Print 11 comment(s) - last by Cullinaire.. on Mar 20 at 7:37 PM

Intel RCP Router  (Source: Intel)
RCP platform can send data up to 60 miles at 6.5 Mbps

Internet connectivity is taken for granted by those who live in cites with well-established infrastructures for cable and telephone networks. However, in many rural areas of the U.S. and in developing countries, Internet access either doesn’t exist or is only available as dial up that lacks the bandwidth needed for modern applications.

Intel announced plans today for a platform that will allow WiFi in remote locations as far as 60 miles away at broadband speeds of up to 6.5 megabits per second. The platform is called the rural connectivity platform (RCP). Intel sees RCP as a method of connecting poor villages and towns to the Internet in developing countries.

A senior platform manager at Intel named Jeff Galinovsky told Technology Review, "You can't lay cable. It's difficult, expensive, and someone is going to pull it up out of the ground to sell it."

There are other ways to wire remote locations for Internet service, such as satellite but those are expensive according to Galinovsky. Intel’s RCP system consists of a processor, radios, specialized software and an antenna. The system isn’t complex and will have a target price of $500. Two systems will be required for each set up so the total cost to wire a location will be $1,000.

The system is good for up to 60 miles, but Intel says that it believes most will be used set up to transmit less than 30 miles. The reason the system can’t transmit data over 60 miles is that the signal runs into problems with the curvature of the Earth. Once the long distance RCP system is set up, the signal is distributed to individual systems using wire or wireless routers.

One important aspect of the Intel RCP system is its low power requirements. Each station for the system requires only five to six watts to operate two or three radios in a link. That amount of power required can be harvested from solar energy.

The key aspect that allows for the long transmission distance of the RCP system required a rewrite of the communication rules used by WiFi routers. Typical routers used to wire homes and offices send out data and wait for an acknowledgement from the receiving system that the data arrived. If the acknowledgement isn’t received in a timely manner the common wireless router send the data again assuming it was lost. The Intel RCP system does away with the need for acknowledgements and frees up more bandwidth for sending data.

Intel is better known for its processors and chipsets like the Intel Centrino 2 platform due at this summer. In a way, providing a system of enabling remote and rural areas to access the Internet could result in an increased demand for processors, which would be good for Intel on more than one level.

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I wonder
By pauldovi on 3/19/2008 2:09:57 PM , Rating: 2
If these things can act as "relay" so if you were to put 4 of these in a straight line, but with only 1 plugged into the outside world, would you cover ~240 miles? Or will each of these need to be plugged into a wired network?

RE: I wonder
By AlphaVirus on 3/19/2008 2:28:26 PM , Rating: 2
I doubt they couldnt act as a relay but you could use some form of amplification to simplify the process. The article mentions the earths shape being an issue since once you reach so far 'horizontal', you will be in 'out-of-signal' reach. If you have an amplifier then it could grab the signal at around 40mi and redirect it for another 20, or so, miles.

RE: I wonder
By Chris Peredun on 3/19/2008 2:28:27 PM , Rating: 3
I can't see why not, but keep in mind that wireless is half-duplex - so every repeater in the chain would not only add latency but also essentially halve the bandwidth.

That said, a 1.5 megabit connection with 100ms added latency could beat the pants off of microwave or satellite for certain applications, and I can't wait to see this in mass production.

RE: I wonder
By rgsaunders on 3/19/2008 4:35:50 PM , Rating: 2
Short answer: Yes.
This is not a new technology, there a number of systems in use that already work this way, a couple of examples are the Trango and Motorola Canopy systems. I have been getting my broadband via a Motorola Canopy system for the last couple of years, and it appears to be quite a serviceable and secure system. Although I haven't looked into the "relay" capability in detail on the Motorola system, I do know the Trango system would work that way. The range and bandwidth are defendant upon the frequency being used, normally you end up trading off bandwidth for range with the current implementations. The 900MHz variant is limited to approximately 3mbps, the 2.5GHz version allows for about 6mbps, 5GHz higher bandwidth yet again, however it must be noted that the range of the higher frequencies decrease sharply.

By FITCamaro on 3/19/2008 3:09:36 PM , Rating: 2
The Intel RCP system does away with the need for acknowledgements

Doesn't that mean any packets that don't make it will get lost? Or does it just not wait for acknowledgment of reception of one packet before it sends the next, and if it receives a message saying the packet didn't make it, it retransmits?

RE: Umm....
By Cullinaire on 3/19/2008 7:56:09 PM , Rating: 2
I'm just grasping here, but I'd assume that the TCP/IP layer on the computer itself would take care of the retransmit request duties should a packet not be received as expected.

wireless for downtown green
By Tomedcnm on 3/20/2008 3:07:10 PM , Rating: 2
do you think this could be used in a wirless application for small downtown area. I am trying to find the cheapest most cost effective method to bring wireless to my community. The downtown area is about 8 blocks long and 5 blocks wide.
any help would be great thanks.

RE: wireless for downtown green
By Cullinaire on 3/20/2008 7:37:23 PM , Rating: 2
Ask Intel, they're the ones making it!

By hellokeith on 3/19/2008 2:59:45 PM , Rating: 2
Is this using Wimax technology?

I have something similar
By breethon on 3/19/2008 7:10:03 PM , Rating: 2
I live in a village in Michigan too far from any kind of highspeed internet. I signed up for a "rural wifi" service offered in our local paper. It uses a radio receiver on top of a 15' tripod on top of my house. I used to use EVDO, but my ping was terrible. I have this now, and in Call of Duty 4 the other day, I had the lowest ping on my team. The only drawback is my speed is limited to 512K/128K for $35/mo. But, 6.5Mbps like the article says would be sweet! Bring it on!

sounds alot like udp
By tastyratz on 3/19/08, Rating: 0
"A lot of people pay zero for the cellphone ... That's what it's worth." -- Apple Chief Operating Officer Timothy Cook
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