Bringing mesh networking to Africa

Wednesday, November 21, 2007 - 2:27pm

David Johnson and Kobus Roux, The Wireless Africa Research Group, Meraka Institute South Africa
TIME: 3:30 – 4:30 p.m.
PLACE: Computer Science Conference Room, Harold Frank Hall Room 1132


The Wireless Africa research group at the Meraka Institute in South Africa will visit UCSB on the 28 of November to present on research in mesh networking for rural areas. This research group has built an indoor 7×7 grid based test bed for benchmarking routing protocols as well as a number of rural mesh pilot networks in South and Southern Africa, which have helped to expose the research challenges that need to be addressed when building decentralized community based wireless networks. Some of the research areas being addressed are: comparative analysis of mesh routing algorithms and routing metrics, distributed network services, dynamic power control mechanisms, auto channel allocation for multi-radio mesh, real time multimedia over unreliable networks and migrating network applications and services to IPv6. Kobus Roux and David Johnson from the Meraka Institute will present on progress on some of these topics as well as a wealth of learning on practical and social issues from building wireless networks in rural areas around South Africa.


David Johnson is a senior researcher at the Meraka Institute who was responsible for building the indoor 7×7 grid test bed as well as rolling out a 10 node mesh network in a rural area which provided internet connectivity to health clinics, schools, farms and businesses. He has produced a number of publications on comparative studies on mesh networking protocols as well as rural mesh networking.

Kobus Roux is responsible for the Wireless Africa initiative, which aims to contribute significantly through research and development to connecting 450 million rural people in Africa still lacking any form of telecommunications access. Kobus is also involved in the Digital Doorway network, a broad-based computer literacy initiative similar to the Hole-in-the-Wall in India, and involved in stimulating “Infopreneurs” as sustainable rural ICT businesses.