Disks on A Plane – Building The New Information Supply Chain

FlyingDiskBy way of open source development where possible and piracy where not, new innovation is enabling communities and individuals to experiment with building, owning and operating communications infrastructure. This is enabling strengthening of localized communication. At the same time the global nature of the Internet and the new opportunities it presents for peer to peer collaboration are resulting in virtual communities being created on the Internet that augment local communities and provide access to content that would not be available locally. New hybrid models of communication and information sharing are being invented and experimented with. In addition to Mojolab’s own experiments with mechanisms such as data muling and locally operated COWMesh networks, Learning Equalities’ Kolibri project seeks to bring the benefits of a digital classroom and current content to communities beyond the pale of the Internet.

We re-did our thought experiment of muling data on a railway journey, this time with a larger data packet size and then we tested it out in part by muling some data back and forth between Bangalore and Kakrana, a remote village in Madhya Pradesh, via Bhopal.

The though experiment revealed the following –

Screenshot from 2016-02-24 13:56:05Screenshot from 2016-02-24 10:02:28








On practical experimentation –

I downloaded a total of 25GB of data on my home connection –

Initial data download (MB) 25600
Rate of data acquisition (INR/MB) 0.0111816406
Cost of data acquisition (INR) 286.25


Total data transacted over journey


Date Data Rcvd (MB) Data Given (MB) What Cost
10/04/16 42.6 0 R resources 0
14/04/16 272998.4 0 Ranikajal Data 0
14/04/16 27238.4 Arjun Brought 0
Total (MB) 300279.4


Had I attempted to perform the same transaction over a 3G connection @ INR 250 per GB or ~INR 0.25 per MB, the cost of transaction would have been .25 * 300279.4 = INR 73310 plus change.

As it happens, the cost of my travel (by air conditioned train) cost less than INR 5000 in total (up and down). This puts the cost per MB of my mule based data transaction at about INR .015 per MB.  Which is about 1/14th of the cost per MB that 3G would have provided.

You can imagine our enthusiasm therefore to get tools like Kolibri and KALite on to a plane quickly!


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