Solar Wi-Fi To Bring Internet to Developing Countries

It’s nice when green thinking can be applied to closing the gaps between underdeveloped countries; indeed, when power’s not available, green solutions are practically a neccessity. Already, MIT and the UN have teamed up to provide kids living in the world’s least developed nations $100 laptops, their 2 watts of juice provided by hand or foot crank. Cool, but—and this was one of Bill Gates’ criticisms—what’s a computer without internet access? Enter Green Wi-Fi, a non-profit that seeks to provide “last mile internet access with nothing more than a single broadband internet connection, rooftops and the sun.” Their wi-fi access nodes, which consist of a small solar panel, a heavy-duty battery, and a router, can be linked together to extend one internet connection into a larger network. By using an “intelligent” charge controller that moderates power use and access based on amount of sunlight, the $200 nodes can run for as long as a month on low sunlight. The two guys who started the company—Bruce Baikie and Marc Pomerleau—happen to be veterans of Sun Microsystems. Sun microsystems indeed! Deployment is set to start in India at the end of this summer. : : Green Wi-Fi


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