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Networking The Internet

How Would You Deal With A Global Bandwidth Crisis? 478

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

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  • by JesseL (107722) on Thursday February 15, 2007 @07:20PM (#18031868) Homepage Journal
    I guess I'd have to stop reloading slashdot every 10 seconds.
    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

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

      And I'd have to stop downloading porn. Oh, the humanity!
    • Talking of a glocal bandwidth crisis is bullshit. Bandwidth cannot be meaningfully traded/exported etc like, say, oil. To talk of a global oil crisis is meaningful because there is only xxx production worldwide and yyy demand and a country with a surplus (more desire for cash than lots of oil) can stuff the surplus in a tanker and ship it to a country with more desire for oil than cash (typically USA). You can't trade bandwidth like this: if I install some fibre in Mexico, I can't realisticly ship the bandw
      • by Shaman (1148) <shaman AT kos DOT net> on Thursday February 15, 2007 @08:28PM (#18032758) Homepage
        What are you talking about? Bandwidth is limited by hardware constraints, line constraints, political restraints, cost restraints, peering restraints, and other reasons. Bandwidth is meaningfully traded by big ISPs, Telcos and governments *every* day.

        You're thinking about it wrong here. When you are talking about Internet transit, you are talking about shipping your packets all over the world. Services like that are productized in all corners of the marketplace, and services cost money just like physical products. In the case of Internet transit, you're paying for a certain number of packets per second (often expressed as "bandwidth" allotment in a contract) to pass through a gateway, and usually in a residential service relationship, you are paying for a maximum performance with no set guarantees or dedicated services.

        How do people get these concepts so wrong is beyond me.
        • by PopeRatzo (965947) * on Thursday February 15, 2007 @08:47PM (#18032992) Homepage Journal
          When we all used 300 baud modems, was there a "bandwidth shortage"?

          This whole story sounds a lot like FUD created by the people who don't want Net Neutrality. By manufacturing a "crisis", the government will HAVE to deregulate and then you'll see so much bandwidth you won't believe it, but it will cost a lot of money. The main purpose of the PR campaign that is behind this story is to make sure nobody gets a free lunch. If there's one thing that corporations hate, is people getting something for nothing, or next to nothing. Politicians and corporations HATE the internet as it has existed for the last 15 years. It makes them shit-crazy to think of people doing stuff and it not putting money in their pockets. They have come to believe that the very act of communicating is something that everybody should have to pay them for.

          Remember, some 30 years ago, there was an OIL SHORTAGE. I mean serious. Rationing. You could buy gas on even days but not odd days. Cars that got over 40 miles to the gallon.

          Today, there are so many Lincoln Navigators driving down the Kennedy Expressway it looks like a locomotive convention. Each getting about 9 miles to the gallon. Each one with one person in it, usually a 30-something with a small dick. Is this sudden abundance of oil because suddenly Exxon found a huge oil reserve under the caribou-mating grounds of the arctic? Not a chance. The reason we've got a lot of oil all of a sudden is because they can charge 3 bucks a gallon for it. See? Eighty cents a gallon and there's a shortage. Three bucks a gallon and there's abundance. Now how did that work? These "crises" are the corporate strategies for turning the usual laws of supply and demand on their head. The guys in the record business are knocking their heads against the wall trying to figure out a way to create a music crisis, right?

          And, as I said, it's because it pisses them off to no end when people can get something cheap or find a way to live without them getting paid. Every time an oil truck passes me on when I'm on my bike, I watch for a gun barrel to peek out the side window, you better believe. When they see me pedaling down Elston Ave on two wheels, singing my head off and my only fuel the fried egg sandwich and coffee I had for breakfast, I become their sworn enemy. True.
          • by inviolet (797804) <slashdot.ideasmatter@org> on Thursday February 15, 2007 @08:57PM (#18033124) Journal

            1. Deliver a thoughtful and witty reply in a slashdot thread.
            2. Illustrate the reply with Yet Another Car Analogy.
            3. Bend the car analogy into an angry, frothing rant against SUVs... or rather, against the people who drive them... or rather, against the people who can afford them.
            4. ???
            5. Hard-on! I mean, profit!

          • by Dunbal (464142) on Thursday February 15, 2007 @09:01PM (#18033174)
            When we all used 300 baud modems, was there a "bandwidth shortage"?


                  Uhhh actually I don't know about you, but sometimes it would take me hours to be able to log in due to busy signals at the modem banks, so yeah, I guess there was a bandwidth shortage.
          • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

            by geekoid (135745)
            "When we all used 300 baud modems, was there a "bandwidth shortage"?"

            Yes. How many people cuold connect to a BBS running a 300 baud modem? How many times was a modem not downloading at it's optimal spped? Bandwidth shortage!
            Doesn't mean it wasn't fixable, you that technology wouldn't evolve, but at that moment it was a bandwidth shortage. I mean come on, I had only so long to download topless pictures of the Barbi twins!

            its 15 mpg not 9, dumb ass.
          • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

            by ikkonoishi (674762)
            Actually 50% of them have no dick at all. We call them females.
          • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

            by mcrbids (148650)
            Is this sudden abundance of oil because suddenly Exxon found a huge oil reserve under the caribou-mating grounds of the arctic? Not a chance. The reason we've got a lot of oil all of a sudden is because they can charge 3 bucks a gallon for it. See? Eighty cents a gallon and there's a shortage. Three bucks a gallon and there's abundance.

            Actually, gas was MORE EXPENSIVE at $0.80 per gallon in the 1970s than it is at $3.25 per gallon today. There's this thing called "inflation", which along with its close cous
        • by MindStalker (22827) <mindstalker@nosPAM.gmail.com> on Thursday February 15, 2007 @09:46PM (#18033590) Journal
          Either way its the perfect market. If bandwidth started truly running in short supply a little thing called supply and demand would kick in QUICKLY. ISPs getting complaints from users would implement higher caps or simply start charging more per speed rating. People would then either cut back or they would pay more. That extra payment then could be used to expand the network or the telcos could pocket it. The telcos that just pocket it would then start to lose customers. And the whole thing just goes in circles.. So whats the question again?????
          • by rtb61 (674572) on Thursday February 15, 2007 @10:41PM (#18034062) Homepage
            There is no bandwidth block hole on the major trunks, you need more you add more. The big 'tubes' (gotta love polies) are the cheapest per bit and the most profitable. Why do you think every company focused on that part of the fibre market rather than the fibre to the home, because it had far lower capital costs and the highest margins.

            When they all jumped into the same market at the same time, they created an oversupply, or what has been euphemistically called as laying a lot of dark fibre, a huge amount of it in fact, this B$ about having filled all the dark fibre is just marketing hype and trying to force up the price.

            Especially as technology has marched ahead and has allowed a lot more traffic to pass down the exact same fibres, except of course those dark ones ;-). As for live TV streams, they can be cut back to near nothing, with effective caching at the ISP level (don't send hundreds of thousands of streams over seas, send one and cache/mirror locally for re-distribution).

            There you go, a brand new patentable business opportunity, automatic local caching/mirroring of offshore/long range streams, to reduce bandwidth/traffic costs.

      • by Anthony Baby (1015379) on Thursday February 15, 2007 @08:36PM (#18032850) Homepage Journal
        I'm inclined to agree and call bullshit to this. I survived MCI Worldcom, Global Crossing, and Metromedia Fiber among others. I've got boxes of papers from during and after the days when people like Bernie Ebbers and John Sidgmore were screaming that there wasn't enough bandwidth, while people like Gary Winnick were out conning businessmen into cabling deals. Maybe it's post-traumatic stress, but whenever I hear business people make vague blanket statements about there not being enough bandwidth I cringe and hide behind a tree on the off chance I'll get to club Jack Grubman.
    • by statusbar (314703)
      I guess I'd have to install an advertising blocker. The majority of bandwidth that I use is all these flash-video advertisements when I am trying to read simple text based sites, like slashdot. So in the event of a "bandwidth shortage", advertising revenue to websites would decrease...

      --jeffk++
    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by Dr. Eggman (932300)
      I guess that would mean I'd have to stop my shoddy-attempt-at-a-web-spider from crawling through the Slashdot links, too.

      Whoops, no need. It just crashed again...
    • by evilviper (135110) on Thursday February 15, 2007 @08:11PM (#18032550) Journal

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

      Then the terrorists will truly have won...
    • by GooberToo (74388) on Thursday February 15, 2007 @09:40PM (#18033528)
      That's easy! Just kill all spammers and we instantly all have 50%-60% more bandwidth. Problem solved! Anyone want this shovel?

  • My answer (Score:5, Insightful)

    by suso (153703) * on Thursday February 15, 2007 @07:21PM (#18031874) Homepage Journal
    How Would You Deal With A Global Bandwidth Crisis?

    Simple, I wouldn't put up with it. I would demand that they make technologies that do scale. With all the breakthroughs that we've seen lately in storage, CPU power and bandwidth on I2, I just can't believe these kind of statements. These kind of fear tactics I believe are meant to help drive up the price of bandwidth when people are driving it down.
    • Re:My answer (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Original Replica (908688) on Thursday February 15, 2007 @08:19PM (#18032642) Journal
      These kind of fear tactics I believe are meant to help drive up the price of bandwidth when people are driving it down.

      Shhh. not so loud. Do you realize what might happen if people thought about how fearmongering, in the form of rediculous "what if?" scenarious, is used to influence the barely concious masses? Next you're going to tell me that it might be better to have the evening news present stories about serious issues, instead of the human interest stories that help soothe our fragile populace. You Sir, are a Menace.
    • by suso (153703) * on Thursday February 15, 2007 @08:25PM (#18032732) Homepage Journal
      I wanted to add a bit more to my answer and I want everyone to think about something. The Internet is distributed, not centralized. If one provider of content, like Youtube, is reaching the point where its impossible to scale any further from one point (10Gbits/sec sustained or something like that currently), then it should put a mirror of its content in another backbone, thus distributing the load over the net. And if they happened to saturate all the backbones, then there is obviously enough traffic (and revenue) to cause providers to grow, creating more "backbones". And besides, if Youtube reaches a limit, competitors will come along to supply content for the demand.

      To say that the Internet is not scalable is just rediculous talk. Its like saying cities are not scalable. Maybe nobody can build buildings more than 100 floors, but that doesn't mean the city can't grow. Its scaleable to the point where there is a Youtube mirror and 10Gbit/sec provider for every major city on earth. Sounds kinda like how TV is distributed via affiliates huh?

      • by Compholio (770966) on Thursday February 15, 2007 @08:53PM (#18033070)

        ... then it should put a mirror of its content in another backbone, thus distributing the load over the net.
        Yes, we've come up with a pretty efficient way of doing just that - they call it "BitTorrent".
        • BitTorrent is not the answer when it's the internet backbone that's getting saturated. BitTorrent would just keep it saturated, since it doesn't care whether it gets data chunks from nearby or far away.

          Compare this to Usenet, which doesn't stress the backbone at all: it's a connection between my local ISP and my computer, so it's fast and doesn't require taking a piss in the global bandwidth pool. BitTorrent will only prefer downloading data that's geographically closer when connection to the stuff that's

          • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

            Bittorrent could really benefit from IP v6, which is seperated into address blocks by location. If a client was built that preferred peers that shared the first few bytes of their IP with you, it would dramatically reduce international packets.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      How Would You Deal With A Global Bandwidth Crisis?

      I'd start selling bandwidth.

  • No Chance (Score:2, Insightful)

    by mrbcs (737902)
    "Could you live in a world without cheap and plentiful broadband internet access?"

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

    You can pry my bandwidth from my cold dead hands!

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday February 15, 2007 @07:22PM (#18031902)
    We get what we want, and everyone else goes without. Nobody here cares if Nepal is cut off, right? Right.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday February 15, 2007 @07:23PM (#18031910)
    "Could you live in a world without cheap and plentiful broadband internet access?"

    I Live in the United States you insensitive clod!
  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday February 15, 2007 @07:23PM (#18031922)
    bandwidth is an artificial limitation to a point (ie: you can't have 100 people soaking up a 100MBit line at 100MBit each and expect people to be happy). But the ISP's are limiting everything on purpose to insanely slow speeds in comparison to what they can actually do.

    re: I worked for an ISP until recently.

    They're just cheap when it comes to actually upgrading the infrastructure.
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by NickCatal (865805)
      No... They would upgrade their infrastructure if there was any major market demand for it.. and thus people were willing to pay for it.

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

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

      I do some freelance work for a hosting company in Chicago. Their network has more than enough bandwidth to serve all of their bandwidth-chuging clients... yet if they have
  • by FooAtWFU (699187) on Thursday February 15, 2007 @07:24PM (#18031938) Homepage
    If the whole Internet is truly choking on bandwidth issues, all those "high-bandwidth" things they complain about (YouTube) will be too slow to get at properly, and people will give up and go watch TV or something instead.

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

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

      • Pretty much the same stuff, just waterproofed and laying on the ocean floor.
      • Big, fat, huge undersea network cables that transmit lots and lots of data and can really only be maintained by submarines. Hang around and read enough Slashdot, and you'll see people who know to complain about sharks attacking them if they're not properly shielded.

        The likelihood of them being overwhelmed is quite............. silly to contemplate. In reality, the market would adjust, and technology would quickly be built to compensate for it. Google's already prepping.
        • by dr.badass (25287) on Thursday February 15, 2007 @08:24PM (#18032714) Homepage
          Big, fat, huge undersea network cables that transmit lots and lots of data and can really only be maintained by submarines.

          Submarine cables are actually surprisingly small. At most they are a few inches thick, which I don't think really counts as "huge". They might seem larger if you ever see them where they come ashore, but that's because in the shallows near the coast they are encased in armoring. Also surprising is that only fairly shallow cables are maintained by submersibles. Deeper cables are actually pulled to the surface by dragging a hook along the seabed until it snags.
    • morning of 9-11 (Score:5, Interesting)

      by HBI (604924) <kparadine AT gmail DOT com> on Thursday February 15, 2007 @07:43PM (#18032206) Homepage Journal
      Yahoo ground to a halt, literally, couldn't refresh. Most news sites were pretty difficult to get a hold of.

      It was congestion, clearly. I know I was working at an IBM hosting facility and it wasn't a good day for us.
      • Re:morning of 9-11 (Score:4, Informative)

        by Anonymous Coward on Thursday February 15, 2007 @07:52PM (#18032310)
        Any such effect would have been caused by traffic overwhelming server capabilities at the news sites, or soaking up all the individual sites' available bandwidth. The internet as a whole performed just fine on 9/11.
      • Re:morning of 9-11 (Score:4, Interesting)

        by Fastball (91927) on Thursday February 15, 2007 @09:12PM (#18033278) Journal
        I wonder if developers for the major news sites (cnn.com, yahoo.com, etc.) have some sort of plan in place to serve their content during crises in a bandwidth-light manner. Serious reductions in the usage of images, no video, and so on. I think I remember finally getting a page from cnn.com during 9/11 and it was stripped down pretty good.
    • by dgatwood (11270) on Thursday February 15, 2007 @07:45PM (#18032240) Journal

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

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

      SNAFU.

    • by LordEd (840443)
      Actually i didn't really notice any Internet problems. I was too busy reading a fascinating story about a goat.
    • by evilviper (135110)

      all those "high-bandwidth" things they complain about (YouTube) will be too slow to get at properly, and people will give up and go watch TV or something instead.

      YouTube, maybe, but certainly not P2P, large file downloads, etc. Once anyone starts feeling the effects of internet congestion, the cascading failure has already started, and can only get worse.

      An overwhelmed website isn't the same as an overwhelmed backbone. It doesn't downgrade cleanly, things get very messy.

  • We gotta save bandwidth!

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

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

    Why am I not worried?
  • by Marxist Hacker 42 (638312) * <seebert42@gmail.com> on Thursday February 15, 2007 @07:25PM (#18031956) Homepage Journal
    Return to text based services to minimize my bandwidth usage
    • Texting (Score:3, Funny)

      by benhocking (724439)
      Jst rembr 2 spl rite. Evry chr cnts!
      • :-) Slashdot on Lynx is much easier to read anyway- no flashing graphics from ad.doubleclick.com that include a portscan. Oh, did you think I meant SMS?
        • I was assuming links/lynx and/or pine/elm. (IIRC, links is actually better than lynx.)

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

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by ksheff (2406)
      basically behave like a dialup user. YouTube & other high bandwidth sites aren't that important. The VoIP users might not like it though.
      • Yep- I was slow to move to GUIs and never could see the point of moving beyond a 33.6kbaud modem back then. My connection (to my UNIX command line account at the college) with Pine and Lynx was plenty for me- and worked just as well on my (then) 12 year old TI-99/4a or my 6 year old Geneve 9640 as it did on my homebrewed '386 running DOS.
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by skoaldipper (752281)
      Which is the greatest ad blocker that I can think of as well. Maybe limit commercial sites and their use of graphics first.
  • Short term be more patient.
    Large files would likely switch to bittorrent like downloads.
    I wouldn't mind if debian/ubuntu left /var/cache/apt/packages as an open bittorrent for others.
    As long as the packages are securely signed I don't see a huge issue with it.

    Renewed focus on efficiency, more compression.
  • by TheDarkener (198348) on Thursday February 15, 2007 @07:26PM (#18031970)
    Look at the topology of the Internet. The tier 1 ISPs (Sprint, MCI, etc.) will upgrade their backbone pipes, and the same will happen in a trickle-down effect, as it always has.

    Seriously...this is a pretty lame attempt at a "What if" scare-tactic article!
    • by Shaman (1148)
      Uh no, you're wrong. The switching mesh that lets you download pr0n late into the night is already largely at its limits if not completely. There are only so many packets per second that they can switch (route/forward but it's all done by wire speed L7 switch gear now) and the more routes are added in the BGP4 tables, the worse it gets.

      Honestly, I guarantee you that until we see *extremely* major changes on the switch hardware side, there isn't much immediate hope that the Internet can scale further. The
      • Doesn't that just mean that services like Akamai's are suddenly much more valuable and necessary? I mean, they've been around for almost ten years, (I think) not a household name, but if suddenly backbone bandwidth becomes extremely expensive it's time for them to get more market saturation.

        The physically distributed datacenters being bought up left and right might make a difference too. The way the US is doing things, it will be possible for Comcast or Qwest to build a large datacenter that caches down
    • by dr.badass (25287)
      Look at the topology of the Internet. The tier 1 ISPs (Sprint, MCI, etc.) will upgrade their backbone pipes, and the same will happen in a trickle-down effect, as it always has.

      Part of the fear is that bandwidth usage is or will-be growing faster than more bandwidth can physically (or economically) be added.
  • ...cheap and plentiful broadband access. At least in the USA since we are 12th in the world according to an earlier ./ article. It is true too. Just look at Japan or South Korea. For the same cost as our 8megabit cable modem we could have 100megabit feeds in either of those countries. And not only that, but pretty much anywhere in the country as well.
  • No i wouldnt voluntarily limit my bandwidth usage. but as the demand for bandwidth rises and if you are right and the supply cant keep up, market forces will make the price rise. When that happens I will make a choice but it wont be voluntary it will be asimple cost benefit analysis.
  • by davidwr (791652) on Thursday February 15, 2007 @07:28PM (#18031990) Homepage Journal
    We already saw a regional bandwidth shortage with the Asia cable cut last year.

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

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

    10 years from now this won't be nearly as much of an issue since a lot of "major" sites will have "regional caches," making much of the end-user-generated traffic truly local or at least regional.
  • Most of this is based around the questions raised by the first article. The problem with that article is the audience- it's all cable providers. Google is just playing smart by saying they want to partner with the cable companies:

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

    All they're doing is playing to the audience in saying "we need you."

  • I think the answer is obvious: You just build more tubes.
  • Maybe this resource could have a price applied to it and thus we could use an amount that made sense for us given the cost of the resource and the resources available to us. Perhaps, we could pay for this resource in a medium of common exchange. In otherwords, because bandwidth like almost every other resources is scarce and has alternative uses we should use the market to allocate it efficiently. Pricing it will avoid any sort of bandwidth "shortage".
    • Just like they do today?

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

      Invariably fluctuations will cause bandwidth, latency, et
  • 'ping -b 10.255.255.255 -s 65537' accompanied by a scream in the other room improved my network bandwidth.
  • there's no crisis (Score:5, Insightful)

    by circletimessquare (444983) <circletimessquare AT gmail DOT com> on Thursday February 15, 2007 @07:30PM (#18032024) Homepage Journal
    back in the 1980s people communicated via bulletin board systems over 300 baud modems

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

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

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

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

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

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

    i think the internet (as we need it, maybe not as we want it) will survive youtube + WoW + bittorrent + huge spam hordes, or the Flu Armageddeon Telecommute Scenario (tm), just fine
    • by melikamp (631205)

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

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

      May be it is true that Internet is not ready to replace the TV right at this moment, but it in no way implies that it is about to b

    • by evilviper (135110)

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

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

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

      Actually, it doesn't work that way. Once ANY network starts nearing capacity, widespread congestion takes hold, and nobody can do anything. It's especially true for the internet, as TCP b

  • Stockpile! (Score:5, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday February 15, 2007 @07:32PM (#18032042)

    How Would You Deal With A Global Bandwidth Crisis?

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

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

    So
  • by Yeechang Lee (3429) <ylee@pobox.com> on Thursday February 15, 2007 @07:34PM (#18032072) Homepage
    I'd send special forces [wikipedia.org] to permanently take out all spammers worldwide. Voilà! Global bandwidth usage goes down by 50% or more.

    (Of course, I favor doing this today, regardless of any crisis.)
  • by Bonobo_Unknown (925651) on Thursday February 15, 2007 @07:34PM (#18032082)
    This might seem a little silly, but during a viral pandemic or any other event that causes massive social upheaval you may actually have more important things to worry about than checking your myspace.
  • There is no way I'm giving up my precious bandwidth! They'll have to pry my speedy 28.8k modem from my cold, dead fingers!!!!

  • Seriously, this?

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

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

    Honestly?

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

    Is anyone really stimulated by this?
  • In case of a bandwith crisis, Microsoft will have a 5 gb automatic update patch ready.
  • Since when are emergency services hosted on the public Internet? Who thought this was a good idea?
  • .. You created it, you fix it !!!
  • Kill the torrents. Shutdown Micro$oft Updates. End of problem.
  • If more ISPs would drop the "all you can eat unless you exceed the secret cap" plans and adopt real $/TB pricing, we'd be a lot better off and ISPs could better plan for growth.

    Here's my "ideal" price plan:

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

    Add
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by pla (258480)
      If more ISPs would drop the "all you can eat unless you exceed the secret cap" plans and adopt real $/TB pricing, we'd be a lot better off and ISPs could better plan for growth.

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

      Sure, you have to pay to get access outside the network you control (which applies whether you talk about your LAN, your local ISP,
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by Qzukk (229616)
      Your plan isn't paying for bandwidth, your plan is paying for the amount of data transferred. It's the difference between paying for a pipe that delivers 10 gallons of water a minute, versus paying for 500 gallons of water.

      Once upon a time that might not have been such a bad plan, but these days, a computer that was turned off would probably consume a good chunk of that allocation based on just the port scans and random worms flying around the internet, depending on how you were connected to the internet.
  • another "b" to band and another "d" to width"... More bbandwiddth is better.

    Or, I would buy more of those fatter pipes that can handle 5,000 TB/PSI.... hehehhe you know, the kind that Senator or Senator's writing staff invis..., umm, envisions
  • Consumer-To-Consumer. That can save bandwidth, and scales well. Now you should think of some way to make the "content" unwatchable... I mean, uncopyable, and you're done!
  • by bl8n8r (649187)
    or lynx. :) No flash, no popups, no pics, no spyware. Just text.
  • Due to some unfortunate divorce circumstances and wacky judge's decisions and the associated financial repercussions, I was forced to live a little bit "off the grid" in a cottage for awhile; a challenge indeed, with four children. I had no running water (I carried in every ounce I used, and heated it with a coleman propane heater), composting toilet, and the only high speed available was via satellite. (I had a bit of a love-hate relationship with Direcway.) Anyhow, when Hurricane Juan hit the Maritimes
  • It's really not a difficult problem. It's just that bandwidth has been so cheap, links so fast, and ever expanding, that there's been no motivation until recently.

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

    Second: Caching proxies can make a huge difference as well. In this day and age, with incredibly high-capacity hard drives being dirt cheap, it's unbelievable that ev
  • Seriously, if it is just for awhile...like say for example some disaster. I would go outside for awhile, write a few programs that I've been meaning to get to, etc.
  • I guess I'd have to stop idly browsing for meaningless garbage from time to time. Jaysus, the tone of this article makes it sound like bandwidth is the new water.

    What is it that you do on the Internet that's SO valuable that it just couldn't stand the test of rationing? Aside from online businesses, I believe that the importance of the Internet is wildly overstated in today's office. I'm a tech writer and our ISP shit the bed the other day -- we were without any Internet service whatsoever for two days (
  • How would you deal with a global bandwidth shortage?

    Allow the market to set the price of bandwidth. Duh!
  • by BCW2 (168187)
    Since a shortage isn't likely to happen why don't we have fun with this fictional situation? Track down all spammers put a thermite grenade on each of their servers and soot the bastards. That will free up close to 30% of whats wasted today. Tomarrow go after all online advertising the same way.

    I seriously wonder if the scare mongers who put this stuff out have ever heard of the boy who cried wolf?
  • DARK FIBER! (Score:5, Informative)

    by Kagato (116051) on Thursday February 15, 2007 @08:17PM (#18032628)
    A LOT of companies build out an absolute ton of fiber during the bubble. To this day much of those networks remain dark. The whole idea that we need to get rid of net neutrality is a total boondoggle.
  • by flanktwo (1041494) on Thursday February 15, 2007 @09:52PM (#18033666)
    I would start a company that drives truckloads of hard drives across the country. They didn't say anything about a latency problem...
  • by PMBjornerud (947233) on Thursday February 15, 2007 @10:32PM (#18033988)
    And just how would you deal with a global road shortage? Imaging not being able to take the car to the supermarket down on the corner! Starvation, my friends.

    Seriously, are we predicting the end of human civilization because we have an infinite demand for youtube and P2P? It's a non-issue. Get any major trouble with congestion, and broadband subscribtions would simply fall back to capped bandwidth.

    The article seems to ignore the fact of all-we-can-eat subscribtions. And then worries about how we're running amok with it. Duh. Because it's free, stupid.

    However, to prevent the imminent destruction of humankind, I propose:

    1: That damn dirty pirates only download things they're actually going to watch, instead of attempting to build a local copy of media history. (Est. bandwith savings: 60%)
    2: That governments introduce makes it a felony to upload tasteless content on youtube. (Est. bandwith savings: 30%)
    3: That the US declares War on Spammers and puts its military to some proper use. (Est. bandwith savings: 20%. And world peace)

There is hardly a thing in the world that some man can not make a little worse and sell a little cheaper.

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