MONTEVIDEO, Uruguay, 28 July 2005
Wireless Technologies for Development has just got a new focus online — and that too in the planet’s third most widely spoken language, Spanish — with the launch of an information portal, WiLAC, that focuses exclusively on this theme. It is designed to support individuals, organisations, municipalities and businesses currently implementing community wireless connectivity projects, or those about to launch on this road.
The Latin American School of Networks Foundation (ESLARED) and the Institute for Connectivity in the Americas (ICA) has launched the information portal. WiLAC is about Wireless Technologies for Development.
The launch took place during the ‘Experiences from Wireless Project Implementation” event, on July 27, 2005, in Merida (Venezuela), during the WALC 2005, an event about networking and content.
WiLAC’s portal was launched during a “Panel of experiences in implementation of wireless technologies”, that was showcased during workshops underway at the event. This panel began at 7 p.m. in the Faculty of Engineering Auditorium of Los Andes University (ULA).
In a crowded auditorium, Edmundo Vitale moderated the panel. It was kicked off with initial interventions from Jorge Phillips and Ermanno Pietrosemoli. Both emphasized the importance of having a reference point in the region, to address information needs about wireless technologies, specially in Spanish, the third most-widely spoken language in the world.
Jaime Torres and Américo Sanchez, experts of the Area of Engineering at CEPES (Peru), presented their experience with the Agrarian Information System of Huaral Valley. They not only shared what they encountered in the implementation of the wireless network, but also about the community development, costs estimates and the impact in the community.
CVG Telecom (Venezuela) president Julio Durán presented the National Network of Social Connectivity plan, which includes the deployment of technologies that go from fibre across the country to experimentation with WiMAX technologies. But the starting point will be communities that are otherwise much more isolated.
[WiMAX is an acronym that stands for Worldwide Interoperability for Microwave Access. The WiMAX protocol is a way of networking computing devices together; for example to provide internet access, in a similar way to Wi-Fi. WiMAX is both faster and has a longer range than Wi-Fi. However, WiMAX does not necessarily conflict with Wi-Fi, but is designed to interoperate with it and may indeed complement it.]
Sylvia Cadena presented the model used by the Institute for the Connectivity in Américas (ICA), to support the implementation of projects pilot about fixed and itinerant Wi-Fi technologies through all the region.
Finally, the WiLAC portal structure was briefly explored to check performance and the possibilities it could offer.
Throughout Latin America and the Caribbean, the WiLAC portal will promote information about design, implementation, development, replication, and the use of necessary components for a successful community wireless project that serves the community.
More specifically, the information, available in Spanish, has been structured to offer the user relevant information regarding research (case studies, impact analysis); implementation (articles and reports about current projects); technical reviews and news about technical standards development; regulatory frameworks (links and descriptions of the conditions in each country to develop community wireless networks); training resources (materials, courses and workshops); regional expertise; support funds available; news about wireless projects in other parts of the world; and related events.
WiLAC seeks to promotes direct cooperation and exchange among community initiatives using wireless technologies under development in the region (and also in other regions). It also promotes the building up of relationships and support from those initiatives with more experience to those just starting up.
This portal was fully developed using free and open source software (FOSS).
ESLARED is a non-profit institution dedicated to promoting information technologies in Latin America and the Caribbean, working since 1992, and legally constituted in Venezuela. It has worked to promote the building of human resources and research in telecommunications, computer networks and information technologies in Latin America and the Caribbean. Its focus also includes research and development on technology transfer and appropriate technology, to foster scientific, technical and social progress in the region. It is a member of the Association for Progressive Communications (APC).
The Institute for Connectivity in the Americas emerged from the 2001 Summit of the Americas. It is the forum for hemispheric innovation in the application of information and communication technologies (ICTs) for economic and social development. ICA’s goal is to promote the use of ICTs in Latin American and the Caribbean countries, to strengthen democracy, create prosperity, and realise human potential in the region. ICA is currently being incubated at the International Development Research Centre’s (IDRC) headquarters at Ottawa, Canada and at the Regional Office in Montevideo, Uruguay.
For more details about WiLAC.net contact Sylvia Cadena, Coordinator at firstname.lastname@example.org (+5982) 7111502, J.M.Sosa 2281/ 701 Montevideo 11300 Uruguay.