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The Internet is evolving from a system of connections between humans and machines to a new paradigm of social connection. However, it is still dominated by a hub and spoke architecture with inter-connectivity between users typically requiring connections to a common server on the Internet. This creates a large amount of traffic that must traverse an Internet gateway, even when users communicate with each other in a local network. Nowhere is this inefficiency more pronounced than in rural areas with low-bandwidth connectivity to the Internet. The authors' previous work in a rural village in Macha, Zambia showed that web traffic, and social networking in particular, are dominant services.
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