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Tunisia Takes on a New Look

Tunisia is, without doubt, an emerging power in the North Africa region and that’s largely thanks to the benefits derived from the “Tunisia Digital 2020” strategy, implemented in 2015. Indeed, Tunis — Tunisia’s capital — has already deployed several 4G+ mobile networks, the first of their kind in Africa, and Information and Communication Technology (ICT) is a priority for the country, both as a vector for developing other economic sectors, and as a dynamic sector ripe for innovation, open to the international market. Overall, the ICT industry contributes more than 7.5% of the country’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP), and user-centered digital transformation is sweeping across many industries, including infrastructure construction, e-commerce, e-government, and e-learning.

Esprit, Tunisia’s leading private engineering university has more than 7000 teachers and students. Remarkably, each year, more than 15% of Tunisia’s newly-qualified engineers graduate from Esprit and it is one of the main universities in the country where major vendors are actively growing their ICT ecosystems.

Smart Campus: A New Challenge

With Esprit University's scale increasing year on year, network devices in existing teaching buildings, lecture halls, and stadiums were quickly being rendered outdated, simply unable to meet the requirements of innovative education for campus networks. To resolve this problem, Esprit proactively aligned with the “Tunisia Digital 2020” strategy and decided to build the first smart campus in the country. To this end, Esprit planned to introduce advanced technologies — such as Virtual Reality (VR), Augmented Reality (AR), and 4K video — to deliver superior teaching experiences over the next three to five years.

This push, to provide a superior teaching experience, strained the legacy Wi-Fi network to breaking point, further underlining the urgent need for reconstruction and upgrade. Clearly, Esprit required a wireless campus network that could provide high-density hotspots, full coverage, and high-bandwidth access. And, with a relative lack of highly skilled Operations and Maintenance (O&M) professionals attached to universities (compared to private enterprises), Esprit also prioritized a modern campus network featuring high-reliability and easy O&M.

Wi-Fi 6 appeared to offer the ideal solution, far outstripping Wi-Fi 5 in terms of bandwidth, concurrency, and latency, making the newest Wi-Fi standard the obvious choice for Esprit to reinvent its wireless campus network.

Huawei AirEngine Wi-Fi 6 Delivers an Optimal Experience

After considering multiple factors, from the likely evolution of WLAN technology to predicted five-year Return On Investment (ROI), Esprit chose to work with Huawei — a Wi-Fi 6 frontrunner and key contributor to the development of the industry standard — to upgrade and reconstruct its campus network.

Since 2011, Huawei has been one of the 16 board members of the Wi-Fi Alliance, and its experts have held three chair positions in 13 802.11ax working groups. Indeed, Huawei has contributed over 240 effective proposals, more than any other device vendor. In 2017, Huawei unveiled the world's first Wi-Fi 6 AP, and achieved large-scale commercial adoption in 2018. According to a report on global Wi-Fi 6 indoor AP market share — compiled by leading independent market analysis and research firm, the Dell’Oro Group, and covering 2018 Q3 to 2019 Q3 — Huawei ranked first in both the Chinese market and the global market (excluding North America).

With leading innovations and R&D expertise, Huawei is committed to further improving Wi-Fi 6 performance and enhancing the user experience, beyond the industry's baseline Wi-Fi 6 standards. Huawei technology offers:

• A unique four-element Smart Antenna that enables wireless signals to move with users — increasing signal coverage by 20% while reducing signal interference by 15%.

• Industry-unique SmartRadio intelligent application acceleration technology, which supports multi-queue packet scheduling, avoids congestion, and reduces service latency to just 10 ms. This fully meets latency-sensitive services such as AR, VR, and wireless teaching, and eliminates dizziness from the VR experience.

• Innovative SmartRadio lossless roaming technology, which ensures an optimal experience for key applications and prevents interruption or frame freezing during mobile video conferences.

• The external IoT extension module, which conveniently and quickly expands support for IoT protocols such as RFID, ZigBee, and UWB — implementing multi-network integration.

• iMaster NCE-CampusInsight, powered by big data and AI, predicts network status and intelligently optimizes wireless radio resources — improving network-wide performance by over 58%.

Fully-Connected Campus Paves the Way for Smart Education

Internet education applications are rapidly growing. University campus networks must radically change to adapt to the ever-changing needs of modern teaching. Smart education has become a reality; innovative teaching methods such as recording and remote interactive teaching, immersive VR teaching, and virtual labs are also becoming increasingly common. To support these functions, a high performance, ultra-reliable, and fully-connected mobile campus network is needed. This new network improves the quality and efficiency of teaching and scientific research; more importantly, it also lays a solid foundation for many more innovative teaching methods.

With higher bandwidth, higher concurrency, and lower latency, Huawei AirEngine Wi-Fi 6 delivers an entirely different campus network experience for teachers and students alike. And, looking to the future, Wi-Fi 6 can be flexibly and smoothly scaled to support varied modern teaching applications. With Wi-Fi 6, Esprit has quickly bridged the digital divide and narrowed the IT gap with first-class universities around the world, further enhancing Esprit's reputation in Tunisia, North Africa, and beyond.

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