Most rural areas throughout the world experience bad connectivity to the Internet. Companies suffer from inferior competitiveness and the populations from digital exclusion. One of the reasons is the lack of technology to enable an appropriate business case for high-bandwidth service-provisioning in many deployment scenarios.
WiBACK is the result of several years of research and development at Fraunhofer FOKUS. It was motivated by the intention to provide carrier-grade service qualities for voice and data transmission over a large area with low-cost wireless technology. From a technological point of view, the WiBACK core can be positioned between point-to-point radio links and fibre-optic backbone networks. In its deployment, WiBACK is supplemented by access technologies such as Wi-Fi, GSM, and UMTS.
Due to its flexibility WiBACK allows quickly setting up networks to provide capacity where it is actually needed. Since it is plug'n'play it can not only operated by professional ISPs but also by the users themselves, e.g. municipalities, companies or other institutions.
WiBACK is not an alternative to a mobile operator network. It provides a transport infrastructure and complements existing technology, rather than replacing it. While WiBACK supports different types of access technologies (including GSM) at the user front-end, it expects an IP-based network at the back-end. Typical mobile-operator services such as roaming or hand-over need to be implemented on-top of WiBACK.
Establishing new networks requires usually a high effort to configure the involved hardware properly. Once the network is running also high effort is required to maintain its functionality at a high level of reliability. This holds in particular true if wireless technologies are used since their reliability is usually lower compared to wired networks, leading to high operational expenditure (OPEX). WiBACK is addressing this problem by being highly self-managed so that specialist staff is not longer required.