The Wind-Powered Wi-Fi Repeater

July 22, 2010 // 10:21 a.m.

Tags: #dan-lampie #david-brenner #solar-panel #solar-power #turbine #wi-fi #wi-fi-repeater #wind-power #wind-turbine

A wireless Internet connection is a wonderful thing: being able to access your e-mail while you're in the middle of nowhere can, at times, be a lifesaver. It's just a shame that when you're really in the middle of nowhere, there's no wireless hotspot to be found - unless you're Dan Lampie and David Brenner, that is.

According to Hacked Gadgets, the pair have solved the problem of a lack of Wi-Fi coverage in the middle of a field with the invention of the Wind Turbine Powered Wi-Fi Repeater - which does pretty much exactly what it says on the tin.

Designed to provide communications coverage to remote areas on a shoestring budget, the device is built around a commercially available Wi-Fi repeater hooked up to a 19dBi parabolic directional antenna pointed at a remote location which does have an active Internet connection. This connection is then rebroadcast via omnidirectional antennas to the local area.

In order to provide power to the device, the pair used a small wind turbine - along with some solar panels for when the weather isn't behaving itself - to charge an internal battery pack, which provides continuous power to the repeater.

It's a neat design made even more impressive with the low cost of the device, although as it relies on a directional antenna to connect to a remote location - in tests it easily reached a third of a mile - it does require line-of-sight to somewhere with an Internet connection. Despite this possible drawback, the design could easily be adapted to provide low-cost mesh network coverage in rural areas - which, by bouncing the connection from repeater to repeater, could solve the line-of-sight issue.

Full details of the project are available on the official site, while the team has posted some YouTube videos demonstrating the technology.

Could you find a use for a completely wireless Wi-Fi repeater, or is this technology more likely to end up being used to provide an inexpensive communications infrastructure in developing nations? Share your thoughts over in the forums.

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