The Internet is Needed More than Ever by Navajo Nation Residents

By Atul Bhatnagar   May 19, 2020

Navajo Nation residents in New Mexico are contending with the COVID-19 virus. Sacred Wind Communications has created WiFi hotspots that enable students to connect for classes and families to get the services they need. This Navajo Times article points out that “less than 60% of Navajo homes in some areas of New Mexico have access to basic phone service and fewer still have access to broadband services.” Outdoor Wi-Fi Access Points (AP) like the cnPilot e700 used in these deployments rapidly turn a parking lot into a “Drive-In” hotspot.

Photo from Navajo Times article

“With students across rural and tribal Northwest New Mexico relying upon Internet connectivity to access their school work and classes, it’s imperative that we come together to find ways to ensure that every student has an opportunity to learn,” said John Badal, CEO of Sacred Wind Communications in a recent press released. “At Sacred Wind, it’s always been our mission to connect people—especially those in the most rural areas of New Mexico—to opportunities to increase education, advance careers, access medical care, and stay in touch with loved ones. Our free Wi-Fi hotspots allow us to achieve this goal and will help students in need throughout these trying times.” 

Catherine Nicolaou of Sacred Wind shares her perspective on the deployment. Catherine says, “There are parts of 22 Navajo Chapters in our service territory. School administrators came to us seeking solutions when they were faced with the reality of having students learn from home, and Wi-Fi hotspots are one of those solutions. Wi-Fi hotspots are actually a band-aid for a much larger problem. This crisis has put a spotlight on a lot of the inequities that communities face. Not enough New Mexicans have access to affordable, high-quality telecommunications.” See her full interview with KRQE-TV in Albuquerque for additional details.

Cambium Networks believes that networks should provide reliable and affordable communications while offering value to the end customer and a viable business case to the network operator. Our high-performance networks provide gigabit speed and our software planning tools take the guesswork and time out of network design and installation. In the case of these hotspots deployed by Sacred Wind Communications, outdoor Wi-Fi APs were connected to the network and operational in a matter of hours. While rapid deployment is certainly valuable in disaster recovery, fast and easy deployment also means reduced time and associated cost for any network at any time.

One advantage of wireless technology is that it does not require trenching and the associated equipment and labor. Another key advantage is that it enables network operators to tactically choose the precise locations where connectivity is needed and connect specifically to those exact locations. The network is built based on business needs with no additional expense. With this capability and the planning tools to specifically identify the equipment needed at each location, any service provider can design the solution to meet the end customer needs and provide valuable communications at a price that is a win for the end customer and makes business sense for the service provider.

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