Successful deployment and key applications of Television White Space Networks (TVWS) in Malawi
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Successful deployment and key applications with their social impact of the Malawi TVWS pilot project as of June 2014 is presented. The Malawi Television White Spaces (TVWS) Pilot Project was initiated due to the continually growing demand for spectrum. Utilization of service sharing within frequency bands is one of the alternatives that can be deployed for spectrum efficiency. The TVWS project is utilizing the free spectrum channels in the UHF TV band to provide broadband wireless connectivity. This is in line with Malawi Communications Regulatory Authority’s motto of promoting universal ICT access in Malawi. The TVWS network has been deployed during the pilot phase of this project at the following selected sites; Saint Mary’s Girls Secondary School, Pirimiti Rural Community Hospital, Malawi Defense Force Airwing and Gelogical Survey department. These sites were chosen because of their national importance on education, security, natural disaster preparedness and health. The results indicate that the TVWS can be used for broadband connectivity in rural and underserved areas even when the broadcasting spectrum is already used. Typical applications that support remote access of e-library resources from a rural secondary school and significant impact to pilot institutions in areas of health, national security and disaster preparedness have been demonstrated. Network performance metrics like latency, SNR, throughput have been further analyzed using path loss empirical models. Additionally, this paper presents key Malawi TVWS project achievements, challenges encountered and recommendations.