You are on page 1of 19

Bridging Digital Divide

Published
iEEE LINK

Village Wireless LAN


A Low Cost Network Infrastructure Solution for Digital
Communication, Information Dissemination &
Education in Rural Bangladesh
Authors

Dr. Ali Shihab Sabbir


Sayem Chaklader
Junaed Alam
Monirul Islam Sumon

Remote
Data Collection
Ex: Survey

Free
Community
Services

Remote Education

Network
Infrastructure

Areas with advantages of technology leap further on to


development resulting in a gap between political, social and
economic growth. As a result, the areas with technology
advances much faster separating the ones deprived of such
digital information who are falling further behind.
This gap between the ones with technology and the ones
without it, is known as the DIGITAL DIVIDE. Adigital divideis
aneconomic inequalitybetween groups, broadly construed, in
terms of access to, use of, knowledge ofinformation and
communication technologies(ICT). The aspect is both GLOBAL
and LOCAL.
One of the reasons BANGLADESH is in the developing
category of countries is because of the gap created by the
digital divide and the use of ICT.

IUB Village Net

What is The Digital Divide


Areas with advantages of technology leap further on to
development resulting in a gap between political, social and
economic growth. As a result, the areas with technology
advances much faster separating the ones deprived of such
digital information who are falling further behind.
This gap between the ones with technology and the ones
without it, is known as the DIGITAL DIVIDE. Adigital divideis
aneconomic inequalitybetween groups, broadly construed, in
terms of access to, use of, knowledge ofinformation and
communication technologies(ICT). The aspect is both GLOBAL
and LOCAL.
One of the reasons BANGLADESH is in the developing
category of countries is because of the gap created by the
digital divide and the use of ICT.

IUB Village Net

Suggested Reading for further understanding of the problem


Cantenna South Africa Rural Connectivity
www.southafrica.info/about/science/cantenna2107.htm

MIT Media LAB , DakNet: rethinking connectivity in


developing nations
ieeexplore.ieee.org/iel5/2/29233/01319279.pdf?arnumber=1319279

Global e-Indices' Rankings and Bangladesh: - Bbs.gov.bd


Global e-Indices' Rankings and Bangladesh: - Bbs.gov.bd

Access to Global InformationA case of Digital Divide in Bangladesh


Access to Global Information-A case of Digital Divide in Banglade.pdf

Intel Bridging the Digital Divide - The Nigerian Case Study


http://www.intel.com/content/www/xr/en/education-solutions/bridging-digital
-divide-nigeria-paper.html

Intel to help Bangladesh bridge digital divide


http://southasia.oneworld.net/archive/Article/intel-to-help-bangladesh-bridgedigital-divide

Electricity fromSolar PanelsTransforms Lives in RuralBangladesh,


World Bank
http://web.worldbank.org/WBSITE/EXTERNAL/TOPICS/EXTENERGY2/0,,cont

THE PROJECT
Infrastructure:
Our research targets the lack of ICT infrastructure in rural
areas of Bangladesh. The research has the project to build a solar
powered, low cost, fully fledged computer server from off-the-shelf
components which will act as a network infrastructure for data
collection, sharing and network distribution in rural areas of
Bangladesh, even where electricity consistency is an issue.

Point of Service :
Deployment of low cost, solar powered computers in schools,
college & NGOs that will allow the rural population to access basic
e-education & e-government facilities and allow sharing of
information across a network created by the new low cost
Infrastructure.

IUB Village Net

Factors that are creating the divide in Rural


Bangladesh {Understanding the problem}
INFRASTRUCTU
RE

ECONOMIC

SOCIAL

Lack of Electricity

Poor Economy

Technophobia

Lack of Network

Social Class

Gender

Regional Location

IUB Village Net

So what are they missing out on e-government wise


Agriculture

Some e-Government Services


www.ekrishok.com
www.extension.org.bd

e-Education
Intel EASY STEP & BIID Partnership

Agriculture Information Service (AI


S)
SSC/HSC ONLINE Result
Ministry Of Education (Scholarship
info etc.)
Online Tender Submission
VAT , TAX info & Online Submission

Health & Medicine


www.eclinicbd.com

BCS Result & Information


Electronic Money Transfer
Load Shedding Schedule

Social
Right Issues:
www.complain.com.bd

Disaster Alert & Shelter Informatio


n
Land Registration & Information

IUB Village Net

Providing A Solution
A solution has to be made based on the standard
client-server model to distribute information. For
Scalability and extendibility. A sustainable model.
Reliability of a true service layer and server.
Easily Accessible using current devices.
Successfulness of Similar Approach by, DAKNET in
INDIA.
Scope for Agricultural
Information Dissemination
Scope for E-Government
Scope for E-Education

Server Prototype
Prototype Components [Out Door ]
Basic Server Cost in BDT (Estimated Maximum)
Raspberry Pi CPU
5W Solar Panel
Custom WiFi Extender
Weatherproof Enclosure

Raspberry Pi
Wifi USB
5W Solar Panel &
Battery

Cellular 2G/3G communication


(optional)

4200
1450
2000
Total

7650

Server Hardware Specifications

Hardware options

Raspberry Pi

WiFi Router with 3


Antenna

3 x 24dbi Antenna = 25 Km in
3 directions

WiFi Router with built


in 3G network support

Standalone network mode


possible, server connected
via RJ45.

120W solar Panel


with Heavy Duty
Battery

Indoor Setup and 1 week


server operation without
sunlight or 33dbi Antenna,

10W Solar Panel

WiFi

Model B, RASPIAN LINUX


Single Core BCM2835 ,700 MHz, 64GB
512 RAM, 2 USB, Ethernet, GPIO
700ma, 3 Watt
Model ESM-P10
10 Watt Max, 36 cell, 17V, 1.8 Kg
1 feet by 1.2 feet
14dBi Outdoor High Gain Antenna
(Optional : Modified to 20dbi )

IUB Village Net

Prototype Server Features


PHP5 & MySQL, FTP based Remote Data Server:
This will allow digital data collection for NGOs WiFi enabled devices. Other implementations
can be achieved without any hardware changes such as electronic vote collection and relay
with encryption. It can even work as a sensor detection and data logging device in parallel for
salinity, wind speed, temperature etc. The server will allow monitoring and possibly streaming
of data and provide initial infrastructure for the e-learning/e-education implementations.

WiFi Network Extension:


This will allow NGOs to communicate within themselves creating a Local Area Network within
the region and with the addition of 2G cellular system, it can distribute internet using the WiFi
turning it into a low cost internet router. There are WiFi extenders that can cover an area of 30
km. But it depends on the Antenna and Propagation Hardware. For the prototype we are going
to use a 8Dbi antenna (omnidirectional).
Solar Powered device:
Due to the low power consumption of the system, it can be deployed in areas where there is no
electricity with the help of only ONE 5W (1ftx1ft) SOLAR PANEL(two panels if a Wi-Fi router is
used). This provides an upper hand for us to implement the system in areas never thought
possible before. There will also be a small battery backup to allow up to 5 hours of operation
without sunlight or in cloudy days.
Relentless Service & Operation:
The CPU has no moving parts, does not overheat and is very compact. It can be maintained
remotely and managed using VNC or SSH support through both the 2G/3G & the WiFi
Network. It runs on LINUX. One can easily repurpose the system to perform other data
collecting tasks. Incase of damage the CPU system and the memory card replacement is a
simple & quick fix.

IUB Village Net

Isolated Villages, LAN connected via the prototype server

IUB Village Net

Server Prototype Completed Network Propagation Tests


PHP5 & MySQL, FTP based Remote Data Server:
For this purpose we have taken an off the shelf Wi-Fi router that
seem to be readily available at most computer shops. Before the
purchase the communication chipset has been verified to work with
the Linux distro of the system.

TP-Link wn722n USB with 4 Dbi removable antenna

Raspberry Pi
System Setup (Initial Testing Phase)

2+2 Dbi

DHCP Servers with an IP Range


Wifi Authentication Parameters
Network Propagation via SSID and specific Channel

Rated 1A max

Full Fledged Apache Web Server with MySQL and php5 support

Atheros 9271 Chipset (ath9k)(hostAPD driver=nl82011)

IUB Village Net

Server Prototype Completed Network Propagation Tests


Network Propagation

IUB-G-Server as the
SSID, unsecured network
testing.
Adding WEP, WPA and
other layers of encryption
can also be easily
configured and does not
impact on network quality.

Apache Web Server Running

Working Localhost and access from other Connected


IPs on the LAN with Monitoring Support.
List Programs Running (other than OS):
1.
2.
3.
4.
5.

Apache Web Server Http @ port 80


MySQL Server @ port 3128
DHCP Network Server on wLAN
WLAN SSID Broadcasting over G network
Web Browser

IUB Village Net

Range testing the 2+2dbi Antenna & Modifications


How Wi-Fi network is propagated
The 2+2Dbi antenna propagates signal in all directions. There are hundreds of DO IT YOURSELF modifications ranging
from the old Cantenna (used in Africa ) to using parabolic reflectors and dishes. No matter what is used increasing the
signal focuses it from a range of 30 degrees to 4 degrees of H-Plane freedom if a 2 Dbi signal is turned in to 24 Dbi
Signal. Later we tested the range using a TP-Link 8Dbi Antenna with a bit more success. It simply becomes very ad-hoc
point-to-point device. Either way, our concern is increasing the range as the Desktop/Client usage points will be schools,
colleges and NGOs which are specific static locations our directional antenna can be aimed specifically at.

Open Space Antenna


gain
0dB
4dB
7dB
10dB
13dB
16dB
20dB
24dB

Wireless range
200m
440m
620m
1.2km
2.8km
5.0km
12.5Km
31Km

More info at:


http://www.liveport.com/wireless-antenna-propertie
IUB Village Net

Solar Powered Next Generation Devices


43 % of the country does not have electricity

Drawbacks of Photo-Voltaic Devices

This percentage of the population or 30,000 villages in


Bangladesh does not have electricity at all. Mostly because,
the locations are very remote or in places where due to
political, economical reasons grid electricity is non existent. In
Areas where GRID electricity is available , it is available for a
specific duration of time , mostly at night. Our solar powered
systems will overcome such deficit using low cost and low
power consuming systems. At 3W , Raspberry Pi is one the
worlds lowest powered micro computers.

Devices powered by Solar Panels will require a specific amount of


light to be available for peak output. We have overcome this by
having a backup battery which charges when there is excess
voltage. Therefore we made sure that our Solar Panel is powerful
enough to charge the battery and power the raspberry Pi at the
same time. We have used a 5W Solar Panel and a 6.5V-4.5Ah
battery and a charge controller, the entire system charges in 5
hours time , providing an operation time of 5 hours without
sunlight. We had to modify the device to provide a very stable
0.717mA. Which is crucial to our Pi System. Higher capacity
batter and solar panels are an easy swap.

Battery & Charge Controller

5W Solar Panel

IUB Village Net

Our Entire Server System & Final Touches

tem Connected via TV and Powered from Battery

The Entire Server System

Conclusion.
Ease of use depends on training and may take a while for
rural people to learn and take such services to be granted like
we do in urban areas. The first step is to build an infrastructure
for sustainable development. For that the hardware needs to be
cheap, easily deployable, quickly replaceable and readily
available. Our server solution fulfills that exact gap, providing
consistent. When an infrastructure is present, NGOs, government and civic organizations
can provide computers to schools, colleges, kiosks to take advantage of the provided ICT
services.

Published Paper Link :


http://ieeexplore.ieee.org/xpl/login.jsp?tp=&arnumber=6750347&url=http%3A%2F%2Fieeexplore.ieee.org%2Fiel
7%2F6739896%2F6750292%2F06750347.pdf%3Farnumber%3D6750347

This is it for now , more updates will be


available soon.
Contact us for more details & progress
report of the project.
Sayem Chaklder
gearspec@gmail.com
Dr. Ali Shihab Sabbir
asabbir@iub.edu.bd

We are currently working on this phase of the project.


1. Enhanced network Load Balancing to handle much higher
support for client.
2. Server to Server relay to extend the network.
3. Memory card read limit restrictions.

The hardware is Off-the shelves. Made by someone else.


The solar panel is Off-the shelves. Made by someone else.
The Wi-fi standard is also for say Off-the shelves. Made by
someone else, patented by someone else.
There is no programming involved. Only bits of Linux Shell
Manipulation and writing a new Wi-fi driver for the ARM platform.
The services are off-the-shelf.

SAME AS
MIT MEDIA
LABS
DAKNET

Where is OUR contribution in all of this ?

First, one must learn to see past the hardware. Its about
solving a problem. The problem is social, economical or
geographical in nature. Its not about the antenna
range.
Our contribution resides in the following briefs:
Thinking of a solution (among many) to the Existing Network
Infrastructure problem with constraints in Power using embedded
devices. Demonstrating open source technology for servers.
Thinking of using embedded devices to provide Client-Server
models to establish sharing of information.
Showing an alternative way of slowly introducing e-Government
services to people previously inaccessible digitally .
A bleeding edge product development that is not in the market ,
YET !!!! ( A wifi router with built in MySQL and HTTP , FTP etc.
Services, in short, a small scale server)
Providing an infrastructure layout which can be later replaced by
Base transceiver station (BTS) and WiMAX or 3G/4G LTE. Only
when the location can viably persue economic development.

A question asked
many times at
different conferences
and demonstrations
by Interesting
Educational Leaders.

Future Prospects
Removing the Hard drive/RAM Limitations.
Deploying Telephony capabilities
(services , VOIP) inside the LAN.
Create a SERVAL Mesh Server. (Bleeding edge)
Allow Serval Mesh Applications inside entire
IUB to make calls/send files using their
Android Devices.
Extend the range with two 24 dbi Antenna
and extend the infrastructure across
At least 3Km radius from the current location of
IUB.
Collect Performance data.
Find NGOs and Government Research to fund and deploy the
project to be used.