In the ‘90s, one could go from Dugbe in Ibadan to Opebi in Ikeja in about one hour. A few months before Covid-19, the same trip might take four hours or more. One reason was the decrepit shape of Lagos-Ibadan expressway.
Well, while work is ongoing on the road, a report by Enextgen Wireless shows the highway of 4G LTE in Nigeria (RF signal) is full of potholes.
“Some of these holes are gaping. Yet foreign vendors are paid to keep these traffic lanes smooth in many cases. If you are now wondering why the RF highways are not smooth then, we are thinking alike”, said the President of Enextgen Wireless Inc., Engineer Remi Adeyeye.
He told TechEconomy.ng that in the Radio Frequency quality map below, a typical saddle brown bin is one where the quality measure (RSRQ) is less than – 15 dB when it would not be lower than -12 dB even when Radio Frequency coverage (number of bars, in colloquial language) used by the mobile phone is lowest.
“The strength of the radio frequency signal (RSRP) in most of these bins are in fact far higher than the minimum required. The brown and red bins are like the spots of bare earth along the Lagos-Ibadan expressway when and where it is at its lowest level of disrepair”, Engr. Adeyeye said.
“While it might be understandable that our roads, even the most important commercial ones such as Lagos-Ibadan expressway, are neglected, it is not so easy to comprehend why these RF lanes are not smoother, given, as stated above, that the network operators are paying to keep them smooth.
“Afterwards beside the fact that spectrum is public asset that the country needs to extract as much value from as possible, the mobile network operators can generate more revenue by keeping these RF highways smooth. The practical effect of the poor quality of RF coverage include lower than possible throughput and poorer than desired and possible mobile internet experience.
Emetrics, he told TechEconomy.ng, is a quality evaluation tool for mobile network operators. “It is based on years of experience in optimizing the quality of Radio Frequency (RF) coverage in 4G LTE networks. It is available for use by mobile network operators interested in viewing the quality of the RF signal used for their LTE deployment. It allows network operators to visualize the value received for the money paid to the Managed Services vendors responsible for maintaining the RF quality of their 4G LTE networks”, he explained.
Since the quality issues identified could be the result of many factors such as lack of dominant servers, poor or unintended selection of RF configuration parameters such as handoff events, triggers and thresholds, other tools might be required for quality improvement.
Nodding in agreement, the President/CEO said, “Emetrics, in addition to mapping the quality, offers subscription version that allows the mobile network operator to visualize RF signal characteristics from which the quality maps are generated. The RSRQ map in the picture above comes from that version of the tool while the output of the tool is shown below.
“Emetrics is also available for public use. It allows individuals to view the quality of 4G LTE RF in an area of interest. For example, an individual looking for an office location with reliable mobile internet connectivity can use the Emetrics as an aide.