eCRG, Chancellor College of University of Malawi Setting up Innovation Laboratory using White Spaces Technology Research Results

The eCommunication Research Group (eCRG) of the Chancellor College, University of Malawi is setting up an Innovation laboratory for Malawi that will be housed in the Physics Department to engage, mentor and build human capacity in young people to work towards solving challenges facing Malawi in both Science, Technology and Innovation and the ICT sector.

Highly skilled personnel in the Physics Department will mentor, motivate, train and guide young people as well as train Teachers responsible for ICT in some schools. This will assist to create cluster capacity in those areas to ensure sustainability of the Innovation labs agenda. It is expected that the trained young people will be able to train and motivate others and hence mobilize a wider constituency using a Train the Trainer Methodology.

In order to provide connectivity between the Physics Department at Chancellor College and the selected schools, White Spaces technology will be deployed. This will follow thorough research; network design, equipment testing, regulatory clearance, installation of the White Spaces broadband radios and the implementation of the network.

The research; network design, equipment testing, regulatory clearance has already been carried out in collaboration with the Malawi Communications Regulatory Authority (MACRA) and the Marconi Wireless Lab at the International Centre for Theoretical Physics (ICTP) in Italy.

Current results show that White Spaces Broadband radios can be used in Malawi. Moreover, some schools have shown e-readiness and ICT compliance and can therefore directly benefit from this project at a much reduced cost.

The National Commission of Science and Technology, Malawi - an IST-Africa partner - supports the research and rolling out the White Space Technology as it will enable delivery of quality bandwidth especially to rural settings at a reduced cost.

Article contributed by Dr. Chomora Mikeka (Chancellor College of University of Malawi) and Ebony Msikawanthu (NCST).