e-Infrastructure and e-Services for Developing Countries. 8th International Conference, AFRICOMM 2016, Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso, December 6-7, 2016, Proceedings

Research Article

The Shortcomings of Globalised Internet Technology in Southern Africa

  • @INPROCEEDINGS{10.1007/978-3-319-66742-3_31,
        author={David Johnson and Gertjan Stam},
        title={The Shortcomings of Globalised Internet Technology in Southern Africa},
        proceedings={e-Infrastructure and e-Services for Developing Countries. 8th International Conference, AFRICOMM 2016, Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso, December 6-7, 2016, Proceedings},
        proceedings_a={AFRICOMM},
        year={2017},
        month={10},
        keywords={Internet Technology Context Africa TCP/IP},
        doi={10.1007/978-3-319-66742-3_31}
    }
    
  • David Johnson
    Gertjan Stam
    Year: 2017
    The Shortcomings of Globalised Internet Technology in Southern Africa
    AFRICOMM
    Springer
    DOI: 10.1007/978-3-319-66742-3_31
David Johnson1,*, Gertjan Stam2,*
  • 1: Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR)
  • 2: Scientific and Industrial Research and Development Centre (SIRDC)
*Contact email: djohnson@csir.co.za, gvanstam@sirdc.ac.zw

Abstract

Network protocols and applications have mostly been developed in and for a Western context and usually have an embedded set of assumptions about network performance and availability. As a result web-browsing, cloud-based services, live voice and video over IP, desktop applications and software updates often fail or perform poorly in (rural) areas of Southern Africa. This paper uncovers some of the reasons for this poor performance such as Windows TCP failing to reach capacity in high-delay networks, long DNS delays or time-outs and applications such as Office365 assuming constant connectivity to function, and describes them, set in the Southern African contexts. We address the issue of colonisation in ICT context and show the extend of such in the area of networking. These observations provide strong motivation for Africa-based engineering research to ensure that future network protocols and applications are context-sensitive, adaptive and truly global.