You may use this brief for informational, non-commercial purposes with credit attribution: The Global Health Delivery Project,, Apr 04, 2010. Please see our Terms of Use for more information.

Wireless router set-up where electricity is scarce

Added on 04 Apr 2010
Last updated on 14 Jun 2011

Authors: Sophie Beauvais, Joaquin Blaya, PhD

In settings where electricity is unreliable at best, experience and knowledge with solar-powered or solar set-ups for wireless routers is critical to connect remote sites to the Internet. In this discussion, members share various solutions for navigating this challenge, explaining set-ups for sites in Malawi, Uganda, and Mozambique, and also recommend vendors.

Key Points:

Examples of set-up:

    • In Malawi, Baobab Health established connectivity for a rural hospital by welding an 18-meter steel tower and placing it atop a nearby hill, setting up a windmill as their power source, and installed a mikrotik router with one radio pointing towards a health center 30 km away and the other pointing towards the hospital.
    • In Uganda and Mozambique, AED-SATELLIFE developed and tested a solar powered battery-operated solution called African Access Point (AAP) in collaboration with Thalamic Systems. The device is run on open source software and can communicate through infrared, Bluetooth, or wifi modules. It can be plugged into a local area network with an Ethernet cable or it can be used via cellular network depending on strength of signal. AED-Satellife uses the AAP in combination with Personal Digital Assistants (PDAs) that health care workers can use in rural centers to complete their administrative forms. The data the workers input on their PDAs is uploaded to the AAP, which then can consolidate uploads from multiple users for dissemination to the district health office.  In July 2007, they published a final report on this experience: Developing and Testing the African Access Point (AAP) Final Report, July 2007 (English)


Key References:

Enrich the GHDonline Knowledge Base: Please consider replying to this discussion with the following information

  • Your organization’s solar-power set-up specifications and requirements
  • Recommendations of vendors you have worked with, with environment/country information.

Download: 04_05_10_Wireless_router_scarce_electricity.pdf (40.0 KB)