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Does the Internet Need a Major Capacity Upgrade?

Zonk posted more than 7 years ago | from the eternal-september dept.

Networking 357

wiggles writes "According to the Chicago Tribune, the recent surge of video sites such as Youtube and Google video are pushing the limits of the Internet's bandwidth, or soon will be. Pieter Poll, chief technology officer at Qwest Communications, says that traffic volumes are growing faster than computing power, meaning that engineers can no longer count on newer, faster computers to keep ahead of their capacity demands. Further, a recent report from Deloitte Consulting raised the possibility that 2007 would see Internet demand exceed capacity. Admittedly, this seems a bit sensationalist, but are we headed for a massive slowdown of the whole internet?"

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357 comments

A big strike against Net Neutrality (4, Interesting)

dada21 (163177) | more than 7 years ago | (#18129426)

As the article has a quote about it, here's specifically WHY I am against "Net Neutrality" -- the ISP has no control over throttling particular sites or protocols that can have major negative effects on their overall user experience. I've already noticed some network slowdowns, but in the past 60 days I dumped broadband and rely primarily on my EDGE connection from T-Mobile (200kbps). Latency isn't too shabby. When I use my T1 at the office though, I have noticed some slowdowns.

The solution isn't just more bandwidth. We're not talking about more users accessing the same sites, we're talking about more users accessing more sites -- significantly more. The "long tail" of the web is exploding in access; all the blogs, vlogs, MP3 downloads and videos are across a huge incongruent group of sites. The solution is to nix net-neutrality legislation and allow the consumer and the producer to come to terms on need versus price.

At home, I'd be more than happy for a Port80/Port110 prioritized connection, with other ports reduced in speed or performance. Sure, videos come over Port80, but the vast majority of cable users in my neighborhood are downloading torrentz and other similar protocols. I don't see a reason why everyone should pay the same price for different service. Sure, the telecom industry is scared of Net Neutrality because they WANT to ban Skype and VoIP, but that is why the FCC needs to back off on over-regulating the opportunity for competitors to enter the market. There is a huge opportunity for more wireless providers and more people bringing FTTH or other options.

I know, I know, you were promised 160 Mbps and you want every last speck of it. Those ads will change, I think, as more people do get connected. I'd be happy with lower latency than higher data-rates, and I think this article forgets that it is latency that is just as important (if not more so) than just pure bandwidth speed.

The Internet doesn't really have "bandwidth" limitations, because all it takes is more ISPs and more backbones to come into being. If the pro-Net Neutrality parties have their way, though, we may see significant restrictions in investment on both those fronts. The companies who invested in offering new limbs on the internet took great risks -- and some made great rewards. We want to keep that risk/reward ratio uncluttered by excess regulation legislation so others can offer us more options for who we can connect to.

I'm sure if YouTube/Google had it their way, they'd get special consideration for providing more bandwidth -- State-paid consideration maybe? I sure hope not.

When things slow down, it will give new competitors reason for entering the market. 20% more backbone speed interconnecting some Level 2 ISPs and things will be fine, until the next slowdown brings another run of entrants into the game, or gives the old companies reason to expand their network. Envision 2010: "Is your latency too low? Comcast Ultra offers you 50ms or less ping times across the board, guaranteed!" It may sound fishy, but who would have thought 10 years ago that we'd hear about Mbps on basic cable ads?

The last paragraph is the most insightful part of the article:
Any service degradation will be spotty and transient, predicted (John) Ryan (of Level 3), who said that underinvestment by some operators may "drive quality traffic to quality networks."

EXACTLY.

Sidenote: That damned GoogleBot sometimes hits my sites 5000 times a day -- maybe Google is doing a little more to aggravate the problem than they want to admit? Thankfully I use server-side compression and caching, so things aren't hammered too bad by the bot, but there have been times when things on my end were running slow and I had 100 "Guests" all registered at Google's IPs.

Re:A big strike against Net Neutrality (5, Insightful)

ADRA (37398) | more than 7 years ago | (#18129526)

What a well prepared talk piece. I however take the other approach.

If I'm offered 5Mits/s from my cable provider, that is an obligation for them to fill my order. If they can't fulfill my expectations, then they shouldn't have offered the service to begin with. If telco XYZ is getting bitten for overselling their lines that sure as hell isn't my problem as a consumer. What I do with my 5Mbits/s is my own business. I could use the internet to check my email (10kb), or surf the web a while (2MB), or download a YouTube video (200M?).

Why should my internet operator, the guys protected up the ass by common carrier protections dictate my internet surfing activities?

Re:A big strike against Net Neutrality (3, Insightful)

dada21 (163177) | more than 7 years ago | (#18129584)


If I'm offered 5Mits/s from my cable provider, that is an obligation for them to fill my order. If they can't fulfill my expectations, then they shouldn't have offered the service to begin with. If telco XYZ is getting bitten for overselling their lines that sure as hell isn't my problem as a consumer. What I do with my 5Mbits/s is my own business. I could use the internet to check my email (10kb), or surf the web a while (2MB), or download a YouTube video (200M?).


You're correct -- but they weren't offering 5MBits always (if you read your contract/service agreement). If you wanted 5Mbit guaranteed always, no-holds-barred, you should have asked to modify the contract. They might charge you quite a bit more, though :)

Why should my internet operator, the guys protected up the ass by common carrier protections dictate my internet surfing activities?

I personally am against common carrier protections, but it is tort law that is screwed up so much that the elite mercantilists wrote their own law to protect themselves. If tort made sense (from a free market perspective, let's say), then we wouldn't need common carrier protections.

Re:A big strike against Net Neutrality (1)

PitaBred (632671) | more than 7 years ago | (#18129912)

I personally am against common carrier protections
So the US Postal Service should be responsible for all of Kaczynski's [wikipedia.org] bombs? That's a great idea!

Re:A big strike against Net Neutrality (3, Interesting)

JimDaGeek (983925) | more than 7 years ago | (#18130158)

So the US Postal Service should be responsible for all of Kaczynski's bombs? That's a great idea!

I think you are taking the GP's post to the extreme. I think he meant that "common carrier protection" should be limited. Limited in the sense that if the "common carrier" does not impose _any_ restrictions (within some _sane_ safety limit like no explosives) then that "common carrier" _should_ be protected. However, many ISP's are now NOT acting like "common carriers". They are restricting services and bandwidth based on their perceptions of "importance" or ways to "maximize profits".

Sorry, to me that does not qualify as a "common carrier" to be protected. If my ISP did not block any port, or restrict bandwidth in any way, I would be the first one at their defense to state that they have truly acted as a common carrier. Sadly, that is not the case for most ISP services. They "prioritize" services based on what _they_ think deserves more bandwidth. In other words... what the ISP can gain maximum profit from for the lest bandwidth.

IMO, if an ISP wants to limit bandwidth in _any_ way, they should not have common carrier protection. Period.

Re:A big strike against Net Neutrality (4, Informative)

ScrewMaster (602015) | more than 7 years ago | (#18130050)

I don't think most of the ISPs even have common carrier status. The telcos do, when it comes to phone service, but as a data service operator they don't. I believe (and someone who knows more can correct me) that they reason they don't want to be considered common carriers is that they would be subject to additional (read: expensive) regulatory burdens.

Re:A big strike against Net Neutrality (1)

ADRA (37398) | more than 7 years ago | (#18130190)

I could've been miss-informed, but I believe most if not all ISPs are considered common carrier. If they weren't, every single illegal download that the RIAA could sue for could also be enacted against the ISP, since they 'allowed' the infringement to take place, or some such.

I don't live in the US, so don't blame me for not having a perfect understanding of your legal system =)

Well the bit you're not paying attention to (1)

goldcd (587052) | more than 7 years ago | (#18130186)

is that a connection is between two points - it's only 5 Meg if it gets from A to B at that speed.
I've got a 24Mbit connection to my ISPs DSLAM - although it does tend to connect a bit slower (I'll forgive them for this).
Anyway, that 24Mbit is max speed - but most IPs I connect to don't give me that throughput.
Now I could blame my ISP for not peering properly to backbone, but that's only half the problem. There's the other leg from the backbone to the B-end.
You connect to a server with 10M NIC, or even a 100M NIC and it doesn't take that many connections to swamp the thing. Look at slashdotting - we don't all feel the need to write to our ISPs to complain about the speed as we've smoked a server.

Re:A big strike against Net Neutrality (1)

dr.badass (25287) | more than 7 years ago | (#18130212)

If I'm offered 5Mits/s from my cable provider, that is an obligation for them to fill my order. If they can't fulfill my expectations, then they shouldn't have offered the service to begin with.

If your ISP didn't oversell at all, they might not be able to offer you even 500Kbps, much less 5Mbps. Worse than that, there would be a tremendous amount of bandwidth being wasted at any given time. Overselling to a certain ratio makes a lot more sense.

Re:A big strike against Net Neutrality (4, Insightful)

rekoil (168689) | more than 7 years ago | (#18130274)

Let me try to explain the problem from the ISP side (pardon me while I don Les Asbestos Underpantz)...

What we're seeing is the hazards of changing oversubscription ratios. I'm sure this term is familiar to many of you, but for those who don't, it's the concept that ISPs know that on average, each customer will only use a certain portion of the bandwidth that's made available to them. As such, an ISP doesn't have to provision one megabit of backbone capacity for each megabit it sells to a consumer; it might only have to upgrade on a 1:10 or 1:50 upstream-to-downstream ratio. There's no way that an ISP could sell bandwidth at a reasonable price without oversubscribing at some point. Without oversubscription your 1.5Mbit DSL line would be $500 a month, not $50. Those in the business know I'm not exaggerating here, given the cost of service provider network equipment and fiber capacity (which continues to fall, but not nearly fast enough).

What's causing the problem is that those ratios are changing, such that (for example) the 1:10 ratio an ISP built its business model around is now 1:5, thanks to YouTube, iTunes, Bittorrent, WoW, etc, not to mention 0wned machines spewing spam and DoS traffic, which is overtaxing its infrastructure and increasing costs. The ISP can't get away with raising prices, and obviously has to remain profitable, so congestion is the inevitable result.

Some ISPs, most notably Comcast, have gotten quite aggressive at disconnecting what they perceive as "abusive" customers whose usage is higher than the norm. This is absolutely the wrong way to go about this problem, but feeling of being between the proverbial rock and a hard place is understandable. ISPs simply can't stay in business if customers actually use all the bandwidth they're given, and if we all built our networks such that everyone could, no consumer would pay for it.

I think it was 1994 when AOL introduced its unlimited dialup service (prior to 1994 AOL billed dialup connection time by the hour). Because the user that before was spending an average of, say, 30 minutes a day online was now spending 3 hours a day connected, and because AOL woefully misforecast those ratios, it became next to impossible to connect to AOL for quite a while until they caught up with modem provisioning (That's when I got rid of my AOL account and got my first real ISP acccount, yay!). Looks like everything old is new again.

Re:A big strike against Net Neutrality (4, Informative)

AvitarX (172628) | more than 7 years ago | (#18129666)

As the article has a quote about it, here's specifically WHY I am against "Net Neutrality" -- the ISP has no control over throttling particular sites or protocols that can have major negative effects on their overall user experience. I've already noticed some network slowdowns, but in the past 60 days I dumped broadband and rely primarily on my EDGE connection from T-Mobile (200kbps). Latency isn't too shabby. When I use my T1 at the office though, I have noticed some slowdowns.

"net Nutrality" does not prevent throttleing ports. It would even allow bandwidth capping from video sites if the policy was #GB/site or something. It does not allow the site to get improved performance by paying money or partnering or being owned by the provider. the only way a site or protocal would get better performance would be by the user paying extra. (a lot like what you describe).

Re:A big strike against Net Neutrality (4, Informative)

bky1701 (979071) | more than 7 years ago | (#18129690)

The solution isn't just more bandwidth. We're not talking about more users accessing the same sites, we're talking about more users accessing more sites -- significantly more. The "long tail" of the web is exploding in access; all the blogs, vlogs, MP3 downloads and videos are across a huge incongruent group of sites.
Say what? Up and down connections are technically the same load to process in most cases. I don't know how you think that somehow use != bandwidth, unless you want to talk about IPs.

The solution is to nix net-neutrality legislation and allow the consumer and the producer to come to terms on need versus price.
Whooh, it is? As I said above I don't think you understand the "problem", how can you know the magic fix to it?

At home, I'd be more than happy for a Port80/Port110 prioritized connection, with other ports reduced in speed or performance. Sure, videos come over Port80, but the vast majority of cable users in my neighborhood are downloading torrentz and other similar protocols.
That's the most idiotic thing I ever heard. Do you realize if such was done torrents would just start using port 80/110?

but that is why the FCC needs to back off on over-regulating the opportunity for competitors to enter the market.
That may be a great idea for cars, pop and beans, but not on something that is inherently a monopoly/near monopoly. Having such comes with responsibility. No matter what your pseudo-free market ideals say, it's not a monopoly because of those responsibilities.

The Internet doesn't really have "bandwidth" limitations, because all it takes is more ISPs and more backbones to come into being. If the pro-Net Neutrality parties have their way, though, we may see significant restrictions in investment on both those fronts.
Where did you get that one, other than a dark spot?

Sidenote: That damned GoogleBot sometimes hits my sites 5000 times a day -- maybe Google is doing a little more to aggravate the problem than they want to admit? Thankfully I use server-side compression and caching, so things aren't hammered too bad by the bot, but there have been times when things on my end were running slow and I had 100 "Guests" all registered at Google's IPs.
Google index bots only read text, not images or video. 5000 google views are probably the same as 1 normal view. I am not sure about image bots, but I noticed that they are normally far behind the main index.

If we need any major internet change, it's nationalizing it. I don't see what's wrong with it right now other than some people crying they will not make enough money (like all companies), people stating that somehow it is making it hard for new companies to be started or people saying that there is a big dark technical problem looming over it waiting to kill us all. None of these are news.

Re:A big strike against Net Neutrality (0, Flamebait)

dada21 (163177) | more than 7 years ago | (#18129742)

I was going to reply to you point by point until I read your last line:

If we need any major internet change, it's nationalizing it. I don't see what's wrong with it right now other than some people crying they will not make enough money (like all companies), people stating that somehow it is making it hard for new companies to be started or people saying that there is a big dark technical problem looming over it waiting to kill us all. None of these are news.

Nationalizing it like the UK's health care, where they recently discovered that doctors were letting old people die rather than get treated because the doctors did better financially treating younger, healthier patients? No thanks. Nationalizing it like South American dictators are taking over their oil industries and watching the prices skyrockets? No thanks. Nationalizing it like the US did with education, quickly watching it spiral to one of the worst in the first world? How about nationalizing it like social security -- we had great private health care and private retirement programs until social security and the HMO Act of 73 quickly made it all federal. Let's nationalize, that's the solution!

People who want to make money do so because the save other people money and frustration. Profit only shows one thing: that you're doing for someone else something that they can't do as cheaply/quickly themselves. Profit is good, it allows for further investment. Nationalizing would destroy it.

Re:A big strike against Net Neutrality (1)

bky1701 (979071) | more than 7 years ago | (#18129922)

Nationalizing it like the UK's health care, where they recently discovered that doctors were letting old people die rather than get treated because the doctors did better financially treating younger, healthier patients?
Don't even try. I have seen a whole lot of disterbing things out of the "free" health care here in the US.

Nationalizing it like South American dictators are taking over their oil industries and watching the prices skyrockets?
You mean more than companies in Saudi Arabia and such locations?

I have to go, sorry. I'd like to fully reply but food is done. I think your one sided argument and the link in your sig shows your bias, though.

Re:A big strike against Net Neutrality (1)

AdamKG (1004604) | more than 7 years ago | (#18129958)

Bzzt, wrong. Nationalization tends to give health care to those who would have otherwise died at 40, dropped out of middle school, received *nothing* for their national resources, or consumed dog food in the later years of their life.

What again is wrong with South American oil having high prices? So far as I can tell, it is a 'bad thing' because it means the US of A doesn't get the oil at hugely below market prices due to contracts negotiated with puppet governments. That's the western version of the free market: Everyone else works, we get the benefit, and any change in that status quo is something to complain about on /.

Re:A big strike against Net Neutrality (4, Insightful)

CommunistHamster (949406) | more than 7 years ago | (#18129964)

Privatising, like the UK Rail industry, whose CEOs spent so little on track maintenance that trains crashed and people died?

Re:A big strike against Net Neutrality (1)

shog9 (154858) | more than 7 years ago | (#18130214)

I was gonna reply respectfully, then i read:

Nationalizing it like the UK's health care

Sorry, bro - if you can't figure out the huge, obvious differences between running a communications service and providing doctors, medicine, and equipment to sick people... you should probably work for Qwest. They need bright fellas like you for billing and sales: some of their customers still have a vague idea of what they're paying for...

Re:A big strike against Net Neutrality (1)

rthille (8526) | more than 7 years ago | (#18130062)


You're wrong about google index bots. Not sure if you've noticed, but you can search for images on google now.
They had a bug where they would constantly retrieve a PDF file I've got on my site. The only think I can think of is that they failed processing it after the retrieved it and assumed that they needed to get it again. So they would constantly hammer my server sitting at the wrong end of a slow DSL line. I notified them and they sent me a polite email saying they'd fix it, but after awhile they (the bots) were back and I ended up removing access to the file.

Re:A big strike against Net Neutrality (1)

dr.badass (25287) | more than 7 years ago | (#18130308)

That's the most idiotic thing I ever heard. Do you realize if such was done torrents would just start using port 80/110?

BitTorrent doesn't need low latency. Web traffic generally does. Prioritizing web traffic, if done properly, wouldn't change anything about use of BitTorrent except imperceptibly increased latency.

Re:A big strike against Net Neutrality (5, Insightful)

Doc Ruby (173196) | more than 7 years ago | (#18129696)

Studies of actual traffic congestion mitigation techniques have consistently demonstrated that increasing capacity is a much cheaper and more reliable remedy than QoS on backbones. With extra benefits in the raw capacity. The "quality traffic to quality networks" would require a whole extra architectural layer to route through several different Internet links on realtime route quality decisions, rather than leverage the full capacity of the Net to route anywhere at any time on local congestion conditions or other overall strategies.

These whines are in fact "special consideration" pressure for the telcos to get "Net Doublecharge". They don't need service tiers, but they can use them to demand distant endpoints pay protection money. If they can get the protection money from the government, their favorite source of subsidy and protection for over a century, they certainly will. Especially if they've already used up the capacity for private accounts (people) to pay them directly, which makes them look less competitive.

I have to agree with that. (5, Insightful)

khasim (1285) | more than 7 years ago | (#18129872)

"Net Neutrality" is the way to go.

Once you start instituting "tiers" you take away ANY incentives to increase the available bandwidth.

Instead, the "innovation" will go towards extracting the most revenue from the smallest pipes. And "innovation" is in quotes because it won't be real innovation. It will be accounting tricks and tier pricing.

Re:A big strike against Net Neutrality (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18129834)

QoS and robots.txt...

the solution IS more bandwidth (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18129920)

Your argument doesn't actually make any kind of sense.

Personally, I think we should do whatever the fuck it is the Europeans are doing. They've got more bandwidth for cheaper prices and frankly that is just embarrassing. The French are kicking our ass. We've got a serious bandwidth gap going here and it's GROWING. We need more bandwidth for cheaper prices. It's that simple. We've got the demand, our telecoms need to provide the supply already.

P.S. My home computer is saturating my cable modem with torrent transfers over port 80 right now, you lose!

Re:A big strike against Net Neutrality (1)

DamnStupidElf (649844) | more than 7 years ago | (#18130074)

Sidenote: That damned GoogleBot sometimes hits my sites 5000 times a day -- maybe Google is doing a little more to aggravate the problem than they want to admit? Thankfully I use server-side compression and caching, so things aren't hammered too bad by the bot, but there have been times when things on my end were running slow and I had 100 "Guests" all registered at Google's IPs.

Configure robots.txt or move your servers off port 80 if you don't actually want visitors to your site. If Google is thrashing on dynamic pages, fix your pages or stick them in the robots file. If you just serve up thousands of bloated "content" pages, then I guess it serves you right. After all, you put them on a public network.

Re:A big strike against Net Neutrality (2, Insightful)

hedwards (940851) | more than 7 years ago | (#18130184)

You do raise some interesting ideas, but wouldn't it make more sense just to fix the spam problem?

Right now spam takes up an inexcusably large portion of the internet's capacity, with meaningless, useless, annoying
tripe. (Well to be fair, spam taking up any portion of the capacity is appalling)

The main issue I have with giving up the net neutrality is the question of who gets to decide what is
high priority and what is low priority. If I got some say in how it was divvied up, that would be much
less annoying than companies getting to take bribes for special service.

Often times I set things to download overnight while I am sleeping, and as far as I am concerned if it takes 2 hours
for the file to download or a full 8, it makes no difference, being able to have those files download more slowly
and the ones while I am actually up and at the computer more quickly would be quite useful.

Network neutrality is about structure (1)

JackHoffman (1033824) | more than 7 years ago | (#18130216)

The solution is to nix net-neutrality legislation and allow the consumer and the producer to come to terms on need versus price.

That's not what net neutrality is aiming to regulate. Net neutrality is about the structure of the business relationships, not the content as such. The current situation is that customers pay the providers to which they connect. Providers have peering agreements. Small providers pay bigger providers, providers of equal size have cost-neutral agreements. If a provider can't satisfy the bandwidth requirements of his customers or peering partners, he needs to invest in upgrades. He will then negotiate higher prices with customers and possibly reevaluate peering agreements. The business relationships are among people and businesses who connect their networks and servers directly. Network neutrality is about keeping that system.

The providers which are against network neutrality want to charge remote parties and throttle their packets as an "incentive" to pay up. That is a massive strike against the long tail of the internet as the intended and likely effect is that only big sites and service providers will even have enough manpower to negotiate with all relevant end-user providers, let alone be able to pay them, so the small providers will have to close up shop or consolidate.

Your provider could still offer you a cheaper plan based on your network "consumption". He just can't have it depend on the type of sites or on the specific sites you will be communicating with. And why should he? It is not whom you communicate with or on which port that kills his network, it's how much of the network capacity you use and when.

Re:A big strike against Net Neutrality (1)

cheater512 (783349) | more than 7 years ago | (#18130224)

Multicast fixes many of those problems.
Really popular video on YouTube? Just get a group of people requesting it and send the video once.

You can tell GoogleBot to slow down if you didnt already know. http://www.google.com/webmasters/sitemaps/ [google.com]
Add your site (dont need a sitemap) and edit the Crawl Rate.

Re:A big strike against Net Neutrality (1)

alphamugwump (918799) | more than 7 years ago | (#18130300)

There's a lot of fud and confusion about the whole thing; but AFAIK, the current draft allows for that sort of thing. Admins can block ports, or throttle, or do QOS, or whatever. What they want to make illegal is blocking or prioritizing packets based on who they're from, who they're to, or content. There's a big difference. If I buy internet, I want the whole internet; I don't want to be blocked from accessing someone because they forgot to pay protection. And yes, they're not just prioritizing packets, they're actually blocking stuff like skype.

And I agree that port-based QOS would be a good thing, but only if I could control via a web interface or something. I'd want to be able to set my gaming ports for lower lag, and bittorrent up high.

But I don't think the free market is going to handle it in any reasonable amount of time; mainly because the market isn't free. The business is still regulated out to wazoo anyway; and many of those regulations block progress. The big fear is that telcos would use their monopoly to turn the internet into something like cable TV, where you buy "packages", and you can't buy anything alone. Actually, they already do this (some places you can't buy DSL without phone), but the doomsday scenario would be if they started charging you for websites. Want to visit youtube? Then you have to buy it as part of a "package" that includes myspace, digg, etc.

Though, none of this is going to matter when they release the new WiMax standard anyway. Gigabit isn't fast enough for everything, but it's fast enough for downloading linux, or gaming, or voice, or just about anything except high-quality video or an actual server. We might even get a real mesh, which would end those DMCA worries for good.

Re:A big strike against Net Neutrality (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18130302)

You show an astounding lack of knowledge regarding network operations. People like you, with strong opinions
one way or the other based upon an imagined understanding of "how things work," are the real problem. You
should seriously consider withholding judgment about these kinds of issues until you can make an informed
decision.

I'd be more than happy for a Port80/Port110 prioritized connection

Seriously now, what do you even think that means? Please get a clue.

Here's one for free: There is nothing preventing lowly "torrentz" or VoIP from using those ports. They are
only numbers in packets man!

Sure, sure, you knew that. You just didn't actually want anyone to take you seriously.

Really? (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18129446)

Pieter Poll? Maybe the need is due to all the gay porn this guy is doing.

The answer is... (3, Insightful)

markov_chain (202465) | more than 7 years ago | (#18129458)

Yes!

Re:The answer is... (1)

mkoko (974106) | more than 7 years ago | (#18129734)

Ask Ted Stevens... he will know the answer.

Re:The answer is... (0)

User 956 (568564) | more than 7 years ago | (#18129738)

The answer is... Yes!

Well it's certainly not a big truck, that you can just dump something on.

Re:The answer is... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18129936)

The answer is it's a hack piece so that the public will feel sorry for the telecom that want to charge you more.

Not too long ago they were claiming 90% of the fiber out there was dark. Now, the sky is falling.

All I know is I have a less than promised service from Comcast (yea, I know they suck) and it has always been slow and problematic. Comcast charges an arm and a leg and keeps bumping their price up while delivering less.

The technology is there to solve this and when implemented on a large scale the price is not a bad as these companies are telling people.

If they don't watch out some bright kid is going to come along with a wide area wireless solution and clean their clocks.

Re:The answer is... (1)

markov_chain (202465) | more than 7 years ago | (#18130140)

I'm optimistic about the competition between Verizon and Comcast. There is nothing like separate infrastructure; the whole opening up the wires for fake DSL service providers was not really doing much. But with the operators owning the wires, you see things like FIOS getting deployed. Especially now that their services are converging, I'm looking forward to the physical layer upgrades in the future.

Consider the source (4, Insightful)

KingSkippus (799657) | more than 7 years ago | (#18129472)

Qwest is one of the companies speaking out [com.com] against net neutrality. The CEO even went as far as to call it "really silly [chicagotribune.com] ." Could it be that the CTO's comments are politically motivated?

I, for one, think so.

Re:Consider the source (4, Interesting)

killbill! (154539) | more than 7 years ago | (#18129552)

It's pretty obvious the whole purpose of the article is to drum up support for ending the net neutrality rule.

From the article:
Backed by several consumer groups as well as large Internet enterprises such as Google, network neutrality legislation forbids phone companies from managing the network to favor one Internet user's content over another's.

Notice how the article ends on the tired "it'll be good to the consumer" strawman:
underinvestment by some operators may "drive quality traffic to quality networks."

Here's an idea (1, Interesting)

killbill! (154539) | more than 7 years ago | (#18129478)

Easy fix: systematic caching of bandwidth-intensive content at ISP level.

Disclaimer: I'm currently working on such a project. ;)

Re:Here's an idea (1)

treeves (963993) | more than 7 years ago | (#18129524)

why should we believe you? You're an impostor.

Re:Here's an idea (1)

atomic777 (860023) | more than 7 years ago | (#18129662)

Proxy servers aren't exactly a new idea...

Re:Here's an idea (1)

killbill! (154539) | more than 7 years ago | (#18129810)

That's correct, but they aren't used as much as they could (should). They apparently aren't cost-effective enough to ISPs in their current form. To begin with, they are a legal risk, despite "common carrier" provisions - which is why most ISPs cap Bit Torrent use instead of caching the most popular files linked on the pirate bay.

Re:Here's an idea (1)

b0r1s (170449) | more than 7 years ago | (#18129722)

That's not really an easy fix... There are dozens of video sites with millions of videos each. Most ISPs dont have the resources to chache the number of distinct files were talking about.

10ge, 40ge, 100ge, the capacity will grow when the money makes sense. Even small video sites [vobbo.com] push terabytes of traffic per month, expecting a full caching model to work is almost silly. There's a certain benefit for a small set of large, popular files, but that's not what's causing the problem - its the sheer number of obscure files that may only appear in cache once a month...

Re:Here's an idea (1)

LordSnooty (853791) | more than 7 years ago | (#18130206)

Google with its dark fibre network and mega-data centres ought to be offering ISPs fast mirrors as local and quick as possible for its two video sites. It's another argument against NN, if the biggest sites want to attract such bandwidth-hungry users to its ads they should make provisions for it and not clog up the network. They may do this already, of course. But it shifts the emphasis onto the company providing the popular service rather than the one just delivering it.

Re:Here's an idea (1)

hurfy (735314) | more than 7 years ago | (#18129836)

And i want to do YouTube meets P2P ;)

Not that it will help as much as it should seeing as my house is 2 blocks away and the internet goes like 3000 miles to get there....wtf?

Re:Here's an idea (1)

burndive (855848) | more than 7 years ago | (#18130220)

Easy fix: systematic caching of bandwidth-intensive content at ISP level.

So, basically, just usenet in favor of torrents?

Clogging the tubes (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18129488)

YouTube is clogging all the tubes!

If we just could ... (0)

GlitchyBits (1066840) | more than 7 years ago | (#18129506)

... save the bandwith used for spam.

Re:If we just could ... (2, Insightful)

EllynGeek (824747) | more than 7 years ago | (#18129582)

Right. Put a bounty on spammers, and in a few week's time problem solved.

It's not the Internet itself (1)

dosius (230542) | more than 7 years ago | (#18129528)

The main bottleneck is the link from the isp to the user.

-uso.

Re:It's not the Internet itself (1)

realmolo (574068) | more than 7 years ago | (#18129652)

No it isn't.

Cable modems and DSL modems can both provide roughly 10Mbps of bandwidth. That a LOT.

But how many websites can simultaneously provide EVERYONE ON THE PLANET WITH AN INTERNET CONNECTION with 10Mbps download speeds? The answer is none.

Remember, information on the internet flows from a relatively small number of servers to a HUGE number of end-users.

Re:It's not the Internet itself (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18129818)

Well...maybe we should "torrent" the internet. I don't think the internet was originally concieved to work in a hub and spoke configuration at the data level. That obviously would cause problems eventually as the data hub gets overwhelmed. What we need instead is a new protocol to make the entire internet distributed and redundant over the clients. That was how the physical layer was originally concieved, and I believe the data layer as well. The info was supposed to be client to client mesh not server based. How about all computers come with a hardware firewalled HD for caching content? Then there wouldn't be a problem with servers getting hammered. We would need beefy "pipes" to every client though.

Re:It's not the Internet itself (1)

realmolo (574068) | more than 7 years ago | (#18129878)

Caching works only for content that doesn't change frequently, and for servers that don't require authentication.

It would help, obviously, but not as much as you think.

Bottleneck is from content provider to DSLAM/etc (3, Informative)

billstewart (78916) | more than 7 years ago | (#18129984)

The real net neutrality arguments started happening when the telcos started to deploy high bandwidth to customers' homes to deploy television on them (especially when their execs started making boneheaded remarks, but there really are technical issues.)

The estimated bandwidth required for television is about 15 Mbps/house, to support a 9 Mbps High-def channel and a few low-def channel at the same time, and the various high-speed ADSL flavors mostly get about 20-50 Mbps depending on distance from your house to the green concentrator box, and there are similar bandwidth constraints to cable TV modem concentrators. The green box has fiber back to the telco office, and a typical telco office handles 10K-100K houses. Fiber-to-the-home systems have more bandwidth from the box to your house, but there's still typically around 25 Mbps per house between the box and the telco.

So if everybody's watching TV at 8pm, and they're all watching different channels, the telco office needs somewhere between 150 gigabits to 1.5 terabits per second. That's *way* more than it's getting today. After all, TV watching has much different statistics than either traditional Internet web+email content or even occasional Youtube watching - it's full bandwidth for a couple hours of primetime.


On the other hand, if the video signals are coming in as television-style content that's multicast, an OC48 2.4 Gbps feed could handle something like 200 high-def channels and 300 low-def channels. Internet-style multicast might or might not be able to handle it - as you start getting more people subscribing to content, it's going to hit the wall and choke at some point. On the other hand, if the telco or cable modem company manages it like a cable TV company selling channels, they can make sure everybody's got access to the "500 channels and nothing's on" vast wasteland of American television, and it'll work. It's not net neutrality, it's cable TV, but it works. There are hybrid models possible (e.g. the telco makes sure there's 100 channels of basic cable subscribed to the multicast feeds and the rest is first-come-first-served, with equipment enforcing the number of channels that get carried so it all fits in the telco office's available feed), but it's not clear that the telcos know how to sell that sort of thing. On the other hand, if they do too good a job of emulating the cable TV business, everybody's going to ignore them and use satellite dishes plus Youtube and Bittorrent.


The real trick with net neutrality is going to be getting the telcos to realize that they should sell you the non-TV part of the new bandwidth they're deploying as Internet bandwidth, with a pricing model different from "it's twice as big as your current bandwidth so we'll charge twice as much".

Major upgrade? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18129546)

The answer depends upon where you live.

In the USA: yes.

Other western nations: probably not.

America's internet is being slowed down by MONOPOLIES not reinvesting their profits back into improving the USA internet backbone.

Yawn (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18129624)

Yeah, there's going to be a crisis because a half-baked story (without a single hard number) by a Chicago Tribune staff writer says so. I can imagine how this story evolved: "Hmmm...YouTube is popular, people like downloading stuff, what if there's an Internet crisis? That headline will get us plenty of clicks. I kinda know stuff about the Internet because my computer is plugged into a jack on my cube wall..." Heck, Slashdot probably posted this story for the same reason: so people will click around on the site and post about how stupid the article is.

Then the author tosses in a few quotes from people with fancy titles. Add in a few counterpoint paragraphs - not out of a desire for fair reporting, but to C.Y.A. for using an alarmist headline to get readers.

The sad thing is people rely on this for tech news. How about hiring some real reporters who can write articles that don't rely on generalizations or industry talking heads for information?

Re:Yawn (1)

Duhavid (677874) | more than 7 years ago | (#18130236)

You missed the "point" in the article about how faster computers would no longer
be able to "make up" for the lack of bandwidth, when in fact, faster computers
have never been able to make up for a lack of bandwidth, and have only served to
make the lack of bandwidth more obvious.

gzip++ (1)

Inmatarian (814090) | more than 7 years ago | (#18129656)

It sounds to me that we're approaching a problem that reliance on Moore's Law won't fix, and it'll be the domain of Software Engineers to find better ways to manage the data. This may also include development of a new class of even more specialized video compression technologies.

No, you can always buy bandwidth (1)

DrDitto (962751) | more than 7 years ago | (#18129684)

Bandwidth can always be bought (but latency can't)

Re:No, you can always buy bandwidth (1)

ccgr (612619) | more than 7 years ago | (#18129732)

agreed...I pitty all the 56kers still out there

Re:No, you can always buy bandwidth (2, Funny)

Threni (635302) | more than 7 years ago | (#18129994)

> agreed...I pitty all the 56kers still out there

I laugh in their cheapskate faces! Sometimes I download stuff I don't need, just to further their misery.

Re:No, you can always buy bandwidth (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18130072)

Some of us are on dialup not because we are cheapskates, but because there is no other viable option, or the only other options suck (lots of money plus capped bandwidth). (Oh, and I would *love* to have 56K -- 33K is more like it).

Re:No, you can always buy bandwidth (1)

gregleimbeck (975759) | more than 7 years ago | (#18129830)

But...what about trucks and tubes?

Re:No, you can always buy bandwidth (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18130008)

That's because latency has zero demand, bub.

Distribution models, throttle and better last mile (4, Interesting)

Twillerror (536681) | more than 7 years ago | (#18129716)

The internet will continue to grow in capacity and as it has new products will come out to fill the void.

My biggest issues with youtube are at work in our main office. We have a large application hosted in data center. It is a major hub for internet connectivity for the region. Given that we are so close to some big vendors we can get lots of bandwith for relatively low prices. If my employees where sitting in that facility they could surf youtube.com all day.

Now at home I can also do it. I pay Comcast a big more for the extra bandwidth and I can download over a meg a second from some sites. Verizon is going to be laying fiber directly to houses and businesses soon.

Get into our offices and it is a different story. We have dual t1s coming in and only 60+ employees, but we are constantly saturated. Combine that with the fact that Cisco Pixes have horrible throttling support and you end up with times when I can't even access basic websites very quickly. The issue here is that T1s and DS3s are freakin expensive compared to a simple cable modem. We have been tempted to get Comcast bussines ( which makes me shiver a bit ) because I can get larger down pipes for general internet surfing. We only host a few services such as email here so it isn't like we need megs of up bandwith.

Throttling would go along way to solve this issue. Youtube could buffer people down quite a bit, you would just have to wait for the movie to buffer a bit. For shared internet connections and ISPs this could allow for better QOS.

Distribution models will help a lot. Youtube should have replicated servers in major market. As more players get in the video game I'm sure they will be setting up shop in several areas. Video doesn't change that much so when one person uploads it can be replicated throught out the network. You can still host the main links from a centralized place, but then stream the video from the closest location as it becomes available. This takes all the traffic from the west coast and keeps it there keeping people from the midwest from saturating the big pipes that connect the regions. Less hops also means less latency which is good for everyone.

People have been saying this same thing for ever. Telecom companies are just afraid of admitting that they can't charge up the ying yang for DS3s anymore. They are also going to have to invest in their networks which there shareholders hate. It is also the local telcoms that irritates me. Although dealing with Sprint is no treat, dealing with SBC/ATT/other momma bells is huge pain.

Networks are distributed by nature, so it just means you can't pipe all the data thru centralized routers. You are going to have to setup an infrastrute that can do very basic routing in a spider web. You can route packets very quickly if you just look at the first octect...and forward along to another router. All 1.xxx.xxx.xxx thru 5.xxx.xxx.xxx.xxx can be piped to a router that knows about those routes, and even breaks it down further. If you think about it they don't even need to do that they can just take the packet and load balance to many other devices. I think it'll be a while before we can't route faster...it is not like faster switching rates is completely dead.

If anything video is just forcing the issue of increasing the capacity, which will always need to grow. Eventually we will be streaming high end video content, and this article will be a long forgotten joke.

Re:Distribution models, throttle and better last m (4, Insightful)

adamruck (638131) | more than 7 years ago | (#18129916)

I don't understand why people keep equating T1's to fast internet. Your office has the equivalent of about 50x dialup connections for about 60 people. It doesn't take a veteran sysadmin to understand why that is a problem.

The whole existing model is wrong (3, Insightful)

jd (1658) | more than 7 years ago | (#18130200)

Everything - from the replication of databases or file storage to the distribution of high-end video - is delivered on a point-to-point basis. This simply does not scale. It is inefficient, it is expensive, it is wasteful, it is.... so mindbogglingly primitive. Point-to-point was great, when you had telephone switchboard operators. In the days of scalable reliable multicast (SRM) and anycast, when the Internet backbone runs multicast protocols natively (there has been no "mbone" per-se since 1996), it is so unnecessary.

Even if you limit yourself to replicating the distribution points with a protocol such as SRM or NORM (NACK-oriented Reliable Multicast), you eliminate huge chunks of totally unnecessary Internet traffic. However, there is no reason to limit yourself like that. The latency involved over long-distance Internet connections must exceed the interval time between requests for high-demand video content, so by simply waiting a little and collecting a batch of requests, you can transmit to the whole lot in a single go. No need for a PtP connection to each.

Then there is the fact that video is not the only information that eats bandwidth for breakfast. Static content - PDFs and other large documents - also devour any surplus capacity. So all an ISP needs to do is run a copy of Squid on each incoming line. How hard is that? It takes - what - all of 10 minutes to configure securely and fire up. You then forget about it.

There are people who would argue that it would impact banner ad revenue. Well, banner ad revenue is typically per-click, not per-view, so that is really a weak argument. Then there is the problem of copyright, as the cache is keeping a copy of text, images, etc. Well, so is your browser. Until a major website sues a Firefox user for copyright infringement for leaving their local cache enabled, it would seem that this is more paranoia than practical. As writers have noted for many centuries, we need fear nothing but fear itself. It is our fear of these solutions that are creating our existing problems. It seems the height of stupidity to create real problems for the sole purpose of avoiding problems that might be entirely fictional. "Better the devil you know" is a weak excuse when the devil you know is unacceptable.

Re:Distribution models, throttle and better last m (1)

DamnStupidElf (649844) | more than 7 years ago | (#18130208)

You appear to be blaming the Internet for the results of having 60 people on a ~3Mb pipe, when in reality the problem is that you have less than 1/20th the bandwidth per person than they do at home. Of course it's going to be slow. As usual, the problem in the U.S. is incredibly expensive client connections. If the Internet was the problem, you wouldn't be able to send your email or even get to youtube because everyone else would be clogging all the bandwidth. Throttling your tiny bandwidth probably won't help if most of the users need to use the web to do their job. Modern sites just don't work well at modem speeds, which is what your bandwidth averages out to.

Networks are distributed by nature, so it just means you can't pipe all the data thru centralized routers. You are going to have to setup an infrastrute that can do very basic routing in a spider web. You can route packets very quickly if you just look at the first octect...and forward along to another router. All 1.xxx.xxx.xxx thru 5.xxx.xxx.xxx.xxx can be piped to a router that knows about those routes, and even breaks it down further. If you think about it they don't even need to do that they can just take the packet and load balance to many other devices. I think it'll be a while before we can't route faster...it is not like faster switching rates is completely dead.

Once again, the problem is client connections. You are the one in a star network with a single provider serving lots of other customers in the same way. Fix it. Set up BGP another couple service providers and then you'll not only have redundant hosting but a more distributed routing model as well.

Re:Distribution models, throttle and better last m (1)

crabpeople (720852) | more than 7 years ago | (#18130254)

Dual t1s? is that you gramps? is it 1996? Get some fibre for gods sake! oc3s like what, a few grand a month? For 60 employees doing internet related business thats nothing!

Either that or put a dns entry in for youtube of 0.0.0.0 , or block it on your fancy ciscos. Honestly, if you are at work you should have no expectation of youtube working. I can think of no honest way that watching youtube could be considered work.

Re:Distribution models, throttle and better last m (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18130256)

Why use Cisco for throttling and other stuff when OpenBSD does it all for free and more, and better too; seriously!

Silliness (1)

Spazmania (174582) | more than 7 years ago | (#18129724)

This is kinda silly. On the fiber side, a pair of fibers is rarely used to transmit more than about 40 gbps, fiber has proven to handle speeds closer to a terabit and its trivial to run multiple fibers in parallel. We won't run out of fiber capacity on the trunks this century, let alone this year.

The equipment side is a little harder, but only a little. It turns out its relatively hard to switch more than 10 gbps. Doable, but hard. So what? If A connects to B, B connects to C and B is overwhelmed with too much traffic then you add a connection from A to C so that the traffic moving from A to C doesn't have to pass through B. There's always a way to split the traffic instead of increasing the individual trunk. Always.

Supply will increase to match demand (1)

pyite69 (463042) | more than 7 years ago | (#18129760)

Backbone ISP's that can't keep up with have to either upgrade or lose business. Same with local ISP's. This is called a "free market".

What needs to happen is a two tiered bandwidth scheme, sort of similar to the local-vs-long-distance telephone issues.

1) incredibly fast access from the ISP to their customers (similar to local phone service).
2) slower access to other ISP's.

It is insanity that I pay one price for relatively slow DSL that works the same whether I am connecting next door or to Japan. We should all have 100 megabit links and be connecting to local caching devices a la Akamai or whatever Google is up to. Local ISP's can also provide these services.

Re:Supply will increase to match demand (1)

PhrostyMcByte (589271) | more than 7 years ago | (#18130278)

I've often wondered why the ISPs don't allow uncapped speeds if you don't go out of their network. It wouldn't cost them anything extra and I'm sure marketing could manipulate it to bring in more customers.

Seems like a throwback to the 90s... (1)

topical_surfactant (906185) | more than 7 years ago | (#18129766)

Does anyone else remember "way back when" in the mid-90s the internet would start to drag around lunch time and again around dinner time? Somehow, I don't think we'll swing back to that point, but the whining in the article sure seems fearful.

"2007 may be the year of the tipping point where growth in capacity cannot cope with use," Tansley said.

OH NOES!!!

UPGRADE? How about "Let there be light"? (1)

DrRevotron (994894) | more than 7 years ago | (#18129804)

The internet doesn't need a capacity upgrade. We don't even need to lay any more fiber. What we DO need to do is light the good 90% of the current laid fiber, the stuff that's currently dark (Assuming that Google hasn't bought it all yet).

What I find appalling is that ISPs can charge upwards of $50/Mbps for direct connections, and upwards of $80 for a 10Mbps cable line (Although my 15Meg is usually very reliable). And I'm not talking about resellers, I'm talking about the datacenters themselves. The ISPs who own all that dark fiber aren't spending any more money by lighting it, other than having a few more telco-grade routers in use.

I'm just glad to be living in Omaha - redundant links to the global network, courtesy of Stratcom. ;) (And yet there are no decent datacenters in town.)

you know....i hope (1)

UPZ (947916) | more than 7 years ago | (#18129812)

they better find a way.........im not ready to give up my bittorrent just yet

FRISP POOISE (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18129814)

FIRST POST

Let the market work. (4, Insightful)

zorkmid (115464) | more than 7 years ago | (#18129816)

Raise prices until the underclass can't afford it. Then they'll drop off and stop clogging my intraweb tubes.

Telecoms caused this (1)

pestilence669 (823950) | more than 7 years ago | (#18129840)

Consolidation of ISPs and centralization by telecoms have crippled the Internet. In the past, redundant routes and competing ISPs were commonplace. Today, everybody wants to play gatekeeper and charge for traffic. Less routes & pipes = less bandwidth & redundancy.

For the record: ISPs are making plenty of money on YouTube traffic, they simply want to ALSO charge the consumer. How many $millions per month does YouTube pay? How many $millions per month do broadband subscribers pay? That, we're led to believe, isn't a fair enough arrangement. We must ALSO pay for usage because the ISPs can't live up to their service agreements.

The state of the U.S. Internet is the epitome of greed. Europe, Japan, China, ... almost every other country (even 3rd world ones), have better network infrastructures. The ISP "dream" is to charge per kilobyte on the sending AND receiving end... like cell phone companies charge per MMS.

The Internet needs continual technological upgrades and effective capacity planning... not throttling and surcharges.

Series of Tubes (1)

RJBuild1088 (968537) | more than 7 years ago | (#18129934)

Ted Stevens, what are you up to now?

multicast could relieve some of the pressure (1)

netwars (947569) | more than 7 years ago | (#18129948)

A push for widespread adoption of multicast could significantly reduce the burden on large sections of the internet's infrastructure. Support for multicast is a requirement for ipv6 so a lot of networking equipment out there will already support it. Apart from the obvious uses for streaming "broadcast" type data, with a little imagination it could be used say for file downloads, where you would join a download being broadcast and a wait until a complete loop throught the file had occured, when the client would join the two sections. With YouTube, poplular videos could also be broadcast (perhaps multiple copies with staggered start times) in an endless loop.

Astroturfing : Nothing to see: Move along folks (4, Insightful)

strangedays (129383) | more than 7 years ago | (#18129966)

This appears to be yet another atroturfing attempt.
See Slashdot post: "How Would You Deal With A Global Bandwidth Crisis?" Posted by Zonk on Thursday February 15, @06:19PM
http://ask.slashdot.org/article.pl?sid=07/02/15/18 25230/ [slashdot.org]
(please remove the silly extra space slash adds to the url above, just before 25230, it breaks the link)
Clearly we are going to be treated to this bogus bandwidth crises bullshit approximately once a week, probably to collect some supportive comments for the need for more control/cost/etc.
Please don't feed the trolls, or help them lay more Astroturf for Net Neutrality.

Let's be clear about what this means (3, Insightful)

mr_mischief (456295) | more than 7 years ago | (#18130000)

When he's concerned about bandwidth demand outstripping computing power, that's not a fiber count problem. That's a router problem. He's saying the routers aren't gaining capacity to route packets as quickly as the number of packets to route is rising.

No amount of extra fiber will help if the routers can't keep up. Setting up more routers in the same interconnect centers will bring either bigger routing tables or higher latencies depending on how they're connected to one another. Setting up more interconnects which are more geographically dispersed and which route more directly between the endpoints will help, but that's a very expensive option. New buildings in new areas with new fiber running to them and new employees to man them simply cannot be made into a small investment.

Mesh networks, P2P content distribution, caching at the local level, multicasting, and some other technical measures can all theoretically help, too. So can spreading out the data centers of the big media providers and routing their traffic more directly that way, but again centralization of data centers saves a lot of money.

If demand is really growing too fast to handle (I have my doubts about the sky actually falling) one of the best ways to assure that bandwidth demands are met is to slow the increase in demand. The quickest and easiest way to slow increase in demand for something is to raise its price. That's an ugly thought for all of us on the broadband price war gravy train, but it's basic economics. Let's hope for a technological solution (or a group of them) instead, if it's really a problem and not just hype to hit our wallets in the first place.

Re:Let's be clear about what this means (3, Interesting)

Detritus (11846) | more than 7 years ago | (#18130272)

Computing power isn't really the issue either. Routers do not have to be designed around general-purpose computers. I've written software for systems based upon 1970s technology that could process multi-megabit data streams. The key was clever design and architecture, with a dose of custom hardware for things that were impractical to do with software.

Proof (1)

Orig_Club_Soda (983823) | more than 7 years ago | (#18130022)

I want proof the bandwidth is suffering dramatically. THis all sounds like doom and gloom, not actual numbers.

Caching is the answer (5, Interesting)

deckert_za (837816) | more than 7 years ago | (#18130028)

I live in South Africa. Like Australia we're geographically far away from most of the "internet content", but unlike Australia our bandwidth costs are astronomical (mainly due to a telecoms monopoly) on the thin fibre links that we have.

But because of the bandwidth situation most SA ISPs have invested in massive cascaded caching infrastructure all over the country and at the so-called logical borders where the links exit to the US, Europe and far East. I continually monitor HTTP headers to check the cached status and easily 70% of the regular content I surf comes from one of the local caches.

Even websites within South Africa are reverse-cached, i.e. the ISPs put caches in at the foreign landing points to speed up access (and lower return bandwidth costs) to foreign surfers.

I sometimes think that the rest of the world has forgotten about caching due to the apparent abundance of bandwidth available in those countries. Maybe we'll see a return of caching polularity?

--deckert

Dead Tree Version Has Mistake (1)

DumbSwede (521261) | more than 7 years ago | (#18130052)

The front page of the Business section of the Chicago Tribune has a graphic showing the burgeoning use of the internet over the last decade -- the trouble is I think it is off by several orders of magnitude. The graphic is labeled something to the effect of "Gigabytes over major internet backbones per month" then lists 2006 as 700. 700 Gigabytes per month? With some people downloading HD content there are a significant number of users downloading 700 Gigabytes all by themselves per month. Maybe it was intended to be Peta-bytes per month or Gigabytes per minute or second.

Does anyone else have a more reliable estimate for Bytes the internet is currently carrying per some unit of time?

Pedant! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18130222)

The ... Business section of the Chicago Tribune has a graphic showing ... use of the internet over the last decade ... The graphic is labeled something to the effect of "Gigabytes over major internet backbones per month" then lists 2006 as 700 Gigabytes per month? ... Maybe it was intended to be Peta-bytes per month or Gigabytes per minute or second.

Hey, it's the MSM, so cut them some slack. We all know that they meant to say Jigawatts.

UK trends (1)

gilesjuk (604902) | more than 7 years ago | (#18130066)

In the UK broadband pricing has fallen to the same level as dialup used to be. At the same time traffic limits have been imposed which are very harsh. So in the Uk the demand won't be a problem as ISPs will disconnect their users or ask them to pay more.

The trouble is, such broadband starves the ISPs of money to develop their networks and broadband should cost more than dialup used to.

Re:UK trends (1)

leathered (780018) | more than 7 years ago | (#18130312)

A lot of this is down to BT's introduction of capacity based charging (i.e. metering) of the central pipes between their network and the ISPs. Hopefully if the LLU ISPs get their act together and start supplying a decent service we can bypass the BT tax and start selling high speed unmetered connections again.

Answer..... (1)

IHC Navistar (967161) | more than 7 years ago | (#18130068)

YES!

I'm getting sick and tired of waitng 2 minutes to download porn!

"The Internet King, eh? Maybe he can satisfy my need for faster nudity." - The Simpsons

Technological solution is an eventuality (1)

caywen (942955) | more than 7 years ago | (#18130076)

A technological solution to the bandwidth problems is not a miracle we're waiting on. It's an eventuality that is almost guaranteed to fulfill its own mission to put money in the pockets of those who make money on bandwidth. While it gets more and more expensive to make the next technological steps so does the target market. There's a lot of ways to potentially deal with bandwidth problems. Better peer to peer, better caching and compression, and many other areas of research are going to step in and keep things sane. There's a huge, vested interest in it.

This is hype (1)

geekoid (135745) | more than 7 years ago | (#18130110)

generated by companies that do not want net neutrality.

Make people fell like there bandwidth is in danger,
Blame it on those kids that don't have a life and download videos all day,
regulate priority.

Porn is highly repetitive... (1)

caywen (942955) | more than 7 years ago | (#18130132)

You know, porn, which takes up a huge amount of bandwidth, is highly highly repetitive. I'll bet you there's a great porn compression algorithm out there that can reduce the whole hour of pumping to a few megabytes.

We're a long way from hitting capacity (1)

Pedahzur (125926) | more than 7 years ago | (#18130170)

Let's see...Google owns how much dark fiber?

Obligatory (1)

jfroelich (1022159) | more than 7 years ago | (#18130252)

640K ought to be enough .... You know who. Sorry if this was already stated.

Pipex complainng about its ADSL users already (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18130258)

A week ago many Pipex ADSL users received letters telling them their bandwidth usage is too high, citing the Acceptable User Policy (AUP) and Fair Use Policy (FUP) documents on their website which they want the letter recipients to sign & return saying they understand and will comply with the AUP and FUP.

But there's a couple of problems there. The users are on Pipex ADSL connections which are stated as being unlimited, the FUP says it doesn't want its users to download during peak times (weekday 6pm-12am, weekend 9am-12am), effectively putting limits on an unlimited service, that is limits beyond the actual connection speed of the ADSL modem/router. They haven't explicitly stated what they consider 'fair use' in terms of data downloaded/month, and why do Pipex want users to sign something that they're already tied down to? (the FUP came into effect middle of last year and they've been actively bandwidth shaping to reduce 'congestion' during peak times)

Yes this is nothing new, before ADSL became the norm for net connections in the UK, several ISPs who sold dialup connections advertised as being unlimited chucked lots of users off too for going over their undisclosed limits.

Pipex ADSL speeds in peak-time are now a joke anyway, Google Video, YouTube, Metacafe etc. are almost inaccessable during those times because even on a 2mbit connection the video downloads slower than it plays in realtime.

I know the heavy downloaders of torrent/usenet are being subsidised by the majority of casual webbers/mailers paying for the service but I can't see how throwing off the heavy users will improve the service in the long run when streaming video, VOIP (maybe), gaming, torrent, usenet etc. are steadily becomming more popular when people discover the ever growing selection of "OMFG YOU GOT PWNED" streamed video clips etc., people trying VOIP (but what's the use when your ISP speeds are shite during peak-time just when you'd want to talk to friends) and with a little effort users outside of the US can watch films before they come out in the cinema and tv shows before they're aired.

Needed: QOS routing at the access point! (4, Insightful)

IBitOBear (410965) | more than 7 years ago | (#18130260)

If the net needs anything it needs Quality of Service routing at the customer access point.

NO, I am _NOT_ talking about a non-neutral net. I think net neutrality is mandatory.

What I am talking about is an end to TCP Retransmits in our lifetime. (Ok, that is overstating it a little 8-).

At my home I put together a QOS gateway that throttled my _outgoing_ packets to the speed of my cable modem _and_ made sure that if it had to drop something it would _not_ drop outgoing "mostly ACK" packets. (e.g. outgoing TCP packets with little or no data payload get best delivery.)

This action lowered my incomming packet count and got my effective download speed to closely approach the bandwidth tier I am paying for. This was a 3x to 4x improvement in throughput. This, when combined with the lower packet count, implies that previously I was wasting 2 out of every 3 packets due to unnecessary "recovery" (read useless retransmits).

That cost must, then, have been paid at every step along every trip etc.

Then I turned on HTTP Pipelining on all the (forefox) browsers in my house (etc).

I suspect that if we could do something about the waste ratio, and generally speed up each transaction by squelching the noise and getting better effective throughput, "the intertubes" would be a lot clearer and the capacity wouldn't fall apart so readily.

[aside]
If we could (pie in the sky) get the porn and ewe-tube traffic onto the mbone with smart caching near the client so that each person didn't have to get each part "the whole way" from the provider even though everybody else is watching the same top-ten clips of the day, we could make more progress. This falls apart because it messes up the charging model for porn and advertising, and ewe-tube gawkers couldn't possibly stand waiting 2 to 6 seconds to join a synchronized swarm...
[/aside]

This is very like the whole thing where a guy with half-flat tires is standing around complaining about his gas mileage.

Collision detect style arbitration falls apart when you saturate the link, and cable providers screwed themselves with the way most cable modems fail to buffer outgoing traffic. Penny wise and Pound foolish of them to make the default devices so cheap. Iterate as necessary for businesses and ISPs with their underpowered gateway machines terminating their PPOE (etc).

As for the part where that failure to schedule packets at the most basic level will be turned into "demonstrable evidence" for the "need" non-neutral networks... That will be the "WMDs" of the net neutrality war.

Do you remember the '90s? I do... (2, Insightful)

shog9 (154858) | more than 7 years ago | (#18130266)

Funny, i coulda sworn that email was gonna bring the 'Net to a grinding halt. And then IM was gonna. And then MP3 downloads were gonna. And then file sharing was gonna.

But hey, far be it from me to question the wisdom of our corporate overlords... if video sites are gonna destroy the 'Net, then We Must Pass Laws!!!1!

Delete all porn servers. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18130314)

Then there should be no lag in WOW anymore.

First real upgrade to the internet. (0, Offtopic)

innertrader (969278) | more than 7 years ago | (#18130318)

I've already seen it and I've already sold it to a major international firm (house hold name) for their internal use. It's already been proven and is ready for a major role out. If you are interested, please contact me at trader@fullnet.net. Thanks, GC
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