Over the last couple of years we have been working on developing a simple Digital Library for use in schools and community centres in areas where there is little or no Internet access.
The idea is to use a low cost WiFi router with on-board storage to provide a library of material that can be accessed by using a web browser on a pc, laptop, tablet or smart phone.
The initial inspiration for this work came from the World Possible RACHEL project. There are a number of similar projects including Internet-In-A-Box (IIAB) which can provide a wide range of content.
Our goal has been to develop a device that could be deployed for a cost in the region of $50 and used standalone in a classroom situation as a simple “appliance” without the need for local technical skills to configure networking or to maintain the device. A teacher should be able to receive a device, plug it in to power and it “just works”.
We have leveraged the previous VillageTelco work on WiFi devices to produce a design that works on readily available WiFi devices using USB and SD card memory devices to store up to 128G of content.
The devices currently supported are from GL-iNet who manufacture a range of OpenWrt based routers that have a good level of system resources and stable design.
Currently supported models include: AR150, AR300M, AR750, MT300N-V2. These are available directly from GL-iNet or through Amazon.
Some older devices such as TP Link MR3020 are also supported although they are constrained by limited memory to use Ver 1 firmware only.
The Digital Library firmware is available here:
Documentation is available here:
The User Manuals are available here:
The Wiki page is here:
There is a wide range of educational content freely available for download from the RACHEL project and other resources. For further information refer to:
The firmware provides facilities for uploading local content to add to the main library.
The Digital Library has been successfully deployed in a number of trial locations over the last few years and the feedback used to further develop the firmware.
I hope this work will prove useful.
Please share your experiences on the VillageTelco mailing list.