Wireless Networking

Today I'm returning to the issue of access and connectivity, because I came across some websites and articles with useful information and ingenious solutions.

Wireless Networking in the Developing World

The goal of the wndw website is to help you get the resources you need to build a wireless network that solves your communication problems.

One of the major resources provided is a free book - Wireless Networking in the Developing World - about designing, implementing, and maintaining low-cost wireless networks. In it you will find information about:
  • How to design a wireless network that extends the reach of an existing Internet connection
  • Understanding radio waves, antennas, and transmission lines
  • Choosing and configuring wireless networking hardware
  • Designing a solar energy system to provide power to network devices in remote places
  • Securing, monitoring, and maintaining your network
  • Implementing an economic model that will sustain your project

Wireless Wok

A few years ago, a university lecturer in New Zealand developed what he called the Wireless Wok approach. It is very DIY and low cost, but needs a fair bit of technical support



United Villages provides villagers in Asia, Africa, and Latin America with a digital identity and access to locally-relevant products and services using a low-cost, store-and-forward "drive-by WiFi" technology. Mobile Access Points (MAPs) are installed on existing vehicles (e.g. buses and motorcycles) and automatically provide access for WiFi-enabled Kiosks along the roads. Whenever a MAP is within range of a real-time wireless Internet connection, it transfers the data from and for those Kiosks. United Villages sells prepaid cards to village Kiosk Operators and local sales agents who resell the cards to users at a profit and provide a human interface for our products and services, which include:
  • Sending and receiving voicemails, text messages, emails, and faxes;
  • Purchasing locally-unavailable products such as medicines, books, and seeds, which are delivered to Kiosks on the MAP-mounted vehicles;
  • Accessing value-added services such as job searches, travel bookings, and matrimonials;
  • Browsing locally-relevant websites and information caches.

Other Resources

There is a useful summary of resources at the webpage "Resources for low cost wireless networking".

The materials developed as part of the "Capacity building for community wireless connectivity in Africa" initiative which is funded by IDRC and coordinated by APC are available for trainers at: Wireless networking.

The South African CSIR Meraka Institute's Wireless Africa program is dedicated to making low cost networking accessible across the African continent: Wireless Africa.

A DIY Mesh Guide prepared by the Wireless Africa group at the Meraka Institute: Building a Rural Wireless Mesh Network.

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