Microsoft U.S. Patent Wireless: Cloud-Based Computing for Rural and Developing Areas

The giant software company has worked out a way to deliver cheap high-speed Internet to remote locations where there are no power or phone lines. Their new patent application transforms the options for people who are doing long-term planning about where to live or work, if they need to tap into the Internet for any reason such as health, or client communication, or just entertainment.

The inventors say “The capabilities of cloud computing is largely limited to the developed countries where approximately one-sixth of the world’s population lives. Thus, the majority of the world still lives in rural and non-urban areas of the developing countries, and has a low per capita income. Although telecom companies are creating large networks in developing countries, the networks are primarily voice-centric, with little or no interest to provide data services capabilities, due to the apparent lack of promising returns on investments.”“The following presents a simplified summary in order to provide a basic understanding of some novel embodiments described herein. This summary is not an extensive overview, and it is not intended to identify key/critical elements or to delineate the scope thereof. Its sole purpose is to present some concepts in a simplified form as a prelude to the more detailed description that is presented later.
“Disclosed is a framework that enables a local computing cloud infrastructure for rural and third world populations with the ability to connect into the global cloud (on the Internet). The framework includes a low cost architecture of long distance, wireless based, renewable energy powered, and small datacenter (DC) (referred to as a pico-DC) nodes that can fully operate off-grid, both power-wise and Internet connection-wise at a very low cost. Additionally, the framework includes power management and storage techniques that effectively enable operating at low power levels and efficient power use. Thus, nodes are self-sufficient, low maintenance and weather proof with no need for externally supplied physical power or data connections–the nodes use power from in-system sources and wireless data connections.

“Each node is a standalone system that potentially includes power management to operate within constrained power requirements as provided by a renewable energy source, local wireless (e.g., Wi-Fi) connectivity for inter-node communications, long range connectivity to the Internet (or other global communication networks), a charge controller for charge management of the energy storage system (e.g., batteries), and so on. The computing resources and, optionally, content from the Internet, offered by the pico-DC node can be accessed by the community through local connections including but not limited to Wi-Fi, Bluetooth.TM., or serial interfaces such as universal serial bus (USB).

In particular, access to the node services is possible through fixed stations or mobile terminals. The node provides scalability, primarily, in terms of a multiple server configuration that can adjust to the offered demand and available energy reservoir and, secondarily, in terms of multiple batteries, the number of which depends on the expected annual average solar illumination of the location where the node is installed. Once deployed and running, the nodes, through smart distributed software, can detect neighbor nodes, the node local environment, location, and optimize node behavior according to these variables.

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