Wireless Network Plan for Zaria Community and Culture Network

By: Shuaibu Muhammad Umar

Preamble

Zaria is the second-largest city in Kaduna State in the northwestern part of Nigeria and one of the legendary seven (7) Hausa States. Historically, Zaria is the headquarters of Zazzau Emirate, which comprised almost all of Kaduna State. Zaria is located at 11.0855° N, 7.7199° E. The city has one of the oldest monarchies in northern Nigeria. Initially, Zazzau was ruled by the Hausa (or rather known as Habe). In around 1808, the city was captured by the Fulani Jihadists that necessitated the migration of the then Hausa ruler to migrate to which is now known as Abuja, the Nigerian capital city. Other tribes that ruled Zazzau Emirate are the Kanuri and Mallawa (believed to have originated from Mali). The historical significance of Zaria in the Nigerian history and the rich culture of the city cannot be overemphasised.

Another important significance of Zaria is that it is a seat of knowledge, both Islamic and western. Zaria has one of the largest concentrations of higher institutions and research centres in Nigeria. It is a host the first university in the northern Nigeria, Ahmadu Bello University (ABU), and the only college of aviation in Nigeria, Nigerian College of Civil 

Aviation Technology. Others are:

  • Nigerian Institute of Transport Technology
  • Federal College of Education
  • National Institute of Chemical Research
  • National Institute of Leather Research
  • Centre of Energy Research
  • National Animal Production Research Institute (ABU)
  • Institute of Agricultural Research (ABU)
  • National Agricultural Extension Research and Liaison Services (ABU)
  • Ahmadu Bello University Teaching Hospital
  • Nuhu Bamalli Polytechnic (State owned institution)
  • National Tuberculosis and Leprosy Training Centre

Accordingly, there are about forty (40) public secondary schools in Zaria and environ, whereas referred to as Zaria in this report. The city has two local governments, Zaria and Sabon Gari, with a combined population of about 900,000 based on 2006 projections. For ease of refence, the combination of the two local governments is referred to as Zaria in this report. 

Zaria Community and Culture Network is aimed at providing connectivity to all institutions in Zaria and some rural communities that are identified as underserved or unserved that are in the outskirt of the city.

  • ABU Fibre Backbone

ABU network backbone is based on optic fibre and spans about 78KM that cut across Zaria. The fibre connects six complexes of the university located in a span of about 38KM beginning from Shika, a village that is in the outskirt of Zaria in the north, to the central part of the city and terminated at the Kongo campus of the university. The fibre passed near most of the research institutes not owned by the university.

It is important to note that apart from institutions owned by ABU, all others are not connected to the expansive fibre. More so, ABU has connection to the Internet through five (5) STM-1 with each having 156MBps. Accordingly, the university has a Data Centre with reasonable number of servers and Storage Area Networks. In fact, all Portals and web contents of the university are hosted in the Data Centre.

The resources in the Data Center is enough to serve the ABU community and other institutions around. Similarly, underserved communities around Zaria can be connected wirelessly to the network with a view to mitigating the connectivity issues and by extension provide to the community, vast information on agriculture, healthcare, culture etc. 

  • Scope of the Survey

This survey focussed on the following institutions and communities:

  • National Animal Production Research Institute
  • Ahmadu Bello University Main Campus
  • Ahmadu Bello University Teaching Hospital
  • National Agricultural Extension Research and Liaison Services
  • Basawa Community
  • National Institute for Chemical Research
  • Nigerian Institute of Transport Technology
  • Ahmadu Bello University Kongo Campus
  • Zaria Educational Development Association
  • Barewa College
  • Alhudahuda College
  • Kufena College
  • Emirs Palace, Zaria

The Google Map below gives the relative locations of all the sites in a map.

 

  • Survey Considerations

 

It is important to note that most of the sites mentioned in the scope are already connected to ABU network using fibre. However, to connect sites outside the university, two locations are considered: The Kongo campus of the university and the main campus. Kongo and the main campus are connected using fibre, hence, are part of the same network. There are existing masts that are both 120ft, high enough to connect any part of the city from either ends (north and south). As usual, four considerations have been made in the survey. Namely:

 

  • Physical Infrastructure

 

The table below gives a summary of the requirements of masts at each listed site.

S/No Site Site Type Location Distance from Base Station Infrastructure Availability
1 ABU Main Campus (A) Base Station 11° 9’2.38″N

  7°39’21.98″E

0 Fibre/120ft Mast Available
2 National Animal Production Research Institute On fibre On fibre
3 Ahmadu Bello University Teaching Hospital On fibre On fibre
4 National Agricultural Extension Research and Liaison Services On fibre On fibre
5 Basawa Community Remote Station 11°10’39.07″N

  7°40’18.95″E

3.44KM from A 18ft Pole on a raised water tank  Available
6 National Institute for Chemical Research Remote Station 11°10’16.90″N

  7°40’55.89″E

3.65KM from A 110ft Mast Available
7 Nigerian Institute of Transport Technology Remote Station 11° 8’51.10″N

  7°40’57.49″E

2.92KM from A 120 ft Mast Available
8 Ahmadu Bello University Kongo Campus (B) Base Station 11° 5’0.61″N

  7°43’26.86″E

0 Fibre/120 ft Mast Available
9 Zaria Educational Development Association Remote Station 11° 4’56.68″N

  7°41’57.33″E

2.73KM from B 73ft mast required, a 18ft pole to be mounted on top of a raised water tank No
10 Barewa College Remote Station 11°10’39.07″N

  7°40’18.95″E

2.64KM from B 70ft mast required, a 18ft pole to be mounted on a raised water tank No
11 Alhudahuda College Remote Station 11° 4’28.79″N

  7°42’25.00″E

2.1KM from B 80ft Mast required To be erected
12 Kufena College, Zaria Remote Station 11° 4’40.28″N

  7°39’56.74″E

6.41KM from B 65ft mast need to be increased to 120ft Available but will need to be raised with about 55 feet
13 Emirs Palace, Zaria Remote Station 11° 3’43.47″N

  7°42’26.88″E

2.93Km from B Raised building, hence 18ft pole can be mounted on to High building available

Figure 1 Mast at ABU Data Centre Figure 2: Mast at ABU Kongo Campus

 

 

 

 

 

 

Figure 4: Mast at NITT Figure 5: Remote Station at Basawa

 

 

  • Internet Source and Technical Infrastructure 

Internet access is available in the ABU network. Connecting sites outside the ABU network is going to be wirelessly using 5GHz radios. There are two locations where base stations would be installed. At the moment, three (3) Mikrotik mANTBox 19s with integrated 1300mW 540mbps AP(mANTBox 19s) 1200 have been mounted on the mast at the Data Centre. More so, Basawa Community had a link using Mikrotik Outdoor 5GHz 802.11a/n/ac wireless device with a backfire type 21dBi antenna(DISC-Lite5ac) and Ubiquiti UniFi 802.11ac Mesh Indoor/Outdoor 2.4/5GHz AP ( UAP-AC-M) for Access Point. Reasons for the choice of equipment is beyond the scope of this writeup. 

The following equipment are required for each site, thus:

S/No Site Equipment Quantity
1 ABU Main Campus Mikrotik mANTBox 19s with integrated 1300mW 540mbps AP(mANTBox 19s) 1200 3 Installed
2 National Animal Production Research Institute On fibre
3 Ahmadu Bello University Teaching Hospital On fibre
4 National Agricultural Extension Research and Liaison Services On fibre
5 Basawa Community Mikrotik Outdoor 5GHz 802.11a/n/ac wireless device with a backfire type 21dBi antenna (DISC-Lite5ac) and Ubiquiti UniFi 802.11ac Mesh Indoor/Outdoor 2.4/5GHz AP (UAP-AC-M) Installed
6 National Institute for Chemical Research Mikrotik Outdoor 5GHz 802.11a/n/ac wireless device with a backfire type 21dBi antenna (DISC-Lite5ac) 1
7 Nigerian Institute of Transport Technology Mikrotik Outdoor 5GHz 802.11a/n/ac wireless device with a backfire type 21dBi antenna (DISC-Lite5ac) 1
8 Ahmadu Bello University Kongo Campus On fibre
9 Zaria Educational Development Association Mikrotik Outdoor 5GHz 802.11a/n/ac wireless device with a backfire type 21dBi antenna (DISC-Lite5ac) and Ubiquiti UniFi 802.11ac Mesh Indoor/Outdoor 2.4/5GHz AP (UAP-AC-M) 1 each
10 Barewa College Same as above 1 each
11 Alhudahuda College Same as above 1 each
12 Kufena College, Zaria Same as above 1 each
13 Emirs Palace, Zaria Same as above 1 each

In summary, there will be the need for the following quantities of equipment:

S/No Equipment Quantity
1. Mikrotik mANTBox 19s with integrated 1300mW 540mbps AP(mANTBox 19s) 1200 3
2. Mikrotik Outdoor 5GHz 802.11a/n/ac wireless device with a backfire type 21dBi antenna (DISC-Lite5ac) 7
3. Ubiquiti UniFi 802.11ac Mesh Indoor/Outdoor 2.4/5GHz AP (UAP-AC-M) 5

Power and other Requirements 

The main source for power is going to be from the national grid. However, due to instability of the default source, solar inverters will be needed as the most dependable backups at each remote station (Basawa has been provided with one). As such seven (7) will be needed for the other stations. Lightening conductors will be required as this part of the country is occasioned with some lightening. Mostly during the wet (rainy) season. Other required accessories are STP cables, lots of RJ45 connectors and PVC pipes for cables to be buried in the ground.

 Conclusion

This survey is cover certain institutions in Zaria and mainly the public schools that are owed by the government. Its is not to say that private schools will not be considered be part of the Zaria Community Network, rather, this is to kickstart the network and to get the government buy-in so as to support the expansion of the network. Similarly, Zaria Emirate and Zaria Educational Development Association were considered because of the central role they play in the development of education in Zaria.

It is expected that with the grant from ISOC and the nod received from Ahmadu Bello University in agreeing to leverage on university’s network and to provide colocation for the content server of the Community network; and possibly to provide some bandwidth, it can be said that the Community Network has come to stay.

It is important to note that this survey does not include a link budget. Google Earth is used in the survey.

Shuaibu Muhammad Umar

Internet Society, Nigeria Chapter

Training on Building Community Networks

June 2020

Leave a Reply