The design and implementation of internet protocol (IP) networks is not new. Researches in the past have focused on the design and implementation of IP networks with Fixed Broadband (FBB) technologies. This study researches into how Mobile Broadband (MBB) technologies, such as General Packet Radio Service (GPRS) and Universal Mobile Telecommunications System (UMTS), could be used as an alternative to FBB technologies in the design and implementation of IP networks for businesses. The study made use of the User Equipment-to-User Equipment (UE-to-UE) communication solely within the GPRS and UMTS Radio Access Network (RAN); MBB over layers two and three of the Open Systems Interconnection (OSI) model, promulgated by the International Organization for Standardization (ISO/IEC 7498-1, 1994), and Internet Protocol Security (IPsec) as methods in the design of the MBB IP networks for businesses. Data for both FBB and MBB were obtained from experiments and compared to support the objective of the research. The analysis of both technologies based on the experiments performed showed, they are basically at par in performance with each having its strengths and weaknesses. The research showed MBB has low latency where radio service is adequate but suffers attenuation where people are crowded. The experiments and analyses showed MBB is suitable for use in the design and implementation of IP networks for businesses.

1.1. Background to the Study
Data communications in general had evolved globally and Ghana is not an exception.

The evolution could not have been possible without a favourable legal and regulatory environment. Ghana could not have reached thus far in data communication without the following acts: National Communications Act, 2008, Act 769, Electronic Communications Act, 2008, Act 775, the Electronic Transactions Act, 2008, Act 772, and the National Information Technology Agency Act, 2008, Act 771. The essence of these acts are meant to support the heightened convergence within the Ghanaian communications space.

Data service providers have made available the most recent technologies needed for effective data communication. From fixed broadband (Copper and fibre) to mobile broadband (GPRS, UMTS and LTE).

Data from service providers revealed that, the use of these technologies for setting up local area networks and wide area networks are skewed towards the fixed broadband capabilities. Documented approach to using the other available technologies to setting up local and wide area networks for businesses could help balance the usage of these available data communication technologies to help businesses grow to improve the Ghanaian economy. This study is aimed at documenting the approach needed to using the mobile broadband to set up IP networks.

1.2. Problem Statement
"Ghana’s creators and entrepreneurs are inspired by what they can do online, but today, their ability to participate fully on the Web can be hindered by the availability, quality and cost of Internet access. We aim to change that,” said Estelle Akofio-Sowah, Google Ghana Country Manager (Ghana News Agency, 06/10/2015, Launch of Google’s Project Link).

Businesses in Ghana are really inspired to offering online service but are at the same time frustrated by the lack of fixed broadband service penetration as expressed by the Google’s country manager. To support this claim, the National Communication Authority’s March 2016 report on fixed and mobile broadband subscriptions are as follows: 258,536 for FBB and 18,813,686 for MBB. (NCA, 2016). Though MBB has higher subscription, businesses are unable to fall on that to doing business online because, the focus had always been on using FBB to design and implement IP networks for businesses. The high MBB subscription are mainly for personal use on handheld mobile terminals and dongles and could not have been for the setup of IP network for businesses. The solution to the lack of FBB service to where businesses need it to doing business online could be addressed by the use of mobile broadband as alternative to fixed broadband in setting up IP networks to help entrepreneurs do business online.

1.3. Objectives of the Study
The research is being carried out with the general objective of internet protocol network design for businesses intended for use with mobile broadband technologies like, GPRS and UMTS. The study has four specific areas it’s focussing on. These are:

i.            To examine how mobile broadband could be used to design and implement internet protocol network for businesses.

ii.             To determine whether mobile broadband’s quality of service is adequate for internet protocol network.

iii.             To determine whether mobile broadband speed is good enough for data transmission.

iv.            To compare mobile broadband technology properties for data transfer to that of fixed broadband.

1.4. Research Questions
Though the source of raw data for the study were gotten from experiments, i.e. drive tests, live traces and simulations, the following questions were set out to address the need for the study:

i.            How viable is mobile broadband as alternative to fixed broadband in the design and implementation of IP network.

ii.             From end-to-end, what is the level of the quality of service of mobile broadband?

iii.             How good is the speed of mobile broadband for data transmission within acceptable time frame?

iv.            As of now fixed broadband is the preferred technology in the design and implementation of IP networks. Could mobile broadband data transmission properties match that of fixed broadband’s?

1.5. Significance of the Study
Mobile broadband in Ghana is wide spread in terms of coverage and quite affordable, efficient and convenient as captured in questionnaire response in CHAPTER 4 page 97108.

The contribution of this study is to help Ghanaian businesses offer better, more efficient and affordable service, by being visible and easily accessible, to grow the economy thereby reducing poverty. Once businesses are networked, various resources could be shared, both hardware and software; this would obviously reduce capital and operational expenditures and in effect making businesses gain competitive advantage and compete effectively within the global market.

1.6. Scope of the Study
The study would focus on using IP network design for use with the GPRS and UMTS technologies. As of the inception of this study, Long Term Evolution (LTE), which is also a mobile broadband technology was not commercial in Ghana hence not considered.

The study would focus on IP network design for areas where fixed broadband is totally non-existent. This could be achieved with the User Equipment to User Equipment approach solely within the radio access network for mobile broadband.

The study would also look at providing IP network design for businesses that intend to expanding their existing fixed broadband IP networks to areas where hitherto, it would be impossible because of non-existent FBB service. In other words, the mobile broadband could be used to extend the fixed broadband. This could be achieved with layers two or three virtual private network and internet protocol security virtual private network tunnel between the FBB and MBB technologies.

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Item Type: Ghanaian Topic  |  Size: 119 pages  |  Chapters: 1-5
Format: MS Word  |  Delivery: Within 30Mins.


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