Solar-powered WiFi for Indian schools

We are a couple of weeks away from the beginning of the school year, so here is a school-related story. It is also a story in which the term "convergence"--a term which is bit overused these days--plays a central role, except that this time it is a convergence of WiFi, solar power, and the bridging of the digital divide. We reported a few months ago about the US military testing a solar-powered WiFi system for use in the deserts of Iraq and Afghanistan, but this convergence effort is more uplifting.

The California-based Green WiFi said it was launching its first full-scale green WiFi project in three schools in the northern Indian state of Uttar Pradesh. Working with a Canadian aid organization, Green WiFi will install solar-powered WiFi networks in the schools. Green WiFi will install a battery-powered router, powered by a solar panel, in each of the nodes of the 802.11b/g WiFi network. The nodes are mounted on roof tops.

Last year Bruce Baikie Marc Pomerleau left their comfortable jobs at Sun Microsystems to launch Green WiFi. The organization's mission is to provide solar powered access to global information and educational resources for developing nation K-12 school children. There are approximately three billion people under the age of 15 living in developing nations. Many of the countries where these three billion kids live have little access to electricity, but a lot of sun light. Green WiFi aims to bring these children access to the world's information.

For more on Green WiFi Indian school initiative:
- read this GigaOM report

For more on Green WiFi:
- see this report
- check out Green WiFi's Web site

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