The State of Connectivity in Guatemala

We’re excited to share with you a blog post from Dr. Jason Ernst who is our Chief Networking Scientist here at Wave. 

Jason Ernst heads up the R&D division for Wave and YO!. Jason holds a PhD in the field of Mesh Networking and Heterogeneous Wireless Networks as well as a M.Sc. on Scheduling Techniques for Wireless Mesh Networks, both from the Applied Computing faculty at the University of Guelph. Jason has more than 20 published papers on wireless networks, cognitive agents, FPGAs, and soft-computing topics and has presented his research at international conferences around the world. With Left, Jason works closely with the Engineering, YO! mobile application, and mesh platform teams to ensure off-grid, high-speed, reliable connectivity is an option in variable environments. When not designing next generation networks, you would find Jason outdoors on his mountain bike or winning hackathons and coding contests. 

Inspired by the Akamai State of the Internet report, this post is about the state of connectivity in Guatemala. Guatemala was chosen because it is one of the countries that uses the Yo! app the most, and is in our target markets. It is also quite different from what I am used to in Canada, and I am interested to know more about it from a connectivity point of view myself. In the 2016 Q1 report, this country is only mentioned in one section — web page load times.

Page Load Times from the Akamai 2016 Q1 report
Page Load Times from the Akamai 2016 Q1 report

The numbers in the left column are the average broadband load times and the middle column is the average mobile load times, both in ms. In broadband, Guatemala is around the middle of the pack, while the mobile load times is one of the fastest. It is interesting that in comparison with large wealthy countries like Canada and the United States, Guatemala, and many other LATAM counties actually have more responsive (in terms of delay) mobile networks than broadband networks.

However, this isn’t the whole story — this is only the average time it takes to load a page. It is dependent upon the size of content — perhaps people have gotten used to limitations of the network and don’t request rich, large images, video and similar content like they do in Canada and the United states. Perhaps there is also a difference because of the population densities and the challenges of delivering network coverage and capacity across a vast countryside in the United States and Canada compared to Guatemala.

Trying to build a mesh in Canada with 4 people / square km
Trying to build a mesh in Guatemala with 140 people / square km

This is an example of the power of increased density when building a mesh. This tool shows what it would be like if everyone in a square km was randomly distributed and all participated in the mesh as a potential hotspot node (the technology we are working on lets you join together multiple hotspots to form a large mesh). The top figure is in Canada where the average density is four people per square km compared with Guatemala which has 140 people per square km. In Canada, the population is far too sparse to build any type of mesh in rural areas. In Guatemala, while it is not possible to connect everyone with a mesh, there are some that can start to form (in order for a mesh to start to form, nodes must be able to see at least another node — so look for black dots covered by darker red).

Where it really gets interesting is in cities — this is where the density can really support a mesh well. The next three figures show Guatemala city with various rates of participating as a hotspot node. A hotspot node in this mesh would be able to use the mesh and forward traffic for others. The first figure shows 80% participation. Almost every node is covered by at least one other node. The biggest problem here would likely be selecting a good path between nodes or to the Internet.

Guatemala City (roughly 1000 people per sq. km) with 80% participating as hotspot

With only half the nodes participating as hotspots, there are now some dead zones where some of the nodes cannot access the mesh, but there are clear paths all around with very few separate meshes forming.

Guatemala City (roughly 1000 people per sq. km) with 50% participating as hotspot

Finally, with only 20% participating, it looks a lot more like the rural case, where there are some areas where meshes can form, and some areas where it can’t and lots of users with no coverage whatsoever.

Guatemala City (roughly 1000 people per sq. km) with 20% participating as hotspot

So in cities with similar densities to Guatemala, it is possible to cover the majority of people with somewhere between 20 and 50% participation in a mesh network.

What about an even more dense place — like Dhaka, Bangladesh?

Dhaka, Bangladesh with approximately 24700 people per sq. km and 5% participation.

The entire region can be covered with very few dead zones with only 5% participation. There is still much more that could be learned from this type of tool. For instance, what if we assume some percentage is willing to provide Internet access into the mesh? What percentage of the people will be within 5 hops of the Internet? If each person provides 500mb into the mesh per month, how much bandwidth will each person get per day? If everyone used as much data as they could, how fast would all of the bandwidth in the network be used up? These are all challenges we are trying to solve while also building the technology that is enabling these types of meshes to form.

Countries like Guatemala, Bangladesh, India and others will likely lead the way in mesh deployments. These countries have the density to support the mesh and these countries are also hungry for data, for content and improved connectivity. Infrastructure will always improve in these countries, but meshes will always be a useful way to efficiently connect and distribute information.

Un YO! Completamente Renovado

Es un placer para nosotros presentarte esta versión mejorada de nuestra app YO!

mockup-FB-long2Luce muchísimo mejor y ahora puedes DESCUBRIR, COMPARTIR y CONECTARTE con mas facilidad.

Podríamos aburrirte con todos los detalles técnicos, pero mejor vamos al grano.


  • Un nuevo logo y renovado diseño de la aplicación, que ahora tiene mas funciones.
  • Te presentamos una nueva pantaña principal (Descubrir) donde podrás ver en tiempo real lo que otros usuarios están compartiendo ¡Lo que significa que no te perderás absolutamente de nada!
  • Ahora puedes publicar hasta 100 de tus ítems favoritos.
  • YO! ahora puede descubrir otros usuarios automáticamente. Ya no tienes que deslizar tu dedo cada vez que quieres ver qué usuarios nuevos han llegado a la HyperNet. Ahora encontramos los usuarios por ti, y te avisamos cada vez que un usuario nuevo se conecta.
  • ¡La tecnología detrás de YO! ahora es mucho mas confiable, eficiente y rápida que antes! Tenemos a los mejores desarrolladores del mundo trabajando en esta app.
  • Comprtir archivos desde tu teléfono nunca había sido tan sencillo. Puedes enviar contenído a un amigo o a múltiples usuarios con un solo toque. También puedes publicar lo que desees para que otros usuarios puedan obtenerlo cuando ellos quieran.

¿Qué debo hacer antes de actualizar?

Para ofrecerte un mejor YO! tuvímos que empezar de cero, lo que significa que:

  • Cuando descargues esa magnífica actualización vas a tener que crear un nuevo perfíl, escoger una nueva nueva foto y crear un nuevo nombre de usuario. (¿A quién no le gusta hacer “borrón y cuenta nueva” de vez en cuando?)
  • Tendrás que guardar tus contactos de YO! en el directorio de tu teléfono para poder encontrarlos nuevamente.
  • Guardar cualquier historial de mensajes que sea importante para ti.

Importante: El día 12 de septiembre, la versión 2.0 de YO! dejará de funcionar. Debes actualizar para continuar usuando la aplicación. YO! 2.0 y YO! 3.0 no son compatibles. Asegúrate de que tus amigos también descargen la nueva versión.



Yo- let's connect

A Brand New YO!

We’re excited to introduce the brand new version of YO!

It looks better and now you can DISCOVER, SHARE and CONNECT more easily.

We could bore you with all the technical mumbo jumbo but here are the main points.

Yo- let's connect

What’s New:

  • A sparkly brand-new logo and app design filled with fresh features.
  • Introducing the new redesigned Discover Wall! You can easily see what nearby people are sharing, which means you won’t miss out on new things coming every day!
  • Your profile can now hold up to 100 of your favorite items.
  • YO! now discovers people automatically. No swiping and searching for other HyperNet users. We find them for you, and let you know when new people join.
  • The technology behind YO! is more reliable, efficient and cutting edge than ever! We’ve got some really smart people working on it, and even we find it hard to keep up with the tech lingo!
  • Sharing from your phone with friends on YO! has never been easier. Choose to send to one or multiple friends, or publish to the discover wall with the tap of your finger.

What do I have to do before the upgrade? To give you a better YO! We’ve had to start fresh, which means:

  • When you get this shiny new upgrade, you will have to create a new profile with a new picture and username (who doesn’t love a fresh start sometimes?).
  • Save YO! friends to your phone address book to this list so can find them again later!
  • Save any text messages from YO! conversations that are important to you. (wedding proposals, first dates lingo etc).