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Virtual Technology and Solutions Deploys Mimosa as Fiber Replacement in Burkina Faso


West African ISP Deploys Fixed Wireless Network to Deliver High-Speed Internet

Overview:

Virtual Technologies and Solutions (VTS) is an internet and transit provider, offering services to hundreds of ISPs, business customers and home users in and around Ouagadougou, the capital city of Burkina Faso.

Requirements:

VTS needed a solution that could cover long distances between towers and escape the noise of unlicensed 5 GHz spectrum

Solution:

VTS selected the Mimosa B11 backhaul radios which operate over 10.0 GHz to 11.7 GHz

Results:

The Mimosa B11 transports enormous capacity at a very cost-effective price point. Mimosa solutions now carry the majority of the data on VTS' main, 140km-long link.

www.vts.bf

Based in Burkina Faso’s capital, Ouagadougou, Virtual Technologies and Solutions (VTS) is an internet and transit provider, offering services to hundreds of ISPs, business customers and home users in and around the capital city. Founded just two years ago, the company now services over 500 subscribers and hopes to quickly scale to over 5,000 subs.

Literally translated, Burkina Faso means “land of the upright people”, and the country has long been one of West Africa’s most stable, if economically challenged, countries. With the telecom sector in Burkina Faso burdened by slow regulatory procedures and compounded by the poor condition of fixed-line networks, internet penetration is extremely low, exacerbated by the high cost of connectivity. In 2011, some fiber links through adjacent countries became available, but the country still suffers from a dearth of fiber.

In spite of the challenging connectivity environment, VTS is one of a handful of local companies to successfully compete with the country’s largest service provider, relying mainly on wireless technologies for its backbone and last mile access. The backbone network covers 300 square kilometers and consists of 38 points-of-presence (POPs) that are redundantly linked using Mimosa wireless backhaul solutions in addition to other products.

“We are excited to partner closely with Mimosa as we grow our business. We believe that strong collaboration between us and our solution vendors has a huge impact on our ability to help our clients scale and expand.”

“We are excited to partner closely with Mimosa as we grow our business,” said Abdourahmane Dia, CEO of VTS. “We believe that strong collaboration between us and our solution vendors has a huge impact on our ability to help our clients scale and expand.”

Because of the long distances required to connect their towers, VTS has deployed a number of Mimosa B11 backhaul links, which operate over 10.0 to 11.7 GHz and enable VTS to escape the noise of the unlicensed 5 GHz band. VTS refers to the B11 as nothing short of “revolutionary,“ calling out the fiber port which is uncommon in solutions targeting the WISP world. The B11 radios cover distances between 4km to 15km apart, and are connected using predominantly Jirous and RadioWaves antennas. “The Mimosa B11 transports enormous capacity at a very cost effective price point,” said Dia. “For this reason, Mimosa solutions now carry the majority of the data on our main, 140km-long link."

For additional long distance backhaul options, VTS deploys Mimosa B5c connectorized radios, and for shorter distance links, Mimosa B5 and B5-Lite backhaul radios. Leveraging their own tower assets, VTS takes full advantage of the extended frequency range of the Mimosa devices, operating in the full spectrum from 4.9 to 6.4 GHz. With the Mimosa solutions deployed in the network, VTS has seen link speeds increase from 250 Mbps to over 700 Mbps.

VTS is not only impressed with Mimosa’s speed and performance. “We also use the built-in spectrum analyzer as it allow us to see if a given band is free and not used by someone else,” said Issam Fayad, CTO of VTS. The company also frequently uses the Mimosa Design Tool, mapping out potential links. “We particularly like the fact that Mimosa is not just a product but an entire ecosystem. The Design Tool and online cloud management really help us in network planning and deployment,” said Fayad.

Packages for residential customers start at 2 Mbps and scale up to 10 Mbps, and for business, additional services including Virtual Private LAN service (VPLS) and international private leased circuit (IPLC) are offered.

“We selected Mimosa as the products are very price disruptive given the wealth of features offered,” said Dia. “In terms of half duplex radios, we believe they are hands down the best on price per megabit. This is something that is important to us as we deploy high-capacity solutions and want to achieve an optimal return on investment.”