Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Power over ethernet (PoE) and a Rural Smart Grid

At AirJaldi's rural wireless networks in the Himalayas, all routers have PoE or Power over Ethernet supplying their power needs. PoE technology uses the same regular ethernet cable you may use at home, and then sends POWER (electricity) over that cable along with the data. (more about PoE and an $8 implementation.)

This simplifies the wiring of your wireless mesh (no power cords necessary) and provides a way for custom wireless routers to supply power to peripheral devices with embedded PoE converters. In this way, wireless routers can become a power as well as information "hub". Simply applying Occam's Razor to the twin problems of rural electricity and communication, we immediately perceive that supplying them both simultaneously is the most simple solution.

The IEEE standard 802.3at for world-wide use of PoE also enables the creation of complex "smart grid" IP-enabled green electrical networks, which will be highly useful for scalable and "bottom-of-the-pyramid" approaches to Green Energy.

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