Wind-Powered Wireless Mesh Network

Summary

In collaboration with other POMI teams, we are building a wind-powered wireless mesh network to overcome the following challenges:
• Provide access to network capabilities in the developing world
• Provide emergency network deployment after disasters
• Further innovation in developing regions
• Provide STEM education opportunities
• Tackle engineering-specific challenges such as: Energy-efficient hardware and software, renewably powered networking solutions, and disruption-aware content-exchange systems

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Background

A mesh network is a network that employs one of two connection arrangements, full mesh topology or partial mesh topology. In the full mesh topology, each node is connected directly to each of the other nodes. In the partial mesh topology, nodes are connected to only some, not all, of the other nodes. We assume a network that handles many-to-many connections and is capable of dynamically updating and optimizing these connections. This may be a "mobile network" in which it is assumed that each (or at least some) of the nodes of the network are mobile units that change position over time. The decentralized nature of mesh networks lends itself well to a decentralized ownership model wherein each participant in the network owns and maintains their own hardware, which can greatly simplify the financial and community aspects of the system.

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Demonstration

Opportunities and Next Steps:

The substrate nodes of a mesh network -- possibly excepting those nodes that maintain an up-link to the Internet -- can be built with extremely low power requirements, meaning that they can be deployed as completely autonomous units using wind or other renewable power sources. Powering such devices presents unique and exciting challenges for our team.

Gumstix Module for Relaying Data Traffic

Earth Sensing Network (ESN)

We plan to design the initial iteration of this technology as a wireless sensor network designed to collect key environmental data such as temperature, humidity, wind speed, and greenhouse gas content. Collecting atmospheric data is a key tool for STEM education, and developing and deploying educational applications designed to take advantage of this data will be our next step. We plan to test in educational settings by May 2010.
We plan to use the lessons learned from building Earth Sensing Network nodes to create a more robust mesh network. Such a network would provide increased opportunities for wireless mobile data applications in remote or developing communities.

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People

Faculty Staff Former Member

Dr. Paul, Kim
 
Uri Geva
  Theresa Johnson

"Wind-Powered Wireless Mesh Network" is the subproject of POMI in Education.

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