members and staff have recently been closely looking at some
initiatives to take the wireless communication bang into some
ICT-for-development initiatives. Some such initiatives, like Air Jaldi,
came up from the heart of the most populous region of the planet where
literally hundreds of millions are still excluded: South Asia.
In rural, remote North India
a remote part of India, techies from across the globe came to link up
and share ideas to build solutions that could make a big difference to
how the non-urban millions communicate.
Based in Dharamsala, in
North India's Himachal Pradesh, the Tibetan Technology Center (TibTec
-- http://tibtec.org/), a prominent player in wireless mesh network
development, hosted the 'Air Jaldi' Summit on wireless technologies in
Laird Brown of Tibtec announced that the group
has partnered with the Djursland International Institute of Rural
Wireless Broadband (DIIRWB), the European leader in community-based
APC member BytesForAll's Warren Noronha, whose
participation in Air Jaldi was supported by the APC, explained
[http://www.bytesforall.net/node/196]: "The AirJaldi  mesh network
is located in and around Dharamsala. The network can be considered as
one of the largest mesh networks in the world. It covers over a hundred
kilometres of rough terrain with a number of mountains and hills.
of the network is situated in the foothills of the western Himalayan
ranges. The network has already provided internet access to over 2000
computers. The backbone is comprised of 30 nodes," he explained.
and Drupal developer Noronha (22), one of the volunteers of the
unfunded South Asian Network that cuts across countries like India,
Bangladesh, Pakistan and beyond, noted that the network is built using
cheap and off the shelve hardware.
present included University of Limerick professor Roger Downer;
University of Berkeley's Eric Brewer, and Vic Hayes who is regarded as
the father of WiFi.
Wi-Fi, as the Wikipedia points out, was
developed to be used for mobile computing devices, such as laptops, in
local area networks (LANs), but is now increasingly used for more
services, including internet and VoIP phone access, gaming, and basic
connectivity of consumer electronics such as televisions and DVD
players, or digital cameras.
Free Software Foundation
(http://www.fsf.org/) founder Richard Stallman was there, as was Dave
Hughes, the man who created the world's highest cyber-cafe in the
Himalayas. Others present were Malcolm Matson of OPLAN Foundation
(http://www.oplan.org/), Mahabir Pun, considered as the visionary of
Nepali WiFi networks, the geek-lady Elektra of WiFi and radio
technologies Fame (http://www.fameforusers.org/), and Cisco pioneering
engineer Jim Forster.