Mesh++ wants to close the digital divide with its self-powered, wire-free mesh Wi-Fi products – trials and deployments in DRC, Seychelles and Somalia
13 May 2022
Organistions like Zenzeleni have pioneered the use of mesh Wi-F in remote villages in South Africa to deliver low-cost Wi-Fi. This week Russell Southwood spoke to Edelquinn Njambi, Technical Sales and Marketing, Mesh ++ about how its mesh device can deliver Wi-Fi is a number of different situations.
Mesh++ came out of a University project looking at how to create self-powered Wi-Fi. After creating a number of prototypes, the company was registered and launched in Chicago. The device created is covered by two patents, one that aggregates bandwidth and a low-loss protocol. It claims that data loss between two nodes is 15%.
The standard S618 costs US$1,600 which includes a solar panel to power it, 7-day battery back-up and it is IP67 waterproof, meaning it will last for 30 minutes at 1 meter depth in water. Line-of-sight transmission is 350 meters based on the device being 3 metres off the ground and there being no additional interference. User number supported vary between 50 for video-streaming up to 500 for a single use like email. Adding a 4/5G modem and a solid state hard drive is extra.
More recently, it has focused on sales opportunities in Africa: “We are signed up with resellers in different countries, including Nigeria, South Africa, Malawi, Namibia, and Rwanda, to enable us to reach out to the African market.
So far the company has rolled out a number of trials and deployments including:
- An NGO in Kenya called CFSK had a ‘digitruck’ that was funded to move around different counties in the south of the country, near the Kenyan-Tanzania border. The ‘digitruck’ provided both connectivity and locally hosted content on the node. The project ran for the three months the programme was funded for. Connectivity was obtained from cellular networks.
- In the Seychelles a customer is using three nodes to provide an ISP service to a community and is running the service on a commercial basis: “For individuals who want to start a simple ISP and charge customers something small for the service, the unit comes with an integrated authorization and billing system, offering packages like 1-2 hours.”
Its current trials and deployments give a clear idea of the niche customers it is chasing. They include: fiber optic bandwith providers, telecom operators, NGOs, wildlife parks, and event organizers in Kenya.
According to Edelquinn Njambi: “We are providing a sustainable solution that brings internet access as Wi-Fi to anyone everywhere, especially in areas with no power and with very low or no connectivity with our access point being mobile, flexible, and solar-powered.”
Senegal: Regulator ARTP has established a steering committee to coordinate efforts to increase mobile network coverage and enhance quality of service (QoS). The body aims to strike a balance between network operators, ISPs, MVNOs and consumer associations, enabling them to work together on improving the service provided to end-users. It is hoped the committee will help identify issues hindering coverage and service improvement and enable operators to optimise their investment plans in partnership with the regulator.
Nigeria: MTN Nigeria and Mafab Communications will start the rollout of 5G technologies on August 24. This was announced by the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) while issuing final letters of license awards to the two operators, which won the Fifth Generation (5G) Spectrum Licences auction.
South Africa: Community Investment Ventures Holdings (CIVH) has announced that effective 1 May 2022, its two fibre network assets would be managed under a new infrastructure company. CIVH is the Remgro and New GX-controlled parent company of fibre infrastructure operators Dark Fibre Africa (DFA) and Vumatel.
Kenya: Liquid Intelligent Technologies has partnered with PEACE Cable Company to introduce 800Gbps of additional subsea capacity in Mombasa.
South Africa: MTN South Africa has announced an investment of R2.2 Billion towards network modernization and township investment.
US data center owner and developer, Flexential has opened their US network to Angola Cables to assist customers in Africa in connecting to 40 key data center hubs across the United States. Providing access to Angola's MONET cable, housed in Flexential's Fort Lauderdale data center, this partnership will offer customers connectivity via the low-latency, high-capacity South Atlantic Cable System (SACS). The alliance with Angola Cables will also address the heightened demand from enterprises, service providers, as well as hyperscale cloud providers seeking edge deployments within the US market.
Sasai Fintech, a business of Cassava Technologies has been awarded the compliance approval for merchant payments and bulk disbursements on GSMA digital wallet’s Mobile Money API (Application Programming Interface).
Zimbabwe: The Postal and Telecommunications Regulatory Authority of Zimbabwe (POTRAZ) says that infrastructure sharing between mobile operators is now active at 267 sites across the country. A report from TechZim says that all three of the country’s cellcos are participating, while fixed line incumbent TelOne is also sharing tower infrastructure with mobile providers Econet, NetOne and Telecel. In addition, operators are leasing infrastructure from entities such as utility group Powertel, National Railways of Zimbabwe, Transmedia, ZIMRA and local authorities. Network sharing was implemented in Zimbabwe in an effort to keep rollout costs down for telcos as they look to expand network coverage.
Kenya: Kenyan mobile market leader Safaricom has been allocated spectrum in the 2600MHz band from the Communications Authority of Kenya (CA), reports The Daily Nation. The operator has been allocated 60MHz of spectrum in the 2600MHz band, which was previously used by security agencies but has been freed up following a change in the technology that they use, an unnamed senior source was quoted as saying. The source did not disclose how much Safaricom paid for the spectrum, which is expected to be used for its 5G network rollout.