Category: Telecommunications

Jan 11

Run A Cellular Network in a Box with Endaga – For Remote Areas

Using a Single Box Supplied By Endaga, You Can Become a Cellular Network Provider Overnight

Do you live in a remote area without cellular network coverage? Do you wish to run your own cellphone network but you are inhibited by the high costs of equipment and installation? Is your network service provider unreliable, do you think data, SMS and Voice Call should be affordable? If you fall into one of these groups, then you might be happy to know that there is a startup which is providing a cellular network in a box. All you need to do is buy the box, set up your rates, hook the box up a tree or pole, dish out SIM cards and you are ready to go.

Endaga is a for-profit company based in the USA that supplies these boxes. According to their website, they aim to provide internet and cellular coverage to more than 1 billion people who live in remote areas. These are people who live in unserviced areas where internet and cellular coverage is out of reach.
However, before you clap your hands in excitement, there are challenges which need to be overcome before you dream of setting up your own cellular service. The investment for acquiring an Endaga box is only 6,000 USD and the price is expected to go down by 80% over the next 5 years. The box can provide a network coverage of 10km and it comes handy with management tools that allow you to bill customers, transfer credit, data, SMS and voice calls. No technical skills are needed to set up the box. The device makes use of OpenBTS technology to generate VOIP and is powered by solar panels, making it suitable for unelectrified villages. You can set up the box within an instant but it is illegal to set up a cellular network base station without approval from the authorities. Some people have tried to set up their own cellular station [ not an Endaga box] and they ended up in trouble.
So How Do You Do It Legally?
To comply with local network operation rules, you have to apply to the Licensing Authority as a Network Service Provider. When you get the greenlight, go ahead and set up your network like other well-known competitors in your location. You may be required to pay fees for making a backhaul connection.
Examples of Places where Endaga Has Been Successfully Implemented
The good news is that the Endaga network in a box is being successfully implemented without obstacles in countries like Indonesia and plans are underway to introduce the innovation in Pakistan, Panama, Afghanistan, Philippines and South Africa.

In Indonesia, the Endaga box has been installed in a small town called Papua. The box is owned by a local school, and up to now, over 400 people have bought SIM cards to get connected to the only cellular network in town. Before Endaga, school teachers and other locals had to travel 4 hours out of town just to get access to the major network. The Endaga network service in Papua makes use of a satellite backhaul connection. Depending on the type of network infrastructure setup in your country, a different type of backhaulconnection might be required, i.e. fiber, copper or microwave options.

Backhaul Options for Endaga
As discussed above, the network infrastructure in your area will determine the type of backhaul that you need to connect to. You have to get permission to access the backhaul.However, things will get interesting when organizations like Google, Facebook and Microsoft launch their projects for free internet access worldwide. If you have been following the experiments and developments by these organizations, Facebook is working on internet.org, a project to deliver free internet via drones and Google is in the final stages of testing Google Loon, a project to deliver free internet via balloons. A rollout is expected to begin in June, 2015.
In the event of a successful worldwide deployment of these internet projects, Facebook Drones and Google Balloons will provide a backhaul connection in remote areas, allowing you to connect an Endaga receiver. Obviously an Endaga box is one of the options that would be available among other devices supplied by third parties in the market.
Who Can Benefit From Endaga

 

The CEOs of Endaga say their service is designed for entrepreneurs, hustlers and community leaders in remote areas. If you are an enterprising person in a community that lacks cellular services, then you might find this service attractive. Besides the business benefits, Endaga helps unconnected communities to get connected to their loved ones and the world through a standard cellphone, which is quite affordable in many developing countries.You can browse the internet from a remote location on a mobile browser for cellphones (e.g. Nokia Express, Opera Mini), log into your Gmail account, use Whatsapp and Facebook.

Aug 27

Google Plans for Free Internet in Remote Areas – Project Loon


Project Loon also known as Google Loon or Google Balloon Internet is an experimental project run by Google Inc. with the aim of delivering internet access to remote areas. The project makes use of wind-steered balloons floating in the stratosphere at 25 km above sea level. These balloons are scattered in the air and spaced at approximately 100km from each other, thereby creating a wireless network that provides internet to people in the area.
Project Loon was launched on 16 June 2013, beginning a series of research tests in New Zealand and now Carlifornia, USA.Should the project be successful, Google will launch the balloon network enmasse, launching thousands of balloons around the world over remote areas and places where internet is currently inaccessible.

The balloons help to transmit the signals between the worldwide web and an antenna installed outside the user’s home or building. You may be wondering why somebody would need a balloon-powered internet network when there are technologies like Wimax that can transmit internet to remote areas via a space satellite. Current technologies which provide internet to remote areas e.g. farms and rural areas are very expensive often costing several times more than services in cities and towns .A lot of money is required to set up the infrastructure for long-distance transmissions of data. Google balloon internet will cut the cost of internet as we know it today and increase coverage, allowing more people to get connected.

Balloon networks are easy to deploy and less expensive to manage because they do not require the installation of underground cables. The cost of fiber cable is one of the prohibitive factors that hinders the expansion of internet access in developing countries. Developing countries will benefit immensely from balloon-powered internet and this will allow at least 66% of the world population to have access to the internet.
With Google providing the technology to deploy balloon internet, existing internet service providers will only need to connect to the balloon network to allow people to be connected. This will drastically reduce the cost of internet and make it affordable to people under the balloon region. Users will be required to install a special antenna in order to receive signals.
The floating balloons are designed to last for at least 100 days and they are equipped with a solar-powered electronics system that can generate a maximum of 100 watts in full sunlight. The Google internet balloons will float at a minimum height of 15km above the jet airspace, meaning that there won’t be a risk of an accidental collision with airplanes. The estimated speed for balloon internet is nearly that of 3G internet, which is quite acceptable.

Further Reading

Aug 26

Facebook Plans for Free Internet – Project Internet.org


Internet.org is Mark Zuckererg’s initiative to provide free internet access to people in the third world and developing countries. It is a project to get everybody on the internet with little or no cost. Launched on 20 August 2013, internet.org was founded by seven companies – Facebook, Samsung, Nokia, Opera, Ericsson, MediaTek and QUALCOMM. As you can see, the group is composed of wireless networking tech giants, top mobile phone manufacturers, a renowned memory chip maker and creators of the top mobile browser – Opera.
It is estimated that about two-thirds of the world is not connected to the internet, and as a result this population misses out on the opportunities provided by the internet. According to Mark Zuckerberg, the prohibitive costs of setting up the infrastructure needed for internet access is one of the obstacles to providing internet in developing countries and remote areas.
Internet.org aims to solve this problem by developing technologies that are cost-effective, efficient and commercially viable for companies providing internet. By reducing the cost of data and adopting efficient methods of delivering internet in developing countries, it is possible to add an extra 5 billion people to the existing worldwide web.

The provision of affordable internet access to everyone does not only have benefits for the marginalized user in poor regions of the world but it will also benefit a lot of online companies that would be able to expand their business to an additional 5 billion people on the internet. New markets will be opened, previously untapped customers will be tapped and unreachable regions will reached. At the present moment, internet penetration is extremely slow in most developing areas at only less 9% a year and it has reached a saturation point in developed countries like the USA meaning that growth has virtually come to a standstill. You can imagine the possibilities if the penetration was to be accelerated in regions like Africa, East Asia, South America as well as the rural areas in most countries.
The Internet.org Project  is in a developmental stage right now, and it is not yet known which technologies and business models will be used to provide affordable internet to the unconnected world.However,with a grouping of big brand technology giants like Nokia, Ericsson, Samsung, Opera, MediaTek and QUALCOMM, you can be assured that this is a serious project, Mark Zuckerberg,the Facebook CEO will be implementing something significant that will have an impact on everyone in the developing world.

 Related Posts >> Read Google Plans for Free Internet – Project Loon