Intel researchers, university professors and graduate students are working on a number of ways to expand the internet beyond the industrialised world to the 5.5 billion people on the planet who are unable to access the web.
"These areas are very remote and sparsely populated, so it is very expensive to get connectivity using traditional wire-lines," student researcher Sonesh Surana told vnunet.com.
"The carriers that provide these services tend to go to areas where there is a certain base of paying customers."
To solve this problem, the research teams have developed a number of wireless systems designed to relay signals over wide expanses of land.
One of those projects is the Rural Communications Platform which uses a system of wireless relay stations with ranges of up to 100km to "daisy chain" wireless connections over long distances.
To achieve this, the researchers had to develop an entirely new wireless protocol optimised for remote locations.
"You are taking a signal from an urban area and beaming it across multiple antennas to a rural village that might be hundreds of miles away," explained Meghan Desai, a researcher with Intel's Emerging Markets Platform Group.
"Traditionally you would have a fibre-optic backbone running through that system, so it is replacing something like that."
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