Thursday, May 10, 2012

IEEE 802.11™ Expanded to Support Faster, Higher-quality, Simpler Wireless LAN Communication in More Environments

IEEE, the world's largest professional association advancing technology for humanity, today announced the publication of IEEE 802.11™-2012, which defines the technology for the world’s premier wireless local area network (LAN) products.

The new IEEE 802.11-2012 revision has been expanded significantly by supporting devices and networks that are faster, more secure, while offering improved Quality of Service and, improved cellular network hand-off. IEEE 802.11 standards, often referred to as “Wi-Fi®,”already underpin wireless networking applications around the world, such as wireless access to the Internet from offices, homes, airports, hotels, restaurants, trains and aircraft around the world. The standard’s relevance continues to expand with the emergence of new applications, such as the smart grid, which augments the facility for electricity generation, distribution, delivery and consumption with a two-way, end-to-end network for communications and control.

“IEEE 802.11 is obviously a standard of tremendous impact for developers and users of Wi-Fi-enabled devices, service providers, the global smart-grid community, manufacturers, healthcare workers and retail service providers around the world,” said Phil Solis, research director with ABI Research. “In the 15years since the standard’s original publication, we’ve seen wireless networking evolve from a curiosity and nice-to-have capability to a must-have feature for doing business in a wide range of industries around the world. It’s a capability that today is expected to be embedded in almost any communications device, and it’s a service that’s expected to be available to employees and customers almost anywhere in the world.”

IEEE 802.11defines one MAC and several PHY specifications for wireless connectivity for fixed, portable and mobile stations. IEEE 802.11-2012 is the fourth revision of the standard to be released since its initial publication in 1997. In addition to incorporating various technical updates and enhancements, IEEE 802.11-2012 consolidates 10 amendments to the base standard that were approved since IEEE 802.11’s last full revision, in 2007. IEEE 802.11n™, for example, defined MAC and PHY modifications to enable much higher throughputs, with a maximum of 600Mb/s; other amendments that have been incorporated into IEEE 802.11-2012 addressed direct-link setup, “fast roam,”radio resource measurement, operation in the 3650-3700MHz band, vehicular environments, mesh networking, security, broadcast/multicast and unicast data delivery, interworking with external networks and network management.

“The new IEEE 802.11 release is the product of an evolutionary process that has played out over five years and drawn on the expertise and efforts of hundreds of participants worldwide. More than 300 voters from a sweeping cross-section of global industry contributed to the new standard, which has roughly doubled in size since its last published revision,” said Bruce Kraemer, chair of the IEEE 802.11 working group. “Every day, about two million products that contain IEEE 802.11-based technology for wireless communications are shipped around the world. Continuous enhancement of the standard has helped drive technical innovation and global market growth. And work on the next generation of IEEE 802.11 already has commenced with a variety of project goals including extensions that will increase the data rate by a factor of 10, improve audio/video delivery, increase range and decrease power consumption.”

(Press Release)

Friday, May 4, 2012

Mera Gao MicroGrid Power among the 10 emerging tech list of Technology Review

Electricity, which is a basic necessity in developed world is a luxury to millions of Indian living in rural areas. Energy Scenario in India is complex, on one hand close to 400 million mostly rural residents do not have access to power, on the other hand where power is available, almost 50% generated energy is lost duet to poor electrical infrastructure and power theft. At the same time, the economy is growing at 7-8% per year, and the demand for energy is skyrocketing for all practical purposes. Due to acute energy shortage, global climate issues, and scarce resources India cannot pursue traditional model for energy generation and distribution.

The country has to adopt new model such  as distributed generation or MicroGrid, where sustainable energy is generated and distributed in local area. Nowhere is so practical and sustainable than rural India, where energy demand is up-to basic needs like lighting bulbs, cooking, or charging cellphones. Such needs, which are at present met by expensive and/or polluting fuel like Kerosene and Woods, provide untapped market for clean tech companies, especially, when government is facilitating this opportunities through National Solar Mission.

One such company known as "Mera Gao MicroGrid Power (MGP)", which serves this "Bottom of Pyramid " market was recently selected for its unique MicroGrid technology as one of the 10 emerging technology of 2012 by the Technology Review.  Mera Gao Power provides seven hours of electricity to per household that powers two LED light bulb and a mobile charging station through its Solar MicroGrid for the cost of $0.50 per week. Founded by two US born entrepreneurs, Nikhil Jaisinghani and Brain Shaad, It primarily operates in Uttar Prades (UP), which is one of the poorer state in India where shortage of electricity is so acute. According to Technology Review, the falling cost of LED and Solar panels has made it possible to operate MicroGrid that provides services for which the poor can afford. The MeraGaoPower uses just four solar panel to supply electricity to 100 households at the total cost of $2500. The grid uses 24 volt DC throughout, which allows to use aluminum wiring instead of the expensive copper wire. To effectively minimize the loss of energy, the village is carefully mapped before installation for efficient arrangement of distribution lines.
MGP Micro-Grid model (source

According to Jaysinghani, the mapping and design is their biggest innovation. The company, which deployed the first commercial micro-grid in last summer, is now supplying power to eight more villages and has plan to scale upto 50 villages by end of this year. For which, it has received $300,000 grant from USAID, however,  according to guardian, the founders have vision to supply micro-grid based power to 100,000 household by 2016 requiring many more investment in the future. The Distributed Energy Generation (DER) is $2 billion potential market in India considering 114 million people spend $75 for such services per month, according to World Resource Institute (WRI),a Washington DC based think tank.

For Villagers, who don't have access to grid electricity, this means cheap quality power at home and relief from kerosene, which is pollutant and health hazard, for which, often they have to pay expensive price due to black marketing.  The mobile charging station provides another relief from traveling long distance for the sake of charging phone and paying expensive price. According to Guardian report,  for the villagers it is just more than light, it is an opportunity to do more after the dark. The report describe what villagers feels in their own words. 

"I wanted this light straight away, as it enables me to cook after dark," said Muni-devi, a grandmother from the village of Kaharanpura who makes samosas to sell at the local market. "With longer hours to work, I can earn more for my family each day."

Santram Pal, a father of four from the neighboring village of Chuck, was exuberant, too. "I'm very happy with the lights," he said. "Now my children can study at night and my house won't go so black inside from the smoke. Thieves won't come either."