In an effort to bridge the digital divide and with hopes of becoming the perfect supplement to the US$100 OLPC, the Green WiFi project has designed a solar powered WiFi relay station. The basic idea is that a grid of relaying stations can provide an entire area with internet access without being dependent on a reliable external source of power. Using standard off-the-shelves components and open source software the network should ultimately become a self sustaining, self healing, network solution that is cost effective and easy to deploy.

[The] software operate without extensive planning or central management, automatically figures out the fastest way to reach from point A to point B and continuously monitors the network paths […].

Without doubt, necessity and creativity will develop and refine the technology even further ? and from where I stand the project is more interesting as a proof-of-concept than as a packaged product. What I want to know is: How do I build one myself?

I wrote about a book a couple of months back that attempted to be a DIY manual for cheap wireless networking. The logic is that people in rural areas – in developing countries – can operate and maintain their own network, if given the proper knowledge how these things work. In every village, there are people who can fix and build just about anything – from microwave ovens to combustion engines – so why not computer networks? If this was to be deployed in real life situations there are a lot of hacks that can be done to enhance the range and reception of these devices.

Relying on local knowledge like that is to me a great strength, so the question is if it’s possible to integrate it into Green WiFi?s plans.