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. 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. This is an excellent example of how long range research can find a solution to a real world problem. Editor’s Note (02/23/2009): Intel’s Emerging Markets Platform Group is currently partnering with Z-Com, an OEM design manufacturer (ODM) to build RCP. For more info, check out the latest blog
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