Internet sharing in community networks

TitleInternet sharing in community networks
Publication TypeThesis
Year of Publication2017
AuthorsDimogerontakis, E., Leandro Navarro, R. Meseguer, and Luıs Veiga
Academic DepartmentComputer Architecture
Number of Pages122
Date Published05/2017

The majority of the world's population does not have any or adequate Internet access. This implies that the Internet cannot provide universal service, reaching everyone without discrimination. Global access to the Internet for all requires the expansion of network infrastructures and a dramatic reduction in Internet access costs especially in less developed geographical regions. Local communities come together to build their own network infrastructures, known as Community Networks, and provide accessible and affordable local and Internet inter-networking. Sharing resources, such as infrastructure or Internet access, is encouraged at all levels, in order to lower the cost of connectivity and services. Communities can develop their own network infrastructures as a commons, using several interconnected sub-networks when the scale requires it, and sharing several Internet gateways among their participants. Shared Internet access is offered through web proxy gateways, where individuals or organisations share the full or spare capacity of their Internet connections with other participants. However, these gateway nodes may be overloaded by the demand, and their Internet capacity may degrade due to lack of regulation. This thesis investigates whether shared Internet access in community networks can be utilized to provide universal Internet access. As a first step in this direction, in this thesis we explored characteristics, limitations and usability of a concrete shared Internet Web proxy service in community networks. Based on our findings we studied and proposed mechanisms to improve the user experience and fairness of Internet sharing Web proxy services in community networks, without introducing significant overhead to the network and other services. More specifically, we proposed a scalable client-side Internet gateway selection mechanism suitable for heterogeneous environments such as community networks. Finally, we studied and proposed techniques for sharing spare Internet capacity without deteriorating the contributors' performance.