A Lancashire student’s work in a major research project with a telecoms giant could lead to better rural broadband, free wi-fi hotspots and improved road safety information.
Collaborative research between Lancaster University and BT has resulted in a mathematical solution to a telecommunications problem which could have wide-ranging benefits.
Jamie Fairbrother, a PhD student at Lancaster University, spent six months with on a research project looking at TV white spaces (TVWS) – the parts of the TV broadcasting spectrum that are not being used in a particular location.
White spaces could be used for different types of wireless communication – but only if care is taken to avoid interference.
TV white spaces can be used for smart metering in the home, or to provide an isolated rural community with wireless broadband.
It can also be used to provide free wi-fi hotspots in cities, or to transmit live traffic information along busy highways.
Jamie’s research developed a more accurate method of calculating the maximum transmission power that can be sent and received at specific locations than the current proposed method.
It is expected that his mathematical solution will inform the industry regulator Ofcom in setting up a regulatory framework for the use of white space .
Jamie said: “By participating in this project, I have broadened my knowledge of probability theory, simulation and programming.
“It is particularly rewarding that my work is being used in a real trial of TV whitespaces, and could influence the Ofcom TVWS regulations.”
Jamie’s solution addresses an industry problem of accurately measuring the amount of TVWS available at specific locations.
The collaborative research project was funded by £15,000 through the Industrial Mathematics Knowledge Transfer Partnership and supervised by Keith Briggs of BT, and Amanda Turner, of Lancaster University.
Knowledge Transfer Partnerships are a UK government-funded scheme that enables organisations to take advantage of the wide range of expertise available at the university.