I am sitting in Madikeri, Karnataka, India, a nice small town in the middle of picturesque forests and hills. Regrettably, the beauty of the scenery is not matched by the quality of the area's GPRS coverage.
Some network protocols work bettter than others here. XMPP works (it seems to reestablish the connection as needed). ssh is not so great — long ping times coupled with packet loss and frequent connection losses is too much for it. IMAP is rather variable; both of my clients often abort because IMAP commands take too long.
The only protocol that works well is SMTP with pipelining. With pipelining, SMTP squeezes a message transmission into even the shortest window of connectivity.