Intel RCP Wi-Fi RadioIntel is announcing a new wireless technology, called the Rural Connectivity Platform (RCP), that can send a data signal up to sixty miles at speeds up to 6.5 mbps. The sixty mile limit is imposed by the curvature of the Earth, not necessarily any limitations on the wi-fi radios involved. The setup requires two radios, or nodes. The first is positioned on the outskirts of an urban center and possesses a wired connection to the area's network infrastructure. This node then relies upon directional antennae that push the signal up to sixty miles to the receiving node, located in a remote village.
Earlier attempts to make wi-fi technology go farther than a few kilometers met with limited success. The problem lies in the way standard wi-fi radios communicate. The transmitting radio will send its data then wait a specified period of time for an acknowledgment that the data arrived successfully. When it doesn't get the acknowledgment that it requires, it retransmits its request for acknowledgment and the cycle continues. This effectively consumed the bandwidth available with acknowledgment requests. Intel's RCP technology has redefined how wi-fi radios talk to each other over long distances better defining periods where its each radio's responsibility to transmit its data.
Intel has tested the technology in India, Vietnam, Panama, and South Africa, connecting small remote villages with larger urban centers. The radios require little power, perhaps only five or six watts. This means the technology could be solar powered, an important element in potential implementation in remote areas. Connectivity to the internet with actual usable bandwidth could ignite significant leaps forward in areas such as education, science, and medicine for remote villages in many poorer countries that would otherwise go without internet.
Intel aims to make the entire system available for under $1,000.
Via Technology Review