Across Africa mobile is growing exponentially – and the demand for constant connectivity is becoming insatiable – specifically in strong mobile markets such as Nigeria, says Ruckus Wireless.
According to the latest statistics from the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), Nigeria ended June 2013 with a total of 120,36-million fixed and mobile telephone subscribers, up from 117,28-million three months earlier and 113,21-million at the start of the year.
Says Michael Fletcher, sales director at Ruckus Wireless sub-Saharan Africa: “With this rapid growth, the expectation of increased capacity and coverage by users is exploding, but as more traffic, devices and concurrent connections hit mobile networks, many are struggling to keep up with demand and as a result, we are seeing more free WiFi and larger hotspots come to the fore.”
The WiFi landscape in Nigeria is growing and very opportunistic. “There are numerous hotspots in the densely populated areas, but the quality is poor due to interference,” adds Fletcher.
“What’s more, in the outlying areas, WiFi connectivity is scarce – meaning either consumers have a poor WiFi experience or no experience at all.”
As WiFi continues to proliferate at an accelerated pace with new WiFi enabled devices hitting the market every day, interference in the unlicensed spectrum is rising quickly. Interference is the presence of unwanted RF signals (that is, noise), that disrupt normal system operations – causing disruption to connectively and in turn, negative user experiences.
“While the move to WiFi is certainly commendable, consumers/customers are looking for reliable, cost-effective connectivity – and the key here is to deploy solutions that work by allowing consumers to do what they want, when they want,” adds Fletcher. “And this is where Ruckus Smart WiFi comes into play.”
Smart WiFi is a collection of Ruckus technologies, all designed to extend the range and reliability of wireless signals. These technologies eliminate much of the cost and complexity of conventional wireless LAN (WLAN) deployments.
Ruckus Smart WiFi includes recent technical advances in beam steering, beam forming, adaptive signal path selection, quality of service, traffic classification, and RF routing. In simple terms – better WiFi – exactly what countries such as Nigeria need.
While WiFi has been around for quite some time as a consumer and enterprise technology, it’s never garnered the kind of attention that it will this year and going into 2014. The reason? WiFi is seen as the most economical and capacity-rich technology to help carriers address the tremendous acceleration in mobile data traffic – particularly within high-density areas.
Most geographies are seeing traffic growth of 50 to 100% year-on-year with no end in sight. It is easy to do the math here and see that this will easily overwhelm the existing mobile infrastructure, even with new LTE deployments.
The mobile market has grown drastically in the last five years and with a strong population growth to an expected 1.5-billion people by 2040, the mobile market continues to grow. Mobile phones have made a huge economic impact, where increased mobile penetration by 10% has actually been shown to increase a country’s GDP by 0.81%.
“Demands are changing, access models are changing and consumers are blurring the lines between corporate and personal spaces – becoming more vocal in terms of what they want, and what they want is better, more reliable access to the Internet, making enterprise and carrier investment in WiFi more critical than ever before,” concludes Fletcher.