“One thing that most people don’t think about are the ‘dark hours‘ when VSAT have minimal load. These are usually the hours from 6pm-8am. The only thing updating are the machines that are left one and only if there is city power available since no one leaves a generator running when no one is there to use it. Plus, the neighbors hate it. This creates a secondary problem which is that almost every Windows machine automatically updates when the power is switched on and the networks comes back up at 8am. This includes anit-virus, anti-spyware, and every other application under the sun. Of course these problems can be fixed but for the most part they are just ignored and by 8:30am the network has all but stopped. I think it is critical that you keep these dark hours in mind when thinking about people in the field since there is a tremendous amount of bandwidth that just sits there every night not being used. If we could work through the night we would. Unfortunately, security and common sense don’t always allow to do so.”
Forgotten networks are beautiful things. They are the unheralded heroes of the rest of the world. They are the pathways through the rice patties along which the rickshaws of the internet carry all the world’s staples. Unacknowledged by the networking gods and shunned by their flashier, sexier counterparts they move the data that none of see but that all of us consume. Made of millions of always failing crappy connections infested with viruses and junk they somehow seem to function in spite of it all. Nobody wants them but everyone needs them.
I just spent a very pleasant evening with Yahel Ben-David of airJaldi.com at the Intel Research Lab in Berkeley discussing these forgotten networks. We discussed how we could detoxify them and breathe new life into them as he is doing in Dharmsala and as we have done in Indonesia. Yahel is developing some amazing technologies out of simple packages that have been around for years but that have proven their worth time and again. We found value in these same packages when we rolled them out in Indonesia in the form of Clark Connect.
Forgotten networks are veins of pure gold that may once again draw prospectors. They are the overlooked and undervalued information highways that, with a little maintenance and TLC, can bridge the gap between the ‘haves’ and and ‘have nots’. To bridge the Digital Divide look no further. All that is needed now is that initial first step, that leap of faith.