Affordable Broadband in India using Backhaul in TV White Space

IIT Bombay Campus Experiment

A trial experiment of point-to-multipoint topology was tested within the IIT Bombay campus. In the test-bed four nodes were installed within the campus-Hostel 14, Hostel 15, Old Guest House (Jal Vihar), and the Department of Electrical Engineering building. Access to the Internet backbone was provided by connecting one of the nodes to the IIT Bombay campus internet; the remaining three nodes had access to the Internet through this node using TV White Spaces (500-520 MHz - which is ‘White Space’ in Mumbai). At each of the four locations, a WiFi router was installed to access the Internet at high speeds.

TV White Space network tested inside the IIT Bombay campus. A point-to-multipoint topology is formed by configuring one node as the Access Point (Hostel 14) and the other nodes as clients. The numbers shown in the figure are the aerial distances between the radios.

TVWS equipments installed within the campus

Proposed Test-bed at Palghar

The first such test-bed is planned to be deployed in a few villages of the Palghar district in Maharashtra. The pilot tests will use intelligent spectrum sharing to provide fixed wireless broadband services between the Khamloli village in Maharashtra and its neighbouring villages of Dhuktan, Bahadoli, Pargaon, Ganje, Maswan, and Haloli. These villages currently have very little access to the Internet. The villagers often have to travel several kilometres to fill exam forms, book online tickets or perform other activities using the Internet. The pilot programs aims at using the TV White Spaces as a backhaul service, while providing last-mile broadband access through WiFi or Ethernet to these villages.

Internet access will be provided at the villages with assistance from Tata Teleservices - five Ground Based Towers will be used for installing equipment, and will communicate with each other over the TV White Spaces. At selected locations close to the towers, WiFi hotspots and Internet kiosks will be installed and villagers will gain access to the Internet.

Topology of the network to be deployed in the Palghar testbed. Khamloli village will have optical-fiber connectivity and a point-to-multipoint network based backhaul will reach neighbouring villages.

Research Issues to be addressed

Current research areas being studied at the Infonet Lab in TV white space include the feasibility of mesh-network based broadband backhaul. Specifically we are adddressing the following technical issues:

  • Evaluation of existing hardware equipment for the test-bed for providing broadband access to the rural areas
  • Customization of MAC Layer parameters to determine an efficient MAC layer technology for the mesh network use case
  • Simulation studies to determine the amount of available TV white space required for providing reliable broadband access to all users in the rural areas, and to determine available throughput for different TV White Space availability
  • Analytical studies for optimizing different network parameters for broadband connectivity using TV white space as backhaul network.