Home > News > SolarNetOne, l’open source alla conquista del terzo mondo

Appena pubblicata su OSSblog, questa notizia:
arriva via IBM Developer Works e introduce un progetto i cui dettagli si trovano qui:

Mi permetto di sottoporlo perchè è proprio dedicato alla fornitura di servizio internet in aree sperdute e sprovviste di energia e servizi di base, può essere alternativa da approfondire per alcune realtà africane in cui i volontari in campo nei team di progetto ISF operano.

Qui di seguito un sommario dello scopo. Ciao a tutti! Aldo

The SolarNetOne ICT terminal network was conceived and designed to solve the challenging problem of how to provide Internet access and services to rural and developing areas where there is no existing power or communications infrastructure. This problem is solved by combining several powerful technologies: Photovoltaic solar electrical systems, GNU/Linux, 802.11a/b/g packet radio, commonly known as “wifi,” Power over Ethernet, and the MIT X11 windowing system. It has been described as an “ISP in a box,” for reasons detailed below.


The SolarNetOne system incorporates a powerful server in a small form factor that acts as the core of the communications system. It provides mid to long range wireless internet coverage up to a 2 mile radius through its integrated high power 802.11a/b/g wireless access point and high gain omni-directional antenna. This configuration can be used to provide full internet access, including Voice over IP telephone service, to the immediate coverage area, which can be extended to longer ranges through the use of wireless repeater devices. Also integrated into the server is the capability for full end-to-end internet communications by means of its HTTP (web), SMTP (email), DNS (domain name system), and SSH (secure shell) server software.

Additional internet services can easily be added to the network by use of the APT (advanced package tool) repositories of GNU/Linux software available worldwide. This is an integral part of the underlying Ubuntu operating system. APT automates the often difficult task of installing and updating software, making system administration tasks of installation and maintenance easy, particularly when critical updates effecting network security are concerned. The server itself can also be used as a network console for administration or day-to-day operator use through its integrated monitor, keyboard, and mouse.


Another key feature of the SolarNetOne system is its network attached terminals, which provide traditional desktop services one would normally associate with using a computer, with several powerful, attractive, and popular desktop environments to choose from. It comes pre-installed with web browsing, email, office, multimedia, software development and web development applications, as well as a choice of over 15000 other applications to suit most any computing need that are free for download through the APT system. The terminals themselves connect to the system’s Ethernet hub, which provides both network connection and electrical power to the terminals and their LCD monitors over a single CAT6 Ethernet wire. This eliminates wire clutter and the need for extra power wiring costs. They operate as “thin clients” with the majority of the workload being handled by the server’s higher capacity processors, enabling superior performance per over than a standalone PC architecture and significantly lower maintenance workload than a similar solution of several personal computers.

Also available is full sound support through integrated audio jacks, 104 key keyboard, laser scroll mouse and the ability to plug USB memory sticks into the terminals, allowing users to take their data with them round out the terminal’s ability to provide a complete and rich user experience. SolarNetOne comes standard with 5 terminals, and can expand to as many as 48 terminals per server node. As an option in areas where allowed by law, an ATA phone adapter provides Voice over IP telephone service through a standard telephone handset.


The entire SolarNetOne system is powered by 12VDC electrical current supplied through the system’s elegant solar power generation and storage subsystem. Using an array of photovoltaic solar panels, an advanced charge controller, ample battery storage, and a design focusing on safety, the power subsystem provides for all of the electrical needs associated with 24/7 server operation and 8 hours per day of terminal access. Integrated circuit breakers on every segment of the power sub-system provide the safest possible implementation. In addition to its excellent performance, the use of solar power means no fuel costs, no polluting emissions, and a long lifespan of up to 20 years of use at listed power ratings with proper maintenance.


The SolarNetOne system comes pre-installed with a wide variety of user applications. For the user, these include:

  • Mozilla Firefox suite for web browsing and email
  • Evolution for email and calendering
  • OpenOffice? for office applications
  • GIMP and InkScape? for bitmap and vector graphics, respectively
  • Xmms, Xine, and Mplayer for multimedia playback
  • X-chat and Gaim for chat/instant messaging
  • Xaos fractal explorer
  • Bluefish html editor
  • and, a wide variety of games, and a choice of Enlightenment 17, Gnome, and Fluxbox desktops environments.

Security and feature updates to these packages are available, as well as access to over 15000 other pre-compiled software packages in the Ubuntu repositories available via the integrated APT packaging system. Ubuntu comes GUI tools like the Synaptic Package Manager to add or remove applications, as well as the underlying apt-get, apt-cache, and apt-file command line tools, which Synaptic makes use of. The system also includes python, perl, and shell interpreters, as well as gcc and its family of compilers, libraries, debuggers and linkers for C and C++ development.


The SolarNetOne integrated communications system provides modern, efficient, powerful and easily maintainable internet services and access infrastructure specifically designed to overcome the challenges inherent in off-grid and remote location scenarios. By combining several cutting edge technologies, the SolarNetOne system stands head and shoulders above other methods of addressing the aforementioned problems of providing internet services and connectivity in some of the most challenging circumstances. Designed for safety, longevity, elegance, and ecological friendliness, the SolarNetOne system can effectively solve the problems facing anyone seeking to deploy internet communications to developing areas for many years to come.