Connecting Africa is part of the Informa Tech Division of Informa PLC

This site is operated by a business or businesses owned by Informa PLC and all copyright resides with them. Informa PLC's registered office is 5 Howick Place, London SW1P 1WG. Registered in England and Wales. Number 3099067.

IoT & Smart Cities

IoT Jamming Mobile Networks in Africa

Article Image
IoT is already embedded in Africa’s industrial and commercial infrastructure for smart management of farming, water and electricity.

According to Vodafone's 2015 M2M Barometer Report, 35% of organisations in Africa now have M2M deployments in place, while IDC predicts significant potential for M2M growth across the African continent.

African businesses are in a unique position to leapfrog over interim technology and adopt IoT solutions more easily, because Africa doesn’t have the same extensive legacy applications and infrastructure as Western countries.

However, the increase in signaling traffic can strain mobile networks already pushed to the limit. In South Africa, Telkom's 4G LTE network is coming under congestion pressure, the company said, due to an 18.4% rise in mobile voice and subscriptions and a more than 70% increase in mobile data traffic.

IoT smart devices send and receive vast amounts of data. Signaling messages are used to determine the location of the device, its wake-up times, and who has authorized access. The increasingly large number of messages due to state changes on the radio spectrum can result in the inefficient use of resources, for example:

  • Push notifications can be sent to a large number of devices within a small time window, creating huge spikes in signaling and congestion on the radio spectrum.
  • Devices can send frequent "keep alive" messages just to ensure the network address translation (NAT) port remains open
  • Devices can ping the network every few minutes when unable to connect to the application server.

    When each of these inefficiencies is multiplied by thousands of devices the extra load on the network can have a negative impact on performance. One approach to reduce congestion, and enable operators to service more devices using the same network resources is to implement more intelligent signaling. Using this approach, inefficiencies with signaling can be eliminated by streamlining and orchestrating the data traffic to reduce the number of signaling messages related to state changes. The sending of unnecessary data control messages can be managed or delayed until there is a more opportune time for transmission.

    Signaling can be tweaked to improve network performance. For example, data control messages can be delayed, queued and then transmitted in batches and signaling messages can be balanced over time to prevent bursts.

    These optimisation techniques can reduce data signalling events by 5%-15%, reduce RF state changes and save battery life. By influencing traffic flows at the network core the increased efficiency is automatic and all signaling traffic is optimised. IoT will most likely continue to be used in Africa to better manage water and electricity consumption and to improve agricultural yields. As the number of rapidly-growing connected devices increases, African operators will need solutions that will enable them to connect more devices using the same infrastructure to keep down the costs of data transmissions. Intelligent signaling solutions can provide a cost effective solution that makes the most of the existing network resources, delaying the requirement to invest in more network capacity.

    About Ofer Gottfried:

    Ofer Gottfried, chief technology officer (CTO), leads Flash Networks' long-term technology vision, and is responsible for collaborative research with mobile operators, advanced technology solutions and thought leadership.

    If you are interested in finding out more about IoT and Smart Cities in an African context, why not attend Africa's biggest tech and telco event – AfricaCom?

    The dedicated IoT and Smart Cities Africa track at this year's event will be running from the 16-17 November 2016, find out more here.

    AfricaCom's week-long festival of events is taking place at the Cape Town ICC from the 14-18 November.

    You can sign up for a free visitor pass to the event here or purchase your silver, gold and platinum AfricaCom tickets to all sessions here.

  • Innovation hub

    Story

    Connecting Africa Podcast: S2 Ep. 4 – Agri-fintech, from kibbutz to Kenya

    The Connecting Africa Podcast team speak to Israeli-Kenyan startup Avenews' co-founder and CEO, Shalom Ben-Or, about his fintech super-app that has been built specifically for Africa's agriculture industry.

    Story

    Hot startup of the month: Cloud-native developer Deimos

    This month's hot startup is pan-African cloud technology and professional services company Deimos which is on a mission to be the leading cloud-native technology company in Africa.

    More Innovation hub

    Flash poll

    All polls

    Partner perspectives

    All Partner Perspectives

    Africa Tech Perspectives

    Story

    Women in Tech: Spotlight on inclusivity with Digital Council Africa's Juanita Clark

    Digital Council Africa founder and CEO, Juanita Clark, talks to Connecting Africa as part of our Women's Month series about her career and what needs to be done to make the tech industry intentionally inclusive.

    Story

    Women in Tech: Spotlight on legal tech with Life.file's Sinal Govender

    Life.file co-founder, Sinal Govender, talks to Connecting Africa as part of our Women's Month series about her career and how we can encourage more young girls to enter the legal tech field.

    Story

    Digital inclusion as a catalyst for economic empowerment: Mastercard's Imelda Ngunzu

    Mastercard's Imelda Ngunzu talks to Connecting Africa about how digital payment solutions and mobile money are transforming the lives of small business owners, women and marginalized groups in East Africa.

    More AfricaCom perspectives

    Latest video

    More videos

    Industry announcements

    More Industry announcements

    Guest Perspectives

    Story

    Omdia View: July 2022

    By Omdia Analysts

    Kenya and Zambia move towards 5G with new spectrum allocations while Tunisie Telecom plans to shut down its 3G network - that and more in this month's Omdia View.

    Story

    Omdia View: June 2022

    By Omdia Analysts

    5G was the major news trend across Africa in June, as Orange became the first operator to launch 5G in Réunion and operators in Senegal accelerated their 5G plans despite spectrum delays.

    More Guest Perspectives

    Sponsored video

    More videos

    Like us on Facebook

    Newsletter Sign Up


    Sign Up