VSAT (Very Small Aperture Terminal) technology is gaining prominence in Africa in spite of the general fiber optic networks are the panacea to bringing down the soaring internet connectivity rates that have hindered the penetration of these services in most African countries.

Speaking during a presentation on the advantage of VSAT, job Ndege General Manager Afsat Communication Limited and ICT expert in the region, said that there was still a ranging debate on advantages of VSAT and Fiber Optic networks, but in the case of Africa VSAT was gaining more acceptance due to its maturity, reliable and efficiency, having supported ISP?s and telecommunications services providers since 1989.

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He said that apart from the colossal cost of installing fiber optic networks and the high risk of being cut and damaged, there was a very low motivation to invest in this technology due to small user base especially in Africa. "Fiber optics cables in Africa are predominantly being used for backbone or backhaul and not for last mile solutions" he said.

In contrast he explained that VSAT beats the last mile problem by connecting a customer?s network directly to the internet on a single Hop unlike most technologies which rely on others for internet connectivity.

"VSAT technology is time tested and can be activated much more quickly than terrestrial networks. They offer a much higher reliability by linking to an internet backbone, bypassing congested terrestrial lines, exchanges and numerous interconnections thus reducing the potential points of failure" he added.

He said that the challenge that is facing internet users in Africa today is the high cost of connectivity associated with international backbone or gateway links delivered through fiber optic or satellite. "The cost of these links is very high which poses a great barrier for African countries to participate in international trade."

Outlining the future of VSAT, Ndege said that in spite of the USA and Europe having extensive rollout of fiber and cable, the VSAT had continued to grow tremendously with one company, Hughes of USA installing over 110000 news VSAT site a month. "We believe that fiber penetration will be limited at terrestrial backhaul and metro level due to prohibitive costs."
Afsat communication was set up in 1992 to provide ICT services in the East African Region. In 2001 it launched its flagship brand iWay and spread its services through out Sub-Sahara Africa. The iWay brand includes fast, reliable and cost effective broadband internet access and custom made inter-corporate interconnectivity solutions. Afsat has subsidiaries in Uganda, Kenya, Tanzania and Nigeria and has presence in 28 Sub-Sahara Africa countries through a network of distributors. Afsat currently has over 5,000 VSAT on the broadband platform and over 200 VSATs on intra-corporate platform.
Afsat has won several recognitions in the last one year:

?Afsat won The Best Operator in Developing Market at the world communications Awards (WCA) in November 2007.
?In April 2008, Afsat won the Best VSAT Operator in Africa, Company of the Year during the Satcom Stars Awards.
?The 10th Edition of the Comsys VSAT report published in October 2007, ranks Afsat as the Largest Broadband VSAT operator in Africa with close to 20% market share.

By Job Ndege (General Manager)

It has come to my attention that the business community in Uganda and around the world considers their businesses or companies having online presence to be either wastage of time, money or considered to be for the rich companies only!
Studies have been carried out around the world, showing that most businesses are convinced that websites do not benefit their type of business. Other business owners believe that having a website exposes their company secrets to the competitors hence will lead to their down fall.
Internet experts believe that if businesses do not deal with their fears and anxieties, they are likely to be left behind in this competitive world.

I have come up with my 10 unique reason why your business needs online presence:-

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01. Low Advertising and Marketing costs: Did you know the one time cost of designing a website and annual fees you spend on renewals (domain & hosting), website maintenance is just a smallest fraction on the cost you spend a year on printing out brochures, billboards, flyers and many others? And yet with you having a website, whatever is printed out or shown in adverts can be in the website and you?re guaranteed of wide market coverage.

02. 24/7 business operations: With online presence, your company or organization is open for business to anyone, anywhere around the world for all 24hrs a day, 12months a year. Imagine finding an order or Inquiry about your products waiting for you to just click reply and business transactions start on another or different level. So with a website that has a form, email, and order online function will obviously prompt a client to leave a message or call you later.

03. Communication and Customer care at its best: Imagine just sitting behind your computer and click on the send button?.and in just seconds you have notified all your existing and prospective clients about your new products, promotions, achievements in quickest move possible.
Imagine you providing answers through website (FAQs: Frequently Asked Questions) to those constantly boring questions that you have had over and over again about your business. Do you think this would be possible with poster letters?

04. A complement in branding: Did you know that having a nicely designed website can strengthen your corporate image and improve your branding? That is why hiring a professional website designer or company is very essential. Because you want to emphasize the branding then usability, easy access, friendly look of website is so important. I will give the basics of nicely designed website next time.

05. Your online presence adds confidence, trust, belief and hope into your clients. This shows how your business is a step ahead of the others and how your products are easily understood. I have noticed that customers always want to purchase a product or service they have understood. No one wants to buy something is ignorant about! Do you? Top

06. Increased business relationships: Research has proved that enhanced marketing and management in business relationships bring big sales to companies. This is characterized by an exchange between two or more parties. In simple terms your website could contain information related to other businesses your clients might show interest for.

07. New consumer generations: even though the majority of the companies do not make vendor selections based on Google or yahoo searches, you cannot rule out the possibility that an employee of the company might make some initial searches on the internet to research information and find potential vendors. It makes sense to put a quality website in place for them.

08. Survey (Market research): You want to know how your products or services are fairing on the market? Well, website can just do that with help of tools like opinion polls, survey, statistical tools and many more out there.

09. Contact information ? With website, your contact details are accessed by a click away. This makes it easy to be located by anyone, anywhere which actually is the hardest thing in business (reaching you).

Well you still need more? I guess you need to know this;
?No business owner should feel it's too late to join the digital revolution. Put simply, there are now solutions designed with them in mind. In today's difficult economic climate, every enterprise, small businesses should have their door open to the Web? Top

First of all what is an SSD (Solid State Drive)?
Solid state is an electrical term that refers to electronic circuitry that is built entirely out of semiconductors.
The term was originally used to define those electronics such as a transistor radio that used semiconductors rather than vacuum tubes in its construction. Most all electronics that we have today are built around semiconductors and chips. In terms of a SSD, it refers to the fact that the primary storage medium is through semiconductors rather than a magnetic media such as a hard drive.
Well this seems boring for Most of you who don?t want to hear these technical terms, such a bore some times.

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This technology has actually been around for many years, but now it is set to become something that consumers may actually use.
Well, an SSD on the outside looks almost no different than a traditional hard drive. This design is to allow the SSD drive to put in a notebook/Laptop or desktop computer in place of a hard drive. It uses a standard dimension as a 1.8, 2.5 or 3.5-inch hard drive. It also uses either the ATA or SATA drive interfaces so that there is a compatible interface.
Now here we go, enough for the history.

  • HDD hard drives store data on rapidly rotating platters in your device, because of the construction HDD drives are prone to shocks or vibrations. HDDs are the ones most of us have in laptops desktops and carry around calling external hard drives or USB hard drives. Man these things can consume power. And in some old computers they make noise like a grinding machine.
  • SSD hard drives are like a big memory card (like in your cellphone) so there are no moving parts to make noise making the device better to use in areas of high vibration like in a car.

Here's the difference between SSD and HDD when it comes to general things.

Performance: SSD boots up, reads data, and shuts down 25-75 % faster than HDD.
Weight: SSD is lighter
Rigidity: In vibration areas and tests, HDDs crash, whereas the SSD keep going on as if there is nothing happening.

Price: These things are Expensive can you imagine 256GB of an SSD is US$580 vs. US$50 for a similar size external USB HDD . I do not think you want to go for one now as yet. But they will come down as time goes and more manufactures come in so lets be patient.
Durability: A lot more vulnerable to static shocks
Power: Tends to eat more power at idle or even underwork loads
Life: Has a lower write cycle. An HDD will wear down after 1,000,000+ read/write cycles, where as an SSD has a life of 10,000-100,000 write cycles.
If you want a really fast read/write speed, then go with the SSD, unless you are concerned with the life of it. If you're okay with using it just for 1-2 years, then go for it.

Personally, I'd stick to a 5400 RPM HDD, especially if I have an ultraportable. The higher speeds result in battery consumption, and as a result, your ultraportable won't be too independent from the power cable with a 7200 RPM HDD.

By Ken
Solutions Development Manager
Lwegatech Limited