BLOG: Silvia Boblea

eLearning Africa - Rural Zambian students get Internet Access in Solar Cyber Cafes


Africans have worked with us and our local partners to create their own innovative solutions for widening access to information technology in education and training for several years now. In the run-up to the continent’s most important event on ICT in education – eLearning Africa – we’re looking back on some educational success stories with our desktop virtualisation solutions in Africa.

ZubaBox is solar-powered cyber cafe designed by Computer Aid International to increase access to information in remote rural areas. Availability of electricity can be extremely low and even in cases where it is accessible, power supplies can be unreliable. The solution is challenging because of the high start up costs for solar and diesel generators.

ComputerAid International worked with three of Africa’s leading universities on assessing the best low powered computing equipment for the cyber cafes. They assessed traditional thin clients but found these were complex and required third party components that added to the overall cost. NComputing thin clients were chosen because they met ZubaBox’s exacting requirements. They were secure, easy to set up and a proven viable alternative to reduce hardware costs, power consumption and maintenance requirements. Each ZubaBox cybercafé is constructed from a 20ft shipping container and provides access to 11 users. Four solar panels are mounted on the roof and can provide up to 12 hours of electricity.

The NComputing access devices tap the unused capacity of a single Pentium PC that can be simultaneously shared by many users. Key to the success of ZubaBox is how it enables the cafe to provide as many computers using as little energy as possible. The NComputing solution has helped keep the power requirements to less than 350 watts per system.

To find out more about how NComputing is supporting ambitious African e-learning projects meet us at eLearning Africa or find more here on the Zambian ZubaBox

Add comment

Log in or register to post comments