Community Telephone Networks in Africa Bridging the gap between poverty and technology

Curtis Sahd, Hannah Thinyane
Many new cell phones on the market come with 802.11 enabled, along with standard Bluetooth functionality. A large percentage of working class people in South Africa typically cannot afford 802.11 enabled cell phones, and thus the most applicable form of wireless data transfer is achieved through the Bluetooth protocol. This paper investigates bridging Bluetooth and 802.11 protocols on low cost wireless routers equipped with a Broadcom chip and a Universal Serial Bus port, as well as bridging on
more » ... well as bridging on high end cell phones. For the router component of this research, the BlueZ protocol stack will be implemented on top of the OpenWrt platform and experiments relating to the feasibility and scalability of Session Initiation Protocol voice calls between clients on the Bluetooth network and clients on the wireless mesh network will be investigated. For the cell phone component of this bridging, Java Mobile will be used as the development platform of choice, and a comparison between bridging on the cell phone and on the wireless router will be conducted, with metrics such as latency, scalability, and minimum throughput will be considered. This paper also investigates Bluetooth throughput achieved at varying distances, as well as the relationship between the average time and the average expected time with variations in the transmission unit size. This paper provides an overview of the Mobile Media Application Programming Interface, its shortcomings, and how to overcome them. This paper proposes a low cost solution to building community telephone networks in rural South Africa, through the bridging of 802.11 and Bluetooth interfaces.