The Social Side of Mesh

   
   
   
   
   
I've often wondered about the technology behind the OLPC's mesh networking ideals. They hope to have the laptops or Green Wifi connect to each other, forming a mesh similar to Internet nodes, to connect to a distant Internet backbone.

While I am wondering about the technology, and agree with Engadget that the Meraki Mini will be the OLPC wireless mesh card, Phillip over at Brantickle: Interface Design is wondering about the social side of mesh networking.

Let's say that OLPC laptops someday can mesh with their neighbours, and leap tall mountains to connect to Internet backhauls, what about the communities? To quote Phillip:

So what if the kids in the next village don't keep their laptops cranked, and you end up losing the link? This can either lead to the mesh collapsing over time (because if I've little hope of getting a link, I won't crank my machine) or to conflict between villages. Not that learning conflict resolution is a bad thing, but this should be addressed by the organisers when the laptops are introduced.
While I was familiar with the idea of critical mass, the need to have a great number of users on a system to maintain its momentum and use within a community, I didn't think of a community using its position upstream to extract concessions from users downstream. Then again, I've never lived in a limited water environment.

In the developing world, communities would be quick to make the mental leap of water to Internet. While I can see the OLPC backers talking about nationwide mesh, so one community would not have such leverage, at the edge of the "mesh cloud" there would always be an outlying community.

OLPC is even targeted for such outlying communities. And now there would be a new resource they could limit access to for their own gain. Water wars are ancient. Will OLPC create Internet wars?

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  • Oh, come on Michael. Do you really think anything that was said on OLPC News would have had much …

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  • Hi!

    I bought 2 "Tablets OLPC." I had to return because the two did not work. O …

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  • Dear sir
    I have one question to sir?

    -1 why XO Tablet children play OK but when h …

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  • Dear sir
    I have one question to sir?

    -1 why XO Tablet children play OK but when h …

    Comment on The XO Tablet - A First Impression in 750 Words

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  • Dear sir
    I have one question to sir?

    -1 why XO Tablet children play OK but when h …

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  • Bonjour Mokifisi!
    Je suis bien d'accord avec vous. Je travaille depuis 4 ans dans un petit …

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  • You just follow the same route upstream how you got the 2XO Tablets? How did you get them? Bring …

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  • └ quelle adresse envoyer mes deux XOTablet qui ne fonctionnent pas?

    At what address to s …

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  • That's called "Death on arrivals". They happen. That's why there's always some additio …

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  • What is a shelf XO? If you tell me what did you buy and from whom, perhaps I will have a suggest …

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  • Voici mon message en franšais...

    Bonjour,
    Je viens d'acheter 2 tablettes XO. Les d …

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  • I just bought 2 shelves XO. Both tablets are not working. One does not start and the other touch …

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  • I just bought 2 shelves XO. Both tablets are not working. One does not start and the other touch …

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  • I just bought 2 shelves XO. Both tablets are not working. One does not start and the other touch …

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  • OLPC is not death; eg. this One Laptop per Child San Francisco (OLPC-SF) June 21, 2014 Meeting a …

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