Intel has developed a way to transmit a standard Wi-Fi signal some 60 miles. Created for rural areas and the developing world, the technology, called rural connectivity platform, or RCP, works its magic primarily in software. An Intel manager said that while regular Wi-Fi access points are coded to time out if a signal isn’t received within a certain amount of time, RCP rewrites the rules so that the receiving access point doesn’t freak out because it’s waiting for the signal.
While the technology can go around 60 miles, Intel says, in most real world exercises, you should be looking at access points spread out around 30 miles from the main node. (The RCP routers merely transmit a regular network connection; there’s nothing special about the signal it’s receiving or sending along to the next node.) The price should also appeal to less affluent areas, with each RCP router having a target price of about $500, making a whole end-to-end system cost $1,000 and change (you’ll still need regular access points to distribute the signal inside the small town or whatever).
And why Wi-Fi (or WiMax) for developing areas? Same reason why cellphones are more popular—it’s much easier to install access points (cell towers) than it is to dig up the ground and install miles of cable.
Long-Distance Wi-Fi [Technology Review]