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How Would You Deal With A Global Bandwidth Crisis?

Zonk posted more than 7 years ago | from the read-a-book dept.

Networking 478

lopy writes "First Google claimed the internet infrastructure won't scale to provide an acceptable user experience for online video. Then some networking experts predict that a flu pandemic would bring the internet to it's knees and lead to internet rationing. We used to think that bandwidth would always increase as needed, but what would happen if that isn't the case? How would you deal with a global bandwidth shortage? Would you be willing to voluntarily limit your internet usage if necessary? Could you live in a world without cheap and plentiful broadband internet access?"

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How would I deal with it? (5, Funny)

JesseL (107722) | more than 7 years ago | (#18031868)

I guess I'd have to stop reloading slashdot every 10 seconds.

Re:How would I deal with it? (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18031904)

I guess I'd have to stop reloading slashdot every 10 seconds.

And I'd have to stop downloading porn. Oh, the humanity!

"Global bandwidth crisis" is a crock (2, Insightful)

EmbeddedJanitor (597831) | more than 7 years ago | (#18032246)

Talking of a glocal bandwidth crisis is bullshit. Bandwidth cannot be meaningfully traded/exported etc like, say, oil. To talk of a global oil crisis is meaningful because there is only xxx production worldwide and yyy demand and a country with a surplus (more desire for cash than lots of oil) can stuff the surplus in a tanker and ship it to a country with more desire for oil than cash (typically USA). You can't trade bandwidth like this: if I install some fibre in Mexico, I can't realisticly ship the bandwidth to New York.

There can only meaningfully be a bandwidth issue between the endpoints of a transaction.

Re:How would I deal with it? (1)

statusbar (314703) | more than 7 years ago | (#18032290)

I guess I'd have to install an advertising blocker. The majority of bandwidth that I use is all these flash-video advertisements when I am trying to read simple text based sites, like slashdot. So in the event of a "bandwidth shortage", advertising revenue to websites would decrease...


Re:How would I deal with it? (2, Funny)

Dr. Eggman (932300) | more than 7 years ago | (#18032386)

I guess that would mean I'd have to stop my shoddy-attempt-at-a-web-spider from crawling through the Slashdot links, too.

Whoops, no need. It just crashed again...

My answer (5, Insightful)

suso (153703) | more than 7 years ago | (#18031874)

How Would You Deal With A Global Bandwidth Crisis?

Simple, I wouldn't put up with it. I would demand that they make technologies that do scale. With all the breakthroughs that we've seen lately in storage, CPU power and bandwidth on I2, I just can't believe these kind of statements. These kind of fear tactics I believe are meant to help drive up the price of bandwidth when people are driving it down.

I'd do my part (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18031888)

I would do my part and only pound refresh on slashdot five times a minute.

No Chance (2, Insightful)

mrbcs (737902) | more than 7 years ago | (#18031896)

"Could you live in a world without cheap and plentiful broadband internet access?"

GET STUFFED! I moved to the boonies and put up with dialup for 2 weeks, then satelite for 6 months till I finally got on the supernet.

You can pry my bandwidth from my cold dead hands!

This is America. (3, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18031902)

We get what we want, and everyone else goes without. Nobody here cares if Nepal is cut off, right? Right.

Pandemic == gamers gone wild online! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18031908)

The number of people that will go home and play real-time online games during a pandemic is the best threat!

But on a serious note, this is why the PC was invented. Remember?!?!? To detach us from SkyNet!


We need more software that can work in an offline or semi-offline fashion. NOT more integrated software.


United States (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18031910)

"Could you live in a world without cheap and plentiful broadband internet access?"

I Live in the United States you insensitive clod!

From what I understand (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18031922)

bandwidth is an artificial limitation to a point (ie: you can't have 100 people soaking up a 100MBit line at 100MBit each and expect people to be happy). But the ISP's are limiting everything on purpose to insanely slow speeds in comparison to what they can actually do.

re: I worked for an ISP until recently.

They're just cheap when it comes to actually upgrading the infrastructure.

Re:From what I understand (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18032300)

"the ISP's are limiting"

a group of people are sitting in a room discussing more profit for less work is "limiting"

Re:From what I understand (3, Interesting)

NickCatal (865805) | more than 7 years ago | (#18032460)

No... They would upgrade their infrastructure if there was any major market demand for it.. and thus people were willing to pay for it.

There isn't... and thus they aren't...

Well, maybe YOU want more bandwidth, but I know that in my household we never use even a fraction of our quite nice cable modem bandwidth, even with 4 computers going.

I do some freelance work for a hosting company in Chicago. Their network has more than enough bandwidth to serve all of their bandwidth-chuging clients... yet if they have 2Gbps (number out of the air) of bandwidth that customers have purchased, they are NEVER going to hit over say 1.25Gbps... it just doesn't work like that... and if everybody had gigabit lines on your block, it would be the same...

Self-limiting congestion (4, Insightful)

FooAtWFU (699187) | more than 7 years ago | (#18031938)

If the whole Internet is truly choking on bandwidth issues, all those "high-bandwidth" things they complain about (YouTube) will be too slow to get at properly, and people will give up and go watch TV or something instead.

Did 9/11 choke the Internet? I'd say that was a heck of a lot more of an immediate go-to-your-computer-for-news crisis...

Re:Self-limiting congestion (1)

superpulpsicle (533373) | more than 7 years ago | (#18032158)

Does anyone know what infrastructure/routing mechanisms are used to link across the ocean? For US eastcoast to US westcoast is dark fibre underground. But wtf links us to europe, china and other places across the ocean?

Re:Self-limiting congestion (1)

MayonakaHa (562348) | more than 7 years ago | (#18032244)

Pretty much the same stuff, just waterproofed and laying on the ocean floor.

Re:Self-limiting congestion (1)

MrAnnoyanceToYou (654053) | more than 7 years ago | (#18032312)

Big, fat, huge undersea network cables that transmit lots and lots of data and can really only be maintained by submarines. Hang around and read enough Slashdot, and you'll see people who know to complain about sharks attacking them if they're not properly shielded.

The likelihood of them being overwhelmed is quite............. silly to contemplate. In reality, the market would adjust, and technology would quickly be built to compensate for it. Google's already prepping.

morning of 9-11 (4, Interesting)

HBI (604924) | more than 7 years ago | (#18032206)

Yahoo ground to a halt, literally, couldn't refresh. Most news sites were pretty difficult to get a hold of.

It was congestion, clearly. I know I was working at an IBM hosting facility and it wasn't a good day for us.

Re:morning of 9-11 (4, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18032310)

Any such effect would have been caused by traffic overwhelming server capabilities at the news sites, or soaking up all the individual sites' available bandwidth. The internet as a whole performed just fine on 9/11.

Re:Self-limiting congestion (4, Interesting)

dgatwood (11270) | more than 7 years ago | (#18032240)

No, it didn't choke the internet, but it pretty much choked it for that corridor. Of course, that was mostly because a huge chunk of New York's comms infrastructure was routed through the WTC and/or the Verizon building across the street.... Amazing how the whole premise of ARPANet was decentralizing everything, and now we've slowly reverted back to a situation where a failure in certain key core backbone facilities can really wreck things, and a failure in only a handful of root DNS servers can similarly decimate usability.

We should be looking for ways to use P2P technology to solve these high bandwidth problems, decentralizing the data as much as possible, caching it regionally as much as possible, etc. Instead, all the players seem to be too focused on who controls the rights, thus ensuring that no progress is made....


Re:Self-limiting congestion (1)

LordEd (840443) | more than 7 years ago | (#18032444)

Actually i didn't really notice any Internet problems. I was too busy reading a fascinating story about a goat.

Trim that Forward! (1)

rueger (210566) | more than 7 years ago | (#18031940)

We gotta save bandwidth!

I can remember ten years ago being told that you have to trim every extraneous character from messages, refrain from quoting more than one sentence, and keep your sig to three lines, all because we were worried that we were gobbling up precious bandwidth.

Now I routinely e-mail 5 meg attachments and download DVDs and movies (PD of course).

Why am I not worried?

Nope (0, Flamebait)

supasam (658359) | more than 7 years ago | (#18031942)

No, I wouldn't curb my internet usage, I'm an american, damnit, I take what I want, when I want it, and how I want it, and ain't nobody stoppin me.

Inciteful ;) (1)

M0b1u5 (569472) | more than 7 years ago | (#18032398)

No, I wouldn't curb my internet usage, I'm an american, damnit, I take what I want, when I want it, and how I want it, and ain't nobody stoppin me.
You've obviously been listening to Dumbya and the "pre-emptive war" doctrine. It's a remarkable refelction of the US Government (as a slave of the capitalists) attitude. What's odd of course, is that it is completely at odds with the will of the American people.

Who is it here that has this wonderful siggy? "In the 1980s capitalism triumphed over communism. In the 2000s it triumphed over democracy."

I'd do the same thing I always have (4, Insightful)

Marxist Hacker 42 (638312) | more than 7 years ago | (#18031956)

Return to text based services to minimize my bandwidth usage

Texting (2, Funny)

benhocking (724439) | more than 7 years ago | (#18032048)

Jst rembr 2 spl rite. Evry chr cnts!

Re:Texting (1)

Marxist Hacker 42 (638312) | more than 7 years ago | (#18032268)

:-) Slashdot on Lynx is much easier to read anyway- no flashing graphics from that include a portscan. Oh, did you think I meant SMS?

Nah, but it was a better joke that way (1)

benhocking (724439) | more than 7 years ago | (#18032394)

I was assuming links/lynx and/or pine/elm. (IIRC, links is actually better than lynx.)

I actually still use pine. First time I used elm was around 1988 or so. Only had one other friend with an e-mail account, though. I used lynx back in the day when I only had dial-up. I've since done a few things with links where I wanted some automation control. (Haven't touched it in several years, however.)

Re:I'd do the same thing I always have (2, Insightful)

ksheff (2406) | more than 7 years ago | (#18032108)

basically behave like a dialup user. YouTube & other high bandwidth sites aren't that important. The VoIP users might not like it though.

Re:I'd do the same thing I always have (1)

Marxist Hacker 42 (638312) | more than 7 years ago | (#18032342)

Yep- I was slow to move to GUIs and never could see the point of moving beyond a 33.6kbaud modem back then. My connection (to my UNIX command line account at the college) with Pine and Lynx was plenty for me- and worked just as well on my (then) 12 year old TI-99/4a or my 6 year old Geneve 9640 as it did on my homebrewed '386 running DOS.

Re:I'd do the same thing I always have (2, Insightful)

skoaldipper (752281) | more than 7 years ago | (#18032114)

Which is the greatest ad blocker that I can think of as well. Maybe limit commercial sites and their use of graphics first.

Re:I'd do the same thing I always have (1)

sorcerersystems (954534) | more than 7 years ago | (#18032362)

including ascii pr0n!

the pr0n must flow!!!

Become patient (1)

nuggz (69912) | more than 7 years ago | (#18031958)

Short term be more patient.
Large files would likely switch to bittorrent like downloads.
I wouldn't mind if debian/ubuntu left /var/cache/apt/packages as an open bittorrent for others.
As long as the packages are securely signed I don't see a huge issue with it.

Renewed focus on efficiency, more compression.

Re:Become patient (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18032030)

Sure, in the event of a pandemic the first thing I'm going to be doing is updating my Debian packages. How embarassing would it be to die with an outdated version of awk?

Re:Become patient (1)

nuggz (69912) | more than 7 years ago | (#18032180)

If I'm stuck at home with nothing to do I WANT my new version of gawk.

It's not going to happen. (4, Insightful)

TheDarkener (198348) | more than 7 years ago | (#18031970)

Look at the topology of the Internet. The tier 1 ISPs (Sprint, MCI, etc.) will upgrade their backbone pipes, and the same will happen in a trickle-down effect, as it always has.

Seriously...this is a pretty lame attempt at a "What if" scare-tactic article!

Re:It's not going to happen. (1)

Shaman (1148) | more than 7 years ago | (#18032270)

Uh no, you're wrong. The switching mesh that lets you download pr0n late into the night is already largely at its limits if not completely. There are only so many packets per second that they can switch (route/forward but it's all done by wire speed L7 switch gear now) and the more routes are added in the BGP4 tables, the worse it gets.

Honestly, I guarantee you that until we see *extremely* major changes on the switch hardware side, there isn't much immediate hope that the Internet can scale further. There's much more hope that ISPs can use more localized content, perhaps in a secondary distribution network, to bring the content closer to the consumer.

Thats where you're wrong! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18032366)

You see the Internet is a series of tubes. It's not like a big truck you can just dump everything on.

Re:It's not going to happen. (1)

dr.badass (25287) | more than 7 years ago | (#18032414)

Look at the topology of the Internet. The tier 1 ISPs (Sprint, MCI, etc.) will upgrade their backbone pipes, and the same will happen in a trickle-down effect, as it always has.

Part of the fear is that bandwidth usage is or will-be growing faster than more bandwidth can physically (or economically) be added.

We already live in a world (country) without.... (1)

Fallen Kell (165468) | more than 7 years ago | (#18031976) and plentiful broadband access. At least in the USA since we are 12th in the world according to an earlier ./ article. It is true too. Just look at Japan or South Korea. For the same cost as our 8megabit cable modem we could have 100megabit feeds in either of those countries. And not only that, but pretty much anywhere in the country as well.

Raise the price (1)

dave1g (680091) | more than 7 years ago | (#18031980)

No i wouldnt voluntarily limit my bandwidth usage. but as the demand for bandwidth rises and if you are right and the supply cant keep up, market forces will make the price rise. When that happens I will make a choice but it wont be voluntary it will be asimple cost benefit analysis.

it will be self-limiting (2, Informative)

davidwr (791652) | more than 7 years ago | (#18031990)

We already saw a regional bandwidth shortage with the Asia cable cut last year.

If the crisis lasts more than a few days, I expect national and local leaders to order ISPs to throttle bandwidth and reserve enough for "emergency services." Email and low-bandwidth web sites will get through but there may be annoying delays. It will feel like dialup. Youtube? Fuggetaboutit. Since it's a crisis most movie downloaders will stop for the duration once their government leaders tell them to stop. Viruses that automatically swap files will still be a problem, as will people who forget to turn off their torrent programs.

In areas without local outages, there will be a high demand for video from local TV news stations.

10 years from now this won't be nearly as much of an issue since a lot of "major" sites will have "regional caches," making much of the end-user-generated traffic truly local or at least regional.

Re:it will be self-limiting (1)

Brian Gordon (987471) | more than 7 years ago | (#18032060)

Emergency services? What?

Telcos and emergency services, a history lesson (1)

davidwr (791652) | more than 7 years ago | (#18032272)

Back in the early '80s and probably for decades earlier, AT&T would prioritize dial-tone during times of emergency or other busy times. If you had a "special" line you got dial-tone immediately. Otherwise, you had to wait until someone hung up.

Other utilities also had "priorities" for repairs or rationing.

Re:Telcos and emergency services, a history lesson (1)

Brian Gordon (987471) | more than 7 years ago | (#18032364)

But the internet? What counts as an emergency service?

If we could get (1)

jimbobborg (128330) | more than 7 years ago | (#18031996)

Spammers to stop soaking up bandwidth with their stupid jpeg emails, I think that would be a start.

Much ado about nothing. (1)

jCaT (1320) | more than 7 years ago | (#18032002)

Most of this is based around the questions raised by the first article. The problem with that article is the audience- it's all cable providers. Google is just playing smart by saying they want to partner with the cable companies:

Google instead offered to work together with cable operators to combine its technology for searching for video and TV footage and its tailored advertising with the cable networks' high-quality delivery of shows.

All they're doing is playing to the audience in saying "we need you." This is not a problem for which there are not solutions. In the case of this article it's a solution (Google partnering with cable companies) in search of a problem (lack of bandwidth).

We could use a little limiting (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18032006)

people would trim those stupid html backgrounds from their email, stop sending the page instead of a link to it, cut out Flash on web pages,
and we'd finally decide to cut spam at the source instead of letting it clog the tubes up to our mail reader before trashing it.

Well, that's simple... (2, Funny)

thesameguy (1047504) | more than 7 years ago | (#18032008)

I think the answer is obvious: You just build more tubes.

Market Pricing? (1)

m0rph3us0 (549631) | more than 7 years ago | (#18032010)

Maybe this resource could have a price applied to it and thus we could use an amount that made sense for us given the cost of the resource and the resources available to us. Perhaps, we could pay for this resource in a medium of common exchange. In otherwords, because bandwidth like almost every other resources is scarce and has alternative uses we should use the market to allocate it efficiently. Pricing it will avoid any sort of bandwidth "shortage".

You mean.... (1)

sterno (16320) | more than 7 years ago | (#18032186)

Just like they do today?

Some company makes it so I can download HD videos straight to my computer. But god it's slow on my old 1.5/384 DSL. So I go to my phone company and say, "hey, can I get something faster?" They then hook me up with 10/1 fiber or some such at a higher price. Meanwhile, they go and buy more bandwidth from their upstream providers. The upstream providers buy more pipes to connect to their peers, etc. Simple supply and demand.

Invariably fluctuations will cause bandwidth, latency, etc, to fluctuate, but it's in the interest of network companies to minimize that to keep customers (at least where competition exists).

in the old days (1)

rjdegraaf (712353) | more than 7 years ago | (#18032018)

'ping -b -s 65537' accompanied by a scream in the other room improved my network bandwidth.

there's no crisis (4, Insightful)

circletimessquare (444983) | more than 7 years ago | (#18032024)

back in the 1980s people communicated via bulletin board systems over 300 baud modems

if it is true that the internet won't scale in the scenarios outlined above, it won't scale only in a specific context: the context of bps hungry applications

ok: so you won't be able to watch the latest youtube laugh video. whoop de friggin doo

you'll still be able to communicate, plain text emails, simple html pages, etc.

in other words, applications that use very little bandwidth, that, until a few years ago, was more than satisfactory for our requirements, will do just fine ...and still are satisfactory for our requirements, if you consider what you actually "need" to do on the web: communicate via text

no MMORPG, no video, maybe no audio: oh well

remember: the internet was originally conceived to survive a nuclear strike

i think the internet (as we need it, maybe not as we want it) will survive youtube + WoW + bittorrent + huge spam hordes, or the Flu Armageddeon Telecommute Scenario (tm), just fine

Re:there's no crisis (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18032274)

Yes, content would have to scale to available band width. No more flash sites!! YAY!

Re:there's no crisis (1)

melikamp (631205) | more than 7 years ago | (#18032448)

TFA is nothing more than another turd coming out of someone's fat PR ass.

We are already able to play networked games, watch YouTube videos and download entire movies via BT. How the hell will Internet not scale to deliver the throughput which we already have??? Will it magically implode when a few more million people start using it? Will the telcos downgrade the phone lines?

May be it is true that Internet is not ready to replace the TV right at this moment, but it in no way implies that it is about to be "brought to its knees". That would require everyone of us to actually throw away our TVs and switch to the Internet. Right now, everyone, in a perfectly coordinated effort. What are the chances of that happening?

Stockpile! (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18032042)

How Would You Deal With A Global Bandwidth Crisis?

I'd stockpile porn and make a killing selling DVDs to all the geeks in the neighbourhood suffering from withdrawal..

I'm in the lucky position that... (1)

Biogenesis (670772) | more than 7 years ago | (#18032066)

I don't do any serious work on the internet as it stands. It's basically just a source of mindless entertainment, like what TV is for the less nerdy masses. Every now and then over my summer break I spend a month at a country property my parents own. It doesn't have a phone line, or a computer and they've only recently bothered getting a TV. Anyway, whenever I'm there I don't miss technology at all, in fact I enjoy the fact that there's no temptation to waste half my life sitting in front of a screen.

So yeah, I'd probably just end up doing more "real world" activities. Join the local archery club, do more bushwalking, go to the beach more etc.

The only serious effect it would have would be that I would no longer have a convenient place to publish my photography and make it available to the masses, therefore subjecting my family and friends to it more :p.

Irrelevant (1)

DogDude (805747) | more than 7 years ago | (#18032068)

This is a silly topic. A more relevant one would be, "How would you handle a fresh water crisis?". I find it hard to believe that ISPs at all levels can't or won't continue to add bandwidth. Internet use has exploded in the past decade, and the ISP's have kept up. As long as people are willing to pay, usage will continue to grow, and ISP's will continue to provide access to make money.

Now, all that being said, I still wouldn't build a business that relies on the Net quite yet. We're still in the infancy phase of this new phenomenon, and there might be some serious hiccups in the near future (liability problems for free, open wireless connections will happen very soon, for example).

Get rid of all spammers (4, Insightful)

Yeechang Lee (3429) | more than 7 years ago | (#18032072)

I'd send special forces [] to permanently take out all spammers worldwide. Voilà! Global bandwidth usage goes down by 50% or more.

(Of course, I favor doing this today, regardless of any crisis.)

More important things to worry about (5, Insightful)

Bonobo_Unknown (925651) | more than 7 years ago | (#18032082)

This might seem a little silly, but during a viral pandemic or any other event that causes massive social upheaval you may actually have more important things to worry about than checking your myspace.

Over my dead body! (1)

ENOENT (25325) | more than 7 years ago | (#18032086)

There is no way I'm giving up my precious bandwidth! They'll have to pry my speedy 28.8k modem from my cold, dead fingers!!!!

whatEVAR (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18032118)

OMG - such bullshit. Run out of bandwidth? Hahahahahaha. Ok, which telecommunication giant started this thread?

Reminds me of when we had the energy crisis in California. Energy Companies (and Democrat party) "Ok slaves, conserve power! We don't have enough to go around! Mother earth may punish us if we don't conserve a little! - do your part to help us make an extra buck!"

I would steal (1)

Penguin's Advocate (126803) | more than 7 years ago | (#18032126)

If there were a bandwidth shortage, ISPs would probably raise their rates. I would cancel my service and steal internet access from somewhere. Not only will I not live without broadband, I WILL NOT pay more money for less bandwidth. Progress or death, I refuse to take a step back.

These are our worries? (1)

nate nice (672391) | more than 7 years ago | (#18032128)

Seriously, this?

We're discussing what would happen if we failed to lay more and more fiber as needed?

Are we really this fat and bloated our new fear is what would happen if rich content and media couldn't be downloaded on demand?


Two stoners sitting in a park late at night would come up with a better conversation piece that "What if we ran our of bandwidth, dude?".

Is anyone really stimulated by this?

These are our worries?-As the pill turns. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18032212)

I'm worried about a viagra shortage.

I'm sure Microsoft has this covered (1)

CrazyJim1 (809850) | more than 7 years ago | (#18032132)

In case of a bandwith crisis, Microsoft will have a 5 gb automatic update patch ready.

Some of us already get by with less (1)

Justin the Blue (409940) | more than 7 years ago | (#18032140)

Hell, boys and girls, thanks to this robust economy some of us are afflicted with, some of us are already making do with limited/no broadband access. Its just not in the budget.

My home computer already lives on a dialup diet.

I wouldn't notice a change

emergency services? (1)

perlchild (582235) | more than 7 years ago | (#18032150)

Since when are emergency services hosted on the public Internet? Who thought this was a good idea?

I'd tell Al Gore.... (2, Funny)

lexsco (594799) | more than 7 years ago | (#18032178)

.. You created it, you fix it !!!

Trust in capitalism? (1)

SeePage87 (923251) | more than 7 years ago | (#18032190)

I know it's really expensive to upgrade infrastructure to provide extra bandwidth, but I can't believe people would pay for slow internet and I can't believe some company wouldn't put in the investment if it meant stealing all those millions of angry people whose ISP is outdated with clogged pipes.

So much for the fiber glut (1)

mschuyler (197441) | more than 7 years ago | (#18032192)

Kill the torrents. Shutdown Micro$oft Updates. End of problem.

I think you should pay for bandwidth anyways (2, Interesting)

davidwr (791652) | more than 7 years ago | (#18032194)

If more ISPs would drop the "all you can eat unless you exceed the secret cap" plans and adopt real $/TB pricing, we'd be a lot better off and ISPs could better plan for growth.

Here's my "ideal" price plan:

Minimum consumer package: 1 month, enough bandwidth for 95% of consumers, enough email addresses for 95% of consumers - probably 5 or 10, a web page for every email address, and 100 MB or more of disk space, security software, parental controls, and consumer-grade customer service all for a low price.

Additional charges for additional services, but not more than 2x the charges for 2x the services. In other words, if it's $30/month for basic service and you use twice your allocated bandwidth, you pay no more than $60. If you paid the full $60 you'd get twice as much disk space and additional email and web addresses for the month also.

Uber-users that keep their 6MB/sec connection going full blast day-in-day-out will be billed at the actual usage, around 15.5TB/month. If that's 10x the "95% of consumers" limit, they get to pay $300/month, but they get 1GB of disk space and 50 or 100 email and web addresses and customer service to match.

minor clerical error (1)

davidwr (791652) | more than 7 years ago | (#18032220)

The last paragraph should say 6Mb/month and 15.5Tb/month. Unless you are in South Korea, where MB and TB might be correct.

Re:I think you should pay for bandwidth anyways (2, Informative)

pla (258480) | more than 7 years ago | (#18032326)

If more ISPs would drop the "all you can eat unless you exceed the secret cap" plans and adopt real $/TB pricing, we'd be a lot better off and ISPs could better plan for growth.

Except, bandwidth doesn't cost anything. Seriously. My home network costs me the same whether I keep it saturated, or almost idle. The same goes for every later of telecomm all the way to the top.

Sure, you have to pay to get access outside the network you control (which applies whether you talk about your LAN, your local ISP, TW, or a tier-2). But that amounts to pissing in your own well - Your side of the network means nothing if you can't get to the other side.

The sooner everyone realizes this, the sooner we can all have FTTP for a pittance similar to the cost of an analog phone line 20 years ago.

Until then, "all you can eat" at the local level sure as hell beats the sort of "the rich get the bandwidth, the poor get dialup" scheme we once had (and you suggest bringing back).

I'd increase the bandwidth by adding (1)

davidsyes (765062) | more than 7 years ago | (#18032198)

another "b" to band and another "d" to width"... More bbandwiddth is better.

Or, I would buy more of those fatter pipes that can handle 5,000 TB/PSI.... hehehhe you know, the kind that Senator or Senator's writing staff invis..., umm, envisions

Not bloody likely! (1)

pla (258480) | more than 7 years ago | (#18032200)

Would you be willing to voluntarily limit your internet usage if necessary?

Yes, on two conditions - First, such "limiting" occurs on a fair, rotating schedule such that I can surf unimpeded for at least two four-hour blocks a day. And second, that my broadband provider drops my monthly fee by a proportional amount (eg, for only 8hrs a day, it should drop to a third of the current price).

Since I don't see either of those as likely (especially not the second point), I think we can safely answer "no way in hell" to the initial question.

How would you deal with a global bandwidth shortage?

"Global bandwidth shortage" really amounts to a meaningless phrase, boiling down to one of three concepts: Do we mean the "last miles" have saturated? If so, upgrade them, entirely a local ISP problem (and changing ISPs might help). Do we mean the backbones have reached capacity? If so, upgrade them, entirely a problem of the Tier 1 and 2 providers (and changing ISPs might help). Do we mean a few key endpoints (such as Google) have reached capacity? They'd damned well better upgrade to handle the load, or people will naturally switch to their competition.

So in two of those three scenarios, the right answer amounts to "call my ISP and bitch loudly".

Give my a farking break (1)

chebucto (992517) | more than 7 years ago | (#18032214)

If slashdotters don't show at least as much skepticism about this as they do about global warming, my faith in the rationality of man will be forever lost. The loss of cheap plentiful bandwidth would be... bothersome. Only to be solved in a few years by investment in more capacity by the networks. If we are going to worry ourselves about future crises, let us make them crises worth worrying about, m'kay?

Use something like... hm... CTC technology? (1)

DimGeo (694000) | more than 7 years ago | (#18032228)

Consumer-To-Consumer. That can save bandwidth, and scales well. Now you should think of some way to make the "content" unwatchable... I mean, uncopyable, and you're done!

Cheap? (1)

openldev (925511) | more than 7 years ago | (#18032248)

Wait ... where did you find cheap bandwidth? I need some of that!

links (1)

bl8n8r (649187) | more than 7 years ago | (#18032250)

or lynx. :) No flash, no popups, no pics, no spyware. Just text.

Re:links (1)

Tontoman (737489) | more than 7 years ago | (#18032426)

One recommended extension for reducing bandwidth usage: Adblock []

Ironic Story and relevance to localized problems (1)

PhotoGuy (189467) | more than 7 years ago | (#18032276)

Due to some unfortunate divorce circumstances and wacky judge's decisions and the associated financial repercussions, I was forced to live a little bit "off the grid" in a cottage for awhile; a challenge indeed, with four children. I had no running water (I carried in every ounce I used, and heated it with a coleman propane heater), composting toilet, and the only high speed available was via satellite. (I had a bit of a love-hate relationship with Direcway.) Anyhow, when Hurricane Juan hit the Maritimes, power was out, phone lines and internet was down, roads were blocked.

My "off the grid" living was barely impacted :) Due to flakey power at the cottage, I had a generator, so I had power, lights, etc. when Juan hit. Fireplace and propane for heat, no problem. I had a water supply carted in, heated by propane, so I was the only one getting hot showers. And with the satellite internet (linked to middle america), I had no interruptions in my internet service, while everyone else was down for a week or two. I kept working without a hiccup. It was a bit ironic, that this down-to-earth living was impacted so little by a disaster like this, even in high tech ways.

But in the end, such living had more benefits in a spiritual and gratitude terms. I'll never flush a toilet or take a long hot shower again, without being very thankful. :)

Oh noes! (1)

alexjohnc3 (915701) | more than 7 years ago | (#18032278)

I love my tubes, but if the internets get clogged it might even take a day for an internet that I send to one of my friends to get untangled with all that stuff floating around [] . We have to do something before it's too late!

P2P systems (1)

Ougarou (976289) | more than 7 years ago | (#18032280)

I think P2P is the awnser to this one, combined with push. Things like RSS would surely benefit from push protocols. And as the users have enough bandwidth on their end, this is mostly a server-side problem as I see it.

Allow everybody to copy everything and pass it on! Would mean the end of DRM, hihi.

How Would You Deal With A Global Bandwidth Crisis? (1)

Hercules Peanut (540188) | more than 7 years ago | (#18032286)

Establish the death penalty for convicted spammers. Crisis averted, next issue.

I would (1)

Floydius (811220) | more than 7 years ago | (#18032288)

start a video blog about my growing withdrawal issues.

Give up my Porn!? NO! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18032306)

So now that is cleared up, what would we do?

Who cares? (1)

jag7720 (685739) | more than 7 years ago | (#18032330)

If there was a flu pandemic the last thing on my mind would be internet access.. What a lame topic. Give me a break.

"I'm sooooo sick and my family is sick to. We all feel like crap and might die... but what makes it worse is the fact that my internet access is now rationed and I can't get my stock quotes or my bittorrents. Oh the misery... oh the horror..."

That's An Easy One! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18032334)

I'd dust off the vcr and box of VHS pr0n and eliminate the need for the internet altogether.

Simple. (1)

evilviper (135110) | more than 7 years ago | (#18032336)

It's really not a difficult problem. It's just that bandwidth has been so cheap, links so fast, and ever expanding, that there's been no motivation until recently.

First: QoS. Edge routers can do it all. Make sure each group, sub group, sub-sub group (etc) gets only an even share of the available bandwidth, then downgrade speeds as needed.

Second: Caching proxies can make a huge difference as well. In this day and age, with incredibly high-capacity hard drives being dirt cheap, it's unbelievable that every ISP doesn't already have caching proxies with dozens of terabytes of data stored.

Third: Multiple speeds. Right now, it's just as fast for me to download an ISO from the other side of the planet, as it is to download it from the data center a few blocks away. ISPs need to change their bandwidth rules, so that traffic over the backbone is limited to whatever speed (eg. 756k) but traffic that doesn't exit their own network is unlimited. It certainly gives huge incentives for people to actively try to use their ISP's caching proxy listed above. It will keep the vast majority of P2P traffic in-network, as you can download 90% of the file from your neighbor more quickly than 10% of the file over the internet. This may just happen naturally, as 802.11 becomes more popular, and it's faster to download most large files from your neighbors than from your ISP's wireless router (ie. the internet).

And finally, but perhaps more importantly, we should finally fix TCP. Using dropped packets to regulate traffic flow is pure nonsense, caused by a historical fluke. Purpose-made congestion notification (like source quench) would result in much higher utilization of existing links, nearly to their maximum. Unlike the current system, communications wouldn't go from perfectly fine, to utterly impossible, when line congestion reaches a certain threshold.

Hell, I like the idea. When throwing bandwidth at these problems no longer works, most people on /. will be in huge demand to work out solutions.

Palm (1)

ynososiduts (1064782) | more than 7 years ago | (#18032352)

I could severly cut down on my bandwidth usage simply by going to [] as opposed to the usual front page.

Go outside (1)

pembo13 (770295) | more than 7 years ago | (#18032358)

Seriously, if it is just for say for example some disaster. I would go outside for awhile, write a few programs that I've been meaning to get to, etc.

Bandwidth isn't a material (1)

noidentity (188756) | more than 7 years ago | (#18032368)

Limiting my access to a website hosted in the same city I'm in won't free up bandwidth for someone across the globe (unless they're also trying to access said website). How about we call it what it is, a lack of capacity in specific geographical areas? And while we're at it, make a few mirrors of Bob's Quick Guide to the Apostrophe [] wouldn't hurt.

Holy crap! (1)

Oliver Defacszio (550941) | more than 7 years ago | (#18032374)

I guess I'd have to stop idly browsing for meaningless garbage from time to time. Jaysus, the tone of this article makes it sound like bandwidth is the new water.

What is it that you do on the Internet that's SO valuable that it just couldn't stand the test of rationing? Aside from online businesses, I believe that the importance of the Internet is wildly overstated in today's office. I'm a tech writer and our ISP shit the bed the other day -- we were without any Internet service whatsoever for two days (but still had company internal e-mail, sadly). We're still in business! Can you believe it?

I'm willing to bet that 99.7% of the world would get along just fine without this Internet-thing, or if they had to severely decrease consumption. Maybe, just maybe, they'd even get a tan.


Captain Jack Taylor (976465) | more than 7 years ago | (#18032408)

I'm a telecom SE guy, and I can tell you right now that this is bullshit. 90% of the fibre installed in North America is not currently in use, and is in fact locked down by treaties between the telcos and the US government because everyone was afraid it'd cause such a stock market crash that we'd be in 1932 all over again...which was bullshit, but either way, there will NOT be a bandwidth crisis in our lifetimes.

Cheap and plentiful? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18032420)

Could you live in a world without cheap and plentiful broadband internet access?

I have neither cheap or plentiful broadband access, thanks to American style "competition." The ones holding all the marbles are too busy trying to figure out how to lock the customer in rather than compete with one another.

How would I deal with a global bandwidth shortage? (1)

fatboy (6851) | more than 7 years ago | (#18032422)

How would you deal with a global bandwidth shortage?

Allow the market to set the price of bandwidth. Duh!

doesn't scale? (1)

timmarhy (659436) | more than 7 years ago | (#18032428)

how can they say it doesn't scale? back in 2000 i was stuck on 56kbps, now i'm sitting on 24mbps, a factor of 300x faster in 7 years. i'd say it scales pretty fucking well. once ftth is wide spread i could be sitting on gbits/sec.

If it was to happen ... (1)

Mathness (145187) | more than 7 years ago | (#18032458)

If it was to happen (the risk of that isn't somethink one should worry about) I would get along just fine. Most of what I do on a daily basis over the internet can be done with a dialup modem.

I reckon most people are "addicted to the internet"; They have access to something that they percieve as a need, and to fill that need they need more of it (take warez, music, video, porn etc.) and faster connections to fill the need.
You might want the net or video/whatever over the net, but you don't need it.

And if the internet was to "break down", there is still old tech That Just Work tm, or you will get private or corporate networks to fill the void. BBS anyone?

The internet is a luxury, the world can and will survive without it.
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