Connecting the Unconnected

People in developing countries have only limited access to the worldwide communication infrastructure. This imposes boundaries on their education and health; it also restricts their economic opportunities.

© Charles Roffey

The Challenge

People in rural areas often have only limited or no access to the Internet. About 5 billion people in rural areas are still unconnected, while urban areas are targeting gigabit connections to the Internet for every household. The main challenge are the high costs associated with most communication technologies (Fiber, Satellite, LTE) when operated in sparsely populated rural areas.

The Solution

We follow the 'Inclusive Innovation' approach to bring broadband connectivity into rural areas with good performance at lower costs. WiBACK enhances and cleverly orchestrates proven Internet protocols and components to form QoS-aware networks which can support triple-play service offerings. Low-power components also ensure small energy footprints and solar-powered operation.

The Benefits

With its ease of deployment, operation and maintenance, WiBACK significantly lowers the OPEX while providing a flexible, reliable and easy to manage solution which can grow and adapt to changing demands and requirements. Consequently, WiBACK allows us to "Connect the Unconnected", thus increasing the potential customer base and narrowing the "Digital Divide".

Get started

Learn how to get and set up your own WiBACK network.

Why are so many people still unconnected?

The study is available on request.

Over the last decades, a functioning Internet connection has become an ever more indispensable instrument of communication and information. Yet there are many rural areas worldwide entirely deprived of this basic right. While this especially holds true for places whose overall infrastructure is still in its infancy, many uncovered areas are within reasonable distance of a reliable network infrastructure. To most ISPs, expanding their existing infrastructure into rural areas is not financially worthwhile due to their often thinly-spread population. In addition, geographical barriers such as rivers, mountains, valleys etc. pose major obstacles for technology, which typically render such spatial extensions of the network unproductive. Consequently, ISPs focus to meet the insatiable demand of increasingly growing bandwidth at the core of their infrastructure instead.

Altogether, this slows the pace of the global approach of connecting the unconnected and, even more so, it disregards the undisputed benefits a reliable Internet connection could bring about for the affected peoples’ lives.

WiBACK offers an effective solution to a global issue

WiBACK provides the technology to connect rural areas with limited or no Internet connection to a remote network infrastructure, while at the same time being able to cope with geographical disparities as well as the exposure to harsh environmental conditions.

The WiBACK approach mainly builds upon concatenated long-distance Directional Wireless links (up to 20km per hop), allowing to connect one or multiple edge nodes of a fixed and reliable network infrastructure to many far-away edge nodes and user access points. A commercial service provider can provide these fixed edge nodes. Overall, a WiBACK network can cover a range of several hundred kilometres (from the fixed edge node) at data rates of 200 - 400 MBps - all with low latency times similar to modern broadband internet.

While the setup of a directional link needs to be planned properly, it can often be done remotely. This planning includes ensuring an unobstructed line-of-sight and correct spacing between two nodes, as well as legal and regulatory compliance of admissible radio frequencies. On-site tasks are thus reduced to the mounting of physical components only.

WiBACK strives to achieve a low OPEX/CAPEX-value in order to offer a cost-effective alternative to the construction of wired networks. To decrease costs for the required poles, landmarks or public buildings should be considered. In addition, by using solar power and choosing energy-saving equipment, the need for a stable power grid at each location can be eliminated. Since WiBACK features plug and play functionality, auto-configuration and self-management, as well as a non-expert setup and operation, it is possible to everyone to set-up a cost-effective, high-quality (carrier-grade) network; this allows building and maintaining networks in areas where almost no one possesses engineering expertise!

So far, WiBACK technology has been successfully deployed in various countries worldwide and established itself as an effective solution to provide fast, wireless internet to rural areas and municipalities, actively contributing to remedy the existing inequalities imposed by the Digital Divide.