Case Study: Thames Valley College

The Thames Valley College

The Thames Valley College is an international coeducational secondary school, opened in September 2013 and offering a combined Nigerian/British curriculum. Located in a remote area in the Sagamu District, Ogun State, Nigeria, the 35-acre campus includes full academic and administrative facilities, student housing, and a spacious sports area.

Issue: No Affordable Internet Access in the Area

The Thames Valley College needed an internet connection that would be both fast and affordable, but because the school is located in a remote area, options were limited. Local ISPs could not provide affordable high-speed internet for a single college project due to a lack of inexpensive colocation towers and base transceiver stations (BTSs). Satellite internet was an alternative, but the limited bandwidth capacity was not enough to meet the needs of the entire school.

Solution: LigoWave Wireless Land-Based Infrastructure

Tehilah Base Digital Ltd, a provider of internet, networking, software, and hardware solutions in Nigeria, took on the project and implemented an inexpensive land-based wireless solution.

Network Design

Because the college requested there be minimal wiring and universal campus internet access, Tehilah designed a network that is strictly wireless (only using wires for powering the equipment) and one that covers the entire 35-acre territory using sector and omnidirectional APs.

The school’s network was built as two sections:

Internet Connectivity

A 15.84km (9.84mi) backhaul link was set up between the Tehilah BaseSPOT point of presence in Ikorodu and the transmission tower on the premises of the Thames Valley College. The BaseSPOT point of presence was equipped with a DLB 5-90 access point operating in PTMP mode for other potential customers in the area. On the other end, a LigoDLB 5 device with an external 32dBi dish antenna was mounted on a tower located in the college premises.

Campus Wi-Fi

The data travelling over the backhaul link is forwarded to 4× LigoDLB 2-90 access points mounted on the school’s tower to provide 360° coverage to the entire school area. On ground level, there are multiple DLB 2 devices with 5dBi omnidirectional antennas deployed as indoor and outdoor APs/repeaters. Buildings that are further apart are linked using DLB Propeller 2 wireless devices as bridges.

Figure 1: The topology of the network installed at the Tehilah Base Digital Ltd BaseSPOT point of presence and the Thames Valley College.

Why LigoWave?

Tehilah chose LigoWave because it was a single solution meeting multiple network requirements:

  • iPoll proprietary protocol for increased throughput (packets per second) and a reliable connection (low latency, jitter, etc.) over a long-distance link (15.84km);
  • universal design allowing devices to function as either indoor or outdoor Wi-Fi hotspots;
  • broad coverage capabilities to cover the entire 35-acre territory of the college;
  • simplified deployment and configuration to minimize labor costs;
  • IP-rated equipment with dual-firmware support to withstand harsh weather conditions and damage caused by power outages.

Performace Results

Real-time reports show that the college’s internet use peaks at 25Mbps, while the backhaul link averages at almost 70Mbps of throughput—2.5× more than the actual demand. This translates to a little bit above 53,000 packets per second with zero packet loss.

Signal levels range from –65dBm to –73dBm, averaging at –67dBm. The network manages to keep the latency low at 1–2ms.

In Conclusion

LigoWave was key to the Thames Valley College project. Not only has it empowered Tehilah Base Digital Ltd to deliver high-speed internet connectivity to such a remote location at an affordable rate, but they have managed to establish a very reliable backhaul link over ~16km of rough terrain that is under risk of extreme weather (e.g. rainstorms and floods). It was a combination of high-performance hardware, the iPoll proprietary protocol, a relatively quiet spectrum, and Tehilah’s technical know-how that made the project possible.