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ABSTRACT

This paper outlines a migration path towards universal broadband connectivity, motivated by the design of a wireless store-and-forward communications network. We argue that the cost of real-time, circuit-switched communications is sufficiently high that it may not be the appropriate starting point for rural connectivity. Based on market data for information and communication technology (I T! services in rural India, we propose a combination of wireless technology with an asynchronous mode of communications to offer a means of introducing I Ts with" # affordability and practicality for end users$ # a sustainable cost structure for operators and investors$ # a smooth migration path to universal broadband connectivity. % summary of results and data are given for an operational pilot test of this wireless network in &arnataka, India, beginning in 'arch ())*. We also briefly discuss the economics and policy considerations for deploying this type of network in the conte+t of rural connectivity.

CONTENTS

, ( *

Introduction Wireless atalyst 'obile %d -oc onnectivity . /eamless /calability . 0conomics

1 3

2aknet Wifi . %dvantages . 2isadvantages

4 6 7

2aknet 5etwork %rchitecture onclusion 8eference

INTRODUCTION

%s a government representative enthusiastically talks about the new telephone for a village in remote rural India, a villager asks, 9Who am I going to call: I don;t know anybody who owns a telephone.< =et, despite this sensible observation, a phone is dutifully installed as part of the current government mandate to connect villages to neighbouring towns. %lthough some villagers do use the phone occasionally, most still travel sometimes days to talk to family or to obtain the forms and other data that citi>ens in developed nations can call up on a computer in a matter of seconds. In short, the goal of 9broadband connectivity for everyone< has been shelved in favor of cutting back to the minimum possible standard telephone service in the mistaken belief that this is the cheapest way to provide connectivity. This compromise is particularly tragic given recent advances in wireless technology, which make running a copper line to an analog telephone far more e+pensive than broadband wireless Internet connectivity. 8ather than backpedal on the goal of connecting everyone, society should be thinking, -ow can we establish the kernel of a user network that will grow seamlessly as the village;s economics develop: In other words,what is the basis for a progressive, market-driven migration from government seed services- e-governance -to universal broadband connectivity that local users will pay for: 2ak5et, an ad hoc network that uses wireless technology to provide asynchronous digital connectivity, is evidence that the marriage of wireless and asynchronous service may indeed be that kernel -the beginning of a road to universal broadband connectivity. 2eveloped by 'IT 'edia ?ab researchers, 2ak5et has been successfully deployed in remote parts of both India and ambodia at a cost two orders of magnitude less than that of traditional landline solutions. @illagers now get affordable Internet services-and they;re using them. %s one man in a small village outside of 5ew 2elhi remarked, 9This is better than a telephoneA<

THE WIRELESS CATALYST

8ecent advances in wireless computer networking-particularly the I000 7)( standardsBhave led to huge commercial success and low pricing for broadband networks. While these networks are viewed as mainly for offices or for hotspots in urban areas, they can provide broadband access to even the most remote areas at a low price. Today, wireless cell phone and wireless local loop (W??! service costs roughly a third of copper or fiber landline service, while packet-based broadband computer networks cost roughly a ninth of the landline serviceBand they are far friendlier to data services and to lower-grade voice service such as voice messaging. These new technologies thus offer developing countries an opportunity to leapfrog over wireline and W?? telephony infrastructure to the forefront of broadband communications technology. Wireless data networks based on the I000 7)(.,,, or WiCi, standard are perhaps the most promising of the wireless technologies. The forces driving the standardi>ation and proliferation of WiCi in the developed world have resulted in features that can stimulate the communications market in the developing world. These features include ease of setup, use, and maintenance$ relatively high bandwidth$ and, most important, relatively low cost for both users and providers. %s one demonstration of the practicality of this new technology for rural connectivity, researchers from the Indian Institute of Technology at &anpur, working with 'edia ?ab %sia , have 9unwired< a ,))-sD km area of the Eangetic Flain in central India. Cigure , shows the corridor. This proGect provides broadband connectivity along a corridor with almost one million residents, at a proGected one-time cost of under H1) per subscriber. Ither e+periments have shown the practicality of the technology in mountainous terrain and in city centers. Indeed, several cities in the J/ have begun to deploy free Internet connectivity using I000 7)(.,,b. 0ven with advances such as those demonstrated in the 2igital Eangetic Flain proGect, the cost of realtime,circuit-switched communications is sufficiently high that it may not be the appropriate starting point for rural connectivity in developing nations.'arket data for information and communication technology (I T! services in rural India strongly implies that asynchronous service-voice messaging, e-mail, and so on-may be a more cost-effective starting point for rural connectivity proGects.

MOBILE AD HOC CONNECTIVITY

The 2ak5et wireless network takes advantage of the e+isting communications and transportation infrastructure to distribute digital connectivity to outlying villages lacking a digital communications infrastructure. 2ak5et, whose name derives from the -indi word for 9post< or 9postal,< combines a physical means of transportation with wireless data transfer to e+tend the Internet connectivity that a central uplink or hub, such as a cybercafK , @/%T system, or post office provides. %s Cigure ( shows, instead of trying to relay data over a long distance, which can be e+pensive and power-hungry, 2ak5et transmits data over short point-to-point links between kiosks and portable storage devices, called mobile access points ('%Fs!. 'ounted on and powered by a bus, a motorcycle, or even a bicycle with a small generator, a '%F physically transports data among public kiosks and private communications devices (as an intranet! and between kiosks and a hub (for nonrealtime Internet access!. ?ow-cost WiCi radio transceivers automatically transfer the data stored in the '%F at high bandwidth for each point-to-point connection.

2ak5et operation thus has two steps" # %s the '%F-eDuipped vehicle comes within range of a village WiCienabled kiosk, it automatically senses the wireless connection and then uploads and downloads tens of megabytes of data. # When a '%F-eDuipped vehicle comes within range of an Internet access point (the hub!, it automatically synchroni>es the data from all the rural kiosks, using the Internet. The steps repeat for every vehicle carrying a '%F unit, thereby creating a low-cost wireless network and seamless communications infrastructure.

%n ad hoc network is a collection of autonomous nodes or terminals that communicate with each other by forming a multihop radio network and maintaining connectivity in a decentrali>ed manner. /ince the nodes communicate over wireless links, they have to contend with the effects of radio communication such as noise, fading and interference. In addition, the links typically have less bandwidth than in a wired network. 0ach node in a wireless ad hoc network functions as both a host and a router and the control of the network is distributed among the nodes. The network topology is in general dynamic, because the connectivity among the nodes may vary with time due to nodes departure, new node arrivals, and the possibility of having mobile nodes. Eiving everyone access to digital messaging-voice mail, digital documents, e-mail, and so on-is better than installing a community telephone. 8ural information and communication technology (I T! is typically introduced as a communications channel that

the community shares. Whether through a public call office (F I! or a public computer kiosk, users are introduced to I T as shared utilities with a technically literate operator acting as an intermediary. In this shared-use model, much I T has relied on real-time communications , such as landline telephone, cellular phone, or satellite radio links. These realtime technologies can be useful for immediate interactivity and accessing highly time-sensitive information. /uccessful e+amples include India;s F Is and the Erameen Fhone initiative .While successful at providing basic services, the strategy of deploying shared, real-time communications also has serious drawbacks. Ine is the large capital investment in a real-time infrastructure, which reDuires a high level of user adoption to recover costs. The average villager cannot even afford a personal communications device such as a telephone or computer, let alone a subscription fee for access to the communications infrastructure.-ence, to recover cost, users must share the communications infrastructure. This limits the all-important value added from network effects. % villager who finds no use for a phone is typical, and this is perhaps why so few of the world;s poor have used a telephone.

The real-time aspect of telephony can also be a disadvantage" Both intended parties must be present at each terminal to capture the infrastructure;s full value. If a caller wishes to contact someone who does not own (or is not present at! a telephone, the communication is asynchronous despite the real-time infrastructure./ome kind of additional messaging mechanism (be it a messenger or an answering machine! is reDuired to deliver the caller;s message to its destination. %s a conseDuence, real-time telephony can reinforce gaps among rural populations since it encourages users to communicate mainly with people who have private phone lines, typically those of higher economic status located in more urban areas. In the Erameen-Fhone

initiative, women were chosen as the community operators to help reduce this effect, since it was socially acceptable for women to deliver messages to everyone in the village. Jntil widespread private ownership of I T devices becomes economically feasible for end users, it may be useful to consider non-real-time infrastructures and applications such as voice mail, e-mail, and electronic bulletin boards. %lso known as store-and-forward or asynchronous modes of communication, these technologies can be significantly lower in cost and do not necessarily sacrifice the functionality reDuired to deliver valuable user services. They might also be more practical and socially appropriate for users than a shared real-time communications infrastructure. The poor not only need digital services, but they are willing and able to pay for them to offset the much higher costs of poor transportation, unfair pricing, and corruption. /ome rural service providers (8/Fs! have achieved profitability by offering lower-cost substitutes for a villager;s e+isting information, communication, and transportation e+penses. Cor instance, 2rishtee provides an e-government platform that lets villagers interact with local government offices remotely from a kiosk in their village that is managed by a trained operator. % variety of services such as filing a complaint, applying for a loan, and reDuesting a driver;s license are generating up to H(,))) per year per kiosk for 2rishtee. The significant demand for these services results from a sound value proposition" /ave villagers time and money. 2rishtee;s success suggests that the introduction of I T in rural areas might not have anything to do with technology. 'uch rural I T starts with a specific technology and then tests out a variety of information and communication services to see which get accepted (a push approach!. % better strategy might be to start with a basic serviceBin 2rishtee;s case, aggregating demand and brokering information e+change between the villager and the governmentBand then see how technology can support and streamline that service. 2rishtee determined that computers and available connectivity were enough to capture, send, and receive information electronically.?ike other 8/Fs, however, 2rishtee is constrained by India;s lack of a viable communications infrastructure. 'any of the villages that 2rishtee operates in lack working phone lines because of poor line maintenance and delayed installations. %s a result, 2rishtee has resorted to 9sneaker net,< an asynchronous approach to connectivity that involves transporting and swapping floppy disks from the village to the government center and back again. 2espite this

labor-intensive approach, sneaker net is successful because 2rishtee;s applications that generate the most revenue reDuire only intermittent connectivity. %synchronous I T services are sufficient to meet most rural community needs. The /ustainable %ccess for 8ural India (/%8I! proGect in Tamil 5adu, IndiaBa Goint endeavor by the 'IT 'edia ?ab, the -arvard enter for International 2evelopment, and the Indian Institute of Technology, 'adrasBrecently collected data about the communications needs, habits, and costs in hundreds of rural Indian households to gauge the desire for and perceived affordability of household communications. The study found that the current market for successful rural I T services does not appear to rely on real-time connectivity, but rather on affordability and basic interactivity" 8ural I T companies should start their operations by first focusing on providing basic communication and information services rather than more sophisticated applications. %nother /%8I analysis done by 'c&insey onsulting indicates that although the universe of potential applications is large, 9in the short-term only e-mail, scan-mail, voice-over-e-mail and chat are likely to be revenue-generating applications.< The 'c&insey report also found that most of /%8I;s applications do not reDuire real-time connectivity. It estimates that 3) percent of all e+isting rural mail will convert to e-mail, and people often preferred voice messaging to a real-time voice channel. Both e-mail and voice messaging are non-real-time applications. In addition to these non-real-time applications, providers can use asynchronous modes of communication to create local information repositories that community members can add to and Duery. Cor e+ample, a villager can access information from a computer somewhere outside the community and store that information in a village repository so that others can use it. This approach is particularly viable because the cost of digital storage is decreasing faster than the cost of most communication technologies. 'oreover, users are apt to find the information in a local repository highly relevant, which further decreases their reliance on a real-time infrastructure and international bandwidth. Jsers could search and browse the Web in non-real time through applications developed for low-connectivity environments such as T0&. 0ven a single vehicle passing by a village once per day is sufficient to provide daily information services.The connection Duality is also high. %lthough 2ak5et does not provide real-time data transport, a significant amount of data can move at once-typically () 'bytes in each direction.

Indeed, physically transporting data from village to village by this means generally provides a higher data throughput than is typical with other low-bandwidth technologies such as a telephone modem. Seamless scalability In addition to its tremendous cost reduction, a critical feature of 2ak5et is its ability to provide a seamless method of upgrading to always-on broadband connectivity. %s a village increases its economic means, its inhabitants can use the same hardware, software , and user interface to enGoy realtime information access. The only change is the addition of fi+ed-location wireless antennas and towersBa change that is entirely transparent to end users because they need not learn any new skills or buy any new hardware or software. The addition of fi+ed transceivers would provide real-time connectivity, thus enabling new, more sophisticated services, such as voice over IF, which allows 9normal< real-time telephony. Thus, as the 9/ome Information and ommon 'yths about 8ural ommunication Technology< sidebar describes, asynchronous broadband

wireless connectivity offers a practical stepping-stone and migration path to always-on, broadband infrastructure and end-user applications. Together with the development of two other key rural communication componentsBrobust, low-cost terminals and local userinterface design and applications - 2ak5et makes it practical for individual households and private users to get connected. Economics % back-of-the-envelope calculation for 2ak5et suggests that a capital investment of H,3 million could eDuip each of India;s 3),))) rural buses with a H*)) '%F and thereby provide mobile ad hoc connectivity to most of the 63) million people in rural India. This figure represents a cost that is orders of magnitude lower than other rural communication alternatives. osts for the interactive user devices that 2ak5et supportsBincluding thin-client terminals, F2%s, and @oIF telephonesBmay also soon become far more affordable than traditional F s or W?? eDuipment.F2%-like devices using an I000 7)(-like wireless protocol retail for H,)), with a

manufacturing cost of appro+imately H3)./ystem-on-a-chip technology is lowering these costs even more, potentially enabling wireless F2%s at prices as low as H(3 .

DA NET IN ACTION
@illages in India and northern ambodia are actively using 2ak5et with good results. ?ocal entrepreneurs currently are using 2ak5et connections to make e-services like e-mail and voice mail available to residents in rural villages. Ine of 2ak5et;s earliest deployments was as an affordable rural connectivity solution for the Bhoomi e-governance proGect. In /eptember ())*,we also implemented 2ak5et in a remote province of ambodia for ,3 solar-powered village schools, telemedicine clinics, and a governor;s office.

B!oomi initiati"e in In#ia

Bhoomi, an initiative to computeri>e land records, is recogni>ed as the first national egovernance initiative in India. Fioneered by the /tate Eovernment of &arnataka, Bhoomi has been successfully implemented at district headDuarters across the state to completely replace the physical land records system.2ak5et makes Bhoomi;s land records database available to villages up to 1) km away from Bhoomi;s district headDuarters,or 9taluka,< in 2oddaballapur. In this deployment,we outfitted a public government bus with a 2ak5et '%F to transport land record reDuests from each village kiosk to the taluka server. The server processes reDuests and outputs land records. The bus then delivers the records to each village kiosk, where the kiosk manager prints them out and collects a payment of ,3 rupees (J/H).*(! per land record. The bus passes by the hub and stops at each village si+ times per day(three round-trips!.% 9session< occurs each time the bus comes within range of a kiosk and the '%F transfers data.The average length of a session is ( minutes and *1 seconds, during which the '%F transfers an average of ().L 'bytes unidirectionally (kiosk to '%F

or '%F to kiosk! and up to twice that amount bidirectionally (from kiosk to '%F and '%F to kiosk!. The average 9goodput< (actual data throughput!for a session, during which the '%F and kiosk go in and out of connection because of mobility and obstructions, is (.16 'bps. These averages are based on repetitive testing in a sample group of villages that reflect the range of different antenna configurations. The team used both omnidirectional and directional antennas with differing gains according to the orientation of each kiosk with the road and the bus stop. The total cost of the 2ak5et '%F eDuipment used on the bus is H37), which includes # a custom embedded F running ?inu+ with 7)(.,,b wireless card and 3,( 'bytes of compact flash memory$ # a ,))-mW amplifier, cabling, mounting eDuipment, and a ,1-in omnidirectional antenna$ and # an uninterruptible power supply powered by the bus battery. The average total cost of the eDuipment used to make a village kiosk or hub 2ak5etready was H,73. %ssuming that each bus can provide connectivity to appro+imately ,) villages, the average cost of enabling each village was H(1* (H,73 at each village plus H37) '%F cost for ,) villages!.@illagers along the bus route have enthusiastically received the 2ak5et-Bhoomi system. They are grateful to avoid making the long, e+pensive trip into the main city to obtain land records.

DA NET$ A LAST MILE SOLUTION


The Internet is the nervous system of our planet and the billions of people who lack the proper telecommunications infrastructure are seen as the Mlast mile problemM. NCirst 'ile /olutions 'any technologies have been introduced to the world with in the last *) years. Through them we have sent men to the moon and are able to communicate with individuals face to face from half way around the world. These advances have brought progress to the J/% and other first world countries and have become the standard. It has become a vital engine of growth for the world economy. 2espite these advances the entire world has not been able to take advantage of those advancements for several reasons. Foor telecommunication lines ?ack of local economy for development of infrastructure %wareness about the technological advantages

The firm Cirst 'ile /olutions has taken it upon themselves to start introducing the information technologies to rural areas in the developing world. Their proGects use e+isting infrastructures to introduce technologies to villages through uniDue solutions, such as 92aknet<. 2ak means, 9post< in -indi. electronic 9Fostmen< (Boyd, lark!. 2ak5et 'obile %ccess Foint ('%F! 5etworks reDuire" reating an electronic postal network, complete with

# %ppropriate 0nvironment" computers in remote villages that can be transport.

accessed by road

# %pproach" '%Fs are installed on vehicles that normally pass by each village to provide store-and-forward connectivity

92aknet< allows rural villages to e+change messages and video through a mobile I/F. By mounting a wireless card on a vehicle that travels around to remote villages and e+changes updated information with each kiosk it encounters through WiCi. @illagers are able to send message and record videos through these kiosks. That data is stored in the outbo+ of the kiosk. When the mobile vehicle comes around it e+changes the data in the outbo+ and the inbo+. Those awaiting messages are able to check the inbo+ for any messages or videos. %ll information is downloaded to the central system at the office station. Jsing WiCi allows for cheap reliable Internet service to those rural communication Infrastructures. The telephone lines in the remote and rural areas are freDuently dysfunctional and unreliable for Internet connectivity. (Baatchit! Thus WiCi creates better access to

bandwidth from the large data lines that run throughout the world (B0?IW" Titanic backbone through %sia. (Titanic!!

The latest installation to 2ak5et has been adding the remote region of 8atanakiri, ambodia. % collection of ,* villages that are only accessible by motorcycle and o+cart. The per capita income is roughly under H1) J/ dollars. The area school is eDuipped with solar panels that run the computer for si+ hours a day. Froviding them now with email and video messaging. 90arly every morning, five -onda motorcycles leave the hub in the provincial capitol of Banlung where a satellite dish, donated by /hin /atellite, links the provincial hospital and a special skills school to the Internet for telemedicine and computer training. The moto drivers eDuipped with a small bo+ and antenna at the rear of their vehicle, that downloads and delivers e-mail through a wi-fi (wireless! card, begin the day by collecting the e-mail from the hubOs dish, which takes Gust a few seconds.< Through the donations from various organi>ations the developing world is given an opportunity to participate in the technological revolution. %fter many pilot proGects there are still investigations to understanding how to increase the proGects through various solutions such as 2ak5et. 2aknet;s ne+t installation is proGected for another group of villages in ambodia in 5ovember.

%i&st Mile Sol'tions$ Da(Net Ta(es R'&al Comm'nities Online 'any developing countries continue to face the challenge of how to increase access to information communication technologies (I Ts! in rural and remote areas. Telecommunication companies are usually reluctant to e+tend their network due to high infrastructure costs, low population density, and limited ability to pay for the services. Cirst 'ile /olutions P,Q (C'/! counters this problem by providing telecommunications eDuipment that can cheaply connect rural and remote populations to the Internet through an innovative technology" 2ak5et. 2ak5et leverages short- range wireless technology in tandem with traditional telecommunication and physical transportation infrastructures. ?ocal transportationB e.g., public buses, motorcycles, and supply trucksB facilitates data e+changes between rural villages and Internet hubs. This unconventional communication network provides end users with asynchronous access to e- mail, voice messages, and Internet browsing. Activity Description" @illagers in ambodia, osta 8ica, 8wanda, Faraguay and India are getting connected to the global network, using technology from 'assachusetts-based Cirst 'ile /olutions. C'/O 2ak5et technology provides connectivity to villages through a uniDue drive-by WiCi techniDue. The proGect provides e-mail addresses, phone services and web capability to individual villagers. While they are not always connected to the network, villagers can access them any time to write e-mail, record messages or conduct web searches. 0very day, a vehicle drives slowly into the village, uploading stored data and downloading them to the central machines. When the vehicle returns to the base station, data are uploaded to a satellite and can be sent anywhere in the world. Activity Update" C'/ now reaches 1),))) villagers through its various proGects and is unrolling its first local branch in India. The company plans to spend H*) million over the ne+t si+ years to reach IndiaOs market capacity of ((),))) villages. %fter the start-up phase is complete, this system will be entirely financed by private investment and profits from low service fees. Cor the purpose of spreading Jnited @illages services to other countries where

operations are not currently active, the company has begun offering a franchise service open to Dualified entrepreneurs. C'/ has three maGor future proGects in the pipeline. They plan to utili>e cellular networks to transfer data to their customers, eliminating the need for most Ci+ed %ccess Foints. The company also plans to begin offering a private internet currency service whereby users may purchase goods using credit from their prepaid Jnited @illages accounts. Cinally, C'/ is in preliminary talks with maGor search engine providers to create innovative new caching technology that would essentially offer many internet services in an offline format. It is an initiative led by Cirst 'ile /olutions (C'/!, a venture managed by a team of 'IT graduates, developing and testing innovative connectivity approaches aiming at rural needs in developing countries. % pilot demonstration took place in Tikawali, a village near Caridabad (/tate of -aryana, India! in 'arch ())(. The pilot solution enabled villagers to file complaints via email and send video messages from one village to another. The solution combines WiCi (I000 7)(.,,b! eDuipment at (.1Eh> with 'obile %ccess Foints ('%Fs! mounted on and powered by a public bus. The pilot proved able to wirelessly and automatically collect, transport and deliver data at high speeds to and from kiosk-based computers enabled with WiCi cards. Testing Wi-Ci with data store-and-forward solutions in rural India will not be confined to pilot proGects anymore. The government has proposed to roll out the 2ak5et WiCi proGect - involving the linking up of computers to networks without using wires - as a connectivity medium aimed at the rural masses, according to the department of industrial policy and promotion secretary 8aGeeva 8atna /hah. 9The pilot proGects have proved their ability to wirelessly and automatically collect, transport and deliver data at high speeds to and from kiosk-based computers with Wi-Ci cards,< he told

0C0 on the sidelines of the fourth India-0J business summit here. -e, however, refused to reveal the proGect details as well as the time frame as to when the proGect will be rolled out. 9Filot proGects such as the one currently on in &arnataka, are fast proving that Wi-Ci technologies can actually bring connectivity to underserved populations at a fraction of the cost of alternative wired or wireless technologies,< 'r /hah said. %ccording to Cirst 'ile /olutions founder %mir %le+ander -asson, who helped initiate the two 2ak5et Wi-Ci pilot proGects in Tikawali, a village near Caridabad, -aryana, and 2odabalapur district in &arnataka, 9We are using I000 7)(.,,b eDuipment at (.1 E->. We don;t use base stations, but rather our custom 2ak5et 'obile %ccess Foint ('%F! that is mounted on and powered by a vehicle.< Eiving the proGect details, 'r -asson said, 90ssentially, a van roam roams around the 2odabalapur district in &arnataka, stopping at different villages long enough for the local computer to connect to it wirelessly and transfer the data stored in it. Crom the van to the central database is also a Wi-Ci hop, thus resulting in a wireless end-to-end transfer of information - which is what Wi-Ci is all about. The proGect involves creating an online database of land records.<

0ssentially, the 2ak5et-enabled vehicle drives past a kiosk where it picks up and drops off land record Dueries and responses. 0ach day, this is synchronised with a central database. 2ata is transported through the access point, which automatically and wirelessly collects and delivers data from each kiosk on the network. The transfer of data can take place up to a radius of ,.(3 km around the kiosk. 'r -asson said, 9The benefits of using this low-cost wireless network which is easy to set up and maintain are already emerging.9 2ak5et offers a cost-effective network for data connectivity in regions lacking communications infrastructure. The patent-pending hybrid network architecture combines physical and wireless data transport to enable high-bandwidth intranet and Internet

connectivity among kiosks (public computers! and between kiosks and hubs (places with a reliable Internet connection!. 2ata is transported by means of a mobile access point, which automatically and wirelessly collects and delivers data fromRto each kiosk on the network. 2aknet focuses on bridging the digital divide by e+tending the advantages of 7)(.,,+ technologies and solutions to the remote areas.

WI%I
/hort for )ireless *idelity and is meant to be used generically when referring of any type of 7)(.,, network, whether 7)(.,,b, 7)(.,,a, dual-band, etc. The term is promulgated by the Wi-Ci %lliance. Cormerly, the term MWi-CiM was used only in place of the (.1E-> 7)(.,,b standard, in the same way that M0thernetM is used in place of I000 7)(.*. The %lliance e+panded the generic use of the term in an attempt to stop confusion about wireless ?%5 interoperability. Wireless data networks (Wide %rea 5etworks and ?ocal %rea 5etworks! based on the I000 7)(.,, or 9WiCi< standard are perhaps the most promising wireless technology. Eiven its popularity in developed nations, it is reasonable to consider the use of WiCi in developing countries as well. The forces driving the standardi>ation and proliferation of WiCi in the developed world could also stimulate the communications market dynamic in the developing world. These features include" its ease of set-up, use, and maintenance$ its relatively high bandwidth$ and, most importantly, its relatively low cost for both users and providers. /tandard WiCi connectivity (I000 7)(.,,b! provides up to ,,'bRsec data rates, and operates in a band near (.1Eh> that is generally unlicensed in 0urope and the %mericas. 5ewer versions of WiCi provide (('bRsec in this band, and versions that operate at higher freDuencies provide up to 31'bRsec. Tests in rural settings show that a standard WiCi card (such as commonly used with laptop F s! can provide good connectivity up to a S kilometer radius given line-of-sight. With the addition of antennas and repeaters, it is possible to achieve point-to-point connectivity at distances of up to () kilometers. WiCi access points (devices commonly used to provide a WiCi network! currently retail for H,(), and WiCi cards retail for under H4). WiCi technology opens up new possibilities for rural connectivity in developing countries. -owever, the successful implementation of this technology and the choice of usage model should be guided by an intimate knowledge of rural communities and their information- and

communication-related needs. Iur vision is that, provided a conducive regulatory environment, local entrepreneurs within developing countries will leverage WiCi-based technology to" (a! solve the chicken-and-the-egg problem of the simultaneous need for both a market and an infrastructure$ and (b! create a widespread wireless infrastructure that grows seamlessly with the rural communications market, ultimately scaling up to universal broadband connectivity. S+eci*ications 'a+ speed 'a+ encryption 2iscrete channels 5atively compatible Fotential user - ,, 'BF/ - ,(7 bit W0F - * - 7)(.,,b,7)(.,,g - 0ntry level and home networks

'a+ range T full throughput - *)ft

ADVANTA,ES O% WI%I

Jses an unlicensed part of the radio spectrum.This means less regularly controls in many countries. Crees network devices from cables,allows for a more dynamic network to be grown 'any reliable and bug-free Wi-Ci products on the market. ompetition amongst vendors has lowered prices considerably since their inception. While connected on a Wi-Ci network,it is possible to move about without breaking the internet connection. 'odern %ccess points and lient ards have e+cellent in-built security and encryption.

DISADVANTA,ES O% WI%I

The 7)(.,,b and 7)(.,,g flavours of Wi-Ci use the (.1E-> spectrum which is crowded with other devices such as Bluetooth, microwave ovens, cordless phones(L))'-> or 3.7E-> !, video sender devices among many others. This may cause degradation in performance. Ither devices which use microwave freDuencies such as certain types of cell phones , can also cause degradation in performance.

Fower consumption is fairly high compared to other standards, making battery life and heat a concern.

Jsers do not always configure it properly. In addition, Wi-Ci commonly uses Wired 0Duivalent Frivacy (W0F! protocol for protection, which has been shown to be easily breakable even when properly configured. 5ewer wireless solutions are slowly providing support for the superior Wi-Ci Frotected %ccess (WF%! protocol, though many systems still employ W0F.

Wi-Ci networks have limited range. % typical Wi-Ci home router using 7)(.,,b might have a range of ,3) ft(14 m! indoors and *)) ft (L( m! outdoors. But about ,) J/H and an hour of building will give you an antenna that can go much further.

DA NET NETWOR

ARCHITECTURE

The main parts of daknet architecture are" 'obile access point -ub &iosk

MOBILE ACCESS -OINT

2aknet offers data to be transmitted over short point-to-point links.It combines physical and wireless data transport to enable high bandwidth intranet and internet connectivity among kiosks (public computers! and between kiosks and hubs(places with reliable Internet connection! .2ata is transported by means of mobile access point, which automatically and wirelessly collects and delivers data fromRto each kiosk on the network. ?ow cost WICI radio transceivers automatically transfer the data stored in the '%F at high bandwidth for each point-to-point connection.

CONCLUSION

DakNet will enlighten rural India to the Internet


The government has proposed to roll out the DakNet Wi-Fi project - involving the linking up of computers to networks without using wires - as a connectivity medium aimed at the rural masses.

%ccording to Cirst 'ile /olutions founder %mir %le+ander -asson, who helped initiate the two 2ak5et Wi-Ci pilot proGects in Tikawali, a village near Caridabad, -aryana, and 2odabalapur district in &arnataka, MWe are using I000 7)(.,,b eDuipment at (.1 E->. We donOt use base stations, but rather our custom 2ak5et 'obile %ccess Foint ('%F! that is mounted on and powered by a vehicle.M Eiving the proGect details, 'r -asson said, M0ssentially, a van roam roams around the 2odabalapur district in &arnataka, stopping at different villages long enough for the local computer to connect to it wirelessly and transfer the data stored in it. Crom the van to the central database is also a Wi-Ci hop, thus resulting in a wireless end-to-end transfer of information - which is what Wi-Ci is all about. The proGect involves creating an online database of land records.M 0ssentially, the 2ak5et-enabled vehicle drives past a kiosk where it picks up and drops off land record Dueries and responses. 0ach day, this is synchroni>ed with a central database. 2ata is transported through the access point, which automatically and wirelessly collects and delivers data from each kiosk on the network. The transfer of data can take place up to a radius of ,.(3 km around the kiosk.

RE%ERENCE
www.cs.cmu.edu www.thinkcycle.orgRtc-filesystem www.thinkcycle(.media.mit.edu www.firstmilesolutions.com www.daknet.net www.digitalpartners.orgRdrishtee.html