Welcome to the net4d website!

The net4d research group focuses on low-cost networking solutions for developing regions including rural and peri-urban areas (such as townships). These networking solutions are typically used by small ISPs or community networks and provide alternatives to costly cellular, satellite or fixed line technology that is simple to install, does not require large up front investments for exclusive spectrum licenses and makes optimal use of the local network providing low latency, high speed services to locally cached content.

Our current connectivity research focuses on fixed wireless back-haul infrastructure using a combination of TV White space and WiFi radios that make use of mesh routing adapted specifically to this hybrid radio mix. TV White Space technology uses unoccupied spectrum in the TV broadcast band and is particularly well suited to areas where perfect line-of site is not possible due to vegetation or buildings. Research is also being carried out to intelligently switch between, aggregate or split the up and down link of the TV White Space and WiFi radios. In order to select optimal channels on the TV White Space radios, we also make use of spectrum sensing in combination with a Geo-location spectrum databases to dynamically select channels that yield the best overall performance in the mesh network and Collaborative Spectrum sensing is used to detect rogue users in the network. TV White Space is part of a wider Dynamic Spectrum Access movement to dynamically access exclusive licensed spectrum not used at specific geographic location or specific times and other bands, such as cellular bands, will be explored in future research.

Many networks in developing regions exhibit strong locality of interest and we take advantage of this characteristic by making use of cloudlet services that provide local file sharing, chat or social networking between local users. Our research looks at mechanisms to securely distribute locally generated content as well as creative commons content and commercial content across a federation of cloudlets in local networks. 


Part of the UCT Centre in ICT for Development