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Mon Oct 27 06:27:41 EDT 2008

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

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.
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