A first look at tribal web traffic

Morgan Vigil, Matthew Rantanen, Elizabeth Belding

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

17 Scopus citations


With broadband penetration rates of less than 10% per capita, Tribal areas in the U.S. represent some of the most underserved communities in terms of Internet access [4]. Al-though numerous sources have identified this digital divide, there have been no empirical measurements of the perfor-mance and usage of services that do exist in these areas. In this paper, we present the characterization of the Tribal Dig-ital Village (TDV) network, a multi-hop wireless network currently connecting 13 reservations in San Diego county. This work represents the first trafic analysis of broadband usage in Tribal lands. After identifying some of the unique purposes of broadband connectivity in indigenous commu-nities, such as language revitalization and cultural develop-ment, we focus on the performance of popular applications that enable such activities, including Youtube and Insta-gram. Though only a fraction of the bandwidth capacity is actually used, 30% of Youtube uploads and 24% of Insta-gram uploads fail due to packet loss on the relay and access links that connect the reservations to the TDV backbone. Although failure rates are prohibitive to the contribution of locally generated media (particularly videos), our analysis of Instagram media interactions and engagement in the TDV network reveals a high locality of interest. Residents engage with locally created media 8:2 more than media created by outside sources. Furthermore, locally created media cir-culates through the network two days longer than non-local media. The results of our analysis point to new directions for increasing content availability on reservations.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationWWW 2015 - Proceedings of the 24th International Conference on World Wide Web
PublisherAssociation for Computing Machinery, Inc
Number of pages11
ISBN (Electronic)9781450334693
StatePublished - May 18 2015
Externally publishedYes
Event24th International Conference on World Wide Web, WWW 2015 - Florence, Italy
Duration: May 18 2015May 22 2015

Publication series

NameWWW 2015 - Proceedings of the 24th International Conference on World Wide Web


Conference24th International Conference on World Wide Web, WWW 2015

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Computer Networks and Communications
  • Software


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