AirJaldi - cost and terrain effective, wireless solution for rural communities

AirJaldi - is a unique technology initiative established in Dharmsala, primarily for the Tibetan refugees living there. Started by an Israeli spiritual immigrant and talented hacker - Yahel Ben-David - they have succeeded in establishing a monkey-proof, snow-proof wireless mesh network at an extremely low cost.

For example, they have designed and created a dirt-cheap method for long distance wi-fi (which ordinarily costs 10,000$) for 300 $. They have engaged with several high-profile open source hardware projects to provide royalty-free hardware and software for a Free Telephony Project as part of a poor-mans-voip (for $10).

Some of their projects have tried to solve fundamental communication infrastructure problems like the Jaldi Battery Charger, which attempts to bridge the gap between bad power supply mains and the need to charge wifi router batteries.

Though AirJaldi has been able to present to people like Dr. APJ Abdul Kalam,  given talks at UC Berkeley, won awards in Stockholm, and generally set records in mountainous network connectivity, it has not met with the sort of mammoth government support that it should.

For example, a recent study released by the Ministry of Communications and Information Technology, mentions that

Remote and far-flung areas, which are not possible to be covered with terrestrial technology, are planned to be covered with Digital Satellite Phone Terminals (DSPTs), said Kamat.

This clearly shows the incumbent providers have no idea on how to deploy a 45 KM, 5 mbps network link on the mountains using volunteer resources. Imagine the connectivity, if AirJaldi’s open source, royalty free technology could be deployed in every far-flung rural sector.

Of course, this does mean it will hurt the bottomlines of big-name hardware suppliers, but our country will be that much closer towards effectively competing against other Asian giants.


AirJaldi - cost and terrain effective, wireless solution for rural communities


September 20, 2009

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