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MPhil in Engineering for Sustainable Development

global challenges, engineering solutions

The Technical Feasibility Analysis of the Application of Wi-Fi in Rural China

Jun Xing

The Technical Feasibility Analysis of the Application of Wi-Fi in Rural China


In its 11th Five-Year Program (2006-2010), Chinese Ministry of Information Industry vowed to extend phone service to every village and enable every township to have access to Internet. Digital divide has deteriorated rural poverty in China. The most effective solution for digital divide is Internet. However, Internet deployment in rural area has a key problem called ‘last mile’. Wi-Fi is an off-the-shelf inexpensive wireless Internet solution for last mile. To compare with the other alternatives, Wireless offers rapid deployment with wider bandwidths and less plant.


This dissertation is a technical feasibility report on the application of Wi-Fi in rural China. The aim of this research is to provide an alternative technical model of rural Internet deployment to the policymakers and developers in China. This dissertation would analyse the technical advantages of Wi-Fi and its feasible models to the public.


The first step to research the feasibility of such a technique is to make clear the market demands of it. The author carried out a questionnaire survey to 30 rural residents living in Yellow Sheep River Town and Pinggu District of Beijing. Yellow Sheep River is typical remote undeveloped countryside in the Northwest of China. Adversely; Pinggu is suburban district of Beijing municipality. Both of them are poor but becoming booming due to Internet connection. However, the development of Yellow Sheep River met bottleneck due to the last mile problem. However, Pinggu overcame the same problem with Wi-Fi. From the technical perspective, Pinggu model is really suitable for the rural areas with fixed access. But Pinggu’s experience doesn’t fit Yellow Sheep River due to the difference of the existing infrastructures. After a case study on Ashwini in India, a new model is proposed suitable for remote rural villages.



Course Overview


The need to engage in better problem definition through careful dialogue with all stakeholder groups and a proper recognition of context.


An ability to work with specialists from other disciplines and professional groups acknowledging that technical innovation and business skills also must be understood, nurtured and combined as precursors to the successful implementation of sustainable solutions.


An understanding of mechanisms for managing change in organisations so future engineers are equipped to play a leadership role.


An awareness of a range of assessment frameworks, sustainability metrics and methodologies such as Life Cycle Analysis, Systems Dynamics, Multi-Criteria Decision making and Impact Assessment.