Internet services provider (ISP) iClix has an extensive client base that relies on high throughput levels for their video and data requirements, as well as low, consistent latency for VoIP (Voice over Internet Protocol) users. With the burgeoning number of new users logging into the Internet in the region, interference was becoming a distinct irritation.
The company’s Gerhard Pienaar says that while the existing system was quick to install and easy to use, it was plagued by many of the issues faced in the license-free arena. These included increasing line interference and limitations on capacity during times of high demand. “We decided to upgrade the back hauls to our busy high sites to a licensed option and duly applied to ICASA for approval. We concurrently discussed technology best practice with our long-standing technology supplier MiRO.”
He points out that there were delays in the ICASA approvals process but the company eventually received approval to operate on the licensed band, concurrent with the delivery of the Ubiquiti airFiber AF-11X units from MiRO. “Interestingly, the arrival of the AFX11 in South Africa was met with such demand that MiRO was inundated with requests by customers to order the product. This is a clear indicator that this technology is extremely welcome in the local market.”
Pienaar explains that the AF-11X was selected as it not only has an excellent reputation but provides outstanding value for money, producing a superb cost to performance ratio. “The AF-11X in fact produces throughput and service delivery typically associated with more expensive, high-end backhaul technology.”
Of primary importance to iCIix was the provision of a substantially higher throughput level and guaranteed interference-free transmission. Purpose-built for outdoor PtP bridging and carrier class network backhauls in the 11 GHz licensed band the AF-11X has a throughput of 1 Gbps (500 Mbs down and 500 Mbps up) on a 40 MHz bandwidth channel (as approved by ICASA) and provides ultra-low latency.
Prior to deploying the entire product order on its high site network, iClix conducted an intensive proof of concept testing programme. “It is common practise for us to put new products through their paces prior to mass deployment. This R&D phase allows us to measure the products against their – need to test against their advertised specifications. We tested one Ubiquiti AFX11 on our network with thousands of connections in order to assess its capabilities in a live scenario. Primary determiners were the reliability and durability of the unit. The AFX11 came through all testing with flying colours, Pienaar points out.
Previous collaborative projects between MiRO and iClix include the installation of security cameras in Bloemfontein, iClix’s entire infrastructure, and surveillance cameras for farmers in the Northwest Province. “MiRO consistently goes the extra mile to help us and support us with stock and we honour this loyalty with a substantial recurring stock order. MiRO in fact supplies 95% of our stock requirements. This is a relationship that we have built and nurtured over the past 10 years and we commend the hands-on approach that the company’s CEO Bertus van Jaarsveld has in this regard,” says Pienaar.