Apr 12, 2013
Trial connects ten Cape schools to Web using ‘television white spaces’Back
Cape Town|Africa|Education|Industrial|Projects|Systems|Africa|South Africa|Meraka Institute|Broadband Internet Access|Correct Hardware|Education Services|Egovernance Services|Internet Using Television White Spaces|Systems|Ntsibane Ntlatlapa|Power|Broadband|Time-division Multiplexing
© Reuse this
The ten schools are participating in the first trial in South Africa to study the effects of connecting and the potential to connect underserviced regions to the Internet using television white spaces (TVWSes), which comprises the currently unused frequencies reserved for television broadcasting. Unused frequencies vary, depending on regions, channels and time of day.
A second trial will aim to demonstrate the use of TVWSes to connect rural regions in Limpopo.
A possible third trial will involve machine-to-machine communication and possible remote meter reading using TVWS frequencies in a time-division multiplexing format, where different signals are sent at different times, or the study of the functionality and use of TVWS channels with regard to machines only sending signals periodically.
The Meraka Institute is studying several different concepts, including the interference of such TVWS connections with frequencies in use, the use of existing television antennae to connect rural and township residents to the Internet and the effective ranges of TVWS broadband connections, he says.
The Department of Communications has issued a licence to Meraka, which enables the institute to conduct studies of these TVWS frequencies in the Cape Town region.
TVWSes are more abundant in rural areas, owing to fewer television channels broadcasting to these regions; therefore, more TVWSes are available to deliver services.
Further, TVWSes are significantly cheaper to use than 2.6 GHz frequencies because the signal travels farther using the same power for transmission. This may enable easier entry for new users, such as broadband service providers or content distributors, in different regions, says Ntlatlapa.
Much of TVWS research pertains to future applications of the frequencies, specifically to provide channels to distribute education services, to enable egovernance services, including rural municipalities having direct communication channels to residents and rural residents interfacing with the Department of Home Affairs without travelling great dis- tances, and to provide entertainment, broadband Internet access and connectivity to more people in South Africa.
“An antenna is not only a receiver and, with the correct hardware, every house’s antenna can be connected to a base station. However, we have several research projects at Meraka to iron out the details and applicability of different technologies,” he notes.
The purpose of the study, however, is to help the Department of Communication to draw up regulations for the use of TVWSes by licensed operators, he says.
Dynamic access involves base stations searching for unused frequencies and providing services to connected devices on these unused frequencies.
Beaconing searches for channels used by other base stations and, using a complex algorithm, determines how the different channels will be used by base stations should possible interference be probable. A PhD researcher at the CSIR has developed a viable algorithm for this emerging technology.
Further, the capabilities provided by improved connectivity in rural and remote areas should foster the development of more industry and businesses in these regions, he adds.
“There is now a demand for this TVWS spectrum to deliver improved WiFi-like systems for broadband; these devices are known as white space devices. White space devices are based on a combination of spectrum sensing, geolocation and beacon techniques for interference avoidance,” Ntlatlapa notes.
These frequency bands are attractive to potential broadband users owing to the availability of a large amount of spectrum that can be used to provide connectivity, propagation qualities that provide for non-line-of-sight performance and in-building penetration, as well as large coverage areas, thanks to the long-range propagation of the signal at these frequencies.
The Meraka Institute’s research will help the Department of Communication to develop effective regulations for using the TVWS spectrum in South Africa; it may also have future implications for the licensing, use and sharing of spectrum for all telecommunications, he concludes.
Edited by: Martin Zhuwakinyu© Reuse this Comment Guidelines (150 word limit)
Other Telecoms News
Telecommunications group Telkom has permanently appointed Deon Fredericks CFO, with immediate effect. Fredericks, who is a chartered accountant, has held senior positions at Telkom since 1993 including the position of deputy CFO since 2011. He has also served as...
The Independent Communications Authority of South Africa (Icasa) is preparing to hold public hearings into the state of competition in the information and communication technology (ICT) sector from October 1 to 3. Icasa embarked on a multimonth high-level inquiry in...
Liquid Telecom, which is majority owned by Econet Wireless Global, plans to spend $200-million across the African countries where it operates over the next year to expand its network, a company executive said on Thursday. Liquid Telecom is constructing a fibre optic...
Updated 3 minutes ago Eskom had failed to comply with a High Court order that it hand over documents related to the awarding of a R4 billion tender to Areva NP Proprietary, Westinghouse Electric Company said on Tuesday. "It is Westinghouse's view that Eskom has failed to comply with this...
Recent Research Reports
Road and Rail 2014: A review of South Africa's road and rail infrastructure (PDF report)
Creamer Media’s Road and Rail 2014 report examines South Africa’s road and rail transport system, with particular focus on the size and state of the country’s road and rail network, the funding and maintenance of these respective networks, and the push to move road...
Real Economy Year Book 2014 (PDF Report)
This edition drills down into the performance and outlook for a variety of sectors, including automotive, construction, electricity, transport, steel, water, coal, gold, iron-ore and platinum.
Real Economy Insight: Automotive 2014 (PDF Report)
This four-page brief covers key developments in the automotive industry over the past 12 months, including an overview of South Africa’s automotive market, trade figures, production and the policies influencing the sector.
Real Economy Insight: Construction 2014 (PDF Report)
This five-page brief covers key developments in the construction industry over the past 12 months. It provides an overview of the sector and includes details of employment in the sector, infrastructure and municipal spending, as well as insight into companies’...
Real Economy Insight: Electricity 2014 (PDF Report)
This five-page brief covers key developments in the electricity industry over the past 12 months, including details of State-owned power utility Eskom’s generation activities, funding and tariffs, independent power producers and prospects for the sector.
Real Economy Insight: Road and Rail 2014 (PDF Report)
This six-page brief covers key developments in the road and rail industries over the past 12 months, including details of South Africa’s road and rail network and prospects for both sectors.
This Week's Magazine
The board of UD Trucks Southern Africa (UDTSA) has announced the resignation of MD Jacques Carelse. Long-time UD employee, corporate planning and marketing GM, Rory Schulz, has been appointed as acting MD while the process started to appoint a new MD. The Japanese...
There is a need to start planning another pumped storage scheme in South Africa. Much work has already been done at a site in the Limpopo province and the project was very close to being put out to tender at one stage. In 2008/9 the National Energy Regulator of South...
The Coega Development Corporation (CDC) is preparing to leverage its strategic coastal position to develop the Eastern Cape economy through proposed aquaculture development zones (ADZs), with a proposed R2-billion project aiming to contribute $278-million to the...
Completion of the ongoing construction of the 102 km Zomba–Jali–Phalombe–Chitakale road, in southern Malawi, has been extended from June to December 15 because of persistent rains and difficulties in paying the contractor. The project is being undertaken by Kuwait's...
The Malawi government has awarded South African firm Fischer Consortium the contract to upgrade the Malawi Road Traffic Information System. The Directorate of Road Traffic and Safety Services at Malawi's Ministry of Transport and Public Works says Fischer...