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Wi-Fi tech set to go rural

New Delhi, Feb. 8: The latest wireless communications technology — 802.11b also known as Wi-Fi — will soon be ready for deployment in rural and inaccessible areas.

Media Lab Asia has claimed to offer 40 kilometre of uninterrupted 4 mega bits per second connectivity as part of its pilot projects called ‘Infothela’ and ‘Infobus’.

The term Wi-Fi is shorthand for wireless fidelity. Wi-Fi covers a set of design rules, formally known as 802.11, that were developed by the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers, a non-profit group.

According to Bimal Sareen, managing director and chief executive officer of Media Lab Asia, “We have successfully tested the connectivity of Wi-Fi from Lucknow to Kanpur. We have also taken a pilot project using a bus that travels through the villages and fitted it with 802.11b equipment. When it travels from one village to another and drops and picks up passengers, simultaneously it uploads the data from the local system (computer) and connects it to the main service in the government offices.”

“This is an attempt to provide e-governance using the Wi-Fi technology. This is a patented project, but we are ready to offer it to the service providers to connect the villages,” said Sareen.

Media Lab Asia is also working on a pilot project called ‘Infothela’ in Uttar Pradesh.

“A rickshaw fitted with Wi-Fi transmitters and receivers is taken around a village or two and provides connectivity to the local government office. This is powered by the pedal of the wheel of rickshaw. This is project that we have taken up in UP and will soon start a few more in the country,” said Sareen.

Dilip Sahay, the technical expert with the Association of Basic Telecom Operators (ABTO), acknowledged that “though Wi-Fi was introduced to remove the wire while roaming in a local area network like university campuses, it is being developed as powerful technology and can be used in rural areas where the mobility is less.”

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