David Johnson

Principal Researcher
Telecomms and Media, Meraka, CSIR
Adjunct Senior Lecturer
Net4D, ICTD, Computer Science Department, UCT
Cape Town, South Africa

PhD in Computer Science (March 2013)

University of California, Santa Barbara

 

M.Eng in Computer Engineering(June 2008)
University of Pretoria, South Africa

 

Current Research Interests :

Rural Wireless Networks

Cognitive radios / White Space / Dynamic Spectrum Access

Wireless Mesh Networks

Wireless testbeds

Localized cloudlets

Decentralized Internet

djohnson AT csir.co.za

Full Curriculum Vitae

I believe in a fair open society where all people on the planet have access to the body knowledge we have accumulated over the past few thousand years. The answer came with the printing press to distribute knowledge that was in the hands of a few elite but the answer today is getting everyone a broadband affordable connection to the Internet. Broadband is a moving target which for now probably stands at about 5Mbps and Internet is considered affordable if users don't spend more than 5% of their income on access.

I have been working for the past 10 years carrying out research with technologies in rural regions that have the potential to provide access to poorly connected areas. I have been humbled by the tenacity and resilience of rural communities in Zambia and South Africa that have maintained wireless networks in rural villages in spite of unsurmountable odds. I strongly believe in opening up more licence-exempt wireless spectrum and in the immense power of open source to allow for unfettered creativity in this space.

I have helped design and build South Africa's first rural wireless mesh networks, built an indoor 7x7 wireless mesh simulator (one of 3 in the world), and published widely on mesh networks, rural connectivity and Internet architecture for rural areas often trapped behind slow Internet links.

My current interest is in using abandoned or unused TV frequencies (white spaces) for Internet connectivity in hard-to-reach places. This field is growing and I think this is just the beginning of a wave of changes that will rock the way we have managed wireless spectrum essentially trapped in 1930s thinking.