Future Internet Research Using Delay Tolerant Networking
Atop one of the largest buildings downtown in Berkeley, researchers at Intel Research Berkeley are investigating a revolutionary way to get e-mail and Internet access delivered to remote villages in developing countries. It is unofficially being called the "Wi-Fi bus."
"In rural areas, particularly in areas that are not very rich, like India, how do you network a tiny village that is 1,000 kilometers from the nearest city?" said Hans Mulder, associate director of Intel Research, at a recent open-house held at the Berkeley lab. The answer lies in a technology called "delay tolerant networking," which allows for data requests, such as "send this e-mail" or "view this Web site," to be bundled and eventually delivered at a later time.
The system also would rely on Wi-Fi, which allows you to connect to the Internet without wires or cables. In the scenario, wireless access points are installed in each of the remote villages and on a bus. When the bus reaches the village, it picks up all the pending data requests. The bus then travels to the city, where there is an Internet connection in place, and delivers the requests and gathers replies that are then physically transported back to the villages." (Villagers) receive all of the e-mail that they've been asking for, even though there's never actually a live connection between the village and the city," said Mellisa Ho, an Intel intern working on the project at Intel Research Berkeley. The same holds true for Web sites. Villagers would type in the URL for a site, and unlike in modern cities, where the page comes up within seconds, the site might not load until a day later, or whenever the bus can make the trip to the city and back.
The project is one of many futuristic areas of research being explored at the Berkeley lab, which has been open for more than three years now on the 13th floor of the PowerBar building downtown.All the work performed here is "open-collaborative" between Intel Corp. and the University of California, Berkeley -- meaning all research flows freely between the two and usually ends up in the public domain. Intel owns the lab, but it is up to the university to decide whether to patent research -- and then give Intel a license for the technology.