AG Kommunikationstheorie


Analysis of Two-Tier Wireless Networking with Application to Rural Broadband Provisioning


The digital divide problem, the inequality between urban and rural regions in accessing the broadband Internet, has brought about the efforts to find cost-effective solutions for broadband provisioning of rural areas. Therefore, the purpose of this thesis was to investigate the technical capability and economic feasibility of a two-layer wireless access network for broadband provisioning of rural areas. The considered system consists of a microwave backhaul link at 17 GHz and an IEEE 802.11g Wi-Fi distribution network. Another aim was to find out the bottleneck of the considered two-layer network. The technical analysis was based on the downlink throughput performance, which was investigated through extensive network simulations performed in OPNET Modeler. In addition, the considered system was compared with traditional broadband technologies ADSL and FTTH based on the required initial investments in real rural regions with different household densities. The results show that under normal Internet use assumption, the two-layer wireless system can provide a performance which could compete with ADSL2+ data rates. However, in worst case scenarios, the end user performance depends strongly on the number of households. For villages with more than 40 households, the worst case throughputs are less than 1 Mbps. In addition, we concluded that the bottleneck of the system is the Wi-Fi link. The techno-economic comparison reveals that the proposed system can be an economically advantageous alternative to provide basic broadband services for small communities which stay out of the ADSL range from the core network or in regions where no copper infrastructure exits. The existing copper infrastructure offers a big potential to reduce the initial costs, whereas deploying fiber to the rural areas requires the highest initial investments despite the best technical performance.

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