April 2004

The wireless roadshow:Wireless networking – an accepted option

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Wireless networking has become an accepted alternative when the challenge is to build connectivity and communication infrastructure in developing countries. Especially the 802.11 family of standards, operating in free (license-exempt) spectrum, offers a number of significant advantages, when compared to traditional telecom and network infrastructure.The technology is affordable and the equipment is widely available.

Wireless networks can be implemented in a flexible, step-by-step manner, avoiding big initial investments. Hardware typically has low power requirements. So wireless networks can be run independent from the electricity grid – on solar, wind, micro hydro or even bicycle power.

It is possible to connect to and use today's international communication networks, mainly built and run by the rich developed countries, without having to go through all the steps of infrastructure creation that these countries went through.

The implicit qualities of the technology have an impact on the corresponding business and community paradigms: decentralization, autonomy, participation and organic growth are the keywords here. A number of successful projects have demonstrated the potential of these technologies

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