VoIP on a bike, by Ephraim Schwartz
Monday, July 25, 2005
A bicycle-powered, Linux-based VoIP system: not your usual high-tech architecture. But what if you were one of the more than 1 billion people living without electricity? No power, no phone.
The mission of Inveneo, a nonprofit group of inveterate high-tech adventurers, is to bring developing communities that never reached a 20th century level of infrastructure into the 21st century. Its bicycle-powered system brings not just VoIP but also e-mail and Web browsing to remote areas, using a combination of Linux and the Asterisk open source PBX.
Inveneo puts everything together with off-the-shelf hardware that is low-cost, easily replaced, and ? it is hoped ? easy to troubleshoot and fix. It uses Wi-Fi networking to route traffic to a central hub with existing phone infrastructure, with a range as far as 100 miles.
The bicycle, mostly used as a backup to solar power, gives the rider one hour on the phone for every 15 minutes of work. In a village, a user might trade pedaling time for phone time ? or get paid by someone who wants to use the phone but doesn?t want to work so hard.
Story found here.