Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:


Broadband internet for everyone

In the developing world, 96 percent of all households have no internet access. Even in Germany, many regions are still without broadband connectivity. But in future, a revolutionary new technology for wireless networks will allow the gaps in rural internet provision to be closed at significantly less cost.

John just loves playing soccer, and he’s really looking forward to the weekend game, which he’s agreed to organize. First, he needs to tell his teammates and friends about it, then he must rustle up an opposing team and find a referee – all of which will take him a considerable amount of time.

In order to contact everyone, he’ll have to send countless SMS messages; he’ll have to make all the arrangements on his cell phone because he lives in a rural area in Zambia, and has no internet access. But that’s about to change, for John’s village is set to acquire an eKiosk with a number of PCs, and its inhabitants will then have access to services such as email, chat, web browsing and internet telephony.

This new internet connectivity is being made possible by WiBACK Wireless Backhaul Technology, which has been developed by the Fraunhofer Institute for Open Communication Systems FOKUS in Berlin. Researchers at the institute have succeeded in significantly reducing both the capital expenditure and the operating costs involved, meaning it is now possible to set up tailor-made IT infrastructures and communications networks away from the major towns and cities of developing and emerging countries and to connect even those in rural areas to the World Wide Web. WiBACK is a wireless network that uses existing technologies to build a far-reaching network of radio links using inexpensive WiBACK routers. Naturally, the system is designed to support all existing wireless technologies.

The demands that will be made on the WiBACK network in the developing world are huge. "Our technology has to be reasonably priced, low maintenance, auto-configuring and robust. It also has to bridge massive distances of several hundred kilometers. Should a router fail, data must divert automatically. And should an operating error occur, the system must be able to restore itself to normal operation. WiBACK fulfills all these requirements," says Prof. Karl Jonas, project leader at FOKUS. Routers are installed on water towers, purpose-built masts or other similar high-lying points. Since the equipment has GSM and UMTS interfaces, the network is also suitable for mobile communications. And this extremely energy-efficient technology is powered by solar cells. WiBACK wireless networks are due to be rolled out to several countries in sub-Saharan Africa in summer 2012. Jonas is happy to report that "even schools and hospitals in sparsely populated areas will then be able to access the internet." He and his team are assisted by ICT management consulting company Detecon, which is responsible for drawing up the business plan.

In the meantime, FOKUS researchers have already embarked upon their next project, to ensure that infrastructure-poor regions within Germany will also benefit from these inexpensive developments for wireless broadband internet. The first pilot network is currently being built on the fringes of the Westerwald and will be used to test just how reliable the network will be when it is in continuous operation. For example, what will happen when a network hub fails, perhaps because of a power cut? As Jonas points out, "We won’t be installing solar cells in Germany, since the electricity network covers almost the entire country." Initially, he and his team are providing a remote farm in Hennef-Theishohn with mobile communications and broadband internet. To do this, they have set up a 21-kilometer radio link between the Fraun-hofer-Gesellschaft’s existing fiber optic connection in Birlinghoven and the farm, using a local substation operated by energy supplier RWE as a relay point. WiBACK technology can also be employed during major events such as soccer games to increase the overall capacity of the mobile communications network for a set period of time.

In this connection, the researchers are keen to draw attention to the system’s energy consumption: "WiBACK will automatically register if a soccer stadium is full to bursting and increase the number of available network hubs accordingly," says Jonas. He and his team will be demonstrating precisely how this works at CeBIT in Hannover from March 6-10, where they will be installing a WiBACK network incorporating several activate-on-demand routers on a simulated soccer pitch (Hall 9, Booth E08).

Prof. Dr. Karl Jonas | Fraunhofer Research News
Further information:

More articles from Information Technology:

nachricht Next Generation Cryptography
20.03.2018 | Fraunhofer-Institut für Sichere Informationstechnologie SIT

nachricht TIB’s Visual Analytics Research Group to develop methods for person detection and visualisation
19.03.2018 | Technische Informationsbibliothek (TIB)

All articles from Information Technology >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Researchers Discover New Anti-Cancer Protein

An international team of researchers has discovered a new anti-cancer protein. The protein, called LHPP, prevents the uncontrolled proliferation of cancer cells in the liver. The researchers led by Prof. Michael N. Hall from the Biozentrum, University of Basel, report in “Nature” that LHPP can also serve as a biomarker for the diagnosis and prognosis of liver cancer.

The incidence of liver cancer, also known as hepatocellular carcinoma, is steadily increasing. In the last twenty years, the number of cases has almost doubled...

Im Focus: Researchers at Fraunhofer monitor re-entry of Chinese space station Tiangong-1

In just a few weeks from now, the Chinese space station Tiangong-1 will re-enter the Earth's atmosphere where it will to a large extent burn up. It is possible that some debris will reach the Earth's surface. Tiangong-1 is orbiting the Earth uncontrolled at a speed of approx. 29,000 km/h.Currently the prognosis relating to the time of impact currently lies within a window of several days. The scientists at Fraunhofer FHR have already been monitoring Tiangong-1 for a number of weeks with their TIRA system, one of the most powerful space observation radars in the world, with a view to supporting the German Space Situational Awareness Center and the ESA with their re-entry forecasts.

Following the loss of radio contact with Tiangong-1 in 2016 and due to the low orbital height, it is now inevitable that the Chinese space station will...

Im Focus: Alliance „OLED Licht Forum“ – Key partner for OLED lighting solutions

Fraunhofer Institute for Organic Electronics, Electron Beam and Plasma Technology FEP, provider of research and development services for OLED lighting solutions, announces the founding of the “OLED Licht Forum” and presents latest OLED design and lighting solutions during light+building, from March 18th – 23rd, 2018 in Frankfurt a.M./Germany, at booth no. F91 in Hall 4.0.

They are united in their passion for OLED (organic light emitting diodes) lighting with all of its unique facets and application possibilities. Thus experts in...

Im Focus: Mars' oceans formed early, possibly aided by massive volcanic eruptions

Oceans formed before Tharsis and evolved together, shaping climate history of Mars

A new scenario seeking to explain how Mars' putative oceans came and went over the last 4 billion years implies that the oceans formed several hundred million...

Im Focus: Tiny implants for cells are functional in vivo

For the first time, an interdisciplinary team from the University of Basel has succeeded in integrating artificial organelles into the cells of live zebrafish embryos. This innovative approach using artificial organelles as cellular implants offers new potential in treating a range of diseases, as the authors report in an article published in Nature Communications.

In the cells of higher organisms, organelles such as the nucleus or mitochondria perform a range of complex functions necessary for life. In the networks of...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>



Industry & Economy
Event News

Virtual reality conference comes to Reutlingen

19.03.2018 | Event News

Ultrafast Wireless and Chip Design at the DATE Conference in Dresden

16.03.2018 | Event News

International Tinnitus Conference of the Tinnitus Research Initiative in Regensburg

13.03.2018 | Event News

Latest News

Custom sequences for polymers using visible light

22.03.2018 | Materials Sciences

Scientists develop tiny tooth-mounted sensors that can track what you eat

22.03.2018 | Health and Medicine

Mat baits, hooks and destroys pollutants in water

22.03.2018 | Earth Sciences

Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>