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A networking researcher interested in the challenges of infrastructure at the end of the tail of connectivity


Congestion control mechanisms, by which network users share constrained capacity on Internet links, are heavily studied in computer science. Such mechanisms are traditionally automated, assuming that users do not wish to be involved in addressing congestion. However, in community-owned and operated networks, users have control over daily operational choices. We explore the design of community-based congestion policies and mechanisms, through the lens of network capacity as a Common Pool Resource (CPR).

Through a series of workshops and interviews in a rural community in Oaxaca, Mexico, we encounter design opportunities for new types of tools supporting communal network management. Participants expressed desires for preserving individual privacy while collecting longitudinal data to track the network’s impact on the community, prioritization of high-value applications, equal link sharing between users, and human-mediated congestion management in lieu of automated enforcement. We report qualitative insights and offer design directions for future systems to address network resources in a manner compatible with Ostrom’s principles for CPR governance.


Matthew William Johnson, Esther Han Beol Jang, Frankie O’Rourke, Rachel Ye, and Kurtis Heimerl. 2021.Network Capacity as Common Pool Resource: Community-Based Congestion Management in a CommunityNetwork.Proc. ACM Hum.-Comput. Interact.5, CSCW1, Article 61 (April 2021), 25 pages.

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Currently a grad student at the University of Washington in the ICTD Lab...