Tiny Indian religious centre dreams of WiFi solutions for rural world
In a remote part of India, techies from across the globe plan to link up and share ideas to build solutions that could make a big difference to how the non-urban millions communicate.Wireless mesh networking is mesh networking implemented over a Wireless LAN. This type of Internet infrastructure is decentralized, relatively inexpensive, and very reliable and resilient, as each node need only transmit as far as the next node.
In a remote part of India, techies from across the globe plan to link up and share ideas to build solutions that could make a big difference to how the non-urban millions communicate.
Based in Dharamsala, in North India's Himachal Pradesh province, the Tibetan Technology Center (TibTec), a prominent player in wireless mesh network development, has announced plans to host the 'Air Jaldi' Summit on wireless technologies in in October 2006.
Laird Brown of Tibtec announced that the group has partnered with the Djursland International Institute of Rural Wireless Broadband (DIIRWB), the European leader in community-based WiFi development, and will join a World Summits on Free
Information Infrastructure (WSFII) to deliver a conference and extended wireless training workshops in October.
This conference proper will be held from October 22-25 in Dharamsala, north India. Training workshops will span a two-week period directly after the conference.
The Tibetan Technology Center (TibTec) is a charitable organization dedicated to harnessing modern technology and assisting the Tibetan community in India.
Its center is located at the Tibetan Children's Villages School (TCV) which hosts and supports it. TibTec's first project is the Dharamsala Community Wireless Mesh Network.
When the Dalai Lama left Tibet, Indian premier Nehru allowed him and his followers to establish a "government-in-exile" in Dharamsala. Since then, several thousand Tibetan exiles have settled in the town, most settled in Upper Dharamsala, or McLeod Ganj, a town sometimes called 'Little Lhasa'.
This event is tagged on to a larger World Summits on Free Information Infrastructure. The WSFII itself is an ongoing international process of multiple, local-action oriented events for people to meet, share experiences, present practical solutions, to learn and to build, all kinds of free information infrastructures.
Greg Walton of the Openflows.org network has announced that the summit keynoters and speakers will include social activists, IT opinion leaders, philanthropists, and international technology professionals.
Proponents of the technology call the Dharamsala Community Wireless Mesh Network an experiment of "a successful example of a sustainable technology integration model".
Wireless mesh networking is mesh networking implemented over a Wireless LAN. This type of Internet infrastructure is decentralized, relatively inexpensive, and very reliable and resilient, as each node need only transmit as far as the next node.
Nodes act as repeaters to transmit data from nearby nodes to peers that are too far away to reach, resulting in a network that can span large distances, especially over rough or difficult terrain. Mesh networks are also extremely reliable, as each node is connected to several other nodes.
"As a result of developing the Dharamsala wireless mesh network, we were approached by global technology leaders to share our research. One thing led to another," said Phuntsok Dorjee, Chief Information Officer with the Tibetan Technology Center.
The 'Air Jaldi' Summit will attract wireless technology experts and community activists from India, Europe, North America, Israel, and Australia.
The presenters list for the conference is being finalised.
The Air Jaldi Summit comes in direct response to international interest in the Dharamsala Community Wireless Mesh Network.
It was developed in cooperation with the Dharamsala Information Technology Group (DITG), an organization chaired by the Tibetan Computer Resource Center (TCRC) and some of the region's leading Information technology professionals.
With its unique combination of low-cost yet robust technology, community-based implementation, and relatively large scale, the Dharamsala project is being seen by a growing network of techies as "an appropriate model for many rural areas around the world".
The choice of radio technology for wireless mesh networks is crucial. In a traditional wireless network where laptops connect to a single access point, each laptop has to share a fixed pool of bandwidth.
With mesh technology and adaptive radio, devices in a mesh network will only connect with other devices that are in a set range. The advantage is that, like a natural load balancing system, the more devices the more bandwidth becomes available, provided that the number of hops in the average communications path is kept low.