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 Saturday, February 06, 2010

The Intel Rural Connectivity Platform (RCP) is a low cost, low power, low touch long-range Wi-Fi solution designed to bring connectivity to remote areas. The technology behind this research was developed by personnel in the Intel Research Berkeley lab. It is a wireless long distance back hauls solution that operates on non licensed spectrums to provide the perfect product for emerging markets.

"It is an appealing way to connect remote areas that otherwise would go without the Internet", says  Jeff Galinovsky, a senior platform manager at Intel. "Wireless satellite connections are expensive and it’s impractical to wire up some villages in Asian and African countries. The rural connectivity platform (RCP), will be helpful to computer-equipped students in poor countries. And the data rates are high enough–up to about 6.5 megabits per second–that the connection could be used for video conferencing and tele-medicine, he says.

The demo that was presented at the Berkeley Lab open house had two antenna transmitting video via WI-FI connection. One of the antennas was on top of the Space Sciences Laboratory (SSL) at the UC Berkeley campus which is about 1.5 miles (2.4 km) away from the lab in downtown Berkeley.


Already, Intel has installed and tested the hardware in India, Panama, Vietnam, and South Africa. One of the research projects connected rural villages in India with the Aravind Eye clinic to provide medical eye exams via the wireless antenna relay system. In Panama, it is bringing the internet to a remote village in the rain forest.

More details can be found in RCP product brief and this video.

Sources: Intel blog, Technology review