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Press Release from Deployment Meeting 5-6 February 2013

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 From seminarium after the deployment meeting. Partners, test consultants and invited guests from KTH and LTU. 

DTN Makes web accessible in mountain and dictatorship

A unique learning platform is currently being introduced that explains how networks step by step can be established in areas that lack the common internet infrastructure. The technology is called Delay Tolerant Networking (DTN), and was originally created by NASA.

– If the connection breaks in the "normal" internet this terminates the communication. Delay tolerant networking (DTN) is designed to handle interruptions, project manager Maria Udén explains. She is an Associate Professor in Gender and Technology at Luleå University of Technology.

The basic technique for DTN existed, and was originally developed for space communications. The mission for the LTU researchers and their associates has focused on solutions for reindeer husbandry in the Sub Arctic and similar challenging scenarios.

– This effort has presented many challenges. In our template area one can not, for example use masts to a great extent as it is set in a mountain area where the peaks divide the landscape and hinder line of sight. Setting up a single large mast does not help because people tend to stay in the valleys rather than live on mountain tops. Putting up masts is also an environmental issue, says Maria Udén.

Mobile devices as routers

The research team at LTU has worked with routing. Routing is about how data traffic is sent, delivered and received. As router a laptop or phone can be used. It is all about mobile devices that people or objects carry with them to move around the data traffic. A number of applications have also been developed. For example, software that allows SMS to be sent even if the person is outside the scope of telecom masts.

– Podcast is a simple thing that can be of great importance. When you are in hiking or working in the mountains, you need to know what the weather will be to plan your next day. The usual radio broadcast does not reach everywhere. Instead you can get weather forecasts delivered regularly through DTN, says Maria Udén. In the future, the technology solutions can also be applicable in other situations and continents. DTN can be used in developing countries or where freedom of speech is denied, and if the usual internet infrastructure collapses.

A how-to-do-it worldwide course

A learning platform has been created in order to put the research results in practical use. The material explains how DTN can be used and how people can build their own network. The course is free of charge and the investment cost for the network is low. Maria Udén cannot give an exact figure as each design will differ from the other, but compares the investment to what a number of laptops will cost to buy.

– The hardware is commercial off-the-shelf (COTS) ready-made and available for sale equipment that can be bought everywhere. Nothing custom made is required. This versatility is one of our main achievements as it creates a robust system, says Maria Udén.

Creating a sustainable, online course available to the whole world demands much. There are major differences in how teaching is done, and different cultures of learning. The team has had as goal to make the teaching platform gender neutral and to demonstrate diversity. The area is high tech, but it should be easy to grasp.

– We have both female and male voices in the video lectures and English with different accents. You should be able to identify yourself with the people you meet in our learning material, says Maria Udén.

 

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Maria Udén, Assistant Professor at Luleå University of Technology

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The project eLearning DTN that developed the learning platform was a transfer of innovation from www.n4c.eu a seventh framework project.

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The learning platform was financed by EU:s Leonardo da Vinci program a program within the Life Long Learning program.

(Source: www.ltu.se)

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