[p2p-research] Developing countries falling into 'broadband gap'

Eugen Leitl eugen at leitl.org
Mon Nov 9 14:34:49 CET 2009

On Fri, Nov 06, 2009 at 03:15:40PM -0500, Paul D. Fernhout wrote:
> Part of the OLPC project was to create wireless meshes. The hardware for 
> that was not entirely open though, as it uses commercial chips.
>   http://wiki.laptop.org/go/Mesh_Network_Details

Apparently, 802.11n (no longer draft, though there is
no real difference) has been recently used for DIY WAN links with
open source drivers on Linux, with very decent performance.
With a pair of aligned sat dishes, the line of sight is
the limit.

Speaking about the sky, no phased array fixed-geometry
antennas yet. These can be retargeted in ms, and can track
anything across the sky, multiple targets simultaneously,
provided you have the ephemerides. Notice you can wire
consumer 802.11x access points as a poor man's phased
array, which can be used to probe for people behind doors
and walls.

4G chips have also gotten very speedy now, to a cut-through LEO 
constellation from few-kg microsats are within reach, even with 
current 10 kUSD/kg launch costs. Even few simple maildrops
with few TByte SSD onboard would do very well. Since Cerf has
got DTN into Android http://www.theregister.co.uk/2009/11/05/vint_cerf_on_mobile/
recently, I smell opportunities. 
> And it still needs some kind of portal to the internet.

It's the Internet, and given how things develop the open
Internet is dead, so we'll see a transition to a distributed
cryptographic filestore, with addresses like
which don't resolve to a particular location and
can't be censored.

There are a few unsolved problems still left, but in
general we've been making slow but steady progress since
Xanadu. See http://allmydata.org/~warner/pycon-tahoe.html
> Some references to free software in relation to that:
>   http://www.mail-archive.com/[email protected]/msg02695.html
> --Paul Fernhout
> http://www.pdfernhout.net/
> Michel Bauwens wrote:
> >Hi Ryan,
> >
> >possibly Sepp and the free network service people could answer this, so 
> >I've
> >put them in cc,
> >
> >http://gigaom.com/2006/02/23/here-comes-open-source-telecom/

This is a job for a Layer 3 switch, not a router. Of course you can let
a random FreeBSD system handle this, but it's not cost effective in price.
Layer 3 switches are cheap, and the ASICs do both IPv4 and IPv6 in hardware.

> >
> >Michel
> >
> >On Sat, Nov 7, 2009 at 1:03 AM, Ryan Lanham <rlanham1963 at gmail.com> wrote:
> >
> >>Is there such a thing as open source broadband hardware?
> >>
> >>Ryan
> >>
> >>  On Fri, Nov 6, 2009 at 11:45 AM, Michel Bauwens <michelsub2004 at gmail.com
> >>>wrote:
> >>>  From: plenary-bounces at wsis-cs.org [mailto:plenary-bounces at wsis-cs.org]
> >>>On Behalf Of Michel Towa koh
> >>>Sent: Thursday, November 05, 2009 8:23 AM
> >>>To: plenary at wsis-cs.org
> >>>Cc: list-reseauafricanet at list.reseauafricanet.org;
> >>>acsis_cameroun at yahoogroupes.fr
> >>>Subject: [WSIS CS-Plenary] 'broadband gap'
> >>>
> >>>
> >>>
> >>>
> >>>Developing countries falling into 'broadband gap'
> >>>Ola Al-Ghazawy
> >>>29 octobre 2009 | EN
> >>>
> >>>Much of the developing world is falling behind with broadband access
> >>>Flickr/abbesses
> >>>[CAIRO] Limited access to broadband Internet is crippling the spread of
> >>>information and communication technologies (ICTs) in the developing world
> >>>and widening the already significant digital divide, a report has warned.
> >>>Bandwidth availability is low and the cost of broadband Internet is high
> >>>in many developing countries, says 'Information Economy Report 2009',
> >>>released last week (22 October) by the UN Conference on Trade and
> >>>Development (UNCTAD).
> >>>Prices can reach more than US$1,000 per month in countries such as 
> >>>Burkina
> >>>Faso and Kazakhstan. Australia, a country with little more than 20 
> >>>million
> >>>residents, has more broadband users than the whole of the African 
> >>>continent.
> >>>This broadband gap deprives developing country businesses of economic
> >>>development opportunities such as call centres and offshore offices.
> >>>"Broadband access is almost a must for companies with international
> >>>branches," Ahmed Ali, a software engineer at computing giant IBM's Egypt
> >>>branch, told SciDev.Net.
> >>>While major companies such as his use a satellite Internet connection,
> >>>smaller companies that provide offshore services for businesses in other
> >>>regions need a fast communication channel.
> >>>"If broadband is not sufficient then it will be a problem for them and 
> >>>may
> >>>hinder progress of their work," he says.
> >>>But the mobile phone market is booming in the developing world despite 
> >>>the
> >>>economic crisis, the report found. Mobile phone penetration reached 100 
> >>>per
> >>>cent in countries such as Bahrain, South Africa and Qatar. Growth in 
> >>>mobile
> >>>use increased more than eightfold in less than ten years.
> >>>Mobiles are becoming the preferred mode of communication over landlines
> >>>and are increasingly fulfilling ICT needs.
> >>>"We now see three and four mobile service providers opening up in these
> >>>countries to fill demand. For many people, it is becoming an important 
> >>>tool
> >>>for business as well as accessing the Internet," Ahmed Momtaz, a
> >>>telecommunication engineer at Vodafone Egypt, told SciDev.Net.
> >>>The report suggests governments can work with Internet providers to 
> >>>narrow
> >>>the broadband gap by
> >>>promoting competition to bring down prices and the sharing of
> >>>infrastructure to reduce costs by preventing duplicate efforts. 
> >>>Governments
> >>>can also promote Internet centres to offer access to people in poorer
> >>>regions.
> >>>The UNCTAD report also calls for the expansion of underwater fibre optics
> >>>network, particularly in Sub-Saharan Africa.
> >>>
> >>>--
> >>>Work: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dhurakij_Pundit_University - Research:
> >>>http://www.dpu.ac.th/dpuic/info/Research.html - Think thank:
> >>>http://www.asianforesightinstitute.org/index.php/eng/The-AFI
> >>>
> >>>P2P Foundation: http://p2pfoundation.net  - http://blog.p2pfoundation.net
> >>>
> >>>Connect: http://p2pfoundation.ning.com; Discuss:
> >>>http://listcultures.org/mailman/listinfo/p2presearch_listcultures.org
> >>>
> >>>Updates: http://del.icio.us/mbauwens; http://friendfeed.com/mbauwens;
> >>>http://twitter.com/mbauwens; http://www.facebook.com/mbauwens
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