Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Intel RCP -- a packaged rural wireless solution

We discuss wireless communication, and an earlier class used WiFi wireless technology to connect our campus dorms to the Internet. They used 802.11A for the links between the dorm buildings and 802.11G to connect to student's computers in their dorm rooms inside the building.

Intel has taken a similar approach with their Rural Connectivity Program (RCP). (Watch the short video). They have combined the components we used in the dorm into a single, commercial package. An Intel RCP node puts two radios (one using 802.11A for a long distance link and a second using 802.11G for user connectivity) in a weatherproof box along with antennae for local access and a high-gain, focused antenna for the longstance link. They also modify the modulation method to improve communication speed and reliability.

Our dorm buildings are only 100 or so meters apart, whereas Intel intends RCP links to be as much as 60 miles apart. Their goal is to provide a link from a rural village or farm back to an ISP for Internet connectivity. Their target market is developing nations, but many rural areas in the US also lack connectivity.

Can you think of a place where Internet access is not available in the US? Would Intel RCP offer a solution?