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Building Wireless Community Networks

The vision of the Internet Society is simply stated as "the Internet is for everyone". To ensure that this vision is realized, the organization undertakes work in a number of areas to increase access to the Internet in developing and emerging economies. In partnership with the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE), Digital Empowerment Foundation (DEF), and Nepal Wireless Project (NWP), we have adapted the materials used in the award-winning Wireless for Communities (W4C) initiative into online learning materials. These tutorials are part of the overall set of online materials, and cover the basics of networking.

To help address the gap in last mile Internet connectivity for underserved communities, the Wireless for Communities (W4C) initiative was co-launched by the Internet Society and Digital Empowerment Foundation (DEF) in October 2010. The project involves deploying line-of-sight wireless technology and low-cost Wi-Fi eqipment which utilize the unlicensed 2.4 GHz and 5.8 GHZ spectrum bands to create community-owned and operated wireless networks. To further localize the initiative, the project was used to strengthen grassroots expertise by training community members in wireless technology, enabling those in the field not only to run and manage these networks but to transfer knowledge to others in the community. This is achieved through a Training of Trainers programme which has employed content developed by the Internet Society and DEF.

The W4C programme has expanded tremendously over the last couple of years, and the Internet Society in conjunction with its partners, is now looking to further scale to broader communities. On one hand, we have adapted the Train the Trainer materials into an online course to prepare individuals to undertake the fieldwork associated with deploying community wireless networks. Simultaneously, we are making the same materials available to other communities for strictly capacity building or workforce skills development purposes.

The tutorials on this page cover the Network Basics modules of the Wireless for Communities (W4C) course.

If you are interested in partnering with the Internet Society to deliver the entire Wireless for Communities (W4C) course in a moderated format, please contact us at learning@isoc.org.

Modules

The vision of the Internet Society is simply stated as "the Internet is for everyone". To ensure that this vision is realized, the organization undertakes work in a number of areas to increase access to the Internet in developing and emerging economies. In partnership with the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE), Digital Empowerment Foundation (DEF), and Nepal Wireless Project (NWP), we have adapted the materials used in the award-winning Wireless for Communities (W4C) initiative into online learning materials. These tutorials are part of the overall set of online materials, and cover the basics of networking.

Module 01: Wireless Networking Standards – IEEE

The 'standards' ensure that once your network has been added, your wireless clients have the capacity to communicate with other networks world-wide. The standards for wireless networking discussed in this module and throughout the course are the 802.11 family of standards developed by the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE).

Module 02: Radio Physics

In order to build stable, high-speed wireless links, it is important to understand how radio waves behave in the real world so you can a. calculate how much power is needed for the radio waves to cross a given distance and b. predict how the waves will travel along the way.

Module 03: Practical Planning for Implementing a Wireless Network

In order to run a successful wireless project, you need to have a well thought-out implementation plan which includes: conducting a viability study, calculating a link budget and an estimation of other miscellaneous costs.

Module 04: Introduction to Networking

This tutorial discusses the OSI model and the TCP/IP model, and explains how they map. It also identifies the elements of Media Access Control (MAC) in Ethernet and Wireless.

Module 05: The Network Layer

This tutorial provides details on IP addressing, subnetting, and routing design in wireless networks.

Module 06: Routing

This tutorial discusses key routing concepts such as Network Address Translation (NAT), web proxies, and IP tunneling.

Module 07: The Upper Layers

This tutorial delves into the Upper Layers of the OSI and TCP/IP models, including looking at transport layer firewalls and Application Layer security issues.

Module 08: Network Topologies and Infrastructure

Networks can take many different forms depending on how the different nodes in the network are interconnected. The layout of the connecting links between nodes in a network is called the network topology.

Module 09: Radio Device Configuration

Wireless access points (APs or WAPs) are specially configured devices on wireless local area networks (WLANs). Access points act as a central transmitter and receiver of wireless radio signals including Wi-Fi. APs are most commonly used to support public Internet hotspots and also on internal business networks to extend their Wi-Fi signal range.

Module 10: Examples of Access Point Configuration

In this module we will introduce you to 3 Access Point products which may be suitable for your Wireless Network implementation. We start with a simulation of the full set-up and security of a Router with a built-in Access Point - MikroTik. Later you will find information regarding the implementation of 2 other Access Point products; EnGenius and LinkSys.

Module 11: How to Make Wireless Networks Secure

Network security involves protecting network devices and the data that they forward.

Module 12: Troubleshooting a Wireless Network

This module takes a look at what you’ll need to do after you've built and road-tested your wireless network. At some point, once your wireless network is up-and-running, you are certain to face some sort of network issues from your users.

Acknowledgements

Niel Harper, Toral Cowieson, Rajnesh Singh, Noelle Francesca de Guzman, Shahid Ahmad, Mahabir Pun, Rucha Despande, Henri Wohlfarth, Day One Technologies

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