The BRCK: A tough modem promises internet access without power supply

Wednesday 12th, June 2013 / 12:34 Written by


brck-in-car-in-town-600x450Why do we rely on equipment made for the Berlin, Orlando and Tokyo when the conditions we have in Nairobi, Lagos or New Delhi are completely different? This question resulted in the BRCK, a modem designed for the needs in countries with vulnerable power supply and other obstacles to internet access.

Designed by Kenyan tech firm Ushahidi (Swahili “testimony”), the BRCK combines rugged design with a range of connectivity options, switching between wi-fi, 3G and fixed broadband.

Director Juliana Rotich hopes it will kickstart a hardware revolution on the continent. The new device, as introduced during the TEDGlobal conference in Edinburgh, is said to offer the following:

  • A router for 20 people
  • With 8+ hours of battery for when the power goes out
  • that fails over to 3G when the Internet goes out
  • That travels, so you become a mobile hotspot
  • With cloud-based backend that supports every country
  • On device with both a software and hardware API

Users can also plug in a SIM card to offer a network anywhere in reach of a mobile tower. According to Ushahidi, the software behind BRCK basically includes three things:

  • A simple setup interface with only 3 form fields. Router setup is scary and hard, so we’re trying to take the pain out of it.
  • A dashboard, so you can see if your BRCK is running on backup or primary power, how fast your current internet connection is, your provider, and how all of these have done over the last hour, day, week and month.
  • A marketplace for free apps and services, as well as the place for others to offer up their own creations to the rest of the BRCK users around the world.

The BRCK is said to go on sale in November at a price of $199.

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About the author

Marius Münstermann is based in Berlin where he works as a freelance journalist. Marius serves as editor-in-chief at

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