Saturday, August 20, 2011

Payir connects to the world - Wirelessly

Friday Aug, 19th 2011 is a memorable day in the diary of Payir Trust, and Payir Innovations... We connected to the world wireless using Radio Wave transmission from our nearest telephone exchange (~5km away).

This has been a long journey which started in November 2010. We were connected to the internet over wired line from Puthanampatti exchange. BSNL ran a special line for ~5Km. We used to get ~2Mbps, which was heavily shared by the many computers in our IT center, Learning center for e-Learning, and Health center for tele-medicine. This was also the main contact line for our founder, employees and volunteers to connect to the rest of the world and spread the work we do. However running a cable for ~5km, exclusively for us with not much revenue, had its own challenges - physical, natural and human interventional. As a result, we were out of internet services for many days, sometime months...

We were brain-storming on various ideas on how to connect wirelessly. We contacted RuTag unit in IIT-M as well. We explored various ideas which were either expensive or not feasible. Finally we had a ray of hope in Mr. Kuppuswamy, an ex-employee of BSNL, now retired and settled in Bangalore. He is part of our Friends of Payir - Bangalore Chapter. He introduced us to the Chief General Manager of BSNL Mr. Mahendrakumar, who took special interest in getting wireless connection to Payir.

The initial steps happened at a lightning pace:
- BSNL 'emerging business unit' did feasibility study in Thenur and gave the go ahead signal
- BSNL Head Telecom Office approved our request to erect a wireless Radio Wave Tower in our premises
- We got in touch with Mr. Nagaraj of Vista Infotech, who gave special attention to Payir to get tower installed and all other necessary cabling and equipments

Then came change of personnel in BSNL, the TN elections and things were stalled. We were patient but persistent in our goal to get wireless connectivity in Thenur, and kept talking to various people in BSNL. Finally we got the approval to install the 8Mbps modem on our tower, after a lot of last mile push.

We are now happy that our time, money and efforts have paid off, and we are getting 3-4 Mbps uninterrupted internet connection for the past 2 days. We plan to utilize this for the uninterrupted continuity of our current services, and future activities. We have the provision to transmit wireless upto 21km radius, and plan to transmit and connect many other village centers to the internet, and truly make RURAL world CONNECTS TO URBAN world a reality

We would like to thank all our supporters and well wishers who have helped us to achieve this feat.