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Researcher of the Month; Dr. Vitalis on Protocols for Optimizing Network Capacity

Engineer enthusiast lecturer, Dr. Vitalis Gavole Ozianyi, from the Faculty of Information Technology (FIT) grew his passion for the subject from a very young age. He has accomplished great strides in the world of telecommunications and his love for researching and improving the field will only get him to higher heights. With three degrees in Electrical Engineering, Dr. Vitalis is proud to provide future solutions that will positively affect telecommunication for a world that is fast accepting mobile technology changes.


Dr. Vitalis started his Engineering path while in high school where he studied electricity, at a school that was well equipped with the necessary facilities despite the fact that in those times, having practical equipment for the different subjects was so difficult.  

Family and Education Background

I have a Bachelor of Technology degree in Electrical and Communications Engineering from Moi University (1997-2002) and I graduated with 1st class honours; a Master of Science in Electrical Engineering (2004-2005) from the University of Cape Town, South Africa; and a PhD from the University of Cape Town (UCT) South Africa (2007 – 2010).

 

I went to Musingu High school from 1992-1995 where I attained a mean grade of A-. It was a great achievement for me because during that time, getting an A of any kind opened many career opportunities for an individual, unlike today.

 

After my bachelor degree studies I worked at Moi University as the maintenance and operations officer, from April – Nov 2003 before I started my master’s course. After completing my master degree I got an opportunity to intern in Portugal for 3 months at the University of Aveiro in the Institute of Telecommunications, where my interest for doing a PhD developed.

 

I applied to different universities and I was privileged to get three offers for doing a PhD in three different universities; University of New South Wales – Australia, where I got accepted but did not get a scholarship; University of Aveiro – Portugal, where I was interning and was offered a full scholarship; and the University of Cape Town – South Africa, where I had studied my masters. Choosing University of Cape Town was easier for me because getting a visa was faster. My documentations from the school were sent to me within a week of application causing me to get a study permit the following week.

 

Dr. Vitalis’ academic work during his master’s stood out leading him to get the three offers. In all three countries Australia, South Africa and Portugal where he presented papers; one of his papers was awarded the best paper in Portugal.

PhD Research

My PhD progressed from what I worked on for my master’s; Dynamic Tariffing in the mobile telecommunications market. This involved Mobile operators across the country assessing/monitoring usage of the operator’s network such that if the usage is low, the operators lower their costs to attract more users and if the usage is high then the operators ensure they monitor their clients to ensure the quality of service is well.

 

My PhD topic came from an area called IP Multimedia Subsystem (IMS), and involved looking at how different network operators can share networks. I looked into the use of capacity from their frequency spectrum – through open access networks where some businesses acquire frequency and build infrastructure but are not interested in offering mobile services. This group would be the best option for providing a scheme that presents their excess network bandwidth to a market that needs it elsewhere. For example if an operator in a particular area is experiencing network congestion, instead of blocking the calls, they would be better of seeking to get more bandwidth from the open access market to help with this problem. Therefore the people providing the bandwidth who we can call ‘brokers’ – the ones with excess network bandwidth, would help with solving this issue by providing bandwidth at a particular fee for the specified period.

 

My research therefore worked at providing a scheme that analyzes internet economics and network technologies; developing protocols for optimizing on the use of network capacity

 

I am not sure if my scheme is being used at the moment but there is potential for it, even in 10years to come. With the emergence of new mobile network operators, and the 4th generation networks, a time will come when usable frequency will be limited and we will need such schemes.  

 

My research had a global perspective therefore I concentrated on issues that are generally affecting the world for both developing and developed countries.

Benefits of your research

  1. Helping mobile operators share resources to avoid having networks that are not being used lying idle, yet they have been paid for.
  2. It helps with increased revenue for those selling their network capacity, and improved services for the operators that have low network capacity.
  3. I developed a couple of prototypes that prove the network sharing concept which can be used all around, even for LTE networks.
  4. Picking up this knowledge was a great benefit for me.  

Source of Inspiration

Dr. Vitalis’ father was a great accountant and his brother is a laparoscopy surgeon. Their achievements encouraged Vitalis to work extra hard, obtaining a habit of always reading ahead of the teacher, consequently understanding his subjects better.


I also trained further in my sciences during my high school days when I went for extra tuition near home during the school holidays. This helped me realize that sciences were not difficult, and as a result I could venture into any field because it will not be difficult.

Teaching for the University…

By the time I was finishing my master’s I did not think I will get into teaching. My initial plan was to return to Kenya and get a job, or get one in South Africa. It was not easy to get one in Kenya and in South Africa getting a work permit was difficult. So I opted to start my PhD and see how the future goes. My supervisor, Mr. Neico Ventura, would on occasions give me classes to teach, especially fourth year undergraduates and master’s students. Because no one is expected to work for free in South Africa, they would pay me some amount and I was happy with that. 

 

However after my PhD I managed to get a work permit that enabled me to first work for an IT firm, then a consulting firm in South Africa.

 

During a Kenyan visit from South Africa, one of my friends advised me to visit Strathmore University to apply for a teaching position. I did not know Nairobi well because I never lived in Nairobi before I left Kenya, therefore it was a bit of a challenge to find the school, but I did eventually. I managed to speak to the former Dean of the FIT department, who offered me the option of teaching on a part-time basis. Eventually I got the full-time position.

During His Spare time…

I enjoyed road running especially 10-21KMs distances, but also did the 56KM Two-Oceans ultra-marathon while I was in South Africa. I have found it difficult to run along Nairobi streets though. So during my spare time I do a lot of research so that I can broaden my knowledge and improve telecommunications.

Any advice for potential PhD students?

If anyone is thinking of doing a PhD, they better start immediately and especially when they are still young;

 

PhD scholarship opportunities favor the young.

 

Also, they should ensure they study in a field they love. 

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