identified which includes the communities and institutions of higher learning. later the number increased to 25 different sights. At the moment even individuals have requested they have wireless connectivity in their homes. Before any connectivity is made there was a sight survey to ensure that the proper coordinates were taking.
In February this year, we had two engineers from Sweden who visited Fantsuam Foundation to see how they can assist us start the wireless connection. They visited most of the sights already identified by Fantsuam Foundation to ensure they got the correct coordinates and there was proper line of sight, and before they left, we had one of the church based institutions who are partners connected to the internet. It was testing and was working. Since after they’ve gone back our technical team has licked up 7 more clients to our wireless network. And we are hoping to buy more radios to complete connections for the 5 remaining clients who were initially identified.
LESSON TWO: PRESENTATION
What is wireless networking?
- Definition; This kind of communication makes use of electromagnetic waves to send signals accross long distances.With wireless connection you do not know where the waves from your wireless card are going to. And this what makes it different from the ethernet cable, you see the path that a cable takes, locate the plug sticking out of your computer.
LESSON THREE: TOPOLOGIES RELEVANT FOR WIRELESS NETWORKING
- Tree ; Yes it is a combination of star and line
- Line ; It is possible with two or more element. This is a good example of a point to point wireless connectivity
- Bus; This is not possible because there is no wireless with this topology.
- Star; Every standard wireless connection is star topology.
- Mesh; This mainly partial mesh.
- Ring ; This is possible but it is rear to find one.
LESSON FOUR: BASIC REQUIREMENT OF A WIRELESS NETWORK
- Getting team work; There are 3 teams working together to implement the wireless network in Fantsuam. There is the marketing Technical and the Administration teams
- Equipments; Radio, communications tower, Access points, cabling, base station, NOC ( Network operating Centre)
- Bandwith; For any wireless connection to be up and running there has to be bandwith provided.
- Funding; Funds is a very important element of any project the is to start. Funds to purchase equipment and even get the connection
- Installation; The wireless equipment have to be installed to have the wireless operational. The way the installation is done,the quality of the installation affects the whole system.
LESSON FIVE: CHALLENGES
1. Need for technical support; The experience in with our wireless is the fact that we do not adequate technical support 2. Affordability a. The cost of bandwidth b. Cost of Equipment: i. ordering for equipments from overseas ii. Lack of local suppliers of Equipment iii. Lack of Technical backup 3. Finance options (lease, rent, purchase) 4. Awareness raising to create demand 5. Inadequate power Supply