On the Cutting Edge of CSR: Intel Rural Connectivity Platform

The cutting edge of CSR is the tangible intersection of social improvement and business opportunity. I see the example of Intel’s Rural Connectivity Platform as one of the most real examples of that cutting edge.


This entry was first posted by Cheryl Miller on the Research@Intel blog.

I have followed this project over the past few years as it has moved from an exploratory project in the Intel Research lab, to testing in such remote places as Vietnam, India, South Africa, Panama and…Berkeley.

The demo that was presented at the Berkeley Lab open house had two antenna transmitting video via WIFI connection. One of the antenna was on top of the Space Sciences Laboratory (SSL) at the UC Berkeley campus which is about 1.5 miles (2.4 km) away from the lab in downtown Berkeley.

Learn more:

Intel RCP product brief Download file (pdf)

Overview Poster Download file (pdf)

But what is the real world application of this project?

One of the research projects connected rural villages in India with the Aravind Eye clinic to provide medical eye exams via the wireless antenna relay system. In Panama, it is bringing the interent to a remote village in the rain forest.

The technology behind this research was developed by personnel in the Intel Research Berkeley lab. The Intel (r) RCP is a low cost, low power and low touch solution designed to bring connectivity to remote areas.

The technology behind the project is a wireless long distance back haul solution that operates on non licensed spectrums to provide the perfect product for emerging markets. Applying a TDMA modification to the MAC layer of standard 802.11, Intel (r) RCP is able to achieve connection distances of up to 100 km unobstructed line-of-sight. Additionally, the relay and fork modes of operation allow for more complex topologies. So even if there are mountains or rough terrain, the connection between the base station and the rural end point can be maintained.

And now the Intel (r) Rural Connectivity Platform is targeted to become a commercial product in the second half of 2008. This is an excellent example of how long range research can find a solution to a real world problem.

Research@Intel Blog Editor’s Note: Intel’s Emerging Markets Platform Group has currently partnered with an OEM design manufacturer (ODM) to build RCP and bring it out to market sometime in Q3 of 2008. Intel will not be selling RCP as Intel is not a system company – this ODM will be manufacturing and selling RCP. Our target price is sub-$500 for a single unit – or sub-$1000 for a point to point pair.

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