Dharamsala meeting on WiFi

Posted on May 7, 2006  /  147 Comments

AirJaldi Summit – Dharamsala, India

Above is a link to a meeting on license-free WiFi networks, centered on what has been built at Dharmasala, the venerable Dalai Lama’s headquarters (he was denied the opportunity to visit Sri Lanka for the 2550 Buddha Jayanti, despite all the Buddhist rhetoric of our current government: http://www.buddhistchannel.tv/index.php?id=1,2155,0,0,1,0.)
But that is another story.

What they can do in Dharmasala, we cannot do in Sri Lanka. Underlines the need for revision on the obsolete 1991 Act.


  1. Why is TRC can not make some of those key frequencies public. Like for instance the wireless equipment has a standard frequencies and those frequencies are open in other countries. These are world standards. The world is not going to change these frequencies for Sri Lanka. It is us who needs to listen and make necessary changes. There may be obstacles to do that because of poor decisions made long time back. However, ICTA should work with government to free up these frequencies for public use. This is a necessary national level ICT policy. With all these limitations and obstacles how can we expect a healthy ICT growth in Sri Lanka. I know that mesh networking is ideal for many rural communities in Sri Lanka. However, if implementors have to fight with TRC for frequency it is not going to happen the way it should. Like these there are some key issues that must be solved to promote a healthy ICT growth in the country. These things are not options that we have, but something that must be done. And ICTA and the GOSL must understand this and work on it. Without proper infrastructure to support ICT, we will not be in a position to take advantage of the global ICT market. You can not build a house without a proper foundation and we as a country does not have that foundation for ICT. These small pilot projects are good, but what good will it do the whole country if we can not replicate it everywhere ? A mesh network in MV is not going to bring economic prosperity to Sri Lanka. It is only if we learn from the experience we get implementing it and apply it througout sri lanka, would encourage ICT growth in the country. I wonder when those so called “intellegent” professors and other experienced people in ICTA would have “brains” to understand this and act on it. We can not expect politicians to have be domain experts in these things. They are clueless. That is why we have ICTA.

  2. Donald says

    “My observation is sealing of CBN Sat is a direct hit on the rural community than the rich Colombo community.”

    I too feel the same. Now they trying to brand it a trators TV station. Isn’t this to entertain the new comer LBN Sat the station only for Colombo??????

    CBN risked a lot to reach the rural masses. I think the public should stone the TRC.

  3. It would be interesting if the participants of this thread were to (a) read the consultants report on WiFi, available at the TRC site: http://www.trc.gov.lk/wifi.htm and (b) comment on the new 5 GHz consultation document at http://www.trc.gov.lk/pdf/cd_5ghz_outdoor_licence.pdf

    When government consults, we should use that opportunity. Ranting later may be more fun, but is definitely less useful.

  4. Read the following site


    Sri Lanka plans to test the limits of smart digital mesh boxes

    May 4 (LBO) – Sri Lanka plans to test the limits of smart digital mesh boxes to connect 30 rural homes onto the World Wide Web, officials said.

    Costing just under 30,000 dollars, this pilot project is initiated by the ICTA – the government’s key IT agency – is due to kick off in July, giving free internet access to children in the village of Mahavilachchiya, 50 kilometeres off Anuradhapura.

    Go to the site for more information

    Donald Gaminitillake

  5. Has this project phisically started. Has TRC reduced bandwith fees as mentioned in the press some time ago? Who will bear the cost of TRC fees? ICTA or those villagers? What concessions has TRC given for such an innovative project in a jungle? Why are Revantha and Nuwan silent? Is there any plan to replicate this technology in other parts of Sri Lanka/South Asia?

  6. “Costing just under 30,000 dollars, this pilot project is initiated by the ICTA – the government’s key IT agency – is due to kick off in July, giving free internet access to children in the village of Mahavilachchiya, 50 kilometeres off Anuradhapura.”

    Is this true? Will Internet access totally free for the students? Who gives the coverage for them? Who are the ISP? Somebody told there is no SLT coverage?

  7. Horizon donors have paid for the tower , internet connection to this tower is provided by LankaCom.

    At one time donors paid these bills and for sometime ICTA paid.Now I donot know who pays these bills. Horizon will have to answer this question

    Anyway If you have any extra computers please send them to Maha Vilachchiya.

    Donald Gaminitillake

  8. “Anyway If you have any extra computers please send them to Maha Vilachchiya.”

    Why more PCs to MV? Their website says they have 40 PCs at students’ homes…….

  9. I am coping a mail I received from Horizon

    Read the following article. Horizon Lanka Foundation http://www.horizonlanka.org
    has been able to secure a grant to provide Internet access to 30 students’
    houses using a technology called mesh. When the project was designed, the
    students’ used PCs which were bought under Digital Butterflies
    http://www.digitalbutterflies.org were sufficient but since the implementation of
    the project has taken more time than expected, most if the PCs are out of
    date or out of order.

    We would appreciate if you or your company can donate your used PC to
    Horizon Lanka Foundation so that we could donate the PCs to the students who
    are going to get Internet access soon. Usable hard drives, CD Drives, etc.
    too will be of immense help to repair the PCs at students houses.

    Contact Rohan rohan@horizonlanka.org if you have any PC to be donated to the
    students in Mahavilachchiya.

    Donald Gaminitillake

  10. Hi Concerned,

    I am not silent mate…just keeping a closer watch on the happenings…. as for what you have outlined, the USD 30,000 thingy I believe is basically about the UNDP-APDIP funded mesh project

    which was to start way back in 2004, please refer :


    Community Mesh Network for Mahavilachchiya, Sri LankaPage Tools

    Grant awarded in November 2004 to Information and Communication

    Technology Agency, Sri Lanka to develop a low-cost wireless

    broadband architecture for providing high-speed Internet access

    services in Mahavilachchiya.
    Project Title:
    Community Mesh Network for Mahavilachchiya, Sri Lanka
    Recipient Institution:
    Information and Communication Technology Agency of Sri Lanka
    Project Leader:
    Manju Haththotuwa, CEO/Managing Director

    Amount and Duration: US$ 27,656 / 18 months
    Commencement Date:
    December 2004

    See the media hype plays a major role in this country without even looking for the true facts surrounding the said project, the said grant was approved in 2004, but now it’s 6 months down 2006 and

    project is still in it’s infancy…

    I hear thanks to this blog there is some activity happening which is also primarily due to the donor agency querrying the status from the relevant parties.

    Hope what evere said and done the project could be completed in due course, with some degree of sustainability …


  11. According to the reportes pointed by Samarajiva, it has been recommended to TRC to make some of those widely used wireless frequencies public. I hope they would do it. That is very necessary to a healthy growth of these technologies. To reply Concerned, I am not silent, and will voice my opinion when necessary. Mesh project in MV has started but progress is very slow. The internet will be free for these selected homes but Horizon Lanka will have to find funding to pay the bill. Donors and ICTA so far has done it but don’t know what will happen in the future. Also, the internet connection is through a radio link so the bandwidth is limited. And when all those homes connect to the internet with mesh network, they will have other problems because all share this limited bandwidth. It will be interesting. At any rate, at least these people will be able to do email communication and web browsing to a certain extend. Voice or Video communication is not realistic at all. This is a pilot project to show that it can be done. But the publicity it gets paints a much rosier picture in the peoples mind. 30 houses get connected to the internet is true. However they will all have to share a 128Kbs radio link and funding to keep that link alive is not very well determined too. It depends. So in reality things are different from how it is shown in these articles. That is ofcourse given that they complete a working mesh network. That remains to be seen. If it happens its a start. Then we can replicate it in other places with better technologies and with better implementors. It should not take 1 1/2 years to create a mesh network to connect 30 computers. I hope that answers some of the questions Concerned had. Some of the computer those students have are very old and not suitable for wireless networking. So that may be the reason why they are asking for better computers. Computer technologies grow very fast and things get obsolete soon. Yes, many students may have computers but many of them may be obsolete too for these new technologies.

  12. Thirty houses or 300, it’s still a project. When the free money dries up, the project dies. The key to sustainability is making the policy and regulatory changes that will make it possible for companies to provide services and make money (not fulfil CSR obligations) in these areas. This is the point we have sought to make.

    The world is littered with telecenter projects funded by people of goodwill, which then died because the telecom environment was not hospitable.

    It’s Mahavilachchiya today, it was Kotmale yesterday. There should be some learning, at least.

  13. For those with a burning interest in Mahavilachchiya, this piece that I found in my hard disk from 1999-2000 may be of interest:


  14. I agree with Samarajiva when its come sustainability. We can put up all these telecenters or computer education centers but if we don’t develope a plan to sustain them, those are not going to be successful. There will be funding to finish the project( to build the telecenter ) then comes the problem of sustaining the operations and maintenance. Most people dont think about that well. We try to always depend on foriegn funding instead of developing some ways to sustain these projects. I am experimenting some self sustainability initiatives in our Lak Daruwo project. There are many things that can be done to use these facilities to make people produce marketable goods and services. Just giving these facilities free is not going to work in the long run. We need to have proper plans in place to guide these people and make them produce things with these technologies or using it so that they can sustain themselves and keep these operations sustainable too. The bottom line is that the purpose of these projects should be to build these rural communities to help them to build themselves and ultimately help build the economy of the country. That should always be the primary long term goal of all these programs. There is no point doing these things to make u feel good or to make someone looks good in the news paper.

  15. Prof.Samarjeewa,

    Agree with your comments, most of this type of projects die a slow natural death when the funding is dried off.. it is mostly due to the non sustainabilitity of the project and the methods used in implmenting, without actually giveing an ear to the actual ground situation…

    I am @ CommunicAsia 2006 in Singapore and will contribute more when I am back… WiMax is flying overe here with lots an lots of Chineese / Taiwan companies getting into the rat race .. which I will believe would drop the WiMax subscriber units prices drastically….


  16. Sri Lanka have some funny attitude problems.

    These are related to dignity of labour, responsibility towards the society and assuming that they get things free.

    a practical example:

    100% of the Students who enters the university attend private tuition classes.
    How much do they pay for two or three years to attended these extra tuition classes?

    Incl lodging, transport, Cloths, food and tuition fees =???
    Has anyone done any research work?
    In the case of A Dr Nimal paid close to Rs 45,000 plus her parents too paid some bills.
    Keeping the above data in mind
    Total would be around 60,000 to 100,000 for attending these private tuition classes.

    Once they get into the university what do they do? Rag, Strike and act like a bunch of stallions running around putting up posters and banners!!!

    If you ask them to contribute the same fees that they paid for the private tuition classes do they pay?
    Even students who have the money apply for “mahapola” aid . Actually there are students who will need extra money to buy clothing, books, pay for the boarding houses etc who will need more than the Mahapola grant. We do not have any system to manage these needs of the students.

    The fees have to be proportionate to the income level of all students. The difference could be paid through the Mahapola grant or Bank loan scheme. Once they are employed they will have to pay back all the costs incl Mahapola grant. These returns could be reused for the future students.

    Once the students learn the reality of money the sustainability will not be a problem.

    The people should feel there is nothing free in this world. Energy cannot be created nor destroyed. It only changes the form.

    Donald Gaminitillake

  17. Regarding the request for used PCs from Horizon… Why cant Intel give PCs from this program for Horizon? They have shown more than enough with used PCs. They deserve brand new PCs.


    Outback PC 4 Comment/s
    19 June 2006 17:48:05
    Intel to soon pilot ‘rugged’ PC for rural Sri Lanka

    June 19 (LBO) – Intel Corp together with Sri Lanka’s ICT Agency will soon pilot a rugged alternative to the conventional PC for rural areas, running on a car battery if electricity goes out.

    The dust resistant, low power demand Intel model called a ‘Community PC’, developed and just rolled out in India, could find its way to Sri Lanka this year.

    “The Community PC is designed to meet the needs of rural communities without reliable power, no reliable internet connections, where there is a rugged environment. It is developed to work in these conditions,” Shane D Wall, Vice President, Channel Platforms Group, Intel Corp., said in Colombo on Monday.

    “The PC can be recharged easily on a car or bicycle battery. This platform was developed in India and I expect will certainly be of great benefit to Sri Lanka in the near future.”

    The model is designed to handle power fluctuations, with an in-built Uninterrupted Power Supply (UPS) and can charge on three hours of electricity for eight hours of running.

    It can also run on a car battery for ten hours and has dust covers for non air-conditioned environments, common in rural areas of the island.

    If a customer is buying the PC on an easy payment scheme, the PC functions on a key system, where each time an instalment is paid, the user gets an access number.

    If the next instalment is not paid when it is due, the machine automatically locks itself, until the next payment is made and the user gets another access number – in built protection against default and a godsend for lending banks.

    “We don’t have a launch date for Sri Lanka as yet, we have just launched in India in the past few months. We are looking at a pilot in Sri Lanka this year and are currently looking for pilot sites,” Sridhar Ramaswamy, Director for Sales and Marketing for South Asia, said.

  18. Well said Donald. I agree completely. And I am 100% oppose to the tution scheme that is in Sri Lanka. Eventhough the education is free in Sri Lanka, the tution system has turned the free education obsolete. Children should go to school come home and do there studies. Instead they spend the whole day in tuition classes and some of them even go to 2-3 classes for one subject. That is totally pathetic.

    Also, I completely agree that Sri Lankans have some very extreamly negetive attitudes regarding equality, work, and society. Until these attitudes are change Sri Lanka is never going to be developed. Our people need a complete attutide shift. I work on this a lot in our Lak Daruwo project. Even with all the education you provide, if we dont guide children to build correct attitudes, they will never achieve what they are suppose to achieve. The reason I focus on children is that their attitides can be changed with right guidance. But it can not be done for adults. The biggest hurdle with children is coming from their parents who constantly try to poison the minds of their children with bad attitudes.

    Among everything, expecting everything free, instead of relying on your own is one of the biggest weakness we have in Sri Lanka. Until we carry this attitude, we will be begging all around the world.

    Although this discussion is not relevent to MV project, this is a very important observation and something that must be mentioned. All those project will have no proper outcome to the country, if our people do not learn to lead their lives with correct attitudes.

  19. Why should we wait until intel or IBM gives a set of computers

    There are companies in Sri Lanka who wants to upgrade their systems why can’t they pool all these computers to be given to projects. Also I have seen there are some copmpanies who have already changed the system but due to silly accounting rules they rent a store and keep the used computers.

    What a beautiful country Sri Lanka rules and regulations are observed 100% on the wrong avenues.

    Donald Gaminitillake

  20. Donald talks about standards in a language. We are a nation without standards. Our telecom companies boast of being the fastest but, to open a webpage we waste hours. Wht standards???? In every Lanka Indian Oil gas station you see men’s and women’s wash room symbols but there are no loos for even the staff let alone the visitors. But we have regulating bodies who don’t see these bitter realities. We, as a nation are substandard. How can we expect good standards with SLS?????

  21. What you have given are service facilities. I know that the A/C bus charges the money for A/C services from the public but the BUS runs without an A/C. We have authorities to check all these incl the loos in the gas stations. With a little bit of rupees everything change.

    We have to amend the old Roman Dutch laws in Sri Lanka.

    According to copyright law it is illegal to sell copied DVD’s and CD’s. But the Law will not be implemented due to another flaw in the implementing area of the same law.

    That is if I copy and sell some song of a singer named Donald. Donald’s representative or Donald should be in Sri Lanka to make a complain. Donald will have to say that one Gaminitillake is selling the copied DVDs. Then what about Sunil selling the same item in a different area. Then Donald will have to go to that area will have to make a complain against Sunil. This is not a practical way to implement a law. Again nobody talk — all are deaf, dumb and Blind on this subject. VKS and his lawyer golaya talk big about the TRIPS LAW of Intellectual Property ACT. Basic fact is there are enough copied software for sale in Sri Lanka.

    That is why I have mentioned several times that our media is weak, the public is weak.

    I will not give up on Sinhala Standard until I leave this planet

    Even now it has been badly affected. Take any religious book. Compare the text — what was printed in 50’s-60’s with that of today. Technically we have moved forward but the Text contents have moved backwards. Our own people destroy the rich Sinhala culture. Not LTTE destroy the Sinhala but by the so-called the “Sinhala Buddhist educated elite” destroy the language.

    After proving beyond reasonable doubt the group has gone underground and dead scared to come in public TV to face the truth.

    Donald Gaminitillake

  22. What happened to this mesh project?? Can we see any results yet?

  23. Hi Interested,

    I think Revantha is sleeping.

    ETPL might have figured out it is lot more easier and economical to provide sleeping tablets for Revantha, rather than installing the Mesh network.

    So Revantha in deep sleep while the kids in MV still cry for Internet.

  24. Hi Cisco2900,

    I am not sleeping Bro….. I am on the virgil as to the happeings at MV as of this day nothing has happened it the project is still in deep slumber…. a stake holder from ETPL- RW was told that the project would go Live by 2007 August, So was keeping a closer watch on the happenings while beleveing the words of a professional Engineer from ETPL, who gave me the said deadline

    Could some body from ICTA update as to whats happeing at MV/Mesh project and where the bottleneck is… UNDP/APDIP it’s time you guys take closer look on this issue…. the original project manager assigned for mesh project at ICTA is no more, hence I anticipate the project would hit a deadlock and die a slow death, if no real interest is shown by ICTA on the progress…

    ICTA it’s your CALL NOW……


  25. Hi,
    I am also new to this forum, but having worked on many Rural WiFi projects in S E Asia and reading through the pots on this forum, I thought the article in CONVERGE – Network Digest was worth bring to the forum.

    Wireless Mesh Networking for Developing Countries

    by Nan Chen, VP of Marketing


    Wireless mesh networks have become a new economic stimulus for the developed economies of North America, Europe and East Asia. This is especially true at the municipal level, where city after city are announcing major Wi-Fi initiatives.
    However, the impact of Wi-Fi and mesh is even more significant in developing countries, where telecom services have been limited. The pending arrival of integrated multimedia communication devices, such as Wi-Fi-enabled.handsets and low-cost laptops, could dramatically open politically-stifled economies.

    As interest in wireless mesh networks has swelled, technically savvy investors are now realizing a new business opportunity exists—and it is not just limited to providing phones. By cost-effectively implementing a countrywide wireless mesh network, every person in that country is now given a new opportunity. In the near future, wireless mesh networks will go global on a massive scale. This will change the way people do business, providing the tools to create new business opportunities and the potential to uplift third-world economies.

    Wireless mesh network products are proving that large-scale and future-proof networks can be built to support large populations of people in vast regions cost-effectively, enabling VoIP and broadband Internet access. In Chittagong , Bangladesh , for example, a wireless mesh network will provide VoIP to every person in a given region and Internet access to those who need it.

    Case Study: Chittagong, Commercial Capital of Bangladesh
    Chittagong, a port city of 3.5 million people that is the commercial capital of Bangladesh, is the site of a new wireless mesh network that provides both phone and Internet service to residential and business customers. Initial deployments will serve an estimated 200,000 voice subscriber lines, but ultimately the network is expected to expand to involve all of Chittagong as well as cities and towns within the licensing area. The mesh network is the result of a partnership between Accatel, Inc., an international carrier based in New York, and Nextel Telecom (Bangladesh).

    Accatel saw that in a developing country such as Bangladesh, a reliable wireless mesh network provided a quick and cost-effective way to facilitate communications and bring more citizens into the world economy. The IP-based network lets the company provide voice, data, and video service to subscribers in areas that do not currently have phone service, without having to build a traditional communications infrastructure. In addition to being completely wireless, the installation will be completely off the electric grid. To ensure the network will operate under all conditions, the wireless nodes will run on batteries that provide 4-6 days of power before being recharged—and the batteries are backed up by solar panels.

    The Profile of a Mesh-Ready Nation
    While there are opportunities for mesh networks worldwide, not every country is a good candidate for a nation-wide wireless mesh network. While some nations may already be looking for ways to proactively stimulate growth and propel their economies, others may be too isolated to consider alternatives. Wireless mesh networks can provide the stimulus a developing nation needs, breaking its isolation and enabling it to enter the global marketplace.

    Nations that fit the profile must have a number of prerequisites in place before they can deploy a network. First, business-savvy people who understand of the country—its politics and the role politics plays in developing telecommunications solutions, its business climate and how a service provider would operate within that climate, its terrain, and more—must be involved in the process of bringing a wireless mesh network to the country. There must also be people who understand, or are capable of understanding, the international telecom industry, since building a mesh network will connect the nation to that industry. The next requirement is for an integrator or service provider, local or international, capable of providing service to the country.

    No deployment will be truly successful without a plan or business model that takes the country’s existing economic situation into consideration and tailors the deployment accordingly. Especially in a depressed economy, it will be very important to establish the relationships needed to create economical programs for education and business to sustain the network’s growth. With all of these prerequisites in place, a service provider can develop a plan for implementing a wireless mesh network.

    Why a Mesh Network Is Right for Developing Nations
    Wireless mesh networks are an attractive solution for developing nations because they will work over any type of terrain, no matter how mountainous, and reach any region, no matter how isolated, far more economically than other approaches. All the country needs is one link—a landline link, a satellite link, or a long-range wireless link—to connect everyone on the mesh network to the outside world.

    The benefits of the mesh network are myriad. Deployment can take place in a matter of months—far less time than required to deploy cellular or any other service—and the network is very cost effective. For example, a network with nodes powerful enough to have a transmission range of 16-24 kilometers provides maximum service reach and costs less to deploy because it requires fewer node-to-node hops to reach isolated areas, for example beyond a mountain range or across a wide river. In addition, a wireless mesh network provides excellent service. Throughput can be as high as 108 Mbps near a node, and it can average from 24-54 Mbps, down to perhaps 16 Mbps at the edge. One node can thus serve many individual subscribers, each with a 1 Mbps broadband service or even a 3 Mbps service—much better than the best cellular service, which costs far more. For the price of 20 cell phones, for example, a mesh network approximately can serve upwards of 768 voice subscribers.

    A mesh network with a multi-radio architecture that employs three or more radios is particularly appropriate for developing nations, since the country can carve up bandwidth to offer multiple separate services such as public Internet access, voice, business communications, public service, and education, with throughput optimized for the needs of each service. Such an architecture can also support voice, video, and data communications upon deployment; the developing nation does not need to wait to deploy new services or create overlay networks to offer all forms of communications immediately. Perhaps the most important benefit of a multi-radio wireless mesh network is its ability to scale easily as the user population grows. Subscriber density can increase and new technologies can be added to the network without forklift upgrades of the solution or of the devices in it. A scalable mesh network that supports multiple services can

    Changing Lives for the Better
    Deploying a mesh network in a developing country can literally change lives. These countries frequently have limited residential and business phone services, and the cost of service may be well beyond the pocketbook of the average person. In addition, businesses may have little or no access to data communications. Expecting the existing landline service to step into the breach is unrealistic. These services are often limited and expensive, and customers may wait months or even years before their service is installed. As a result, consumers may never have access to even basic voice service. Nor is cellular service a viable option because it is typically too expensive for those with low incomes.

    In contrast, a wireless mesh network allows subscribers with a PC, PDA, or cell phone with Wi-Fi capability to sign up for and receive an economical service very quickly. A VoIP application such as Skype running over a wireless mesh network can for the first time provide an affordable voice service to someone making as little as $2,000 a year; international Skype-to-Skype calls are free and VoIP service prices are dropping.

    While the ability to establish international communications on a countrywide scale can have a positive effect on the country’s economy, it can also have an effect on the global economy, as other businesses in other countries begin to benefit from the relationships they establish with local businesses.

    New Opportunities Enabled by New Services
    A high-quality communications infrastructure that enables far better and far more available communications service will have a profound impact on businesses as on a country’s international relations. For the first time, the country will be attractive to international companies looking to establish outsourcing facilities because the wireless mesh network enables the facilities to connect to customers around the world easily and cost effectively. Communications will also stimulate the growth of R&D and manufacturing capabilities by making it possible for local companies to sell their products far beyond their country’s borders.

    Communications will have an even more profound effect over the long term; used in an educational setting, a combined voice, video, and data communications capability will enable the emergence of a new generation of technology leaders who will have a direct impact on the country’s new economy. Learning how to use the new communications capabilities will enable users to take advantage of new opportunities in the short term, while making technology part of the learning process in schools and universities has a long-term effect.

    Making the Mesh Network Happen
    Despite the best planning efforts, and despite all the economic benefits mesh networking brings, actually implementing the network may require more resources than are available in-country. Programs to set up, maintain, and reimburse the costs of building the mesh network are key to making it happen. Developing nations can receive assistance from a number of U.S. and international agencies and organizations that provide expertise and funding, such as the U.S. Agency for International Development, an independent government agency that conducts foreign assistance and humanitarian aid to advance the political and economic interests of the United States. Private business groups that encourage an interest in international commerce can also be sources of assistance. Most importantly, the country needs service provider partners, which may be local or international, that can work with local authorities and carriers to make the network happen.

    The challenges of deploying a countrywide wireless mesh network are many, but the rewards are great. These networks are not just a convenience or a new source of revenue for a municipality, they can be an engine for growth that integrates a formerly isolated country into the global community.

    About the Author

    Nan Chen is VP of Product Management and Marketing at Strix Systems. He is also President of the Metro Ethernet Forum, a worldwide standards organization for Metro Ethernet. Before Strix, Mr. Chen was Vice President of Marketing at Atrica, the Director of Product Management/Marketing at Force10 Networks, Director of Technology at Nortel/Bay/SynOptics, and founding board member of 10 Gigabit Ethernet Alliance. Mr. Chen has received 10 significant industry accolades/awards. He holds two MS and one BS degrees. Mr. Chen is also known as a record holder in pole vault at Beijing University.

    About Strix Systems

    Strix Systems was founded in 2000 by an industry-leading management and engineers. Strix Systems entered the wireless network industry committed to design and manufacture the industry’s most technically capable, resilient and future-proof carrier and enterprise class architectures supporting 100% reach-ability and 100% mobility.

    Strix Access/One family of products, protected by 10 U.S. and international patents, delivers the highest performance wireless mesh network products on the market. Having garnered industry-respected installations and accolades, Strix Outdoor Wireless System (OWS) provides the industry’s only in-field modular and future-proof architecture supporting multi-radio, multi-channel, and multi-RF mesh networking technologies. Strix OWS provides significant advantage when presented with the challenges of the outdoor environment including obstructions, interference, distance and climate and has been implemented over a broad number of applications both outdoor, indoor, for metro, public safety, government, energy, transportation, hospitality, education, enterprise, residential and carrier access markets and providing total coverage for countries, cities, large rural areas, hot-zones, and enterprise environments.

  26. Finally it seems that the mesh network is working in Mahavillachchiya. That is good news. It took a significant time to implement it. However, it is a good milestone and and pilot for Sri Lanka. I hope ICTA will have many lesson learned from this implementation and that it will not stop in Mahavillachchiya. One main vision of ICTA should be to formulate strategies to provide internet access to the whole country. MV mesh project is a start. I bet there are many lessons to learn from that implementation. MV is not the only rural village that needs internet access. I hope with the new CEO of ICTA who will be appointed soon will take correct initiatives away from those OLD school of thoughts and finally get something done to the country.

  27. After much deliberation, it has startedd to work it seems! Hats off to those kids!!!! Hope Donald will allow this thread to be WiFi related. Usually he even barges into tsunami related issues too to promote his Sinhala language solutions.

    Can we use mesh in other parts of Sri Lanka? Will ICTA replicate this in other parts of Sri Lanka? We heard that Mahawilachchiya has PCs in most of the households. Do we have this in other parts of Sri Lanka? Mahavilachchiya seems to have a fuly pledged IT culture. Visit http://www.mahavilachchiya.net/ their slogan is IT Happens in Mahavilachchiya!!!!!

  28. Prof Samarajiwa,

    Some of the comments we make do not appear in this blog. Does this mean a moderator selects only the suitable comments here?

  29. Unfortunately the automatic spam filter sometimes produces false positives and thus legitimate comments are sometimes incorrectly labeled as spam.

    I just checked the log and saw a few comments that were incorrectly labelled as spam. Have reinstated them. Going throug the spam log is not something that we do frequently so we appreciate feedback when a user’s posts dont get published, at which point we will go in and rectify the problem if it has been accidently flagged as spam.

  30. Few students from Mahavilachchiya communicated with me and they say that the speed of mesh is encouraging.

  31. DOn’t we have any more news (official stuff) from this pilot in Mahawilachchiya. we need to see the success.

  32. Yes, please. Can somebody update me about the status of the mesh networking project at Mahavilachiya?

    It was a great mistake of my father (Dino) to let this project continue. He badly wanted to ruin it at the inception. Perhaps his brain is not properly working these days due to old age. Probably that was why he could not stop this project earlier. Still I don’t think it is too late. If I know its status I can tell him immediately to stop it by bringing some technical or licensing issue.

    How can we get the godaya kids of Mahavilachiya use computers and beat us the Royalists? If every Sirisena’s, Kamalawathie’s and Karuppan’s sons and daughters start using computers and learning English how can we Colombo kids find a good job in the future? (For instance like the post of CEO of ICTA) If we let this happen, in another ten years a godaya kid from Mavavilachiya will become ICTA Chairman. My God. How can we let that happen? (There should be a rule that says the posts of Chairman and CEO ICTA are reserved for Royalists – still better the second or third generation Royalists.)

    That is why my long sighted father always blocked these godayas learning computers and English. That was his main objective of being the Chairman of CINTEC and Chairman of ICTA. That is why he chased off Dilantha and Manju from ICTA after such a fight. These two were trying to help the godaya kids and my father was very angry about them for that. How dare they do that?

    This Wanni guy has so far been very smart and the Mahavilachiya kids are not easy to be discouraged. However, let my father give another try and see.

    OK Sam (Son of VK Sam aka Dino)

  33. Mahavilachchiya mesh network is almost completed now. kids are accessing and enjoying with the internet using their mesh.

    Where is this Revantha now? what happend to him?

  34. May be Rehantha was the catalist of the project. Mesh became a reality due to Rev’s storng comments in this blog. Long live the blog. Long live Samarajiva.

  35. Jehan,

    On the contrary I think Revantha too was part of the gang who did not want to see this project see the light of the day, for reasons better known to them.

    Being employed in a competitor networking firm, Revantha was not ready to accept that ETPL could do a project like this which his own company could never do. It was professional jealousy, nothing else which made Revantha to bad mouth about this project.

    ICTA, ETPL and Mahavilachchiya kids have beaten all of them by successfully implementing the mesh network. Three cheers to them all!!!

  36. Revantha is not the catalyst of this project bro. as we know, he was the person who always criticized this project to ruin it from its inception (criticizing is his main job role; he has nothing do in his company other than criticizing what others do) . This type of people can talk a lot about the failures of the projects implemented by the competitors but they can’t even tell a single word about what they have done useful to our Sri Lankan Society.

    Second thing; It’s a big joke that a person who “fails to understand how an Low Gain Omini Directional Antenna mounted on a central site and a Directional Antenna mounted on subscriber could work in tandem” , tries to evaluate a wireless project which he has not involved with at all!!

    Anyway, it seems that his “MYTHICAL NON-EXISTING MESH PROJECT” (as revantha call) has become a reality at Mahavilachchiya now.

    Thx to the guys whoever actually involved with this project to get it done!! Hope this type of projects will be replicated in the other rural areas as well.

    Jehan, my dear Bro,

    There are some guys in our society who give only BIIIIG BIG TALKS. What they can do is just talking and writing bla, bla, blaaaa….(not the media ppl!!). They can’t do anything worthwhile to the society and contribute something useful to this wonderful world.

    Guys, any more updates about mahavilachchiya mesh??

  37. Not only mesh, even Dialog is going to cover Mahavilachchiya with a base station according to the news. Long live the blog as someone else said. Looks like Mahavilachchiya is going to be a Syllican valley soon with these infrastructure …. …. Hope Sam Sung doesnt get a heart attack by hearing this.

  38. Admin,

    Since this blog is more on mesh in Mahavilachchiya than Dharamsala, can you change the topic, like you did it with ICT Myths … to Standarsizing Sinhala

  39. This is great news. I can imaging how Willachchiya will now transform into a knowledge village thanks to the succes of this proejct.

    Eventhough I have not visited MV since I went there 3 years ago, I keep continous relationships with peopel concerned and as per credible sources the MESH is in action live now. I still remember 3 years ago the Horizon Prize giving took place under a tree but was organized in such manner which is simmilar in terms of presentation in Oscars. Everything was handled professionally by the ever hardworking team and all the kids.

    Imagine with these technologies in place they can take their innovative ideas, content to their success stories to other parts of the country and also in to the developing world. They can play many roles now in content development to other. Who knows MV will become a BPO destination at least for some internal work in future. And am confident there will be many professionals coming out from MV thanks to all the technological advancements and more than that connectivity to the internet.

    I hope the government and other relavant authorities will replicate such technology in other villages. However, in my opinion we need a strong village champion as well to make all this a success and also to face numerous obstacles/critisizm coming from various individuals to organizations.

    Also, am sure constructive critisizm is essential rathern than the opposit to take challenging projects forward and make them realities rather than faliures.

  40. Revatha is the superhero in mesh project. Without him, implementors would have simply forgotten the whole affair as they had done so for years. But when Reantha played an explosive innings on the blog, everyone got startled anc completed the project. Hats off to Revantha for a brave job. Ultimately, Revantha is “the man of the match” in the project.

  41. Thoppi welenda,

    You are correct!! Revantha is the supehero of the mesh. Great!!!

    He was the one who got the fund for this project. He was the one who designed this mesh. He was the one who fighted with the TRC and finally got approvals for the project. He was the one who imported equipment. He was the one who went to Mahavilachchiya and did all the implementations. He was the one who involved with this project from its inception to the end, faced lot of difficulties and finally completed it successfully.






  42. Hi everyone,

    I am here Live and Kicking, was absent on the blog for quite some time but was watching from the distance on progress of the Mesh Project at MV… well my soul agenda was to get the project up and going that all was not after crictsizeing others nor did I have any personal agenda as per the MV mesh project…. I saw a pitential in the project and pursues it thats all..

    hope to be in MV soon to see the project status, Thank you ETPL for going that extra mile and makeing this a reality and thank you all the Bloggers for all the compliments and critizisem and personal remarks made……


  43. Revantha,

    When you do to Mahavilachchiya take Dino also with you.

    Two of you are the ones who said this could never be done.

    Now ETPL and Mahavilachchiya kids have proved you and Dino were wrong.

    Hope this would have been a good lesson for you and Dino…

  44. Folks in Mawilachchiya,

    Beware of Dinosorus! You guys are being mentioned repeatedly in ICT week’s proceedings and Dino is not at all happy about this. He will be marking time to devour you all.