In the developing world, 96 percent of all households have no internet access. Even in Germany, many regions are still without broadband connectivity. But in future, a revolutionary new technology for wireless networks will allow the gaps in rural internet provision to be closed at significantly less cost.
Examples for this deployment include temporary wireless networks for large events, fast network deployment in disaster areas, broadband Internet services for rural areas, and wireless wide-area infrastructures in emerging regions.
A researcher positions a WiBACK network antenna. © Fraunhofer FOKUS
Key features that make Fraunhofer’s WiBACK unique are the combination of
* a wireless network that can span huge distances (several hundred km);
* provisioning of carrier-grade (guaranteed) service qualities for voice and data traffic;
* low capital expenditure (CAPEX) due to the use of commercial off-the-shelf hardware (typically IEEE 802.11 mass-market components);
* low operational cost (OPEX) due to auto-configuration and self-management capabilities, as well as low energy consumption;
* the possibility to run most nodes in the network on solar energy due to their energy efficient hardware and software, and the integrated solar charger.
WiBACK is not an alternative to a mobile operator network. It provides a transport infrastructure and complements existing technology, rather than replacing it. While WiBACK supports different types of access technologies (including GSM) at the user front-end, it expects an IP-based network at the back-end. Typical mobile-operator services such as roaming or hand-over need to be implemented on-top of WiBACK.