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Video Usage Creates Traffic Jam Worries

Zonk posted more than 8 years ago | from the backup-on-the-i-9-out-of-google-today dept.


An anonymous reader writes "ZDNet has an article talking about worries over the increase in video downloads in the last year. Free video hosting and the popularity of iTunes is blamed for this phenomenon." From the article: "This is far from an academic issue. Whether the new companies can deliver on their promises could have a profound effect on how the Internet operates--and it could hit consumers in the pocketbook. Business and entertainment content worth billions of dollars now flows over ordinary ISP networks. Internet voice calls, which can be garbled by any network congestion, are increasingly common. Serious online hiccups could be as irritating, and potentially economically damaging, as persistent L.A. traffic jams."

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I have a solutions (3, Funny)

stupidfoo (836212) | more than 8 years ago | (#14785149)

Internet voice calls, which can be garbled by any network congestion, are increasingly common.

I call my solution POTS and I have submitted a patent to cover it.

I have a solution (-1, Offtopic)

stupidfoo (836212) | more than 8 years ago | (#14785170)

erhhh "I have a solution"

anyways... my handle is "stupidfoo"

Re:I have a solution (-1, Offtopic)

Enigma_Man (756516) | more than 8 years ago | (#14785395)


You mean 'anyway' :)

Re:I have a solutions (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14785174)

just one solutions?

Re:I have a solutions (1)

PrescriptionWarning (932687) | more than 8 years ago | (#14785340)

maybe we should all just use aluminum cans connected by strings instead of VoIP

We've been here before. (4, Insightful)

Rob T Firefly (844560) | more than 8 years ago | (#14785150)

Remember when dialup and fax transmissions completely destroyed the telephone network?

Re:We've been here before. (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14785235)

Totally! And my ear drums! Misdialed fax calls were horrible!! EEEEEEEAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA HERRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRR RAAAAAAAAGH SCREEEEEEEEEEEEECH!!!!!!!! the horror.... and Slashdot filtered my post as lame because of too many caps making it like yelling... that's the point! Modem noise!

Re:We've been here before. (1, Funny)

RyoShin (610051) | more than 8 years ago | (#14785320)

Why do you think everyone has cell phones these days?

Re:We've been here before. (1)

wetelectric (956671) | more than 8 years ago | (#14785323)

Its pr0n downloads that will kill the internet

Re:We've been here before. (3, Insightful)

tpgp (48001) | more than 8 years ago | (#14785329)

Yep, and right in the article summary there's a clue that it's complete horsecrap.
....Free video hosting and the popularity of iTunes is blamed for this phenomenon.....
Do they really expect us to believe that video's from free video hosting accounts for more video traffic then bittorrent?

And itunes for Gods sake! What the hell? Do vod-casts (or whatever the sheep call them) really account for a significant amount of traffic? I doubt it.

Re:We've been here before. (1)

pvt_medic (715692) | more than 8 years ago | (#14785413)

i am skeptical, especially since they cap so many people's speed. I have friends with the verizon fios service. They have a fiber optic line comning into their house, and they only are slightly faster than broadband. They are not using their networks to capacity by a long shot. So you expect me to beleive that the rest of thier network is taxed out? Give me a break its the telecoms trying to get more tax breaks.

Re:We've been here before. (3, Interesting)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 8 years ago | (#14785550)

i am skeptical, especially since they cap so many people's speed. I have friends with the verizon fios service. They have a fiber optic line comning into their house, and they only are slightly faster than broadband. They are not using their networks to capacity by a long shot. So you expect me to beleive that the rest of thier network is taxed out?

This is a specious argument. This is possibly because you don't know how the system works, so I'm willing to give you both the benefit of the doubt and a [very] short explanation. The fiber going to the door is not a contiguous piece with the fiber leaving the POP. In addition, fiber is typically shared between multiple subscribers. They only have so much bandwidth available to the POP, and it costs them money to get more. Plus, they have to throttle people to avoid segment oversaturation. The system can handle whatever speed, sure, but they only give you a piece of it, so that other people can have a piece, too. (It would be nice to see a more intelligent system that would let you have more bandwidth when no one else is using it, though.)

Re:We've been here before. (1)

jaseuk (217780) | more than 8 years ago | (#14785619)

Well actually it's more likely to be congestion at the ISP or poorly performing web servers than the local fiber. Many web servers are on 10Mbit or lower throttled connections or are incapable of sustaining good file transfer speeds.

I'm on a good quality 100Mbit internet connection and I rarely see download speeds over 2 Megabytes a second. A typical download is usually 200-400Kbytes/sec


Re:We've been here before. (1)

IAmTheDave (746256) | more than 8 years ago | (#14785507)

Free video hosting and the popularity of iTunes is blamed for this phenomenon

"Blamed" as if this is a bad thing. This is a natural occurance in the "everything gets fatter" pipe of today's computing power and bandwidth. Processors are faster, RAM is cheaper, megabit is giving way to gigabit, broadband is becoming more ubiquitos. Speed/storage is cheaper, and will continue to get cheaper.

Let us not all forget the AMAZING release of v.92 56kbps modems. Whoa! 56k is almost double 36.6!

Psha, I say. My cable modem bandwidth has more than tripled in the past two years and I expect it to continue. Servers that can't keep up are just beat. It's the speed/size of progress my friends!

Besides, what is wrong with everything flowing over IP? A single, open system for information flow. Seems relatively natural to me.

Re:We've been here before. (1)

MrAnnoyanceToYou (654053) | more than 8 years ago | (#14785526)

I remember when my Computer Science teacher told me that spam and forwarded mails both took up excess disk space and slowed down the Internet.

I remember when AOL joined the Internet and everyone hated them because they had doubled the population and supposedly halved the overall intelligence.

I remember when.... damn am I old. I had a birthday this week and I'm almost thirty. Man, I need a freaking nap already.

Anyways, uh, These People Need To Get Stuffed. Internet2 is on its way and it is faster and hardier, so they can just pipe down for a bit and worry about the apocalypse later. It's all just a marketroid ploy to make your Internet more expensive than it already is - if big business whines, bloggers, governments and idiots listen but techies should stand up and say, "You know, that's drivel, and if you want to play this game you should play inside most of the lines like the rest of us always have instead of telling us that you like Calvin Ball better."

Re:We've been here before. (1)

Agelmar (205181) | more than 8 years ago | (#14785581)

Internet2 is already here, and it's not making the net faster and hardier for people who want to download podcasts, pr0n, and spam. From the project: "Led by more than 200 U.S. universities, working with industry and government, Internet2 develops and deploys advanced network applications and technologies for research and higher education, accelerating the creation of tomorrow's Internet."

Internet2 is not something that Comcast is going to offer you access to in a few years. It's a collaborative network accessable only by a few universities and a few other select partners, and is not going to replace the current Internet. Rather, a few select technologies that actually work might get pushed down, but don't expect to see anything groundbreaking. I've had access to Internet2 for quite a few years now, and to be honest it's really... anticlimactic.

Dark Fiber Untapped Resource (3, Insightful)

gasmonso (929871) | more than 8 years ago | (#14785168)

This sounds little more than the usual doomsday stuff. In the US there is plenty of unused fiber that covers the entire country. Even companies like Google are interested in tapping this resource. This isn't so much a problem as it is an opportunity for a company to fullfill the demand.

http://religiousfreaks.com/ [religiousfreaks.com]

Re:Dark Fiber Untapped Resource (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14785203)

Put your lame ass site in your f'en sig where it belongs.

Mod this ass down.

Re:Dark Fiber Untapped Resource (4, Funny)

mordors9 (665662) | more than 8 years ago | (#14785248)

Give up downloading pr0n videos so fatcats can talk over VOIP? Only when they pry my cold dead fingers off my..... well you know.

Re:Dark Fiber Untapped Resource (1)

theparag0n (944733) | more than 8 years ago | (#14785610)


Re:Dark Fiber Untapped Resource (1)

Uber Banker (655221) | more than 8 years ago | (#14785346)

n the US there is plenty of unused fiber that covers the entire country.


TFS (Business and entertainment content worth billions of dollars now flows over ordinary ISP networks. Internet voice calls,) reminds me that you get what you pay for. A business, whose existence or business at least partially rested on the internet would pay for a reliable connection and make sure their customers got a reliable service. That then gets tiered down into the low cost/free offerings. This happens at present and will do more so in the future.

Market solutions, etc, but not in a hazy-dream simplistic Utopia that a free market will make everything cheap and easy to access (that only those with the most basic understanding of economics/business/analysis understand) but in a nitty-gritty auction of service quality, far more based in any realistic assessment of 'free markets' (limited present resources, time lag effects of implementation, ability to differentiate customers, oligopoly/auction on 'dark fibre' (only few firms can make it work for a profit - those with a national stretch with reasonable bandwidth needs and/or localised bandwidth bottlenecks)).

Re:Dark Fiber Untapped Resource (0, Offtopic)

mcbiondi (879388) | more than 8 years ago | (#14785482)


Moderators, please mod parent up.

After all the tech bubble boom money that was sunk into pulling unused fiber it's a wonder anyone would think / worry about overutilization.

To the editors of slashdot - please post newsworthy items!!! Doomsday news stories only contribute to lowering the quality of intelligent posts on this rag.

Re:Dark Fiber Untapped Resource (1)

Skim123 (3322) | more than 8 years ago | (#14785515)

Teh end is neigh!!!11!!

Re:Dark Fiber Untapped Resource (4, Funny)

AlterTick (665659) | more than 8 years ago | (#14785543)

Teh end is neigh!!!11!!

You can shout that till your throat is horse, no one will listen.

Re:Dark Fiber Untapped Resource (1)

max born (739948) | more than 8 years ago | (#14785557)

And besides that, ISPs tend over estimate the amount they spend on infrastructure so they can justify higher prices. Verizon, for example, predicts$91.7 billion USD [verizon.com] revenue for 2006 and laying fiber and installing switches is probably the least costly of all there operations. I bet they spend more on advertising than anything else. I wouldn't be surprised if this doomsday senario is a plot by the MBAs to prep consumers for price hikes even though they already have the profits to fix the problem.

Doc Searls had an interesting article [slashdot.org] about this a while back.

Let's hope I'm completely wrong and the ISPs intentions are good and noble.

neccessity is the mother of invention (3, Insightful)

SparkEE (954461) | more than 8 years ago | (#14785173)

This is simply the way technology works. From the begginning the web has been needing speed upgrades because of its content. And once the speed catches up to support the newest content, the content evolves and requires greater speed. Why worry about this natural process of innovation. If content is limited out of bandwidth concerns, then bandwidth won't improve.

Re:neccessity is the mother of invention (1)

GotenXiao (863190) | more than 8 years ago | (#14785391)

Problem is that they only upgrade it partway. Give us all fucking gig lines and they'll last for more than 2 years.

RSS/Atom Jam (1)

Elixon (832904) | more than 8 years ago | (#14785453)

"This is simply the way technology works."

And there is even more comming! As an web developer who works on Atom implementation I see also big risk with coming RSS/Atom support in Windows Vista and all those RSS/Atom-enabled devices and browsers and aggregators...

I can imagine a users with the Windows that downloads automatically (without user's awareness) hundreds of feeds from all over the web every day... This is not "per-click" view but continuous (most of the time useless) feed updates...

If you watched what the Microsoft is ready to do then I'm afraid that your PC is going to download not only "news" but also feeds with pictures, MP3s, videos, ... Can you imagine that anytime the Windows goes in screen saver mode there is a RSS/Atom subsystem that hits your website regularly just to display some pictures taken from your web on the user's monitor when he/she is off for the launch? :-) I don't know but it might be a REAL problem in the future. I hope that the speed of Internet connections will keep aligned with increasing demands...

Tiered Internet .... (2, Insightful)

GoodOmens (904827) | more than 8 years ago | (#14785175)

This just adds ammo to ISP's push for tiered internet. Scarry ....

I'm not sure tiered Internet is a bad thing (1)

blueZ3 (744446) | more than 8 years ago | (#14785430)

Though obviously for geeks it's going to be more expensive. To be honest, there's "tiered Internet" right now, in terms of paying more for faster speeds.

Bandwidth is a limited resource, and there's a need for providers to be able to allocate that resource (or at least do resource planning) based on known factors. At first, they were assuming that everyone they gave "unlimited" access to would spend a couple hours a day surfing. Now it's looking more and more like they should assume that everyone will be downloading torrents of their favorite MS software and TV shows.

Charging granny $25 a month for 2GB of transfer at 128K and charging Pete the Pirate $50 a month for 20GB at 256k seems a reasonable way to help ISPs do capacity planning, as well as making money.

I'm not sure where the "businesses are evil if they make a profit" meme on Slashdot comes from (and this isn't pointed at the parent poster), but this is a gentle reminder that if ISPs can't make money, they're going to go under... and then where will all the geeks get their p0rn? :o)


Re:I'm not sure tiered Internet is a bad thing (1)

danimal67 (679464) | more than 8 years ago | (#14785622)

While I agree with you, you're correct in believing that this tiered concept certainly won't go over well on Slashdot. In fact, the concept of paying for anything usually tanks here, whether stated directly, or through the thinly veiled arguments of many here regarding P2P or DRM.

Re:I'm not sure tiered Internet is a bad thing (1)

slashkitty (21637) | more than 8 years ago | (#14785666)

First, people don't want to have to watch how much they download. When you start metering the account, that's what you do. That will never fly (unless you give them some super huge about in the TB range.

On the server side of things, I pay for metered bandwith, which I monitor daily. However, I pay about $100 for 2TB of transfer at 100Mbs, and that's with a server. That's approximately 6Mbs constant for the entire month. I don't think most people have any idea of how much (little) they download.

They aren't worried about traffic "jams" (4, Insightful)

garcia (6573) | more than 8 years ago | (#14785184)

ISPs are not concerned with traffic "jams". They are concerned with their overselling of bandwidth and people beginning to actually use broadband the way it was intended to be used -- not to replace dialup for speedier POP e-mail and a couple of websites.

Yep (2, Insightful)

bogie (31020) | more than 8 years ago | (#14785522)

Exactly. Consumers actually becoming empowered is the biggest fear that corporations and our government has. Witness the debates on Bloggers rights, P2P trading and communication, etc. It's all about keeping the consumer marginalized and making sure they A) don't post information your trying to hide, *cough* Bu$h *cough*, and B)they don't develop alternative means of developing entertainment and communication that circumvent traditional Media monopolies.

It's all about control, and the fear of losing it.

Cache server (4, Interesting)

MacGod (320762) | more than 8 years ago | (#14785190)

One of the ways thsi could potentially be alleviated is through the intelligent use of a cache/proxy server. I know of one small ISP back in the day (admittedly long before downloadable video was at all common) that elected to invest in just such a server, rather than significantly upgrading their bandwidth. They analysed their traffic and found that there were large swaths of data that were requested by many people (for example today that might be the most popular 20 Google videos, or the images on the Slashdot front page or whatever). By caching these locally, they were able to dramatically cut down on their bandwidth usage to their data provider. The ISP-to-user bandwidth was much cheaper, so this was a great way for them to increase their effective bandwidth without having to pay for massive data pipe upgrades.

I have to wonder (3, Insightful)

Recovering Hater (833107) | more than 8 years ago | (#14785192)

Is this just another "The Internet Sky is going to FALL!" episode? Any excuse to charge another buck for bandwidth on the presumption that things are gonna get really bad if they don't.

Yep (3, Insightful)

TheRealMindChild (743925) | more than 8 years ago | (#14785194)

Internet voice calls, which can be garbled by any network congestion, are increasingly common

And this is exactally why I do not subscribe to the VOIP bandwagon yet. ComCast's service is so hit-or-miss sometimes, I can't trust a phone service on it. Hell, I can't even trust an uninterrupted game of Q2 deathmatch. Mind you, this isn't exclusive to ComCast. It's a trend propogating through all broadband ISPs as they meet a level they can't serve.

Asterisk is very very close. (2, Interesting)

numbski (515011) | more than 8 years ago | (#14785621)

I've been using asterisk for nearly 6 months now, doing all voip. My only grip is that even though my upstream provider will allow IAX2 termination, they will only let me use ulaw codec, rather than gsm or speex, which would significantly reduce the throughput needed.

I'm in the process of getting some IAX2 servers in place in our data center so I can use some leaner codecs, the trick here is that in practice this is all transcoding...I'm doing the equivalent of wav -> mp3 on all of that audio in real-time, which is the reason my upstream provider won't allow it, and I can't realy blame them in that regard.

If you work with someone that knows their stuff, gives you a properly prioritized connection, and you minimize latency to them, VOIP will just beat the living tar out of POTS. The problem is that companies like Comcast won't give you that kind of personalized attention. If I want to provide cheap sip or iax2 termination, I can do it, but I can't support you that well. If you're willing to wrestle with it yourself, absolutely.

We're heading into an area where high tech must be supportable, and not just throw out there.

Anybody else read this... (3, Insightful)

grasshoppa (657393) | more than 8 years ago | (#14785197)

Did anybody else read this and immediately check to see if zdnet is owned by AT&T?

Maybe I'm paraniod, but it's a perfectly healthy attitude to have in this country.

Re:Anybody else read this... (4, Insightful)

lopingrhondo (186235) | more than 8 years ago | (#14785234)

Absolutely. This reads like a press release from the AT&T Verizon duopoly. More FUD that's going to circulate in the news in the coming months in order to convince people that tiered internet laws are necessary.

Re:Anybody else read this... (1)

Achoi77 (669484) | more than 8 years ago | (#14785635)

My brother was in Korea for the past 2 years, and the first thing he said when he came back to the US was "What is the connection so freakin slow??" We are on broadband, I was used to downloading big files at average download 'high' speeds of around 30-40kbps. Sometimes I would see it go up as much as 200kbps with BT, but never anything beyond that. To my brother, he considered 200kbps slow!

I'm gonna go out on a limb and have to agree with Dvorak: this needs to be government mandated if we are to see faster adaption of all this technology. I'm sick and tired of it all this being held back simply because of some greedy execs are trying to leech every last dollar out of us, without having to shell out any money to upgrade their systems. Why aren't those monopoly rules applying here??

Is submitter a lobbyist? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14785214)

This is the same "Telcos want to throttle internet traffic" article that has been going around, but this time spun to look like it's an urgent need instead of a money grab.

simple (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14785217)

dont offer services that you cant deliver
if an ISP sells xMB connections for x$ and cant deliver then how is that the customers fault ?

Wow (4, Funny)

Moby Cock (771358) | more than 8 years ago | (#14785220)

This is so profound. I am simply staggered with this depth of reasoning involved with this. Companies that depend on the availability of a resource will be affected if that resource is unavailable. Amazing!

In a related story, high tech companies are concerned that they may lose money in the event of a power outage.

Let the info blitz begin (5, Insightful)

narrowhouse (1949) | more than 8 years ago | (#14785226)

Expect a lot of stories that logically lead to a tiered Internet in the next few months. First there were stories about the telecom companies considering tiers. Now there will be stories about how the current internet structure is threatened by certain applications that require high bandwidth. Then the excuse will be that they HAD to go to tiered service because the infrastructure just couldn't handle the strain without causing riots, plaugues and famine.

Re:Let the info blitz begin (4, Insightful)

Ludedude (948645) | more than 8 years ago | (#14785566)

I'm reserving judgement until the "Bandwidth shortage crisis threatens homeland security" headline airs on Fox "News".

Networks and roads (2, Interesting)

bpbond (246836) | more than 8 years ago | (#14785238)

Serious online hiccups could be as irritating, and potentially economically damaging, as persistent L.A. traffic jams."

That's a really interesting analogy. It's taken us (the U.S.) fifty years to figure out that if you build more, and higher-capacity, roads, it alleviates congestion temporarily but ultimately results in...more traffic and more congestion. Does something similar apply to networks? Adding more bandwidth may be expensive, but unlike roads, (i) usage is easy to monitor and thus charge for, increasing companies' incentive to invest, and (ii) the many damaging externalities (i.e., costs like air pollution that traditionally aren't factored into the "price" of roads and cars) seem to be absent for computer networks.

Re:Networks and roads (1)

voice_of_all_reason (926702) | more than 8 years ago | (#14785332)

That's a really interesting analogy. It's taken us (the U.S.) fifty years to figure out that if you build more, and higher-capacity, roads, it alleviates congestion temporarily but ultimately results in...more traffic and more congestion.

I'm genuine interested in that idea. It sounds plausible, like some of the reasons why one guy riding his breaks can cause a standstill three miles back, but maybe you can elaborate?

Re:Networks and roads (2)

deadlinegrunt (520160) | more than 8 years ago | (#14785388)

"...more traffic and more congestion. Does something similar apply to networks?"

Sure - RFC 1925 [rfc-archive.org] Section 2.9 of Networking Truths.

Re:Networks and roads (1)

egarland (120202) | more than 8 years ago | (#14785565)

It's taken us (the U.S.) fifty years to figure out that if you build more, and higher-capacity, roads, it alleviates congestion temporarily but ultimately results in...more traffic and more congestion.

This is nonsense. When is the last time your boss said you didn't need to go to work because traffic was going to be bad? People time-shift their travel to accomidate undersized highways, they don't eliminate it. The idea that increasing capacity to meet demand can't work is rediculous. I don't know how it crept into our society but it needs to be stamped out.. It's runing our roads and forcing everyone to drive on radically undersized dangerous highways.

Quality of Service (3, Insightful)

Jon Luckey (7563) | more than 8 years ago | (#14785240)

Wow, its almost as if the ISPs were trying to say that people would have to pay more if they wanted thier packets routed with a high standard for delivery time. Where have I heard that recently? [washingtonpost.com]

Podcasts (2, Interesting)

Plocmstart (718110) | more than 8 years ago | (#14785242)

Very popular audio podcasts can cause some issues for small ISPs also. I own one such ISP that hosts a website with a podcast that has become very popular. Being able to deliver that much content to so many people hasn't yet maxed out our bandwidth, but it definately is using a majority of the total that we see right now.

Re:Podcasts (1)

3.5 stripes (578410) | more than 8 years ago | (#14785387)

Why not set up a tracker and seed for a torrent?

This is the perfect application for this technology.

Re:Podcasts (1)

ocbwilg (259828) | more than 8 years ago | (#14785547)

Very popular audio podcasts can cause some issues for small ISPs also. I own one such ISP that hosts a website with a podcast that has become very popular. Being able to deliver that much content to so many people hasn't yet maxed out our bandwidth, but it definately is using a majority of the total that we see right now.

Assuming that you haven't already, it sounds like it's time that your customer "upgrade" to a plan that allows for higher bandwidth. I'm sure that it's all in the ToS.

Get more bandwidth (4, Insightful)

AKAImBatman (238306) | more than 8 years ago | (#14785246)

The other day I overheard a fellow at a local game store chatting with a cop about getting better speeds on BitTorrent(!). (Disclaimer: Always remember that there *are* legal uses for BitTorrent.) At this point, BitTorrent and other P2P downloads have become so widespread that they are using a significant fraction of the Internet's resources. I don't see how adding more legal video downloads is going to create a traffic jam above and beyond what we already have. In fact, it's quite likely that many of the legal downloads will replace either illegal or amature-produced downloads. Thus the net effect, IMHO, would be undoubtedly far less than expected.

If service providers feel they actually have a reason to be concerned about the matter, then they should see it as an opportunity to sell more server class bandwidth to customers. Assuming they're not undercutting themselves (???), they should be able to use the sales to increase their bandwidth infrastructure to meet the needs.

Honestly, I think the question is, who is raising the concerns in the article and why? The answer seems to be, "the service providers" and "so they can sell the idea of tiered service". Will they just get over it? No one is buying the tiered service idea.

Wrong side of problem to worry about (2, Insightful)

tibike77 (611880) | more than 8 years ago | (#14785250)

Well, let's see...

If Application X (games mostly) was too much for your system, what did you do ?
Try to improve on the application engine, request code rewrites and wait for patches ?

If you knew NY traffic was going to be awfull, do buy a faster car ?
NOPE. Actually, you could SELL the car.
And you will use the subway, or in case you can't, get a cab.
Or, if you're the mayor, put a huge "car usage price" and get the freaking streets empty (and the city rich) at the same time.

So... is your ISP (you being a big company) having problems with your traffic ?
Well... get a better "pipe" plan, or switch ISPs.

AS LONG AS YOU ASK FOR MORE BANDWIDTH, and you do it for "long term", somebody, somewhere is going to be more than happy to provide it for you.
So the answer is not "limit usage", but "build better roads".

If only people would pay for bandwidth, right? (1)

Angostura (703910) | more than 8 years ago | (#14785254)

I'm not a blind free-market lover, but what is this article going on about? ISPs who want to offer their customers fast connectivity and decent throughput will preferentially pay for peering with decent backbones that have invested in bandwidth.... even if that means paying a bit more, in my opinion. Therefore there is a financial reward available for provisioning more bandwidth and therefore the market should ensure that it will happen.

It's not as if there is any shortage of dark fibre lying about and wave division multiplexing means that existing circuits can also have additional capacity squeezed out of them.

What this article is really about is the fact that packet-inspection companies are pushing their technologies as a way to let the ISPs offer tiered services based on traffic type. I don't have particular issue with this either, but enough of the 'we're running out of bandwidth' doom and gloom already.

Netcraft Confirms It (1)

nmccart (952969) | more than 8 years ago | (#14785281)

Video killed the radio ... um, Internet star!

/ Slashdot won't let me use the <strike> HTML tags?
// But I can use slashies!
/// Wait, this isn't Fark

supply and demand (1)

Bog Standard (743863) | more than 8 years ago | (#14785293)

You know this is nothing new. From a purely personal perspective, when I had 2.4Kb I waited ages to get stuff. When I went 128K ISDN mp3 and went realtime (I mean the time to download versus the time to listen). When I got 512Kb ADSL video downloads were then a viable proposition, a 43 minute episode was a 2hr download (for a 350MB file). Now I find that my 10Mb cable is good for multiple mp4/DVD ISOs, but HDTV TS in not quite there.

Its all a case of media volumes increasing and infrastructure playing catch-up, at least for the UK last mile anyway. As for the links between me and my sources, I see no bandwidth problems and I'm connecting to some pretty popular sites. I think the key here is that where p2p is concerned, apart from the university connections, its the home user's upload speed which is key.

There is stacks of unused bandwidth out there.

Be alert, the world need more lerts

OMG we are going to run out of bandwidth!!! (1)

16K Ram Pack (690082) | more than 8 years ago | (#14785294)

Someone send zdnet on an economics 101 course.

If video is slowing stuff down, one of two things will happen - ISPs will start charging for bandwidth to reduce demand, or more fibre will get laid to cope with it.

It's little theory known as "supply and demand".

OK, I get it. (1)

Vengeance (46019) | more than 8 years ago | (#14785298)

From the article:

ISPs' rhetoric is increasingly strident about content from outside providers raising the costs of their networks," said Jupiter Research analyst Joe Laszlo. "But I haven't seen hard data that suggests the volume of legitimate video is coming close to swamping ISP networks yet.

I think I understand. ISPs (whatever THAT means) are annoyed that they will have to... how do I put this... Provide Internet Service? Shocking.

Simple Solution... (1)

Khyber (864651) | more than 8 years ago | (#14785305)

Get all the internet companies in the US to stop selling crap broadband, stop being greedy, and catch up with the rest of the developed world and give us our FTTP. Problem solved.

Of course, with the current problem of corporations runnign everything, fat chance of that happening anytime soon.

Multicasting to the rescue (5, Insightful)

Captain Perspicuous (899892) | more than 8 years ago | (#14785313)

How about if the major ISPs finally get their act together and allow Multicast [wikipedia.org] on their networks? For podcasts and videopodcasts with thousands subscribers, this would cut bandwith costs by huge factors.

Re:Multicasting to the rescue (1)

Jeff DeMaagd (2015) | more than 8 years ago | (#14785380)

That seems to require people on the same network to be downloading the same data at the same time.

Re:Multicasting to the rescue (1)

Captain Perspicuous (899892) | more than 8 years ago | (#14785458)

Exactly. That's why it works well with podcasting, where people don't need to have a file immediately, because the subscribe. Multicast an episode every 30 minutes and everybody gets the full episode daily with much less bandwith problems.

I try not to be paranoid, but... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14785315)

...I have a sneaking suspicion that this story is in some way a submarine [paulgraham.com] . For who in specific, I'm not entirely sure, but a number of organisations are currently keen to start segregating online traffic, including those whose revenues are threatened by VoIP and those who currently sell bandwidth.

Getting people used to such an idea would be the first step. Either way, the talk of segregation has more to do with profiteering than "traffic jams" for consumers. Video content providers won't deliberately outpace the growth of networks that can accommodate them, and most ISPs already offer tiered broadband, so I'd lean towards this particular story being more the anti-VoIP crowd.

And, of course, not forgetting the plug for Itiva at the top of the story, who want to sell people their supposedly new and improved video compression tech.

It's all about tiered QOS (4, Insightful)

TheCoders (955280) | more than 8 years ago | (#14785317)

The Future Of The Internet (TM) is going to be varying levels of service depending on how much you (and/or the content providers) want to pay. The specs are mostly there for providing multi-tiered Quality of Service (QOS), but the implementation is still some years away. As we know, there is also some controversy involved here.

As an example, if a given company (can anyone say "Google"?) wanted to provide VoIP telephone service with a guaranteed, deterministic, bit-rate allocated to each connection, they would sign a contract with a particular ISP and pay certain licensing fees and so on. The controversy arises because we could reach a point where a large chunk of bandwidth is dedicated to these paid-for streams, and the rest of the world is left with a best-effort attempt at whatever's left over. This would of course leave the smaller companies out in the cold. If CNN.com pays the premium to provided guaranteed QOS for it's streaming audio, and another, smaller site does not, well, guess who's video is going to look better?

At the moment, there is still a lot of dark fiber and unused bandwidth in the backbone, such that the real bottlenecks, if any, are in the last mile to the house, so it's not an issue. Yet. It'll be interesting to see how this pans out, but it's not hard to envision a future where the days of all internet sites being equal are long gone.

Correction (1)

Cumikaze (955966) | more than 8 years ago | (#14785319)

Pr0n Usage Creates Traffic Jam Worries


Should people pay for the bandwidth they use? (2, Insightful)

Tominva1045 (587712) | more than 8 years ago | (#14785325)

Most big ISPs (comcast, verizon, etc.) charge a typical flat rate for monthly service. So Bobby checking his email pays the same as Grandma downloading those high-quality Frank Sinatra mpegs.

But maybe there's another way to do this- monthly fees based upon data transfer. I pay it now as the host, but maybe the consumer should pay some metered/scaled/tiered rate?

It's easy enough to compute transfer rates per account (they do this now in a limited way so they can send warnings to people consuming too much bandwidth) and the ISPs would relaize more revenue (so their stock holders would like it).

Finally, the companies could make many confusing, multi-tierd plans and market the bejesus out of them like the cell phone companies do. Whoa.. think I just hit the ugly part...

Re:Should people pay for the bandwidth they use? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14785599)

I actually like that idea, but would prefer more of a hybrid. A flat monthly fee plus a charge per GB over a certain amount. That way granny could get her grandkids pictures quickly and cheaply, and bittorrent junkies can get their fix without a nasty phone call.

A pure per-GB fee would mean insane prices for high-bandwidth users while Granny would almost certainly cost the companies more in tech-support then they would get in revenue.

NO to metered usage... (1)

maillemaker (924053) | more than 8 years ago | (#14785630)

But maybe there's another way to do this- monthly fees based upon data transfer. I pay it now as the host, but maybe the consumer should pay some metered/scaled/tiered rate?

Back in the bad old days of pre-dialup, most services WERE pay-by-the-minute services. I HATE that kind of plan. I hate pay-per-minute usage for phones and cell phones. I can't stand every time I go to use the thing constantly fretting about how many minutes are ticking away. I want a flat rate that I can count on being the same no matter how much or little I use it.

I do not mind the idea of tiered service pricing. We already have it. You can pay X dollars for dialup, a little more for broadband, and my broadband provider has different levels of broadband service for which you can pay more for each step up in speed. I have no problem with that. You want to go faster, you pay more.

BUT - I should get a guarantee that I'm getting what I paid for. If I'm paying for X level of speed, then I expect that level of speed. If the Telcos want to throttle data based on how much the SENDER of the data has paid them, how do I know, as a receiver, what level of service the sender has paid for? It's no use to pay a Bazzillion dollars amonth for ultra-high bandwidth if all the content providers are throttled down to 56k.


Blue Screen of Death... (0, Offtopic)

creimer (824291) | more than 8 years ago | (#14785338)

There's nothing more distracting than driving down the freeway and seeing a video screen with the Blue Screen of Death. It will only get worse as Windows Vista has the Red Screen of Death that people will rubberneck just to see Microsoft's newest OS feature.

Heck... (1)

mangus_angus (873781) | more than 8 years ago | (#14785364)

heres an idea....why don't the ISP's try upgrading their systems and get us up where the rest of world seems to be. Verison seems to be the only one not kicking and screaming about getting us caught up with the 50 meg+ countries...

greedy broadband provider oversells backbone hmm (1)

spacepimp (664856) | more than 8 years ago | (#14785377)

Let me see if i am understanding this fully? Broadband company sells unlimited service at flat fee, overselling its bandwidth at a rate of typically 4 to 1. Users use the bandwidth they are sold. Greedy broadband companies oversell policy is so overdone that it hurts their QOS (qulaity of service). Greedy broadband company decides to push media sensationalism stating their need to upsell. End user gets prices raised for using what they were guaranteed in the first place. Why not go back to compuserve and pay per MB. I like to scream when i burn.

Uninformed (1)

TallMatthew (919136) | more than 8 years ago | (#14785392)

Typical CNET column. They think there's a problem because it makes sense to them and then they go find someone who agrees.

Most Internet traffic is consolidated within large network companies (Tier 1s, cable companies, phone companies) at this point. Large network comapnies exchange traffic with each other over high-capacity circuits (peering points) in multiple locations. Typically they don't charge each other for it because it allows both to keep their traffic levels at public exchanges, which are expensive to manage, to a minimum.

The video over IP companies who will have issues are those who don't have an existing footprint. Peering like I describe above isn't available to them. They must provide services by purchasing bandwidth from the aforementioned companies. Otherwise bottlenecks they can't control will become a problem. The only way to avoid that is to purchase multiple circuits from multiple carriers ($$$) in order to get the packets to their customers with as few exchanges as possible. The fact they have to pay for this and the larger companies don't gives the large companies a tremendous competitive advantage.

dark fibre (1)

wwmedia (950346) | more than 8 years ago | (#14785398)

fortunately the DOT COM era of the internet left us with piles of unused bandwith :)

I smell... (0)

GoodbyeBlueSky1 (176887) | more than 8 years ago | (#14785400)

F? Check.
U? Check.
D? Check.

What's that spell? "Slow News Day".

The press is stupid (2, Interesting)

Kohath (38547) | more than 8 years ago | (#14785403)

Oh no, a problem! We're the press. We don't know anything about anything. How can this problem possibly be fixed! What's to be done!? Are we all doomed?

People who solve problems instead of hyping them understand that if there's a shortage of something (bandwidth, or QoS in this case), you go get more of it. And the problem is solved.

I have an idea - pay me to increase priority! (1)

wsanders (114993) | more than 8 years ago | (#14785407)

Hey I have an idea - why don't you video providers pay me extra to access my pipes and I'll bump up the priority of your traffic.

Your truly,


traffic jams (1)

Avohir (889832) | more than 8 years ago | (#14785429)

did anyone else read the title and think... "well why are they watching the videos in their car?"

Oh my, the Internet is going to implode! (1)

slashname3 (739398) | more than 8 years ago | (#14785432)

How many times have we heard that in the past? USENET can not possibly keep pushing around all those news groups, it's going to die! There's just to much traffic!

Should have put a picture of chicken little in a tin foil hat on this one.

Astroturf (3, Insightful)

Doc Ruby (173196) | more than 8 years ago | (#14785435)

When you read Borland's article, keep in mind that his argument about video streaming creating unfair expenses for ISPs, without compensating them as much as the content providers, is the reason that telcos like AT&T and Verizon are demanding different charges for accessing competitors like Google. The telcos want a "2-tier Internet", with more expensive "premium" fees for fast, reliable access to content competitors like Google and Time Warner, just as the telcos start competing with them with their own video streams. But Borland doesn't mention that aspect of his argument, even though it's hot news.

Blame microsoft. (1)

leuk_he (194174) | more than 8 years ago | (#14785441)

we can blame microsoft for this since they dropped the QOS api there was in windows 2000. Now we have to wait for ipv6 to become the standard because that one does have an option for quality of service buildin.

Silly ISPs (1)

texaskid (942936) | more than 8 years ago | (#14785472)

Why don't we make our own bandwidth out of a bunch of matter. Or hire 150,000 midgets to actually jaunt the packets around the country, sound good? Okay. We can tier that too. Our midgets legs are too short, want a tiered midget? we'll give you a "barely legal" midget--dang that "barely legal" thing is just so catchy.

Telco? (1)

XMilkProject (935232) | more than 8 years ago | (#14785483)

Sounds like an article sponsored by the Telco companies, to build support for their networking plans to charge providers for QOS.

Late for work! (3, Funny)

slashbob22 (918040) | more than 8 years ago | (#14785496)

I can just see the excuses now.
Employee: Sorry I was late for work boss. My telecommute was delayed in a "traffic jam". Traffic was moving well down the backbone, but when I pulled off at the Cisco exit it slowed down to a crawl due to a collision at the next router. After so long in traffic I was running low on gas and headed for the nearest repeater, unfortunately I didn't make it and my 'car' was dropped off the road.

Or, to put it another way (1)

iainl (136759) | more than 8 years ago | (#14785503)

Will you fuckers all stop downloading shit? I want this bandwidth to myself - Can't you understand that your needs aren't as important as mine?

I'm a professional, Goddamn it!

argh (1)

kevin.fowler (915964) | more than 8 years ago | (#14785514)

I love it when the same net service I've been paying increasing amounts for over 3 years gets progressively slower and less reliable... and now they want to charge me MORE for LESS than I was getting 3 years ago?

I get better connections when my wifi slides to my neighbor's signal (different carrier). Let's punish the power user for attempting to utilize what they paid for.

I already have Vonage performance problems... (1)

maillemaker (924053) | more than 8 years ago | (#14785520)

I already hear from my friends sometimes that our phone service (via Vonage) sounds like it has a delay or echo in it. Sometimes I can hear it on my end, too.

I sometimes wonder if my content is getting "throttled" by some carrier along the way...


If only.. (1)

xx01dk (191137) | more than 8 years ago | (#14785521)

..L.A.'s (and the rest of Cali's) freeway systems weren't built with "dark lanes" to which they could simply hook up a router (tollbooth) to enable more throughput. How short-sighted of them.

FUD from telcos? (1)

nysus (162232) | more than 8 years ago | (#14785532)

I have no evidence but I strongly suspect this kind of news story is part of a sophisticated PR attempt by the telcos to help lay the groundwork for their attempt to tier the internet.

I read a recent NYT article which said if we had faster broadband speeds like in other first world countries, the problems with bottlenecks simply vanish. Let's see if the telcos champion that solution.

Blurb Is Economically Ignorant (1)

Rocketship Underpant (804162) | more than 8 years ago | (#14785540)

"Serious online hiccups could be as irritating, and potentially economically damaging, as persistent L.A. traffic jams."

If people need and want bandwidth, the market will happily comply and keep increasing it. I've already got 55 megabit fibre to my house where I live. Besides government regulation and controls, I can't think of any reason telecommunication companies cannot meet the demands of Internet users.

Video on the IPOD (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14785568)

Is for fucking faggots!

Death of Internet predicted! News at eleven! (1)

hph (32331) | more than 8 years ago | (#14785571)

South Korea, Japan, Sweden point at USA and laugh...

How will this be an issue? (1)

ZonkerWilliam (953437) | more than 8 years ago | (#14785590)

With most telecommunication companies moving to IP based Eeverything (telephone, movies, radio, etc.) this won't be an issue since they will be able to implement BWM (BandWidth Management) and have dedicated whatever amount of traffic for downloads they so choose...

Just for once... (1)

Alpha_Traveller (685367) | more than 8 years ago | (#14785613)

I'd rather have these costs hit bandwidth providers like SBC in the pocketbook. Year after year they post incredible profits and they whine about not being able to provide us with faster connections and infrastructure. Eat some profits providers. Spend some money, instead of pushing it back on us with higher costs.

Video traffic nonsense (1)

mmalove (919245) | more than 8 years ago | (#14785640)

When we all purchased our internet connections, we purchased speeds "up to xMB/sec", or some such formula. Do we ever actually hit the up to cap? My ISP doesn't. It doesn't today. It didn't 5 years ago. What's new?

As long as internet service providers can get away with not having a service level agreement to a minimum traffic speed, talk about more or less bandwidth is just an excuse not to purchase more hardware. Basically it's the ISPs market right now, and the end user suffers.

Though I can say, verizon has been very reliable for me. The speed isn't always top notch, but it rarely if ever goes down in my area. And that's important when the queues for stormrage grow a half hour deep :P

Scaremongering by the badguys (1)

IGnatius T Foobar (4328) | more than 8 years ago | (#14785653)

Disregard this completely. Networks will add capacity to meet the demand of their paying customers.

If you ask me, this is probably a bunch of scaremongering by the pigopolists over at Verizon and AT&T designed to get people to think more highly of the idea of a "tiered Internet" where "content providers" like Google have to pay extra for the privilege of sending bandwidth-intensive video over the Internet.

Fibre Channel to everyone's home!!! (1)

reverend0 (560833) | more than 8 years ago | (#14785654)

It is our right to have copper run to our home to host our precious video, voip, and other "special activities". Being for the U.S., I hear these "crazy" rumors that Korea, Japan, and most European countries have much better internet backbones. It just makes little sense that we can't get the same here.
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