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HopScotch - a low-power renewable energy base station network for rural broadband access

McGuire, Colin and Brew, Malcolm Ronald and Darbari, Faisal and Bolton, Gregour and McMahon, Anthony and Crawford, David H and Weiss, Stephan and Stewart, Robert (2012) HopScotch - a low-power renewable energy base station network for rural broadband access. EURASIP Journal on Wireless Communications and Networking, 2012. ISSN 1687-1472

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Abstract

The provision of adequate broadband access to communities in sparsely populated rural areas has in the past been severely restricted. In this paper, we present a wireless broadband access test bed running in the Scottish Highlands and Islands which is based on a relay network of low-power base stations. Base stations are powered by a combination of renewable sources creating a low cost and scalable solution suitable for community ownership. The use of the 5~GHz bands allows the network to offer large data rates and the testing of ultra high frequency ``white space'' bands allow expansive coverage whilst reducing the number of base stations or required transmission power. We argue that the reliance on renewable power and the intelligent use of frequency bands makes this approach an economic green radio technology which can address the problem of rural broadband access.