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Low-Cost DIY Cell Network Runs On Solar 77

Shareable writes with word of the intriguing work of a Berkeley professor who has developed a "low-cost, low-power cell base station featuring easy, off-the grid deployment with solar or wind power; local services autonomous from national carriers; and an impressive portfolio of voice & data services (not just GSM). It's designed to connect rural areas in the developing world, but could have wider application like disaster recovery."
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Low-Cost DIY Cell Network Runs On Solar

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  • by TubeSteak ( 669689 ) on Saturday August 27, 2011 @09:23PM (#37231516) Journal

    And that would require everybody who wishes to use the systems to have compatible equipment beforehand

    I don't think you understand what this mini computer does.
    It's a GSM tower & PBX.
    It provides local calling/text/voicemail, web caching, and an audio BBS.
    Ontop of all that, it can use a wireless backhaul to talk to the local telco.

    It is explicitly designed for parts of developing countries that do not have cellular service
    and for disaster areas where the local cell service is down.
    People aren't picky about radio licenses in those situations.

    Would somebody's AT&T phone work with it? I'm assuming no.

    Yes, someone's AT&T phone would work with it, since AT&T uses GSM.
    A Verizon phone wouldn't work with it though, since the USA is one of the few countries in the world that isn't 100% GSM.

  • Coming soon (Score:5, Informative)

    by Dunbal ( 464142 ) * on Saturday August 27, 2011 @09:25PM (#37231522)
    Another dead end project, killed by communications monopolies. Oh they'll find a reason. Not up to FCC standards. Using unlicensed frequencies. Interfering with existing communications equipment. Causes cancer. Whatever it takes. Don't you get it? They don't WANT you to have more access, unless you pay through the nose for it.
  • by kheimerl ( 2448318 ) on Saturday August 27, 2011 @10:29PM (#37231746)
    Hey, Kurtis Heimerl here. This work seems to have gone though the telephone game, so I thought I should make some slight corrections to the original (down?) sharable article. Firstly, I'm not a professor, I'm a graduate student ( Secondly, there wasn't enough mention of everyone involved. This project is an offshoot of the fantastic OpenBTS work done by David Burgess et al, now working under the Range Networks ( banner. A lot of work on the open source projects have been done by Alexander Chemeris and Thomas Tsou, and they should be given credit as well. Lastly, the project is still under heavy development. It's worth noting the "prototype" used by Mobile Active had no clever power tricks, and was just a software modification of OpenBTS. We'll have something more substantial soon. Past that though, I'm happy to see people quickly understand what we're going for here. Great to know others think your work is interesting. We'll also be deploying a sample "BTS Application" at burning man this year. Check it out: (

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