The Chairperson of the Independent Communications Authority of South Africa (ICASA) led a delegation on a walkabout visit at the University of Pretoria (UP) last week to view a research setup which is part of ICASA’s Research Collaboration Programme. This programme was initiated by the Engineering and Technology Division of ICASA to facilitate wireless technology research and forecast and to facilitate policy development and rule making.
During the visit the Chairperson met with Prof R F (Roelf) Sandenbergh, the Dean of the Faculty of Engineering at the University of Pretoria and reiterated ICASA’s commitment to research and interaction with academia. The Dean explained strides made by the Faculty to extend their reach to all communities.
Professor Sunil Maharaj, the Acting Head of Electrical, Electronic and Computer Engineering Department and Director of Sentech Research Group Chair, presented the research output emanating from the collaboration.
The Chairperson also addressed an affinity group of the Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers (IEEE), IEEE Graduate of the Last Decade (GOLD).
Currently the focus areas of the collaboration are:
• Benefits from emerging technologies, such as cognitive radio, and develop techniques on spectrum management to bridge the rural-urban divide areas
• Facilitation of regional and international harmonisation in radio frequency planning, standardisation and equipment development to reduce the cost of communication
• Facilitation of radio frequency propagation studies for sharing across radio frequency bands and across services to optimise the use of the spectrum
• Socio-economic aspects of radio frequency spectrum management
During the visit, the delegation was ushered through internally developed measurement system setup for spectrum occupancy modeling. Research output presented included the use of Hidden Markov Model to predict future radio frequency spectrum occupancy using current measurements and intelligent training algorithms. This would assist in facilitating secondary users of spectrum using cognitive radio. The University also carried out research on location awareness for cognitive radio to provide basis for dynamic spectrum access and adaptive transmission mechanisms which can be used in “white space’ technologies.
The programme at UP has employed three (3) Masters Students and one (1) PhD student. Seven (7) peer review papers have been accepted for publication.