The web-site of the Tibetan Technology Center
The Tibetan Technology Center is a charitable organization dedicated to harness modern technology for helping the Tibetan community in India.
Learn more about the center, it’s aims and projects at: -About us-
No doubt - the "killer application" used over our Mesh network is VoIP.
The ability to make high-quality voice (and video) calls over this low-cost infrastructure is mind blowing.
Couple that with multiple Asterisk PBXs which we run, to interface the PSTN and provide futuristic feature-rich telephony and you got people waiting in line to get connected.
At present, other then soft-phones, which requires a computer, a device disliked by many, the 2nd lowest-cost alternative for a stand-alone phone which we use are ATAs.
These ATAs must be also modified to support 12v PoE (they are mostly 5v) and by the end of the day it comes to a rather costly solution for Rural India.
(not to mention the two analog telephones - and people do like these "fancier" speaker phones with caller-ID, etc.).
My mentor regarding low-cost VoIP hardware is the Australian David Rowe.
During his last visit to Dharamsala, we talked much about his remarkable and fresh idea - to develop a low-cost embedded Asterisk...
Naturally, we can't wait to test the first prototypes here on the mounts..
Nevertheless... When it comes to any VoIP system, the major cost factor is the price of the telephones not the PBX not the PSTN interfaces, etc..
I was therefor thrilled, when David emailed me last week about his new $10 ATA idea.
Needless to say - this is something are welcoming with open arms.
Moreover, please consider this post as an open invitation to become involved - I doubt if David alone will be able to see through such a project, while we, here in Dharamsala can do little more then test and provide feedback.
Some general comments from my side - based mostly on gut feeling at this point:
1. People like feature-rich telephony and surprisingly are willing to pay for it.
So while a very limited RS232 phone should work - possibly it's not going to be adopted as widely as a fancy speaker-phone with a Caller-ID screen, speed-dials and message indicator.
15th March, 2007
Tibtec/AirJaldi installation team comprising of Aurelien Personnez,Ranbhir Rana, Phuntsok, Pauli and Tenzin Gonpo installed a new node at Government Polytechnic College, Kangra. This new location provides internet connectivity over wi-fi to the students and teachers.
Tibtec/AirJaldi would like to thank Mr. Puneet Sood, lecturer at the College for providing the logistical support and Mr. H K Bhatti, Principal, GPC, Kangra for meeting us and permitting us to install the antennae at their campus.
For more technical details about this site - checkout the comment by Yahel: >>
5th December, 2006
On invitation from the Department of IT, HP Government, Shimla. A team from Tibetan Technology Center consisting of Mr. Yahel Ben-David, Mr. Phuntsok Dorjee and Mr. Tim Kiely gave a presentation of Dharamsala Community Wireless Network at The Secretariat of HP Government, Shimla.
It was attended by IT Secretary and other officials from Department of IT, HP State.
Yesterday I got back from a short (too short) visit to Oulu, Finland.
I was invited to present our AirJaldi Mesh project in the Wireless Cities 2006 Conference.
The atmosphere was very welcoming and friendly. The Finns and their guests from around the world showed lots of enthusiasm about the Dharamsala project and the potential of wireless ICT to the aid of developing nations.
© Photo: Partanen Ville.
We are looking forward to future cooperation with the university of Oulu who had already donated equipment to TibTec, thanks to Prof. Ojala.
It seems that we are expecting a substantial delegation from Oulu to participate and assist with the AirJaldi summit in October – Welcome !
Today was the hottest day, this year. We chose this day to install two antennas: The first was at a very remote, yet very holly Hindu temple! Anyone who spent some time in India knows how unusual things can become in this vast and colorful country. Today was no exception; in recent years this Hindu temple, strategically located above Dharamsala, had become the home for Mr. Shankar, a Hindu priest from Japan. The locals refer to him as “Japani Baba Ji”. I decided to call him “Digital Baba Ji”. Shankar, came from Japan armed with wireless laptops, which he plans to use for educating the local villagers about Internet and its uses. Three days ago Shankar appeared at our office (TibTec) with an entourage of locals from the small village near that temple. They where very direct, asking for Internet connection at the temple. We felt this is too special and unique to let it go. The locals seemed to have much faith in their “Japani Baba” and he seemed to be a very motivated, positive person. Shankar said that when he goes back to Japan, his friend - an Australian Baba, will come to replace him so that the technology education will continue. We plan to ask some local politicians to visit them at the temple, and to monitor the progress there. No doubt that our Mesh subscribers are becoming more diversified.
The 2nd site where we installed a new router today, was on the roof of Phuntsok’s house. This was the first out-of-the-lab installation of our new dual-radio router. With two antennas, one directional beaming McLoad and one omni to cover the nearby nunneries and aid institutes – future subscribers.
Air Jaldi Summit
Dharamsala’s Tibetan Technology Center Partners With International Experts to Present the ‘Air Jaldi Summit’ And Extended Training Workshops.
Dharamsala – April 28th, 2006 – Today the Tibetan Technology Center (TibTec), a world leader in wireless mesh network development, announced that it will host the Air Jaldi Summit on wireless technologies in Dharamsala, India in October 2006. TibTec has partnered with the Djursland International Institute of Rural Wireless Broadband (DIIRWB), the European leader in community-based WiFi development, and will join the World Summits on Free Information Infrastructure (WSFII) to deliver a conference and extended wireless training workshops in October. The conference proper will be held from October 22nd through 25th in Dharamsala, India. The training workshops will span a two-week period directly after the conference. Further details on the workshops will be supplied in a separate press release.
“We’re delighted to host such a significant event”, said Phuntsok Dorjee, Chief Information Officer with the Tibetan Technology Center. “Over the past year we’ve put in a tremendous amount of work to make the Dharamsala community mesh network a reality. Technologists in the international community are beginning to take notice of the original work that we’ve done here, and they want to come and learn from us. We couldn’t have done this without the confidence and support that we’ve received from TCV, and we’re very grateful for that. The Air Jaldi Summit will be of tremendous benefit to the Tibetan community, especially our young technical experts. This is a very exciting and empowering time for us”.
We were very happy to have Mr. Vickram Crishna from Mumbai at our Tibetan Technology Center. It was wonderful having him at our Center. Vickram is a great supporter of our Dharamsala Mesh Project. The team of TibTec took him for a tour of our antenna sites at LHA, Indru Nag and Norbulingka Institute.
>>The team at Indrunag site, From left: Dhonam, Vickram, Phuntsok, Aurelien.<<
Vickram also visited TCV campus and with the Executive Director and Principal of TCV School and later on the day visited Norbulingka Institute . We enjoyed his company and want to thank him for making this trip. We look forward to future cooperation with Vickram ji.
The Tibetan Technology Center can now offer some very interesting IT courses throughout spring 2006.
For further information about the offered courses, please see Prof. Koch's forum: http://www.tibtec.org/drup/?q=node/49
*** NEW *** The text is now available online (without the nice photos).
An interesting article about our project was published in UK's leading Dot.Net magazine: http://www.netmag.co.uk/features/default.asp?pagetypeid=2&articleid=43318
Thanks to Oxblood Ruffin - www.hacktivismo.com for the story and ongoing support.
A nice review/comment about that article is already available online at:
"How inspiration from Little Lhasa can sort out your network" http://blog.networkproportal.com/?p=16
Tibetan Technology Center’s antenna installation team, this morning installed two solar-panels for the Cholla repeater.
The expedition led by Phuntsok Dorjee, returned safely, after a successful installation.
They brought back many photos, taken by David Bolshoy.
The photos indicate the team did a very good job.
Other then two broken slate roof-tiles, there where no damages.
Dhondup Namgyal, Technology Center’s Installations manager, on the fragile slate roof.
© Photo – David Bolshoy.
Yesterday, we replaced one of the antennas on the main Upper-TCV
mast. The new high-gain flat-panel antenna (18dBi) is now giving excellent signal to TCV-Gopalpur and Norbulinkga.
The new dual-antenna mast at Upper-TCV.
Antenna enemy – Gray Languor monkey - 100Kg.
While we where working on the roof, I got a sudden attack of pain in my toe. I hardly made it home, yet the pain was just getting worse. I used Skype to call Dr. Barry La. who leaves below TCV and gets Internet connectivity via the Mesh. Dr. Barry, immediately diagnosed the problem as a
Gout attack. Thanks to the high-speed Internet, the Dr. was able to find what locally available drug would best help me and to confirm that this medication will not interfere with other medicine which I’m taking. 10 minutes later, I got the medicine to my home. The pain was unbearable until about 4am, when I finally fall asleep. In the morning, the antenna team appeared at my door. I was not well enough for the climb to Cholla tower, but we decided that I can drive the bike as far as IndruNag tower, and they will continue alone from there. We drove 3 motorbikes up the semi-motor-able road to IndruNag. Lead by the expedition leader Phuntsok La, the team continued toward Cholla while I stayed behind to replace the solar-panel of IndruNag. The new 35w panel, should support a Mesh router and an Access-Point for 24 hours.
After a long day of hard work, we got TCV Gopalpur school on the wireless Mesh today.
TCV Gopalpur is a very remote locaiton.
Until today the only connection was using a phone line and a 14.4kbps modem.
There are about 60 computers on campus which are connected to the Internet as of today.
(C) Photo - Yahel Ben-David.
Today, another major Wireless-Mesh site above Dharamsala got disconnected from the electrical-power-grid.
It is now running on Solar power:
(C)Photo: Yahel Ben-David.
Equipment at this site is expected to work 24 hours a day, in all weather, using a small solar-panel and battery. Due to very unstable power at these remote mountains – 5 power supplies where burnt at that site in the past. Let’s hope that the solar energy will put an end to these high expanses for “charcoal”.
After descending from the mountain, I took Fred Pook to visit Norbulingka institute.
Today was a Tibetan holiday, so the little (yet very fancy) Cyber-Cafe at Norbulingka was full.
Both Fred and I, where amazed to see that 3 video (and voice) conferences where on simultaneously.
Fred - since he understand the technical strain in terms of latency and bandwidth which such applications put on the Wireless-Mesh network.
I was amazed to find out that these conferences where from Dharamsala to Lhasa in Tibet !
What a great rewarding feeling, to end a hard day.
(C)Photo: Yahel Ben-David.
Read more about it at: www.ditg.net .
The latest addition to the Mesh is the Lower-TCV School.
Some children are happy about it:
Read more about it at DITG.NET
Maybe the most important aim of the Tibetan Technology Center is IT education for the future generations.
As much as we are crashing under the workload presented by the Wireless Mesh project, we aim to initiate a major parallel project by the center.
The aim is to design and write a training program for IT teachers to be introduced and executed in all TCV schools.
We are looking for volunteers to lead and assist in this project, both at the planning phase, and later the actual training in the schools.
We feel that as part of the teacher's training program, "live" classes with students at all ages should be performed.
Feedback and study of these classes should be integrated into the written program and fine tuned along the way.
Please post you comments, suggestions and ideas.
I am very impressed with everything Yahel and the team on the ground has managed to do with very limited resources. I am also very happy to see that TCV (Phuntsok la) has established Tibetan Technology Center and provided valuable local support for Yahel.
Yesterday Cisco announced a new line of products:
The dual-radio Aironet 1500 will support Wireless-Mesh topology.
At $4000 per unit, it will take a long time to reach Dharamsala or any other rural area on the planet.
Nevertheless, it shows that Mesh topology is the way to go and that it is here to stay.
Secret reports from the Himalayan R&D facility in the small village BhagsuNag, confirms that there is already a new Mesh unit utilizing triple radios! Anonymous sources claim that the new unit will support a locally made "USB Antennas".
These new devices are high-gain panel antennas incorporating a WiFi radio which is built in the antenna enclosure.
The new antennas will connect to the new Mesh router, using USB cables, hence eliminating the need for a costly and high-loss coaxial cables.
The estimated cost for the new triple-radio Mesh routers is only $400 which includes 3 high gain antennas!