Reconsidering Network Management Interfaces for Communities

Iitumba, Ndinelao and Shinde, Siddhant and Ortega, Deysi and Bagalkot, Naveen and Verdezoto, Nervo and Manuel, Ganief and Dinesh, TB and Densmore, Melissa (2023) Reconsidering Network Management Interfaces for Communities, Proceedings of 4th African Human Computer Interaction Conference (AfriCHI 2023), 27 November - 01 December 2023, East London, South Africa,, 23, 1-12, ACM.

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Community-owned mesh wireless networks enable cost-effective sharing of networked resources, expanding internet and local service accessibility through low-cost WiFi hardware. However, maintaining these networks comes with expenses. In addition to hardware costs, community members need extensive training to install, monitor, and troubleshoot the networks using Network Management Interfaces (NMIs). Effective network management is crucial for CWN resilience within communities. This paper presents qualitative interviews with 25 stakeholders from two CWNs in India and four in South Africa, examining challenges to CWN resilience. Workshops were conducted with network operators and users in India (Janastu) and prospective operators in South Africa (FOCUS Network) to reimagine NMIs, discussing challenges and prototyping interfaces. Our findings highlights diverse network management approaches, revealing difficulties in technical capacity building, troubleshooting, and prototyping. Designing NMIs with local network operators’ insights and skills is crucial for CWN sustainability. The paper outlines design opportunities to improve network management interfaces for CWNs, fostering network resilience for critical infrastructures.

Item Type: Conference paper
Uncontrolled Keywords: Community Wireless Networks, Qualitative Study, HCI
Subjects: Human-centered computing > Human computer interaction (HCI)
Date Deposited: 16 Nov 2023 04:17
Last Modified: 16 Nov 2023 04:17

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