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A low-cost solution for smarter utilisation of national radio frequency spectrum resources

Publication Date: 
Tuesday, August 17, 2021

The CSIR has developed a technology to provide long-range, broadband access to underserved and hard-to-reach communities and facilities.

Contact Person

Minal Soni

msoni1@csir.co.za

The CSIR has developed a technology to provide long-range, broadband access to underserved and hard-to-reach communities and facilities.

Radio frequency spectrum is a crucial information, communication and technology (ICT) resource and enabler for a myriad of digital services. It is also an expensive resource where industry invests heavily in current and future ICT infrastructures. A scarcity of national spectrum resources results in low access of broadband connectivity. However, spectrum audit studies by global and national regulators have shown that spectrum resources in developing markets have been under-utilized in both space and time dimensions.

“The CSIR geo-location spectrum database (GLSD) comprises the Reference GLSD (R-GLSD) and the Secondary GLSD (S-GLSD) technologies. Our R-GLSD has been approved by the Independent Communications Authority of South Africa (ICASA) for assessing compliance of white space devices with respect to South African Television White Space (TVWS) regulations of 2018,” says Dr Luzango Mfupe, CSIR principal researcher.

S-GLSD provides available TVWS channels to radio equipment without causing harmful interference to the incumbent users of the band. The CSIR S-GLSD platform is the only accredited system of its nature in the country and is currently used by wireless network operators to roll out TVWS-based network infrastructure to provide low-cost broadband access to rural and hard-to-reach communities in the country. The R-GLSD system is being used by ICASA as the main dynamic spectrum management toolbox for monitoring compliance of TVWS usage in the country.

The technology can be applied in modern vehicular technologies, home electronics, agricultural services, e-education services and the building of smart villages, smart cities and smart industries in remote and hard-to-reach communities.