According to PhysOrg.com, Australian scientists have developed software to enable mobile phones to work in remote areas where there is no conventional coverage. The technology enables ordinary mobile phones to make and receive calls without the need for phone towers or satellites.
The Serval Project, run by professor Paul Gardner-Stephen of Flinders University in Adelaide, South Australia, aims to "provide fast, cheap, robust and effective telecommunications systems" for areas where there is currently no telephone infrastructure, or where the infrastructure has been destroyed by natural disasters or civil unrest.
The project includes two systems that can operate separately or be combined. One is specifically for disaster areas and consists of a temporary self-organizing and self-powered mobile phone network that operates via small phone towers dropped into the area by aircraft.
The second system consists of a permanent mesh-based phone network between Wi-Fi enabled mobile phones — with no tower infrastructure required. Eventually, the system will also include the "Batphone," which will be a specially designed phone able to operate on other unlicensed frequencies.
The systems use open-source software developed by the team and dubbed Distributed Numbering Architecture (DNA). The software allows mobile phones to make calls out and receive calls on their existing numbers. The mesh network technology was developed by Village Telco, a community-based telephone network, and is integrated with the software to create a mesh network in which each phone acts as an independent router.
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