Wi-Fi broadband for Melmoth

2012-10-01 00:00

WITH the first two “high sites” already installed, the small farming town of Melmoth is being transformed into a high-tech hot-spot.

Local entrepreneurs Rob Wood and Mike Maree this week launched their business, Nyoni (which means “bird” in Zulu), bringing high-speed broadband Internet by installing masts at two points in the town.

A Wi-Fi hot-spot is simply a public place where users can connect computers wirelessly to the Internet. Hot-spots found in airports, coffee bars and campuses use one or more wireless routers to create wireless access over a large area.

In effect, the router becomes an informal access point for the Internet, creating an invisible “cloud” of wireless connectivity all around it, known as a hot- spot.

Although Nyoni’s Internet will in effect bring long-distance wireless connectivity to Melmoth, as found internationally, it will not be free.

Wi-Fi access will be enabled through a log-in code. Each subscriber will also be able to get an Internet-based telephone number.

An essential part of the service is voice over internet protocol (VoIP), basically transmitting data (which includes sound) over the Internet. The system does not need cables because the wireless technology is fed by satellite.

The two men have a background in technology.

Wood studied megatronics at the University of Cape Town. Maree studied computer science and established wireless broadband networks, security and electronics businesses in the Western Cape.

They say that once the system has been installed at a home, business or school, the uses are almost infinite: besides high-speed Internet access, applications include security systems, CCTV, TV installations or creating “smart” homes. An alarm system could be linked to security companies which offer armed response, for instance.

Says Maree: “You can connect almost anything. You can connect your alarm system or camera, which will enable you to monitor your home via the Internet when you’re away.”

The men hope the service will be taken up by homes, businesses, schools, government offices and hospitals, among others. They believe the technology can open up rural schools to a whole new world that reaches into all areas of the globe.

They are also looking beyond Melmoth to rural areas that haven’t had access to the latest technology.

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