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Botswana, South Africa delve into dynamic spectrum

Botswana, South Africa delve into dynamic spectrum.

South Africa's Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) and Botswana Institute for Technology Research and Innovation (BITRI) will work together on dynamic spectrum access research.

Moshe Masonta, senior researcher for wireless computing and networking research at the CSIR says, "Currently, spectrum management uses what is referred to as static licensing regimes, meaning that spectrum is licensed for a fixed period to a primary user. Dynamic spectrum access proposes that this available spectrum be shared either by accommodating different types of uses or by accommodating multiple user groups."

The CSIR also revealed that BITRI is interested in building its own Television White Spaces (TVWS) experimental network, as well as building Botswana's own national geo-location database and has requested assistance with the design and deployment of Botswana's TVWS network test-bed.

This network, according to the announcement, will be used by the two entities for long-term collaborative research on dynamic spectrum access and sharing on the TV-band frequencies.

"TVWS technology is promoted as a mechanism to achieve rural broadband using automated, but managed spectrum allocation for secondary, low power communication in the TV bands. This provides for better propagation characteristics than in the GHz frequency bands. TVWS can be used for alternative wireless communication services," the research partners have announced.


Five schools and two clinics in Gaborone, Botswana have been identified as the TVWS trial sites for the research project.

Dr Ephraim Gower, TV White Space project manager at BITRI explained why schools were chosen. "The reason we have chosen schools is that they are centres of innovation and they will also benefit from having high-speed internet connections, which aid e-learning. The research will also help formulate regulations and policies around TVWS utilisation in the country."

The CSIR also cites a similar project in Cape Town where 10 schools were connected to fast internet through TVWS. That project, it says, was in addition to another another collaborative project of the same kind that exists between the CSIR and the Ghana Technology University College (GTUC) where six schools will be connected through TVWS in Accra.

The CSIR says it will also use its expertise in building networks using TVWS, without interfering in any way with adjacent channels because current research on the dynamic spectrum access has only focused on the unused spectrum between television channels and television broadcasters have left 'white spaces' to avoid interference in adjacent channels.

Masonta expanded on other benefits that can be derived from the collaboration. "There is high demand for spectrum below 5GHz band, especially in developing countries where there is a challenge to connect over one billion people. Through our long-term collaborative RDI agreement, BITRI will be able to use the intellectual property on aspects of the CSIR's geo-location spectrum database to do further research on dynamic spectrum allocation for broadband access."

The CSIR says it will also deliver a capacity-building workshop, which will be held in Botswana later this year.


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