[GKD-DOTCOM] How Much Bandwidth is Necessary?

2003-11-03 Thread Global Knowledge Dev. Moderator
Dear GKD Members,

Last week GKD members provided a number of cases that described how
connectivity is being established and used in countries such as Nigeria,
Ghana, Mauritania, Uganda, Senegal, Zimbabwe, Sierra Leone, Tanzania,
Kenya, Panama, Nicaragua, Afghanistan, Iraq, Philippines, Pakistan,
Ethiopia, and aboriginal communities in Canada. A wide range of
challenges have been encountered and several creative solutions have
been proposed or are being tested.

A crucial -- yet often unaddressed -- part of the access issue involves
bandwidth, namely: How much bandwidth is necessary to deliver the kinds
of information that is most needed to rural/remote areas. Some
development experts have argued that broadband is essential to have a
real impact on development, especially because we need not only delivery
of information, but the capacity for interaction. Others contend that,
although broadband is preferable, cost considerations preclude the use
of broadband in low resource environments. In an era of limited
development resources, very low-cost, slow speed, limited through-put
communications are more sustainable and provide value to underserved
communities.

This week we put the issue to GKD members. Given the costs inherent in
supplying high-bandwidth solutions to areas lacking in basic
infrastructure, what do your experience and analysis suggest regarding
the questions below?

KEY QUESTIONS:

1. Are high-bandwidth connections necessary, or even important, to
making a real impact on development? Or are the costs and problems
inherent in establishing such connectivity too high -- and unsustainable
-- for underserved areas?

2. Are there cases that demonstrate the value of low-bandwidth (e.g.,
store-and-forward email, packet radio) solutions to provide critical
information access to under-served communities? How successful have they
been?

3. Can information distribution centers (e.g., public access
telecenters) offer a viable economic solution to a community's
information needs, by, in effect, sharing a single high-bandwidth
connection among many users, and thus spreading the cost?

4. Are there new protocols that make more efficient use of the bandwidth
that is available? For example, what role can the newer wireless
technologies (e.g. Wi-Fi, MESH networks) play in bringing sufficient
connectivity to underserved communities? Are the costs and maintenance
demands of these technologies sustainable?

We look forward to hearing about some cases that have addressed these
issues, and the insights learned regarding their success/failure.





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Re: [GKD-DOTCOM] Bringing Connectivity to Under-Served Communities

2003-11-03 Thread Ahmed Isah
Hello all, 
  
In my opinion, Cornelio Hopmann got it all wrong. The issue is not to do
with selling a useless product that has no demand. Rather, it has to do
with whether the target market is really aware of the benefits of the
product to them. This then boils down to illiteracy of the benefits of
the Internet to the user. Take my case as an example. We provide a 24 PC
Internet connectivity in an academic environment in Nigeria with about
10,000 students and 400 academic staff. Yet, the connectivity was not
maximally utilised. However, when we embarked on Internet awareness
training to the students, we now have to plan for more PCs as the
students continue to troop in.

Yours, 
  
Chafe 



Cornelio Hopmann [EMAIL PROTECTED] wrote:

 Jean-Marie starts off by saying at first that there is insufficient
 infrastructure, continuing then that there is limited income, not enough
 content and applications, no local expertise, no awareness. In any other
 field of market-economy the straight-forward conclusion would be that
 you try to sell a useless product and that therefore there is no demand
 and hence there are neither sales nor much product to sell.




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[GKD-DOTCOM] Connectivity Is Not The Right Word

2003-11-03 Thread Simon Woodside
I was paying attention when the internet was first developing in the
west, here in Canada in particular. I think that the history of the
internet is largely ignored by those who are developing connectivity for
the developing world. But ignored, at the risk of going off in the
completely wrong direction.

The internet is all about nodes. A node is a knot between strands, a
place where many lines come together. In a computer network, it's a
point of interconnection, where two data lines cross. What happens in
the node, is that the data intermingles and doubles. Data that enters a
node can exit in any direction, or in all directions at once.

Practically speaking, if you are in the West there are internet nodes
all around you. Especially in the early days of the internet,
universities had many nodes. My uncle ran the internet node at a
Canadian university for many years in the 80s. Today, the nodes at
universities remain, but there are many other nodes. Most ISPs have
nodes, where they connect to two types of lines, called peering lines
and transit lines. Peering lines connect to other equally important
nodes, while transit lines connect to larger nodes. There are
super-nodes in most of the biggest cities of the world. They are often
in the form of an Internet Exchange Point.

The power behind the internet is in interconnections. The names give it
away. The World Wide Web is called a web where each page is a node, with
lines of hyperlinks going to other pages, criss-crossing each other.
Look at a picture of the internet like these:
 http://research.lumeta.com/ches/map/gallery/isp-ss.gif
  
http://www.thinkgeek.com/images/products/front/lg-internet-poster-
black.gif
or this one:
http://www.hpcc.gov/fnc/internet.jpg

This one is by far the most interesting but it takes work to understand.
It's worthwhile IMO. It plots a large circle around the equator. Inside
the circle, the closer to the center a node is, the more perfectly
interconnected it is. You can trace each node out to the edge to see
what continent it is in (written in small letters around the edge).
 http://www.computer.org/internet/v5n1/ascore/
The most central nodes are, by axiom the most important!

Every country has a local internet. The local internet is the sum of
the nodes that reside inside the country. As long as data moves withiin
the local internet, all of the benefits and any payments are also local.
As the local internet grows, the ability of people locally, to peer
instead of pay with other parts of the internet grows as well.

The benefits of buliding local nodes are immediate. You don't need to
wait, check out the success stories of the few African IXPs that have
launched so far (Kenya, South Africa, Tanzania, and others). For
starters the people who are connected through an IXP save a LOT of money
and that means lower prices and/or better service passed on to the
users.

So ... connectivity is not the right goal. The goal should be, what are
you doing to build the LOCAL internet. Not just to connect people but to
interconnect them by creating internet nodes?


simon





This DOT-COM Discussion is funded by the dot-ORG USAID Cooperative
Agreement, and hosted by GKD. http://www.dot-com-alliance.org provides
more information.
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