What is Cicada, and what does it do?

“Cicada” is the IoT communications module with GSM & WiFi capabilities that allows energy access appliances like mini-grids and SHS to send and receive information. The open remote monitoring & controlling capabilities also provides valuable customer data to the local energy service providers. This communication module enables energy service providers to expand their services to rural communities which traditionally have been hard to reach.

How does Cicada compare to existing off-the-shelf communications modules?

Existing off-the-shelf solutions were not rugged enough to perform in low-connectivity environments. This prompted Okra to develop a solution and open source it, so that other companies on the same mission could use and tweak the technology to their own needs.


Cicada is also platform agnostic, and can be easily customized to other microcontrollers or OS.

What is the cost of setting up Cicada WiFi in a rural community?

For a full cost breakdown see the case study of implementing Cicada WiFi in Maybuho, Phillipines. 

Can the VSAT set-up costs for Cicada WiFi be covered by offering customers Internet-as-a-Service (IaaS)?

Installing the VSAT uplink only for IoT device communications is not guaranteed to be enough to justify the ongoing costs. That is why the IaaS business model is currently being tested by Okra Solar and ATE Co (local energy service provider) in Maybuho, Philippines, to offer general-purpose internet to the community, who will purchase vouchers for specific amounts of data.


Based on the data from the IaaS business model test run in Maybuho, the costs of providing internet service via VSAT can be recovered through additional revenue from internet sales, provided the community is sufficiently large, and monthly fees are in the ranges the local energy service provider is able to procure.


Overall, providing IaaS should be able to cover the set-up costs and also provide additional value to the rural community that did not priorly have access to internet connectivity.

Is there any way for me to check if the Cicada WiFi hardware is compatible with my devices?

Yes, you can access the design files on GitHub to see if the hardware specifications are compatible with your devices. If you want to physically test the hardware, then you can also purchase the Cicada WiFi IoT communications module from to use that as a prototype.