Alternative Network Deployments: Taxonomy, Characterization, Technologies, and Architectures
RFC 7962

Document Type RFC - Informational (August 2016; No errata)
Last updated 2016-08-29
Replaces draft-manyfolks-gaia-community-networks
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Internet Research Task Force (IRTF)                      J. Saldana, Ed.
Request for Comments: 7962                        University of Zaragoza
Category: Informational                                   A. Arcia-Moret
ISSN: 2070-1721                                  University of Cambridge
                                                                B. Braem
                                                                  iMinds
                                                         E. Pietrosemoli
                                                    The Abdus Salam ICTP
                                                         A. Sathiaseelan
                                                 University of Cambridge
                                                              M. Zennaro
                                                    The Abdus Salam ICTP
                                                             August 2016

                    Alternative Network Deployments:
      Taxonomy, Characterization, Technologies, and Architectures

Abstract

   This document presents a taxonomy of a set of "Alternative Network
   Deployments" that emerged in the last decade with the aim of bringing
   Internet connectivity to people or providing a local communication
   infrastructure to serve various complementary needs and objectives.
   They employ architectures and topologies different from those of
   mainstream networks and rely on alternative governance and business
   models.

   The document also surveys the technologies deployed in these
   networks, and their differing architectural characteristics,
   including a set of definitions and shared properties.

   The classification considers models such as Community Networks,
   Wireless Internet Service Providers (WISPs), networks owned by
   individuals but leased out to network operators who use them as a
   low-cost medium to reach the underserved population, networks that
   provide connectivity by sharing wireless resources of the users, and
   rural utility cooperatives.

Saldana, et al.               Informational                     [Page 1]
RFC 7962             Alternative Network Deployments         August 2016

Status of This Memo

   This document is not an Internet Standards Track specification; it is
   published for informational purposes.

   This document is a product of the Internet Research Task Force
   (IRTF).  The IRTF publishes the results of Internet-related research
   and development activities.  These results might not be suitable for
   deployment.  This RFC represents the consensus of the Global Access
   to the Internet for All Research Group of the Internet Research Task
   Force (IRTF).  Documents approved for publication by the IRSG are not
   a candidate for any level of Internet Standard; see Section 2 of RFC
   7841.

   Information about the current status of this document, any errata,
   and how to provide feedback on it may be obtained at
   http://www.rfc-editor.org/info/rfc7962.

Copyright Notice

   Copyright (c) 2016 IETF Trust and the persons identified as the
   document authors.  All rights reserved.

   This document is subject to BCP 78 and the IETF Trust's Legal
   Provisions Relating to IETF Documents
   (http://trustee.ietf.org/license-info) in effect on the date of
   publication of this document.  Please review these documents
   carefully, as they describe your rights and restrictions with respect
   to this document.

Saldana, et al.               Informational                     [Page 2]
RFC 7962             Alternative Network Deployments         August 2016

Table of Contents

   1.  Introduction  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   4
     1.1.  Mainstream Networks . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   5
     1.2.  Alternative Networks  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   5
   2.  Terms Used in This Document . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   5
   3.  Scenarios Where Alternative Networks Are Deployed . . . . . .   7
     3.1.  Urban vs. Rural Areas . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   8
     3.2.  Topology Patterns Followed by Alternative Networks  . . .   9
   4.  Classification Criteria . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  10
     4.1.  Entity behind the Network . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  10
     4.2.  Purpose . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  10
     4.3.  Governance and Sustainability Model . . . . . . . . . . .  12
     4.4.  Technologies Employed . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  12
     4.5.  Typical Scenarios . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  13
   5.  Classification of Alternative Networks  . . . . . . . . . . .  13
     5.1.  Community Networks  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  14
     5.2.  Wireless Internet Service Providers (WISPs) . . . . . . .  16
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