Internet Running out of Bandwidth

Wednesday, August 12, 2009 ·

When the Internet first started up, it really was used as a government and Educational resource to store and gain access to research material. It was never originally designed to do what we do today. It is like creating a wagon for the kids to play in, then eventually it turns into an aircraft capable of flying across the State!

A few years ago it was becoming evident that the Internet was running out of Internet addresses. This is a lot like our phone numbers, how we run out of prefixes or even area codes, because we need more numbers for more people. The Internet experts planned ahead and now they have added the possibility of bazillions of new Internet addresses for websites.

The next issue with the growth of the Internet is bandwidth or lack of it. Bandwidth is the size of the "pipe" that the internet uses to send information back and forth. The Internet originally was touted as the information super highway, and that is really a good analogy. There are big pipelines, like telephone lines or cable lines that stretch across the country, and world. Those connections only have so much space for information to travel on, just like on the roads.
If you have even been on the I5 near Portland or any big city during rush hour, you know what I am talking about. One traffic reporter I used to listen to years ago would always say, "too many cars, not enough pavement," during big traffic jams.

Well my friends, experts seem to think that is going to happen to the Internet. From the computer just working slower online, to actual brownouts that could last for periods of time where the computer "freezes."

The Sunday Times of London recently reported that the Internet may run out of bandwidth which could cause brownouts that will freeze user computers. They claim that the capacity for the amount of people and the amount of things they are doing, is taxing the Internet.
A report done by an American Think Tank Nemertes Research, says that "the web has reached a critical point.." They also say that more people are working from home and this is taking a toll on bandwidth.

Everything you do on the Internet takes bandwidth. Just like your electricity in your house. Some things in the house take much more electricity, and others take much less. If you are sending an email, it takes a small amount. If you send a huge attachment, that takes more. If you are just checking a website for plane tickets, that takes very little bandwidth. Watching your favorite network TV show online takes a lot of bandwidth.

Some of the things that take up large amounts of bandwidth are things such as YouTube and streaming movies or TV online. Those all take tremendous amounts of bandwidth, and it all adds up. Other things that many do not talk about are people who fileshare (or illegally download movies, music, software) and many Internet providers have taken action to minimize the filesharing by customers.

The current administration is putting huge amounts of money into infrastructure and the Internet and to give people access to the Internet, so it is hard to say how that will affect things.
The thing I do not like about this report is that if it got that bad, and the internet slowed down or just stopped working for periods of time, it makes it sound like your computer will stop working, your house will collapse on you, and your wife and dog will run away. I think it is a bit of fear mongering, because it would have nothing to do with your local computer, only things you are trying to do on the Internet.

We do a lot on the Internet today. Here I sit putting up a blog on the Internet, sending out email, and working on my website this afternoon. A lot of my business relies on the Internet, as many of your businesses and personal lives do too. So many of you are without jobs and looking now. Big business also relies heavily on the Internet. The Internet is critical to many people for a lot of reasons.

So maybe there could be some problems in the near future if something is not done. There is definitely need for the experts to work on solutions, but there is no need to panic as the article somewhat suggests.

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