Mirrors inside China
Has anyone considered placing mirrors of Wikimedia projects inside of China. A friend that has lived in China told me that as long as you visited sites within China, the internet connections where realy good. But as soon as you tried to connect to website outside it became increadibly slow. He had an internet connection of 20Mbit, but still it could take about a minute to login to facebook. If the projects are slow to connect to this will certainly lower the use of them.
There are some legal considerations for why we might not want to have system mirrors. I'll see if I can get Mike Godwin to post some thoughts.
That would be very good. Mirrors are something I have thought about whether it is a good idea to use over at the local language projects too, because I realy think access speed is a real problem for growth. And "within country" speeds seem to be severly higher than "global" speeds.
I added a few paragraphs to system mirrors with an explanation from Mike Godwin on legal issues.
The access speed is an important issue. If you look at the theory of change diagram, you can see that without an investment in fundamental issues like access speed, we're not going to be able to improve reach, participation, etc.
That said, I'm curious. Can anyone on China give us a qualitative sense of what access speed is like over there? It would be good to add on the China page.
I have asked a couple of friends that has lived for at least a couple of months in a couple of countries about this problem to try to get some feel for the different connection speeds around the world. My findings are in the "Could Wikipedia be to slow to load in many countries?" thread at the local language project (Don't know how to link to a thread).
This is the summary from a frind that has lived for some years in western China:
A lot has happened from 2004 to 2008. In 2008 I think I had an internet connection of 20Mbit, which I also think was the slowest choice available. As long as you visited sites within China the connection speed was very good. But as soon as you tried to access other sites it became very slow. It could take about a minute to login to Facebook. The internet provider where China Telecom (http://en.chinatelecom.com.cn/)
I hope you mean 20kbits. 20Mbits is fast!
China is a unique case. Wikipedia might be slow to load in regions with high bandwidth because of the firewall.
In general, you make an important point. I really like what you wrote on the regional bandwidth page (I renamed the page).
I should also clarify what I wrote before. Even though we don't mirror, we could certainly cache, which would improve access. I just talked to Kul Wadhwa about this, and he suggested there might be legal issues with caching as well. I'm updating the system mirrors page, and will try to get more information there.
Actually the answer I got from him was 20Mbit, but it was written and he can have made a typo and I havn't had time to check with him. But he said the connection was "very fast" within China so it could be that his connection actually was that good. But I guess someone from China could give better details on this (Mountain?).
I also think that mirrors or caches could be a solution for many different countries if it is not to difficult to implement or too costly to maintain. Because at http://www.numion.com/YourSpeed3/Graphs.php the statistics seems to indicate that the "within country" speeds are at least twice the "outside country" speeds. And it is not uncommon that the "within" speed is several times higher than the "outside" speeds, some times more than 10 times. The statistics on the page is not complete and I'm not sure if any African country is listed at all. With the limmited amount of cables connected to Africa (increasing though), it is likely that the differences are even larger there.
Maybe continent caches or mirros would do. Find a couple of countries that fits the requirements and place the information there.
A few thoughts on Mirrors:
Mirrors. a) Connection Speed and Mirrors - For China and a few other counntries a domestic Mirror is a good idea both from editorial and speed of connection perspectives. Other countries where a Mirror might be useful could include but not be limited to Cuba and Vietnam. - Domestically China has high internet speeds. 20Mbps sounds entirely reasonable. Hong Kong has 5 times that at 100Mbps. - China had the world's 1st national optical fibre backbone and generally has high to very high speed connection within China. - Connection to foreign sites is often painfully slow due to the great firewall of China.
b) Issues Related to Establishing a Mirror in China - If Wikipedia is to give serious consideration to establishment of Mirrors in China I recommend formal advice both from a suitable expert. In my experience of this sort of thing one needs expert local guidance through the maze. I am unaware of the pitfalls involved to establish a Mirror but can imagine there could be a multitude of them.