A new book called Wireless Networking in the Developing World – A Practical Guide to Planning and Building Low-Cost Telecommunications Infrastructure, tries to explain exactly what its name implies. Using cheap hardware and existing standards, it is possible to create new networks much more cost-efficiently than with any wired approach, and this publication attempts to explain how and why. 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 build just about anything – so why not networks?

I am certainly not an engineer and my experience with radio doesn?t stretch beyond flipping the channels on an FM-receiver and some basic high school physics. However, I found the book to be an exiting read. I had no idea you could use cookware and a USB-dongle to make a parabolic dish, or that an empty tin can double as a waveguide. It’s both theoretical and practical in its approach, and explain very well how everything fits together.

The authors are all specialists in their area, and have worked for years with putting these things into practice. Some of the projects are described as case studies in the last chapter of the book.

The whole book can be downloaded under a Creative Commons license.