Extending last mile fiber connectivity in remote and isolated areas
Posted on:4 January 2024
Digital inclusion refers to the efforts and policies aimed at ensuring that all individuals and communities have access to and effectively use digital technologies improving their digital skills.The goal of digital inclusion is to bridge the digital divide and create equal opportunities for everyone to participate in the increasingly digital and technology-driven aspects of modern society.
KENET successfully activated last-mile fiber connectivity to Tharaka University (TU) in October 2023, marking a significant upgrade from the previous radio-based leased line with a limited capacity of 100 Mb/s that had been in use since 2019. The radio link proved inadequate for the university's student population which had grown to over 4,000 by October 2023. The newly activated fiber link boasts a maximum capacity of 1,000 Mb/s, with the potential for future upgrades to 10 Gb/s with replacement equipment. Upon activation, TU's data consumption surged to over 350 Mb/s and a radio link with a backup capacity of up to 850 Mb/s was established to ensure reliability.
Mast installation and solar power equipment at Tharaka University
Speaking about the connectivity, Joseph Mutwiri, ICT Director, Tharaka University highlighted how the improved connectivity has not only facilitated seamless communication and collaboration among students, faculty, and staff but has also enhanced the overall learning and research experience at Tharaka University. “Our students can now access online resources, participate in virtual classrooms, and engage in research activities without any lag or interruption. This has not only increased their productivity but has also opened new avenues for innovative teaching methods and academic pursuits. Our faculty members are now able to conduct virtual lectures, share multimedia content, and collaborate with international peers, creating a more dynamic and enriching learning environment,” said Mr. Mutwiri.
Overhead fiber to Tharaka University
Tharaka University is partially connected via the National Optic Fibre Backbone Infrastructure (NOFBI) from Nkubu to Gatunga TTC through Mitunguu TTI, covering an 86 KM fiber distance. The last mile connectivity to the TU server room involves 5 KM of overhead fiber on KPLC poles which benefits the university and also provides an opportunity for other educational institutions along the route, such as Mitunguu TTI, to connect to last-mile fiber. The fiber infrastructure is further secured through an 850 Mb/s high-speed radio link to Nkubu, ensuring TU achieves 99.5% uptime. Additionally, the institutional network security appliance/firewall was upgraded from 100 Mb/s capacity to 1,000 Mb/s capacity to guarantee secure access to digital resources. This upgrade represents a substantial improvement in TU's connectivity and infrastructure, contributing to a more robust and reliable digital learning and research environment.