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Why VSAT Training - The African Telecom Event for Practical VSAT

The Hands-on VSAT Field Engineering Training (SPECIAL INTENSIVE) ( ), is a high demand program that takes place regularly in Africa.

 * Why is it important for Africans to participate in this training programme?

VSAT is critical infrastructure for connecting and interacting with the rest of the world, for many African countries. In the digital networked economy, Internet provided through VSAT is a key driver for enabling social and business enterprise in Africa.  But Africa must move beyond consumption to gain real advantage in the new era. It makes no sense to keep on relying on international experts to deploy local VSAT solutions, when expertise can be developed locally.

Skills must be grown to keep up with technology, business and societal needs, and most importantly to drive the knowledge revolution. This in turn is creating tremendous business and career opportunities for many who invest in high-demand VSAT and Wireless skills and knowledge. The demand and need for digital inclusion in Africa is massive. Because the demand for data services and Internet access is escalating, developing human capital in Africa in this vital area generates new employment, as well as social and entrepreneurial opportunities. The course addresses this need with its focus on developing local expertise in installation, design and deployment in the key area of VSAT.

It was developed in response to the growing telecom need that is driving demand for well-trained, certified and competent telecom professionals. It is borne out of the necessity to meet the needs of the African market.


* What kind of training is being implemented?

It is practical, Hands-ON training program that comprises of Foundational and Skill building exercises in VSAT Field Engineering. The emphasis is on how to install, test and deploy VSAT in a live environment. Through the learning assignments, participants will learn how to operate test equipment and acquire satellite fundamental knowledge and practical installation skills.

African participants no longer need to reinvent the wheel. Participants benefit from easy-to-follow steps and professional guidance that work to help them succeed with VSAT expertise. Areas covered include: Satellite Fundamentals, VSAT Network Design, Link Budgets, VSAT Service, Site Survey, Site Commissioning.

To ensure participants derive excellent quality and value from the learning exercise, the expert facilitators are Experienced Satellite Communications Engineers with over 18 years experience in the global VSAT and wireless RF connectivity industry.  They have expertise in most satellite equipment: Radyne Comstream, Paradise Datacom, Gilat - Skystar, HNS - GW , ViaSat - Linkstar and iDirect.  The facilitator has worked in over 22 African countries.


* Who is involved, how many?

The program is organized by Jidaw Systems Ltd, African ICT human resources and consulting firm, based in Lagos, Nigeria and other reputable ICT professionals and organizations. Jidaw Systems, developed and runs the globally recognized ICT web initiative ( ); Jidaw Systems was awarded a Certificate of Excellence at the ICT Achievers Award 2005 in the Category "Top ICT SMME in Africa".

Instructors and consultants are experienced satellite communications engineers with vast experience deploying VSAT solutions in Africa. The program is organized throughout the year.

Participants have attended from all over the Africa from countries that include: Chad, Kenya, Guinea, DR Congo, Liberia, Mozambique, Ghana, Eritrea, Benin republic and Nigeria. The last VSAT program attracted participants from Ecobank in Liberia, UNHCR in Chad, Ghana, Guinea, Benin republic and all over Nigeria.


* How many Africans rely on VSAT connections?

It's hard to give precise figures, but 80% of Africa's Internet / international voice and data traffic is carried via satellites/VSAT. Other competing technologies are either unavailable or presently too costly to deploy with such effectiveness. For example, fixed-line or wireless facilities cannot span continents to link the most remote sites. And the undersea cable alternatives meant to connect Africa to global voice and data environment have not been effective. Most African countries have had to adopt VSAT based systems to reach the rural areas and areas with difficult terrain that are seemingly unreachable.

VSAT is deployed in Africa, because it gives better availability than terrestrial systems that simply aren't on the ground.  80% of Africa's international voice and data traffic is carried via satellites. The telecom and infrastructure need in Africa is still massive as less than 5% of the populace have access to telephony in some countries and over 80% of Africans live in the rural areas with little or no telecom infrastructure.


* What is the greatest challenge in implementing, running, maintaining VSAT connections?

Incorrect evaluation of user requirements often leads to the poor VSAT network design and the provision of inadequate and inappropriate VSAT solutions.

Unprofessional VSAT network designed to save costs delivers inferiors solutions that turn out to be costly, time consuming and wasteful. This causes consumers to make wrong choices with regard to equipment and solutions. Business types are not the same. And even in the same business no two sites have the same Internet requirements. One size does not fit all. For example, what is the usage pattern - do remote sites have to transmit large amounts of data regularly. What is the nature of data - video, text, graphics, voice, etc. how often and heavy will the file downloads be? For example, requirements for cyber cafés usually differ from requirements of a business firm.

When providing VSAT solutions there is a need for in depth understanding of all the customers requirements as well as proper planning for current needs and future growth with regard to number of users and locations, traffic and information flow, latency issues and response time. Professional network design is required for effective VSAT deployment.

There is also a local skills gap - lack of quality human capital can affect speedy and effective response to critical time-bound issues. In some African countries, it can often be difficult to find competent people to implement and manage VSAT technologies. To make headway in a proactive and meaningful manner, African countries need to develop local capacity in this high value area. Other challenges in the VSAT area include High start-up costs, cost of satellite airtime, rigid subscription plans and lack of understanding by governments and regulatory bodies of what VSATs can offer.


Further details of the African Telecom Event for Practical VSAT Field Engineering training can be found here:


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VSAT Basics


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