UAV-aided Wireless Mesh Networks can provide Internet access for Remote NZ Communities
Have you ever wondered if your device will finally get coverage wherever you are?
Well, ask no more because Wanqing Tu of Auckland University is bringing the future of connectivity to us right now through the use of Wireless Mesh Networks (WMNs) and Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs). The project aims to bring Internet access to rural communities that are low cost and reliable.
What are Wireless Mesh Networks?
Wireless Mesh Networks are being tested around the world to help connect rural communities to the Internet, giving them access to the digital services that are becoming more prominent in daily life. The tools for WMNs are mounted on rooftops and have coverages that can expand to include communities of various sizes.
However, the main challenge here is that the New Zealand terrain can often be difficult–not just for people to navigate, but for wireless signals. This is where the UAVs play their role. Specific models of UAV with extended flying capability will be utilised to enhance the connectivity and data transmissions of ground WMNs.
What’s being done?
UAV-aided WMNs will support remote communities to advance local business (e.g. tourism, farming). The research will also allow remote residences the same access to social activities (e.g. education, healthcare) as their urban cousins, which is particularly important during critical situations, like an outbreak such as Coronavirus.
To enable Internet access for all New Zealanders will undoubtedly benefit our digital economy. This also helps Digital Inclusion, and is a huge step forward for those communities that have trouble connecting to global networks. The proposed low cost of entry is also another factor that will help close the digital divide by allowing network access for families from all backgrounds.