In order to support the growing demand for connectivity in South Africa, internet service providers (ISPs) have taken aggressive action to increase the quality and reach of their networks. Furthermore, we have seen reduction in the costs of internet packages and some ISPs have even upgraded their clients to a faster connection at no additional cost. This has played a critical role in empowering millions of South Africans to learn and work from home as we follow the rules that have been set out by the Government to reduce and prevent the spread of the Covid-19 virus.
Although it can be said that we have seen many success stories within the majority of our more developed metropolitan areas, one of the main persisting challenges is the issue of getting connectivity to populations with limited financial resources and those in remote areas. The unfortunate reality is that a person living in a rural or disadvantaged community will most likely not be able afford the cost of a typical internet package – this is of course granted that there is even the required infrastructure in place to provide connectivity. In this case fibre or mobile access will most likely not provide a viable, cost effective method of connectivity.
In response to the issue of accessibility and price in rural or disadvantaged communities, a number of ISPs and integrators have utilised Cambium Networks wireless technology to serve these areas with affordable internet. The Cambium Networks portfolio comprises of a number of different types of solutions that are able to work in harmony together, managed from single centralised management platform cnMaestro – the is known as Cambium Networks’ wireless Fabric.
The Cambium Networks wireless fabric is made up of three distinctive threads, the backhaul layer, the last-mile distribution layer and the Wi-Fi layer.
This layer forms the backbone of the IP network. Cambium’s high capacity point-to-point radios, both unlicensed and licensed, are used to send and receive large amounts of data over long distances between internet breakouts and the distribution layer where the data can then be disseminated via various fixed broadband or mobile access networks. Cambium’s PTP670 and the ePMP Force 400 offer robust license free solutions that operate on the 5GHz frequency. For getting internet connectivity to a rural location that may be many kilometres away from a fibre network, wireless backhaul links offer a fast and effective method.
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Once data has reached the area in which it is required, it can then be distributed to residential and business clients using point-to-point or point to multipoint wireless technology. The likes of Cambium’s flagship PtMP solution, the ePMP 3000 base station, can be coupled up with up to 120 ePMP Force 300 subscriber module radios within 10kms and a 90 degree radius – 4 base stations can cover 360 degrees. These base stations and subscriber modules are easy to mount and things such as the estimated throughput and line of site can be calculated before installation happens with Cambium’s free LinkPlanner Tool.
The final layer provides end users with a direct connection to the internet. This can either be a residential Wi-Fi router such as the cnPilot R190V or an enterprise Wi-Fi access point such as the cnPilot E510 outdoor AP or the E410 indoor AP. Within rural or disadvantaged communities, enterprise Wi-Fi access points are more commonly installed as these can be used to create public Wi-Fi hotspots. Custom guest portals with various voucher systems with payment options can be configured with cnMaestro Essentials. Even more management features and report logs with extended time period can be taken advantage of with Cambium’s latest release, cnMaestro X. In a scenario where multiple access points are being used, cnMatrix PoE switches can be included to connect and power both Cambium and 3rd party equipment e.g. cameras, phones and IoT devices.As we rise to the challenges of Covid-19 and the necessity for connectivity in all communities, MiRO and Cambium Networks are actively seeking out ISP partners with the ambition to apply their skillset to close the digital divide. We are fortunate to have a number of cost effective solutions that can be easily deployed and managed to provide stable and affordable connectivity for many years to come. As technology enthusiasts we love to marvel at what we can accomplish with regards to speed and capacity however the bigger picture is the people that we serve at the end of the line – you never know who you may have helped get an education or find a job to feed their family. To learn more about our extensive range of Cambium Networks wireless networking solution please visit us on www.miro.co.za.