Impact of Radio Operating Environments on Broadband Connectivity
Keywords:Internet Services, Mobile Broadband, Radio Channel Modelling, Telecoms Industry Innovation, Sustainable Infrastructure Development
Broadband connectivity and services commonly referred to as the Internet is the key enabling facility for the modern digital economy and the driver for the Fourth Industrial Revolution (4IR or Industry 4.0). In Tanzania, there are over 49% Internet subscriptions for mobile broadband services using 3G UMTS and 4G standards infrastructure, which are predominantly available in urban areas. The non-urban areas remain mostly 2G coverage areas and lack mobile broadband connectivity and services. Transforming existing 2G mobile networks to broadband infrastructure can be achieved by swapping 2G sites with 3G or 4G sites or incrementally replacing 2G sites with 3G or 4G sites on demand. In this work, we investigated the performance of the UMTS family of standards to deliver broadband connectivity and services outside major towns and cities in three different radio operating environments, namely hilly, undulating and flat terrain landscapes. Results show that the achievable 3G data rate deteriorates depending on the type of operating environment as the internet user moves away from the base station. Therefore, mobile broadband deployment in non-urban areas is not simply replacement of 2G sites for 3G sites; it will require special deployment strategies to achieve a total broadband coverage.
Keywords: Internet Services; Mobile Broadband; Radio Channel Modelling; Telecoms Industry Innovation; Sustainable Infrastructure Development