Yesterday afternoon Paul Hogan called KMi using the ERA Portable WLAN Toolkit. Paul’s visiting Masaya volcano in Nicaragua, where he has been carrying out a number of field tests for his iPhone applications and backhaul trials for the JANET funded Portable WLAN project.
Paul connected up with us using a BGAN (Broadband Global Area Network) terminal, and sent us some live photographs and streaming video while talking to us using his VoIP (Voice over Internet Protocol) phone. All of the kit is battery powered and fits in a small rucksack, which we can use anywhere to create a temporary network to connect to and broadcast on the Internet.
The toolkit comprises of one or more WiFi routers which provide a local network for Paul’s Web server, VoIP server and wireless IP video camera to connect to, from his network Paul can broadcast:
- Live photos: Using a WiFi camera Paul takes photos and sends them to his local web server which we can access over the BGAN satellite link.
- Live voice: Using a VoIP client on his iPhone or Netbook, Paul dials into his local VoIP server which links up with a similar server on the OU network, so that anyone at the OU can talk to Paul using a standard VoIP client.
- Live video: The wireless IP video camera provides a live video stream of Paul’s activities which again we can access over the satellite link.
Developed through the ERA (Enabling Remote Activity) project, in collaboration with the Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences, the toolkit provides a portable telecommunications network that could be used in any mobile learning context. It delivers a robust high-speed local area network. Connecting the local network to a backhaul link, such as a BGAN terminal, can be used to offer Internet access to remote locations or serve live photos, video, VoIP or other data.
Using the toolkit anyone on the Internet could get live access to remote field sites like volcanoes.
- JANET funded Portable WLAN project blog (investigating backhaul connections)
- JISC funded Portable VoWLAN project blog (developing portable VoIP services)
- Enabling Remote Activity (ERA) project website
- OU’s Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences
- EarthWatch Volcano Expeditions