Wireless Regional Access Networks: A Wise Choice for Internet Connectivity to Rural Areas of Zimbabwe

  •  Mardeni Roslee    
  •  Rasty Chimheno    


Wireless Regional Access Network (WRAN) is increasingly becoming the focus architecture for future rural and remote area access networks. Firstly, we explain “the Zimbabwean problem”, and then give brief discussions of existing technologies deployed for rural communications elsewhere in the world. As we searched for solutions to the Zimbabwean problem, special attention was given to technologies such as cognitive radio networks. In the process, WRAN, which saves on deployment and license costs, has extended coverage range, increased cell capacity and utilises idle TV spectrum, was identified as a suitable broadband access candidate for providing connectivity to the rural areas of Zimbabwe. A design network structure suitable for rural areas in Zimbabwe is proposed and a basic cognitive radio (CR) simulation to show the possibility of harnessing idle Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation TV channels/frequency bands using CR technology was successfully run. Power spectrum density estimation model for sensing was used. A number of implementation challenges such as the effect of antenna height on the hidden terminal problem, MIMO incorporation in order to mitigate for such effects in WRAN networks, the investigation and mitigation of interference contribution from remote television stations, WRAN networks and other primary stations and users are discussed.

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