Investigating cost effective communication alternatives for geographically hostile regions

Master Thesis

2001

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University of Cape Town

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The lack of communication facilities in developing countries is a constraint to social, political and economic empowerment of the people. However, advances in technology promise to deliver voice, video and data communication services, that are urgently needed, under a common packet switched communication network. Using Zambia as a case study, the cost effectiveness of three design scenarios which involve a hybrid of radio and microwave, radio and satellite, and radio and optic fibre were evaluated. The communication links in each scenario were modelled as E1 trunks. The cost of establishing these links was determined. Each scenario was then subjected to generic input traffic patterns using a multiclass queueing network analysis model to determine its effectiveness. Our findings show that the scenario involving the microwave links as inter-regional links has the lowest cost. The second is the scenario involving satellite inter-regional links and the most expensive is the scenario involving optic fibre inter-regional links. Furthermore, the microwave- radio hybrid scenario was found to have the smallest cost-effectiveness ratio of 17.9 followed by the optic fibre-radio scenario with 20.3 and finally the satellite-radio scenario with 892.9. These results effectively imply that the microwave-radio hybrid scenario is a better option for developing countries.
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Includes bibliographical references.

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