View Full Version : Closing the digital divide with solar Wi-Fi

08-03-2006, 10:03 AM

By Amanda Termen
Published: August 2, 2006, 4:00 AM PDT
Bruce Baikie and Marc Pomerleau are putting an earth-friendly spin on wireless networks.

Their nonprofit organization, Green Wi-Fi, is trying to bring Internet access to schools in developing countries via cheap, solar-powered Wi-Fi networks. ...
...One of Baikie and Pomerleau's main challenges was to develop a solar-powered system that would function under variable weather conditions. A commercial solar-based system can run for as long as a week without incoming light. A monsoon season in India or a rainy season in the tropics, however, can last for a month. ...
... The 10-watt solar panel, a Shell ST10 (PDF), was designed to withstand hail storms, which means it is not easily torn or broken.

The battery, no larger than a motorcycle battery, is sealed in a protective gel and built for heavy-duty use and many recharges. The system's Netgear WGT634U router is off-the-shelf, demands low power and accommodates variable bandwidth.

*Maybe they failed to visualize potential for commercial applications in already existing markets here.
Solar powered router/switch/hub/repeater could be an excellent solution in locations like a large corporate complex or park where there are many dead spots and outdoor areas where range extenders are needed.
Note: many of the city wide Wi-Fi projects are already using solar powered equipment mounted on street lights and telephone poles.