Global Growth: InfiNet Wireless provides bandwidth for Lebanon’s Connect

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Connect, Lebanon’s premier internet service provider (ISP), has selected InfiNet Wireless solutions to serve as the backbone of its new wireless network infrastructure.

The upgraded platform will allow Connect to meet the zero-downtime, high-bandwidth demands of premium residential and enterprise customers across the country, while at the same time significantly reducing maintenance and service costs.

Explaining some of the challenges Connect was facing with its existing network, Jubran El Ayan, RF Manager at Connect, said: “We are using our WiMAX Network on the 2.3 GHz frequency band, to serve residential customers. While we are able to meet the standard bandwidth requirements of most of our residential customers, some of our premium residential and corporate customers such as banks and retail outlets, required higher bandwidth. Our existing WiMAX platform is limited to 5 Mbps for downlink and 2 Mbps for uplink which meant that we simply could not meet such bandwidth requirements.”

To serve premium and corporate customers, Connect had to use Wi-Fi based point-to-point (PTP) solutions available in the local market, but the frequency bands that it was operating in started to suffer from major interference issues, resulting in a further drop in capacity and decreasing reliability.

“The deployed Wi-Fi platform proved to be extremely temperamental – links would go down frequently and we had to deploy field engineers to troubleshoot outages and maintain the network daily,” said Jubran. “Not only was this a drain on our resources and added significant costs to our operations, but we had several unhappy customers which was starting to hurt our reputation and revenue streams.”

Realizing that upgrading its wireless network infrastructure was critical to not just business growth but the viability of the business itself, Connect turned to its sister company, Mada in Kuwait, for a recommendation on the most suitable solution for its business model. An InfiNet customer since 2012, Mada has heavily relied on InfiNet’s range of 3.5GHz solutions to provide its own customers across Kuwait with a reliable, high-bandwidth and always-on connectivity.

For a number of its most critical and strategic locations, Connect opted to deploy the InfiLINK XG, which is capable of reaching a peak net throughput of 500 Mbps in 40 MHz of spectrum and more than 130 Mbps in only 10 MHz. Once the complete backbone of the network was in place, Connect then started to deploy the InfiMAN 2×2, InfiNet’s range of wireless Point-to-Multipoint (PTMP) solutions, to connect its corporate customers and premium residential customers with higher bandwidth needs. Working directly with the InfiNet team, Connect deployed in excess of 30 base stations and 250 subscriber terminals across Lebanon in just a few months.

InfiNet Wireless is globally known for its robust carrier-grade solutions, recently deploying wireless platforms across Colombian oil fields, fish farms in Mexico and Thailand’s major airports, guaranteeing uninterrupted connectivity at all times.

“With InfiNet technology, we are now able to serve customers more efficiently. With our Wi-Fi based PTP links we had to connect all our customers in a Point-to-Point topology, which is not only cumbersome to manage but also expensive to procure and deploy,” said Jubran. “This is no longer the case thanks to the InfiMAN 2×2 platform. All we need to do now is set up a base station sector in a specific area and we can provide, almost instantly, a large number of customers with high bandwidth connectivity, all achieved without disrupting any other customer or our wider network.”

The most notable benefit of the InfiNet solution for Connect has been the reliability of the network, with Jubran noting that Connect no longer suffers any downtime or performance loss with the InfiNet solution, as they experienced with the previous platform. This ultimately gave Connect the confidence that it could provide its customers with the best-in-class wireless network. “InfiNet has truly saved our business and reputation in the marketplace,” concluded Jubran.

Kamal Mokrani, Global Vice President, InfiNet Wireless said: “Service providers across the world are coming under immense pressure to provide customers, both residential and commercial, with higher bandwidth and reliable connectivity. Over the last couple of years, we have made significant investments in developing solutions, like the InfiLINK XG and InfiLINK XG-1000, to cater for this specific segment of the industry. Having worked closely with Mada in Kuwait, it is gratifying that its sister company, Connect, has also selected InfiNet’s solutions as a core platform to improve its service offerings to customers in Lebanon. We look forward to supporting Connect for many years to come and help it achieve its growth ambitions.”