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Why the Coming Data Flood Won't Drown the Internet

Zonk posted more than 6 years ago | from the really-strong-tubes dept.

The Internet 146

High Waters writes "Ars Technica examines predictions of an 'exaflood' of data that some alarmists believe will overwhelm the Internet. A closer look reveals that many of those raising the alarm about an exaflood are generally doing so to make the case against internet neutrality regulation. 'There's a reason that "exaflood" sounds scary. It's supposed to. Though Brett Swanson's Wall Street Journal piece tried to avoid alarmism, it did have an explicitly political point in mind: net neutrality is bad, and it could turn the coming exaflood into a real disaster'."

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146 comments

Quick get to work! (5, Funny)

guysmilee (720583) | more than 6 years ago | (#21737862)

Grab two of every packet and burn them to a HDVD!

Re:Quick get to work! (1)

shawnap (959909) | more than 6 years ago | (#21738380)

Grab two of every packet and burn them to a HDVD!

Should've been:

Grab two of every packet and archive them!

Re:Quick get to work! (2, Funny)

Zigmun_Barsac (861070) | more than 6 years ago | (#21738440)

"Imminent death of the net predicted, news at eleven."

Re:Quick get to work! (1)

HeroreV (869368) | more than 6 years ago | (#21739408)

What is this HDVD thing you speak of? Perhaps "High DVD", like some DVDs that have smoked some weed?

Re:Quick get to work! (1)

omeomi (675045) | more than 6 years ago | (#21739826)

I was just thinking as I read this comment that HDVD is such a better name than HD-DVD. It flows off the tongue better without the double-d. And really, do we still need "Digital" in the name? Isn't High Definition Video Disc good enough? of course it's Digital...everything is digital now.

Re:Quick get to work! (1)

ByteGuerrilla (918383) | more than 6 years ago | (#21740234)

The V stands for Versatile, but officially the format is simply "DVD" with no acronymical expansion provided.

So, I suppose HD DVD is correct, but I must admit, I do prefer HDVD.

Re:Quick get to work! (1)

omeomi (675045) | more than 6 years ago | (#21740340)

The V stands for Versatile, but officially the format is simply "DVD" with no acronymical expansion provided.

True, I thought to correct myself after posting, but decided somebody else probably would ;-). Realistically, the V in DVD tends to be used colloquially as "video", even though it was originally and more accurately specified as "versatile", and HD-DVD is mostly used for video storage right now, not data storage. Another problem with the HD-DVD name is that, if it's not being used for video, "High Definition" doesn't make any sense.

This is a really old story (5, Funny)

smitty_one_each (243267) | more than 6 years ago | (#21737872)

5 And the ISPs saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually, swapping copyrighted music, filching pre-release movies, placing phone calls all about the earth as if information were a mere fluid, like the sea.
6 And it repented the ISP that Oscar winner, Nobel laureate, and all around handsome fellow Al Gore, Junior, had made man to surf on the Internet, and it grieved them at their heart.
7 And the ISPs said, we will destroy the neutral face of the Internet, (which we have implemented from the primordial swellness of Gore) from the face of the earth; both man, and beast, and the creeping thing, and the fowls of the air; for it repenteth us that we have made them to access information in an inexpensive and convenient way.
8 But NOAA found grace in the eyes of the ISPs.
9 These are the generations of NOAA: NOAA was a tidy little bureaucracy, and perfect in its generations, and NOAA walked with the ISPs.
10 And NOAA begat three acronyms: SHEM, HAM, and JAPHETH, which are not relevant to this jape at the moment, but will be cleverly decoded later for humorous effect if need be.
11 The Internet also was corrupt before God, and the earth was filled with sex and violence, because it was just another show, like the news.
12 And the ISPs looked upon the earth, and, behold, it was corrupt; for all flesh had corrupted his way upon the earth.
13 And God said unto NOAA, The end of all flesh is come before me; for the earth is filled with violence through them; and, behold, I will destroy them with the earth with a bolt from my wand of bogus legislation. 14 Make thee an ark of gopher wood; rooms shalt thou make in the ark, and shalt pitch it within and without with pitch.
15 And this is the fashion which thou shalt make it of: The length of the ark shall be three hundred cubits, the breadth of it fifty cubits, and the height of it thirty cubits. If ye know not the length of the cubit, check http://www.wikipedia.org/ [wikipedia.org] but make haste, because Moby Dick shall be sent to devour Jimmy Wales shortly after this post self-destructs.
16 A window shalt thou make to the ark, and in a cubit shalt thou finish it above; and the door of the ark shalt thou set in the side thereof; with lower, second, and third stories shalt thou make it. And though shalt part one mother of a datacenter therein; such that yea, even Marc Andreesen shall be made to blush at the smoking bandwidth thereof.
17 And, behold, I, even I, do bring an exaflood of data upon the earth, to destroy all data, wherein is the breath of binary life, from under heaven; and every thing that is in the earth shall crash like Internet Explorer.
18 But with thee will I establish my covenant; and thou shalt come into the ark, thou, and thy acronyms, and thy support contractor, and thy acronyms' support contractors with thee.
19 And of every living thing of all data, two of every sort shalt thou bring into the ark, to keep them alive with thee; they shall be stored at RAID99.
20 Of fowls after their kind, and of cattle after their kind, of every creeping thing of the earth after his kind, two of every sort shall come unto thee, to keep them alive, but they only need, say, RAID5.
21 And take thou unto thee of all food that is eaten, and thou shalt gather it to thee; and it shall be for food for thee, and for them: plenty of frozen pizza and jolt.
22 Thus did NOAA; according to all that God commanded him, so did they, once they got the budget plus-up.

Re:This is a really old story (1, Funny)

bhima (46039) | more than 6 years ago | (#21737928)

generally, I'm pretty cranky about the Al Gore created teh internet bullshit.

However "Implemented from the primordial swellness of Gore" is pure gold.

Keep up the good work!

Re:This is a really old story (2, Interesting)

smitty_one_each (243267) | more than 6 years ago | (#21737982)

Concur. Repeating mis-information is too common today.
Missed a <br> tag and a plural in my haste to get a first post.
SIC TRANSIT GLORIA TROLL TUESDAY

Re:This is a really old story (1)

phobos13013 (813040) | more than 6 years ago | (#21738310)

Well, here's how I deal with the "Al Gore - Internet Inventer" BS. I just say, well Al Gore may have invented the internet, but remember George W. invented the INTERNETS!!!!

Re:This is a really old story (1)

jackpot777 (1159971) | more than 6 years ago | (#21739018)

Ah, but did he let the masses know it wasn't like a big truck, but more like a series of tubes that you get your internets on?

An internets was sent by my wife at 10 o'clock in the morning on Friday, I got it yesterday. Why? Because it got tangled up with all these things going on the internets commercially.

And if you don't understand, those tubes can be filled and if they are filled, when you put your message in, it gets in line and it's going to be delayed by anyone that puts into that tube enormous amounts of material, enormous amounts of material.

Re:This is a really old story (1)

Johnny Mnemonic (176043) | more than 6 years ago | (#21739226)

I deal with it by asking the person who they thought created the Internet, if not Gore. I generally get an answer along the lines of Gates/Microsoft. It's sad, really, that everyone knows who Alexander Graham Bell was and what he did, but the common layperson can't name the founders of the internet--which has almost as much impact in their lives.

Re:This is a really old story (1)

jayminer (692836) | more than 6 years ago | (#21740740)

Despite common (man on the street) knowledge, it is quite a bit ironic that Microsoft has always underestimated the Internet.

Check Billy's books if you want..

Re:This is a really old story (1)

Billosaur (927319) | more than 6 years ago | (#21738656)

Where's the bit about "His noodly appendage," huh?

Re:This is a really old story (1)

silvershadow (101700) | more than 6 years ago | (#21739004)

A mod point, a mod point, my kingdom for a mod point! That is absolutely hilarious!

Re:This is a really old story (1)

ColdWetDog (752185) | more than 6 years ago | (#21739310)

Other than the fact that you forgot about the hand grenade, I am in awe.

Go forth and proverb.

Re:This is a really old story (1)

smitty_one_each (243267) | more than 6 years ago | (#21740320)

Indeed, the Holy Hand Grenade would have been an excellent reference.
But I did manage to work Jane's Addiction into verse 11.

Re:This is a really old story (1)

ColdWetDog (752185) | more than 6 years ago | (#21740450)

Yes, minor nitpick. Verily the most enlightening post on this cold winter morning.

Drown the internet? (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21737874)

Who said the internet was getting drowned anyway? certainly not the Goog. [google.com]

Re:Drown the internet? (4, Funny)

somersault (912633) | more than 6 years ago | (#21738708)

I'm glad that the exaflood is coming, it gives more warning that goatse is about to appear on my screen when I dont read links carefully enough (about 5% of the picture loaded before I was like wtfx0rz I'm at work and my boss is sitting behind me talking to someone and goatse is appearing on my screen!)

Re:Drown the internet? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21739892)

First time I've ever almost done a spit-take while reading /. Awesome.

Why? Simple! (5, Insightful)

morgan_greywolf (835522) | more than 6 years ago | (#21737876)

Simple. It didn't happen before. The Internet has experienced 'exafloods' before [umn.edu] . The amount of data and traffic have skyrocketted exponentially every year since this big major growth spurts started in the 1980s and 1990s. How can the Internet do that?

Because it was designed that way, that's why. The Internet is the largest distributed network in the world. TCP/IP was purposefully designed to be scalable on a massively large scale. Sure, we've improved the technology along the way, but the bottom line is that the routers directing all those tubes aren't going to buckle under the pressure anytime soon, and routing technology is just getting better all the time.

Re:Why? Simple! (1)

aicrules (819392) | more than 6 years ago | (#21738506)

I think the right response is going straight to IPv8. This IPv6 stuff is a snoozefest. IPv8 is much better. And every person should have at least one OC-192 connection hooked straight into their home via the dryer vent. I know what you're thinking...won't the air coming out of the dryer vent slow down data coming in? Yes! That's precisely the point! If you slow it down that exaflood won't be so bad now will it???

Re:Why? Simple! (1)

Billosaur (927319) | more than 6 years ago | (#21738720)

The "exaflood hypothesis" is not based on solid fact. It is a ploy, a PR stunt, as the article intimates, by our friends at the Discovery Institute, who are keen on floods and other prophecies of mass destruction.

Re:Why? Simple! (0, Flamebait)

tlhIngan (30335) | more than 6 years ago | (#21739510)

The "exaflood hypothesis" is not based on solid fact. It is a ploy, a PR stunt, as the article intimates, by our friends at the Discovery Institute, who are keen on floods and other prophecies of mass destruction.


What? No mention of their other great theory they put forth? (Yes, the same Discovery Institute of Creationism... err... sorry, I think it's "Intelligent Design")

See? The Internet wasn't Intelligently Designed! It won't stand the exaflood! There's no way mere random evolution would make the Internet withstand the exaflood!

(Whoa... that worked a bit better than I thought it would...)

Re:Why? Simple! (1)

poopdeville (841677) | more than 6 years ago | (#21738768)

It's not an exaflood if there aren't exabytes in transit at any given moment.

And TCP/IP is massively scalable, but it has limits. There are probably a hundred or so major choke points that will get creamed without major hardware upgrades, just as major hardware upgrades were necessary to increase capacity in the mid-late 90s and early 00's.

You don't really think the .com bubble was about pet food and toys, do you?

Re:Why? Simple! (4, Insightful)

apt142 (574425) | more than 6 years ago | (#21738900)

The idea that there will be too much information, too much bandwidth being used is laughable.

There's money to be made in building new servers. There's money to be made in selling bandwidth. Infrastructure is relatively inexpensive compared to the income they can generate. And it gets cheaper everyday. The ISP's are sitting on a gold mine and complaining that gold is too difficult to mine.

Re:Why? Simple! (4, Interesting)

jimmyfergus (726978) | more than 6 years ago | (#21739764)

I'm kind of in the business facilitating anti-neutrality (I know, I know...), and carriers are worried about their future - e.g. Telcos selling DSL see broadband killing their long-distance calling income, or cable providers see online content killing their cable TV income. They don't want their value reduced to providing a fat pipe for $45/mo, losing all their other business, and they want to know how to extract more money from their customers.

The "message" that they're rubbing their hands with glee to hear is "STOP creating more bandwidth, it's killing you. Create a bandwidth shortage by not upgrading, and we can help you make people pay to get priority for their (now shitty) VOIP, or IPTV stream etc.." Currently, the best-effort network is often good enough, but they need to create a shortage. It's pure manipulation to gouge for money, and as long as all the carriers play ball, it will work, since traffic is growing 50-100% a year. It'll be sold to us as a great improvement/bonus ("We can guarantee your bandwidth for glitch-free VOIP and IPTV, gaming etc, for only an extra $30/mo."). They'd much rather plow money into the infrastructure for this which will make them more money (smarter routers, identity management services) than more bandwidth, which will keep their revenue/customer static. Good for the NSA too, to track everyone more efficiently, so they can be charged.

The only hope is that maverick flat-rate, high quality carriers will provide us connectivity in competition to these bastards.

Incidentally, it's pretty much what Enron did for electricity in California - shut off supply to drive up prices, profit!

Re:Why? Simple! (1)

saintsfan (1171797) | more than 6 years ago | (#21739032)

I like this thought. In addition, innovation in technology and business models has continued to surpise almost everyone, especially the market. Even if it proves to be too expensive to lay billions of dollars in new phiber with the current model, someone else will come up with a more efficient method. So if traditionally the bandwidth bottleneck was at the core and now it's at the fringes, then that's where innovation will produce. When there's a buck to be made, someone's on it. Many of these doomsday scenarios hold attributes constant to make a point, which is not the way the internet has evolved and is short sighted. IMO, constraints in a demanding market produce innovation, it's absurd to say it will stifle it.

Except maybe.... (1)

DrYak (748999) | more than 6 years ago | (#21739126)

Except maybe for the shitty ISP who over-sold their bandwith (100k customers, "25Mpbs" sold to each customer, 1Gbps connection to back-bone). As internet consumption habits go up, their customer will start to realise that they don't get the bandwidth they got promised.

That's exactly the kind of enterprise that are going to spread big scares about "exaflood" and try to justify why "net neutrality is bad, throttling bit-torrent is necessary". Whereas the actual problem isn't the growth of internet, but the wrong advertising of dishonest corporations.

Big flood aren't very likely to happen in the near future simply because the speed of progress in the field of communication speed is much higher than the progress of storage space or processor speed, in addition of all you mentioned too.

Re:Why? Simple! (1)

Rynth (1092427) | more than 6 years ago | (#21740138)

Can someone explain where all this excess data is coming from? I mean, seriously, all the 'tubes' are is a hella big network, right? So someones got to be putting out all this data, it can't be coming from no-where, right? I'm quite the befuddled one.

Why? (-1, Redundant)

butterwise (862336) | more than 6 years ago | (#21737880)

Because the tubes will divert the water elsewhere.

Confused. (0, Redundant)

deepershade (994429) | more than 6 years ago | (#21737916)

All i'm reading here is: We need to update to a properly working fiber optic system but instead we're gonna use it to stop net neutrality. Or am I mistaken?

Brett Swanson? (3, Informative)

MECC (8478) | more than 6 years ago | (#21737940)

That name doesn't appear in the linked-to article.

Bring On The Exaflood!
...
By Bruce Mehlman and Larry Irving

There is more info at Ars, [arstechnica.com] and they also mention Brett Swanson's name - he's from the 'discovery' institute. [discovery.org]

Brett Swanson: Discovery Institute Fellow (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21738282)

I have a hard time giving any credence to someone that believes that birds always had feathers, fish always had scales, the earth is 5k years old and Adam & Eve jammed in the Garden of Eden with dinosaurs.

Re:Brett Swanson? (3, Funny)

westyx (95706) | more than 6 years ago | (#21738352)

I guess the internet isn't intelligently designed.

Re:Brett Swanson? (1)

nwbvt (768631) | more than 6 years ago | (#21739008)

Its also an article in the Washington Post, not the Wall Street journal, so I'm guessing somebody copy and pasted the wrong link.

That's how it goes since people invented language. (4, Insightful)

the_other_chewey (1119125) | more than 6 years ago | (#21737976)

Predict bad things are going to happen unless people do what you say/buy what you sell/give what you want/etc.

Nothing new here.

Re:That's how it goes since people invented langua (0)

morgan_greywolf (835522) | more than 6 years ago | (#21738094)

Predict bad things are going to happen unless people do what you say/buy what you sell/give what you want/etc.
This Slashdot post is cursed. You must send US$2,000 to me immediately! The last Slashdot poster who's post was cursed got this same warning, and 3 days later, he died!!!

Hurry! Send the US$2,000 immediately or be cursed forever and maybe even suffer a fate worse than death!!!

No need to fear! (4, Funny)

DeeQ (1194763) | more than 6 years ago | (#21737992)

I've built an ark out of Ethernet cables and welcome all of slashdot onboard!

Re:No need to fear! (4, Funny)

4solarisinfo (941037) | more than 6 years ago | (#21738018)

But how sustainable is that, you'll need women too!

Re:No need to fear! (5, Funny)

kilo_foxtrot84 (1016017) | more than 6 years ago | (#21738066)

You must be new here.

Re:No need to fear! (5, Funny)

MSZ (26307) | more than 6 years ago | (#21738724)

Worry not, for he has gathered whole exabyte of women. A purest selection of JPEG graven images and HD video with 7.1 sound.

Pointless exercise (2, Funny)

CarpetShark (865376) | more than 6 years ago | (#21738214)

Inviting slashdot onto an ark? Aren't you kind of missing the whole repopulate the earth thing? Or were you hoping they'd get laid in close quarters, where the opposite sex has no where to hide?

Re:No need to fear! (1)

ledow (319597) | more than 6 years ago | (#21738230)

Would that be a Cat5e-merang?

Re:No need to fear! (1)

turtledawn (149719) | more than 6 years ago | (#21738492)

ouch. That was bad. :p

Re:No need to fear! (1)

ColdWetDog (752185) | more than 6 years ago | (#21739354)

Yuch. Lemons do much better in pies than cats. Think of the fur.

Re:No need to fear! (1)

smitty_one_each (243267) | more than 6 years ago | (#21740648)

I think the pun may have meant to use a catamaran, but the real flaws in the plan have already been explored...

Re:No need to fear! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21738574)

and i'll bring along 10 of every animal!

Re:No need to fear! (4, Funny)

Actually, I do RTFA (1058596) | more than 6 years ago | (#21738668)

I've built an ark out of Ethernet cables and welcome all of slashdot onboard!

And two by two, the meme's were entered into the ark made from Ethernet. First boarded the "all your base are belong to us's", then the "welcome to our new [] overload's", and so on and so forth, until after "?????" boarded, at last "Profit" came on board. And lo, as "Profit" entered, so the ark was raised into such a ruckus, with some of the OSS repositories that had come on board disembarking from the ark, and some did turn into the dreaded "closed-source" thus infected the post flood world. Some even forked and did more than one of these.

Re:No need to fear! (1)

PhxBlue (562201) | more than 6 years ago | (#21740410)

What, no Natalie Portman? No hot grits? No insensitive clods?!

Boy, do I feel old.

Re:No need to fear! (1)

Actually, I do RTFA (1058596) | more than 6 years ago | (#21740444)

no Natalie Portman?

The thought of two Natalie Portmans covered in hot grits overwhelmed me when I tried to add it before, you insensitive clod.

Data flood.... (1)

RancidMilk (872628) | more than 6 years ago | (#21738022)

Does this mean that I should run to the store and buy up everything on the shelves?

The only people who are making this claim... (3, Insightful)

jonwil (467024) | more than 6 years ago | (#21738044)

...are the people who want to control the internet.

Media companies wanting to shut down distribution of content not authorized by them (not just illegally copied content but content created and shared under licenses that specifically ALLOW sharing)

News organizations and governments wanting to continue to maintain control over what news we read, view and listen to so they can make sure that the "sheeple" stay "sheeple" and dont actually try to CHANGE their lot in life

Telecommunications providers (including providers of cellular telecommunications) who want to maintain profits for services THEY control and not allow the growth of alternatives to the telco-provided services

Churches and other groups opposed to pornography, gambling and other "vices" who want to be able to ban such content (or if thats not possible, at least control it to the point where its effectively banned)

Manufacturers, distributors and retailers who want to control your abillity to buy stuff to keep bricks & mortar stores alive or to keep people from buying stuff from a country where its cheaper than their own (for example, here in australia, a number of online stores were selling Panasonic DVD recorders really cheap due to the low overheads of those stores. Bricks & Mortar electrical stores complained since they couldn't sell at the price the online guys were selling at and actually make any money. So Panasonic stopped selling the DVD recorders to the online stores)

Governments and spy agencies who want to control the internet so that its easier to spy on the people and look for people who might "rock the boat" or that want to use internet control as a way to hang on to power (look at what happened recently in Burma for example where the government restricted internet access to try to stop the world from finding out how many innocent civilians were being hurt and killed in the name of keeping the dictatorship in power)

Re:The only people who are making this claim... (2, Insightful)

MBraynard (653724) | more than 6 years ago | (#21738180)

What a long stupid post. There's not a damn thing wrong with most of the groups you site wanting to do business freely on the internet and honestly earned profit is almost the greatest virtue to be had and you are using it like a dirty word. You most be a student with a government grant.

Most of the slashherd and editors here are already on board with the governent controlling the net via net neutrality laws. \

Re:The only people who are making this claim... (2, Interesting)

jonwil (467024) | more than 6 years ago | (#21738744)

I am not saying that the media companies or the news organizations or the manufacturers or anyone else should not be allowed to do business freely or to earn a profit.

Media companies should be allowed conduct business however they like (including lawsuits against people who are violating their copyright). However, they should NOT be allowed to control innovation or shutdown distribution methods for content which is being distributed with the permission of the copyright holder (and there is more and more "legal" content out there all the time as people begin to publish their own)

News organizations can distribute whatever news they like but they should not have the power to control other news outlets distributing their own news (even if the news coming from the little guy isn't what Big Media and the government want people to hear)

Telecommunications providers should be allowed to offer whatever services they like. But they shouldn't be allowed to block you from using 3rd party services. Telcos in the US should be treated just like the electric companies and should not be able to restrict your use of any program or network service (imagine if the electricity company could dictate what devices you were legally allowed to plug into the wall other than by setting standards for devices so they wont harm any people or harm the electricity grid) unless such use harms the service providers network in some way (or would harm the service providers network if you used it)

Churches and other "moral rights" type groups can protest and complain about whatever they like but they should not have the power to control or influence what other people not connected to those groups can and cant do with their leisure time (if I want to spend every cent I own playing an online casino, no-one should have the right to tell me I cant do that)

Manufacturers and distributors should be allowed to decide who they do and dont sell to but they should not have the power to tell the retailer what price they can sell at. If I want to buy $3000 SONY TV sets from SONY and sell them at 5 bucks each, SONY should not have the right to stop me from doing that (obviously I would go out of business fairly quickly though). Also, manufacturers and distributors should not have the power to tell retailers WHO they can and cant sell to. If I want to buy something from SONY in America and sell that item to a customer in Australia, SONY should not have the power to tell me I cannot do that.

If I own the copyright to a piece of music, no-one else should have the right to tell me how I can and cannot distribute that music or to tell me (or the people distributing my music with my permission) what royalties are to be paid for use of that music or what paperwork is to be filled out regarding that music. (if I was to run an internet radio station, I have to fill out all the RIAA paperwork and pay royalties even if I have direct permission from the copyright holder for EVERY piece of audio I play on the station)

I personally believe in the ideal of truly free commerce and capitalism and the free movement of goods and services throuought the world (as laid out in books/papers by some famous economist who's name escapes me) unrestricted by any government (e.g. subsidies, tariffs, rules limiting the number of players in the market etc) or any corporation (e.g. companies who set minimum prices or who use collusion or monopoly power to distort the market)

Rules and laws laid down by governments should be about enhancing competition and moving closer to this "ideal economy" and in ensuring that goods and services are produced by those producers who are most efficiantly able to produce them (yes I know it cant ever happen in the real world but we can certainly get a LOT closer than we are now)

For another example, look at the airline industry. If restrictions were removed and any airline (that could demonstrate that it was safe etc) could operate between any airport and any other airport, we would see the market change. At the end of it all, the airlines providing service may not the be same ones providing service now. It may be that allowing foriegn carriers to take over the market results in a more efficient airline market (i.e. lower prices for consumers)

Re:The only people who are making this claim... (1)

Billosaur (927319) | more than 6 years ago | (#21738820)

Au contraire. While it's perfectly acceptable for anyone to do business freely on the Internet, if some groups are allowed to control access to certain types of information/goods by throttling/blocking access to it, then that goes against free trade and the free market. It would mean short term profits, but long term loss, as much of the economy would move underground to places where there would be unfettered access.

Re:The only people who are making this claim... (1)

langelgjm (860756) | more than 6 years ago | (#21740170)

honestly earned profit is almost the greatest virtue to be had

How's the weather on Ferenginar these days?

Scaremongering as usual! (5, Insightful)

redelm (54142) | more than 6 years ago | (#21738048)

Kudos to Ars Technica once again. Amazing they stay sharp after all these years. The case against "net bias" is remarkably simple. Even moreso in the face of increasing traffic:


When traffic increases (overall, or peaky) to handle more video (for example), capacity has to be added or it quite simply will not get moved. Squeezing out/delaying other traffic will not go very far. Dark fiber has to be lit. When capacity is added because there is more traffic, there is also more "gaps" to fit in "low priority" traffic.


The fundamental problem is people think of the internet as a water pipe, with very simple capacity constraints. It is not. You don't care about water latency while data packet latency or jitter are extremely important.


It is beyond annoying that certain commercial entities are exploiting this misunderstanding to further their own interests at the expense of their customers. One cannot help but see them as grasping and acting out of malice.

Its not very profitable... (1)

Jennifer York (1021509) | more than 6 years ago | (#21738058)

to allow the Internet to bog down in data. Those serving this massive amount of data (video, music, etc.) will ensure the infrastructure exists so that their profits are not threatened. This is very basic business administration, if you run out of bandwidth, it's the same as running out of product, and you are turning away willing customers. Losing Money. Don't underestimate the market forces driving this exaflood.

creators' planet/population rescue to enhance 'net (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21738106)

a few 'interruptions' can be expected around the occurrence of the big flash, then everything will improve measurably on a day to day basis.

the creators will prevail. as it has always been.

corepirate nazi execrable costs outweigh benefits
(Score:-)mynuts won, the king is a fink)
by ourselves on everyday 24/7

as there are no benefits, just more&more death/debt & disruption.

we're intending for the nazis to give up/fail even further, in attempting to control the 'weather'.

http://video.google.com/videosearch?hl=en&q=video+cloud+spraying [google.com]

fortunately there's an 'army' of light bringers, coming yOUR way

do not be afraid/dismayed, it is the way it was meant to be. consider all of yOUR other options.

the little ones/innocents must/will be protected.

after the big flash, ALL of yOUR imaginary 'borders' may blur a bit?

for each of the creators' innocents harmed in any way, there is a debt that must/will be repaid by you/us, as the perpetrators/minions of unprecedented evile, will not be available.

all is not lost/forgotten/forgiven.

no need to fret (unless you're associated/joined at the hype with, unprecedented evile), it's all just a part of the creators' wwwildly popular, newclear powered, planet/population rescue initiative/mandate.

or, is it (literally) ground hog (as in dead meat) day, again? many of US are obviously not interested in/aware of how we appear (which is whoreabull) from the other side of the 'lens', or even from across the oceans.

vote with (what's left in) yOUR wallet. help bring an end to unprecedented evile's manifestation through yOUR owned felonious corepirate nazi glowbull warmongering execrable.

some of US should consider ourselves very fortunate to be among those scheduled to survive after the big flash/implementation of the creators' wwwildly popular planet/population rescue initiative/mandate.

it's right in the manual, 'world without end', etc....

as we all ?know?, change is inevitable, & denying/ignoring gravity, logic, morality, etc..., is only possible, on a temporary basis.

concern about the course of events that will occur should the life0cidal execrable fail to be intervened upon is in order.

'do not be dismayed' (also from the manual). however, it's ok/recommended, to not attempt to live under/accept, fauxking nazi felon greed/fear/ego based pr ?firm? scriptdead mindphuking hypenosys.

consult with/trust in yOUR creators. providing more than enough of everything for everyone (without any distracting/spiritdead personal gain motives), whilst badtolling unprecedented evile, using an unlimited supply of newclear power, since/until forever. see you there?

Re:creators' planet/population rescue to enhance ' (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21740134)

vote with (what's left in) yOUR wallet.
The only thing left in my wallet is a Capital One NoHassle Rewards(tm) card...

Exaflood (1)

JoeCommodore (567479) | more than 6 years ago | (#21738140)

I wonder how long it took the spin masters to work up that word; It has to be something that people remember that has a hint of disaster in the sound of it, but does not hurt their cause.

Re:Exaflood (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21740568)

Exaflood is not a bad name, but once people start having Exabytes of L2 cash it's going to start sounding really dated.

Strange link usage (1)

Foolicious (895952) | more than 6 years ago | (#21738204)

I don't like the way it seems like a link is being provided for Brett Swanson's Wall Street Journal piece, but it is actually a link to the Washington Post, and isn't an article by Brett Swanson at all, but Bruce Mehlman and Larry Irving. Maybe the add'l link could be posted as well. Although grammatically ok, the use of a link in this manner is weird and confusing.

Mod parent up (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21740228)

I hate to be so lame, but in addition to the editor making his usual mistakes, I can't believe that so many posted without even noticing this. Is there even any way to get the WSJ piece for free? Obviously no one RTFA's anymore.

In before 'you must be new here'

Master Chief (1)

Esion Modnar (632431) | more than 6 years ago | (#21738206)

Where are you?!?

What a wonderful write-up! (1)

mi (197448) | more than 6 years ago | (#21738232)

  • Why would nothing bad happen?
  • Because some of the people, who say, that something will, advocate a solution we dislike.

Excellent logic!

Come on.... It can take a slashdotting! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21738268)

if it can handle that... then need we say more!

Don't believe it (1)

ledow (319597) | more than 6 years ago | (#21738276)

Don't believe it'll for a second.. at least not for a few more decades. When we start hitting a technology boundary, then we'll have problems. We haven't hit one yet and people are still inventing better and faster ways to use the exact same fibres without having to re-lay anything. Until that stops, you ain't gonna see much panicking unless it's by scaremongerers.

And if it did, Internet2, with all it's research, technology and connectivity is just over there -> somewhere.

Genie is out of bottle (1)

chess (40930) | more than 6 years ago | (#21738296)

There is no need for scare.
* If ISP never really reaches the bandwidth they somehow promised or - god forbid advertised - he'll be sued, anyway.
* For video? Have buffer time. DVB-T already lags analog cable two seconds on live events just for recoding and buffering.
* Mesh radio concepts became technically viable before broadband became really cheap.
* And those people in rural areas won't see a difference anyway

Re:Genie is out of bottle (1)

SanityInAnarchy (655584) | more than 6 years ago | (#21739620)

* If ISP never really reaches the bandwidth they somehow promised or - god forbid advertised - he'll be sued, anyway.

Except they are very careful to include bullshit language like "up to", so they can never really be sued for this.

* For video? Have buffer time. DVB-T already lags analog cable two seconds on live events just for recoding and buffering.

That has absolutely nothing to do with bandwidth. Unless your buffer time is quite a bit longer than the video itself, you're not going to get high-def video to play over dialup, or over most "broadband" internet today.

I'm not sure I get your last two points, either. Broadband is already fairly cheap, and mesh radio is not currently technically viable for this amount of data.

And people in rural areas will most definitely see the difference. I live in a small town (10,000 people) in Iowa, and I have DSL at home and fiber at work. And that's only because I haven't had the time to get the fiber run to my house yet.

Old news. Metcalfe already predicted this in 1995 (3, Interesting)

dpbsmith (263124) | more than 6 years ago | (#21738316)

In December of 1995, he wrote: "I predict the Internet...will soon go spectacularly supernova and in 1996 catastrophically collapse."

The only news here is the invention of a new scare word, "exaflood."

The only thing that could really make the Internet collapse would be to abandon the principles of neutrality and end-to-end connectivity, and I'm sure the dire alarmist predictions are intended to soften us up for some proposal... like one to hand over control of the Internet to the telcos so they can allocate bandwidth and prevent "exafloods."

By the way, what happened to all the "dark fiber" that was so spectacularly overbuilt during the dot-bomb era? Is all of it lit up now?

Parent overrated, RTFA (1)

SanityInAnarchy (655584) | more than 6 years ago | (#21739674)

That article is specifically mentioned in TFA. Right at the top of TFA, in fact.

For that matter, TFA is strongly agreeing with you that it's not a problem. It's more of an analysis of different ways of solving the problem -- for instance, do we get to keep net neutrality?

Re:Old news. Metcalfe already predicted this in 19 (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21739820)

With regards to the dark fiber: Oops.

It's certainly not all lit, but much of it has been leased to third parties. Most of these can't or don't use it to capacity, effectively wasting bandwidth. In many regions, there isn't much dark fiber available, as carriers have stopped offering it and indeed are trying to buy back previously leased dark fiber. The carrier can then use the fiber much more efficiently (by employing WDM technologies, for example) and sell far more services over the same fiber.

The internet is in no way going to collapse, but it does require maintenance and planning to keep things running smoothly.

ams-ix (5, Informative)

wwmedia (950346) | more than 6 years ago | (#21738344)

checkout the massive growth [ams-ix.net] for last year at the worlds biggest Internet exchange

'exaflood' is simply telecom propaganda (2, Interesting)

postbigbang (761081) | more than 6 years ago | (#21738398)

These are the guys that thought that ATM would rule the world-- a very deterministic bunch at best. Not being able to understand Internet infrastructure- even though they 'run' big portions of it- is normal.

Let's say you needed your own acquired infrastructure to run your own cable system or your own cell/mobiles system. Let's say you didn't want your competitors services and content to be clogging your wires at your 'expense'. Let's say that it galls the living hell out of you that you can't control or throttle the full breadth of packets going over your own network!

And worse, some damn US Senator from Conn. decided to derail your immunity from prosecution over handing over data to the Bush Administration. Can't win that one? Then inject the fear of an 'exa' or peta or oogle event to scare the living shit out of people.

Propaganda. Every last fear-mongering fib.

Dire predictions... (2, Insightful)

slashname3 (739398) | more than 6 years ago | (#21738408)

Dire predictions are usually followed by a project/business plan on how to fix things. In other words someone wants money to fix something that won't need fixing.

How many times did people predict that Usenet would collapse due to the massive amount of data being passed around on the old modem network? It never did happen.

Good thing we're not using SI units (4, Funny)

charlesbakerharris (623282) | more than 6 years ago | (#21738470)

I have to say, an exaflood really *does* sound about a thousand times worse than a petaflood.

Re:Good thing we're not using SI units (2, Insightful)

aproposofwhat (1019098) | more than 6 years ago | (#21739402)

Nah - in a petaflood, you'd be inundated with deluded vegetarian unemployed animal rights terrorists.

I'll take a data slowdown over that any day.

Re:Good thing we're not using SI units (1)

charlesbakerharris (623282) | more than 6 years ago | (#21739504)

You're right. And in celebration of your comment, I just invented a new word: Jumanjihad!

Re:Good thing we're not using SI units (1)

aproposofwhat (1019098) | more than 6 years ago | (#21739846)

Damn. Just spat out a mouthful of coffee.

Excellent neologism, and if you don't get +5 Insightful, the mods are asleep.

powers of 2 not ten (1)

rossdee (243626) | more than 6 years ago | (#21739692)

An Exaflood would be 1024 times a petaflood.

Two Internets? (2, Interesting)

Toad-san (64810) | more than 6 years ago | (#21738502)

I1: I have no problem with two (or more) Internets.

I2: One for the original intention (legitimate email, web browsing, perhaps online gaming, minor file transfers).

One for the massive data transfers (to include streaming): video, file sharing, online or internet backups, etc.

Take your steenking music and video downloads to the overloaded one, and leave the _real_ internet clear for my WoW, if you please.

Oh .. and I have NO problems with my ISP filtering all the crap from I2 that tries to cross over to my I1 link. Or with my ISP providing me with "white list" or "black list" filter facilities (which would take care of the spam, thank you verra much).

I'd pay for that. Yes, I would.

Re:Two Internets? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21738726)

Astroturf or stupidity?

You decide!

Re:Two Internets? (1)

somersault (912633) | more than 6 years ago | (#21738856)

Pfft, like the spammers are going to leave your I1 alone.. and most people will be too lazy to use I2 unless it is just built in at an application level to use a different channel for large file transfers or streaming.

Re:Two Internets? (1)

MSZ (26307) | more than 6 years ago | (#21738878)

As long as it's user's choice I see no problem. If you like it, fine. It might be even useful to have separate circuit (be it logical or physical) for low volume/low latency data and other one for high volume/don't care about latency transfers - that's what a lot of people do anyway with QoS setups.

The problem starts, as you probably can see, when it's the ISP's choice to classify traffic without asking the end users. And that's where these scaremongering proposals lead.

Re:Two Internets? (2, Interesting)

DigiAngel (1191735) | more than 6 years ago | (#21738988)

There is a second internet being developed. It is called (cleverly) Internet 2 and is for academic purposes. It is being developed at Indiana University-Purdue University at Indianapolis.

The exoflood is coming! Start hoarding now! (1)

RevWaldo (1186281) | more than 6 years ago | (#21738774)

Download as many cute kitten and Family Guy video snippets as you can! The continuity of western civilization depends on it! RUN! No, wait, don't run - SIT DOWN AND LOG IN!!!

Oblig comparision (1)

timtimtim2000 (884095) | more than 6 years ago | (#21738814)

No good tech story is complete without a comparison of a tangible tech object to *bytes. FTA:

Cisco notes that three exabytes is equivalent to 750 million DVDs.

I'm having a little trouble wrapping my mind around that number. Tell me, how many songs is that? How many 40GB iPods Beowulf clustered together make three exabytes? Consider this, you could pave a 4 lane highway from New York to LA with 1GB flash drives and that road still wouldn't have enough space to hold three exabytes.

Re:Oblig comparision (1)

The_reformant (777653) | more than 6 years ago | (#21739874)

No good tech story is complete without a comparison of a tangible tech object to *bytes. FTA:

Cisco notes that three exabytes is equivalent to 750 million DVDs.

I'm having a little trouble wrapping my mind around that number. Tell me, how many songs is that? How many 40GB iPods Beowulf clustered together make three exabytes? Consider this, you could pave a 4 lane highway from New York to LA with 1GB flash drives and that road still wouldn't have enough space to hold three exabytes.

three exabytes is equivelents to four sofa's, half a dining suite, the rear axle from a ford mondeo and a sign saying "ball games are prohibited. Did that help?

and after the exaflood came... (2, Funny)

srijon (1091345) | more than 6 years ago | (#21739132)

The exaspam!

Moving to peer-to-peer? Wasn't that the design? (3, Insightful)

yuna49 (905461) | more than 6 years ago | (#21739286)

I thought this paragraph from TFA was especially interesting:

But the growth in file sizes is made worse by a concurrent increase in the use of P2P as a delivery mechanism. Distribution gets pushed from the center of the network to the edges as users increasingly become both the consumers and providers of content, so the tubes could be clogged in both directions.... The [US Internet Industry Association] describes this transition as a traffic shift "from the Internet backbone to a peered system in which content is streamed directly to consumers," and the group notes that it will require ISPs to upgrade the most expensive part of their networks to keep pace: the last mile.

Wasn't the Internet designed from the ground up to be "peer-to-peer?" Yes, I know we started with client/server technologies and "the Internet backbone," but fundamentally every machine with a public IP address is, and has always been, the peer of all the other millions of machines with public addresses. That's what makes the Internet so profoundly democratic and so profoundly threatening to established interests.

I suppose cable operators weren't used to seeing the world in those terms, but telcos certainly were. Voice/data services were always interactive, not unidirectional broadcasting. Why should anyone be surprised that the Internet is being used for the purposes its designers envisioned?

Oh, and why is a system where "content is streamed directly to consumers" described as "peered?"

Funny article (1)

MobyDisk (75490) | more than 6 years ago | (#21739352)

Already, in just six years, broadband has reached 25 percent penetration, according to McKinsey & Co.lready, in just six years, broadband has reached 25 percent penetration, according to McKinsey & Co.
So the internet was created 6 years ago?

The Washington post article also mentions nothing about network neutrality. IMHO, if it is a disguised case against it, it is very very well disguised. The only thing even possibly relevant is this line:

The formula for encouraging such extraordinary investments is clear: minimize tax and regulatory constraints and maximize competition.
This line is followed by a list of things that should be passed, and NN is not one of them. Perhaps it is intentionally absent, perhaps it is not. Either way, it really isn't worth using the term "network neutrality" to stir up interest in the article.

The only thing choking the internet (1)

iminplaya (723125) | more than 6 years ago | (#21739526)

is all the advertising. It slows everything down, including Slashdot. Well, it still doesn't slow down the sites that don't carry it. Sure slowed the article some. The graphics are just a bit too heavy also. Blocking doubleclick goes a long way to alleviate the problem. Hint, Hint! But all this switching around must be hell on the DNS servers. Latency is a big problem due to it. If and when we ever break free of the corporate wire with the a wireless cloud or whatever, net neutrality will be a non issue, and the net can be the anarchists' paradise in an authoritarian world. Those who wish to communicate must be protected in those endeavors. IP spoofing and similar "disguises" are such things that are needed to get around government firewalls.

wrong article (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21739740)

The "Wall Street Journal" article actually links to a Washington Post article written by Bruce Mehlman and Larry Irving.

There are some real problems (2, Interesting)

Animats (122034) | more than 6 years ago | (#21740736)

Actually, there are things to worry about.

Too many new applications have hard real time constraints. Copying movie-sized files around, no problem - TCP will throttle. Streaming HDTV without stuttering is much tougher. We're entering an era where the highest-traffic application needs a high quality of service. If resources are tight, there's good no place to throttle. VoIP works because it's a small fraction of traffic. Streaming HDTV looks to be a much larger fraction of traffic.

We still don't have a good answer to managing backbone congestion in pure datagram networks. The Internet today works because the congestion is out near the edges. If we get enough "last mile" bandwidth deployed that the backbone congests before the edges, packet loss rates will go way up. If we have about 2x excess capacity in the backbone, no problem. That's the solution we know.

Microsoft has proposed systems where "broadcast" video is multicast in real time with a high quality of service, while "video on demand" is heavily buffered and sent with a lower quality of service. That's an obvious solution; it's what multicast is for.

(Amusing thought: one solution to video buffering problems is commercials. When transport can't keep up and the player is getting close to running out of buffered content, play an extra locally-stored commercial or two. This lets the buffering refill. Download commercials in advance based on personalization info, then insert them as needed during playback. Don't put them in the main video streams at all.)

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