by Daniel Wojtkowiak, GPM Radio Link Networks, RFS
Despite what some wireless infrastructure suppliers would have the industry believe, Africa is a very different marketplace for wireless communications architectures to the rest of the world. Incredibly varied terrains and network topologies across the continent, coupled with extremes of temperature, and the steady but extremely protracted decommissioning of legacy 2G, and even 3G cell sites, all conspire to make wireless network installation and management in Africa an unusually complex and demanding task.
In parallel, certain demographic and infrastructure realities of the continent offer unique advantages for rapid, cost-effective backhaul buildup. Unless distance considerations apply, sturdy microwave - having proven its 4G-readiness - is a very attractive choice for operators, offering faster deployments than fiber-based backhaul, and lower costs than satellite-based backhaul connections.