For the past few months I have been working with a local Cyber Café located in my neighbourhood. The owner, Elvis, has been very open to innovative solutions for his business. In Cameroon where internet connectivity is very expensive if even available and where there are few personal computers, Cyber Cafés provide a much needed service.
Bandwidth is very expensive even in cities. For example, the best connection available in Bamenda is rated at 256Kbps, (about 4.5x the speed of dial up, far slower than broadband in America) and costs about $60 US dollars a month. In a country so poor, this is an outlandish price.
To meet the needs of his Cyber Café, Elvis purchased several (6) internet connections. His problem was correctly load balancing the connections across the network, while maintaining a common Cyber Café billing and management system. This is where I came in to help.
Together we were able to build a Linux based a load balancing system, giving equal bandwidth to each computer in the network while maintaining a single management server. This has been working flawlessly over the past three months.
Overall, I was very impressed with the sophistication of the network and facility compared to others, and the desire to innovate in what is a relatively stagnant field here in Cameroon.