FabFi and Afghanistan's inexpensive Internet connectivity

Published Date
27 - Jun - 2011
| Last Updated
27 - Jun - 2011
FabFi and Afghanistan's inexpensive Internet connectivity

How do you bring high-speed broadband access to the remotest corners of the world without breaking the bank? With ingenuity and FabFi, an open-source, city-scale wireless mesh networking system that forms the backbone of high-speed Internet access -- a spinoff of MIT's FabLab. In Afghanistan, the concept of FabFi and its inexpensive deployment is hailed as an unlikely success story.

In the war-torn nation of Afghanistan, aid-workers are using local trash components to connect the city of Jalalabad with high-speed wireless broadband Internet connection with a real-time throughput of 11.5Mbps -- that's roughly half the speed of a standard 802.11g WiFi router transmitting at 22Mbps. But whereas WiFi routers have an operational radius of just a few feet, the FabFi network of Jalalabad has its longest consistent link across two points measuring 2.41 miles. Wow! [RELATED_ARTICLE]

Residents can build a FabFi node out of approximately $60 worth of everyday items such as boards, wires, plastic tubs, and cans that will serve a whole community at once, claims one report. Using FabFi, wireless ethernet signals can be transmitted across several miles. In its Jalalabad deployment, the mesh network apparently works consistently through rain, smog and few trees.

According to FabFi, in Kenya 50 remote nodes are deployed across three sites, providing WiFi Internet connectivity to the end users. It is no doubt a novel solution to connect people where otherwise it would take a lot of time and money to introduce Internet connectivity.

Afghanistan and Kenya are embracing FabFi to bring Internet access to their remotest populace. What's stopping something like this from being deployed in India?

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Jayesh ShindeJayesh Shinde

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