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Video Usage Creates Traffic Jam Worries 257

Posted by Zonk
from the backup-on-the-i-9-out-of-google-today dept.
An anonymous reader writes "ZDNet has an article talking about worries over the increase in video downloads in the last year. Free video hosting and the popularity of iTunes is blamed for this phenomenon." From the article: "This is far from an academic issue. Whether the new companies can deliver on their promises could have a profound effect on how the Internet operates--and it could hit consumers in the pocketbook. Business and entertainment content worth billions of dollars now flows over ordinary ISP networks. Internet voice calls, which can be garbled by any network congestion, are increasingly common. Serious online hiccups could be as irritating, and potentially economically damaging, as persistent L.A. traffic jams."
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Video Usage Creates Traffic Jam Worries

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  • by stupidfoo (836212) on Thursday February 23, 2006 @12:06PM (#14785149)
    Internet voice calls, which can be garbled by any network congestion, are increasingly common.

    I call my solution POTS and I have submitted a patent to cover it.
  • by Rob T Firefly (844560) on Thursday February 23, 2006 @12:07PM (#14785150) Homepage Journal
    Remember when dialup and fax transmissions completely destroyed the telephone network?
    • Why do you think everyone has cell phones these days?
    • by tpgp (48001) on Thursday February 23, 2006 @12:23PM (#14785329) Homepage
      Yep, and right in the article summary there's a clue that it's complete horsecrap.
      ....Free video hosting and the popularity of iTunes is blamed for this phenomenon.....
      Do they really expect us to believe that video's from free video hosting accounts for more video traffic then bittorrent?

      And itunes for Gods sake! What the hell? Do vod-casts (or whatever the sheep call them) really account for a significant amount of traffic? I doubt it.
      • i am skeptical, especially since they cap so many people's speed. I have friends with the verizon fios service. They have a fiber optic line comning into their house, and they only are slightly faster than broadband. They are not using their networks to capacity by a long shot. So you expect me to beleive that the rest of thier network is taxed out? Give me a break its the telecoms trying to get more tax breaks.
        • by drinkypoo (153816) <martin.espinoza@gmail.com> on Thursday February 23, 2006 @12:44PM (#14785550) Homepage Journal

          i am skeptical, especially since they cap so many people's speed. I have friends with the verizon fios service. They have a fiber optic line comning into their house, and they only are slightly faster than broadband. They are not using their networks to capacity by a long shot. So you expect me to beleive that the rest of thier network is taxed out?

          This is a specious argument. This is possibly because you don't know how the system works, so I'm willing to give you both the benefit of the doubt and a [very] short explanation. The fiber going to the door is not a contiguous piece with the fiber leaving the POP. In addition, fiber is typically shared between multiple subscribers. They only have so much bandwidth available to the POP, and it costs them money to get more. Plus, they have to throttle people to avoid segment oversaturation. The system can handle whatever speed, sure, but they only give you a piece of it, so that other people can have a piece, too. (It would be nice to see a more intelligent system that would let you have more bandwidth when no one else is using it, though.)

          • Well actually it's more likely to be congestion at the ISP or poorly performing web servers than the local fiber. Many web servers are on 10Mbit or lower throttled connections or are incapable of sustaining good file transfer speeds.

            I'm on a good quality 100Mbit internet connection and I rarely see download speeds over 2 Megabytes a second. A typical download is usually 200-400Kbytes/sec

            Jason.
            • I see the same thing, I have the FIOS service and I do not see Verizon actively throttling the bandwidth at all, it's the target sites in general doing the throttling.

              I was actually impressed to see that a download flash game at nick.com hit over 6Mb/s incomming. You can have the biggest download pipe in the world, but it won't change how sites send the packets to you. There are more limitations then just your internet connection
          • This is possibly because you don't know how the system works, so I'm willing to give you both the benefit of the doubt and a [very] short explanation. The fiber going to the door is not a contiguous piece with the fiber leaving the POP. In addition, fiber is typically shared between multiple subscribers. They only have so much bandwidth available to the POP, and it costs them money to get more.

            All the FTTH that I've messed with (working for a telephone company, not a "telecom" that just resells other's st
      • Free video hosting and the popularity of iTunes is blamed for this phenomenon

        "Blamed" as if this is a bad thing. This is a natural occurance in the "everything gets fatter" pipe of today's computing power and bandwidth. Processors are faster, RAM is cheaper, megabit is giving way to gigabit, broadband is becoming more ubiquitos. Speed/storage is cheaper, and will continue to get cheaper.

        Let us not all forget the AMAZING release of v.92 56kbps modems. Whoa! 56k is almost double 36.6!

        Psha, I say.

        • My cable modem bandwidth has more than tripled in the past two years and I expect it to continue.

          That's funny, because my Comcast cable internet service currently is still slower than the service I had through its ancestor @Home 7 or 8 years ago. And I pay extra for the faster package. Go figure.

          If this isn't an indicator of the sorry state broadband here in the U.S., I'm not sure what is.

      • No, it's all the Windows Service Packs that are cluttering the corridors of the internet.
      • > vod-casts (or whatever the sheep call them)

        Why do you call users of video podcast "sheep"?
        I'm into the networking-yaddayadda since 19 years and I have seen a few good things come and quite a few good things go, but being able to download e.g. daily news effortlessly and to watching them on the train is something I hope will stay and expect to change TV and radio broadcast as we know it.

        Meeeh,
        k2r
      • Do they really expect us to believe that video's from free video hosting accounts for more video traffic then bittorrent?

        I'd certainly hope not, seeing that it's estimated that Bit-torrent accounts for about two thirds of all traffic on the internet.

        We're in the 21st century FFS! Let's light up some of that dark fiber or whatever, not come up with bullshit excuses for raising prices and lowering QoS. If myself as a high school student can afford to have a gigabit network setup within the house, I don'

    • I remember when my Computer Science teacher told me that spam and forwarded mails both took up excess disk space and slowed down the Internet.

      I remember when AOL joined the Internet and everyone hated them because they had doubled the population and supposedly halved the overall intelligence.

      I remember when.... damn am I old. I had a birthday this week and I'm almost thirty. Man, I need a freaking nap already.

      Anyways, uh, These People Need To Get Stuffed. Internet2 is on its way and it is faster
      • Internet2 is already here, and it's not making the net faster and hardier for people who want to download podcasts, pr0n, and spam. From the project: "Led by more than 200 U.S. universities, working with industry and government, Internet2 develops and deploys advanced network applications and technologies for research and higher education, accelerating the creation of tomorrow's Internet."

        Internet2 is not something that Comcast is going to offer you access to in a few years. It's a collaborative network acc
        • Most of this is completely true, but it still misses the point slightly - I don't expect anything to really happen short-term with internet2 except for the technology that it involves slowly getting more mainstream until streaming video is again as mild traffic-wise as junk e-mailings.

          It's early, so perhaps I didn't quite express myself effectively.... To be honest, I would expect that in the end either I2 gets its funding cut / goes bankrupt, or becomes another backbone- like system much like the origin
  • by gasmonso (929871) on Thursday February 23, 2006 @12:08PM (#14785168) Homepage

    This sounds little more than the usual doomsday stuff. In the US there is plenty of unused fiber that covers the entire country. Even companies like Google are interested in tapping this resource. This isn't so much a problem as it is an opportunity for a company to fullfill the demand.

    http://religiousfreaks.com/ [religiousfreaks.com]

    • by mordors9 (665662) on Thursday February 23, 2006 @12:14PM (#14785248)
      Give up downloading pr0n videos so fatcats can talk over VOIP? Only when they pry my cold dead fingers off my..... well you know.
      • Give up downloading pr0n videos so fatcats can talk over VOIP? Only when they pry my cold dead fingers off my..... well you know.

        You sicko, why are using cold dead fingers to...oh wait...I get it now...nevermind.

      • Give up downloading pr0n videos so fatcats can talk over VOIP?

        Wait till you have kids. Let's say, two sons and one daughter. And you still have the same pipe you now have. And you want to VoIP with a colleague because you're working home today. And let's, for the sake of argument, say that they are in puberty.

    • n the US there is plenty of unused fiber that covers the entire country.

      Exactly.

      TFS (Business and entertainment content worth billions of dollars now flows over ordinary ISP networks. Internet voice calls,) reminds me that you get what you pay for. A business, whose existence or business at least partially rested on the internet would pay for a reliable connection and make sure their customers got a reliable service. That then gets tiered down into the low cost/free offerings. This happens at pres
    • Teh end is neigh!!!11!!
    • And besides that, ISPs tend over estimate the amount they spend on infrastructure so they can justify higher prices. Verizon, for example, predicts$91.7 billion USD [verizon.com] revenue for 2006 and laying fiber and installing switches is probably the least costly of all there operations. I bet they spend more on advertising than anything else. I wouldn't be surprised if this doomsday senario is a plot by the MBAs to prep consumers for price hikes even though they already have the profits to fix the problem.

      Doc Searl
  • by SparkEE (954461) on Thursday February 23, 2006 @12:09PM (#14785173)
    This is simply the way technology works. From the begginning the web has been needing speed upgrades because of its content. And once the speed catches up to support the newest content, the content evolves and requires greater speed. Why worry about this natural process of innovation. If content is limited out of bandwidth concerns, then bandwidth won't improve.
    • "This is simply the way technology works."

      And there is even more comming! As an web developer who works on Atom implementation I see also big risk with coming RSS/Atom support in Windows Vista and all those RSS/Atom-enabled devices and browsers and aggregators...

      I can imagine a users with the Windows that downloads automatically (without user's awareness) hundreds of feeds from all over the web every day... This is not "per-click" view but continuous (most of the time useless) feed updates...

      If you watched
  • by GoodOmens (904827) on Thursday February 23, 2006 @12:09PM (#14785175) Homepage
    This just adds ammo to ISP's push for tiered internet. Scarry ....
    • Though obviously for geeks it's going to be more expensive. To be honest, there's "tiered Internet" right now, in terms of paying more for faster speeds.

      Bandwidth is a limited resource, and there's a need for providers to be able to allocate that resource (or at least do resource planning) based on known factors. At first, they were assuming that everyone they gave "unlimited" access to would spend a couple hours a day surfing. Now it's looking more and more like they should assume that everyone will be dow
      • First, people don't want to have to watch how much they download. When you start metering the account, that's what you do. That will never fly (unless you give them some super huge about in the TB range.

        On the server side of things, I pay for metered bandwith, which I monitor daily. However, I pay about $100 for 2TB of transfer at 100Mbs, and that's with a server. That's approximately 6Mbs constant for the entire month. I don't think most people have any idea of how much (little) they download.

  • by garcia (6573) on Thursday February 23, 2006 @12:09PM (#14785184) Homepage
    ISPs are not concerned with traffic "jams". They are concerned with their overselling of bandwidth and people beginning to actually use broadband the way it was intended to be used -- not to replace dialup for speedier POP e-mail and a couple of websites.
    • Yep (Score:3, Insightful)

      by bogie (31020)
      Exactly. Consumers actually becoming empowered is the biggest fear that corporations and our government has. Witness the debates on Bloggers rights, P2P trading and communication, etc. It's all about keeping the consumer marginalized and making sure they A) don't post information your trying to hide, *cough* Bu$h *cough*, and B)they don't develop alternative means of developing entertainment and communication that circumvent traditional Media monopolies.

      It's all about control, and the fear of losing it.
    • It's not just on that end either. With videoblogs and such, those webhosts that offer up to 500GB+ of transfer and massive storage for really cheap are starting to have problems as people actually begin using more than a small percentage of what they offer.
    • Customers using the service as it was advertised to them? Yeah, I could see how that would get folks shaking in their boots. So for years we've been paying for a "rich broadband experience", and now that we actually can get it, they go "oh frack, our nice comfy profit margins!!"?
  • Cache server (Score:5, Interesting)

    by MacGod (320762) on Thursday February 23, 2006 @12:10PM (#14785190)
    One of the ways thsi could potentially be alleviated is through the intelligent use of a cache/proxy server. I know of one small ISP back in the day (admittedly long before downloadable video was at all common) that elected to invest in just such a server, rather than significantly upgrading their bandwidth. They analysed their traffic and found that there were large swaths of data that were requested by many people (for example today that might be the most popular 20 Google videos, or the images on the Slashdot front page or whatever). By caching these locally, they were able to dramatically cut down on their bandwidth usage to their data provider. The ISP-to-user bandwidth was much cheaper, so this was a great way for them to increase their effective bandwidth without having to pay for massive data pipe upgrades.
    • This is really what squid and other proxy caches do for http traffic. eMule has tried to capitalize on that by actually allowing data to be cached by an ISP's http proxy cache and to let users of the ISP get the data from the cache instead of directly from a user on the otherside of the world. Maybe what we need is some more generalized cache systems that ISPs can run and applications can take advantage of.

      But this idea only works when people are getting the same data, obviously. It won't work for voice ove
    • Re:Cache server (Score:4, Interesting)

      by TeamSPAM (166583) <flynnmjNO@SPAMemail.com> on Thursday February 23, 2006 @01:04PM (#14785727) Homepage

      I agree that proxy use is smart on the part of the ISP to manage their bandwidth usage. Unfortunately, I don't think a proxy server will solve for the bandwidth issue this time. The entertainment companies want their content protected (ala DRM) meaning that each video will be a unique file and serves no purpose being cached on a proxy server. These requirements are at odds with easing network traffic by using cache servers.

  • I have to wonder (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Recovering Hater (833107) on Thursday February 23, 2006 @12:10PM (#14785192)
    Is this just another "The Internet Sky is going to FALL!" episode? Any excuse to charge another buck for bandwidth on the presumption that things are gonna get really bad if they don't.
  • Yep (Score:4, Insightful)

    by TheRealMindChild (743925) on Thursday February 23, 2006 @12:10PM (#14785194) Homepage Journal
    Internet voice calls, which can be garbled by any network congestion, are increasingly common

    And this is exactally why I do not subscribe to the VOIP bandwagon yet. ComCast's service is so hit-or-miss sometimes, I can't trust a phone service on it. Hell, I can't even trust an uninterrupted game of Q2 deathmatch. Mind you, this isn't exclusive to ComCast. It's a trend propogating through all broadband ISPs as they meet a level they can't serve.
    • I've been using asterisk for nearly 6 months now, doing all voip. My only grip is that even though my upstream provider will allow IAX2 termination, they will only let me use ulaw codec, rather than gsm or speex, which would significantly reduce the throughput needed.

      I'm in the process of getting some IAX2 servers in place in our data center so I can use some leaner codecs, the trick here is that in practice this is all transcoding...I'm doing the equivalent of wav -> mp3 on all of that audio in real-ti
  • by grasshoppa (657393) <skennedy&tpno-co,org> on Thursday February 23, 2006 @12:10PM (#14785197) Homepage
    Did anybody else read this and immediately check to see if zdnet is owned by AT&T?

    Maybe I'm paraniod, but it's a perfectly healthy attitude to have in this country.
    • by lopingrhondo (186235) on Thursday February 23, 2006 @12:13PM (#14785234) Homepage
      Absolutely. This reads like a press release from the AT&T Verizon duopoly. More FUD that's going to circulate in the news in the coming months in order to convince people that tiered internet laws are necessary.
      • My brother was in Korea for the past 2 years, and the first thing he said when he came back to the US was "What is the connection so freakin slow??" We are on broadband, I was used to downloading big files at average download 'high' speeds of around 30-40kbps. Sometimes I would see it go up as much as 200kbps with BT, but never anything beyond that. To my brother, he considered 200kbps slow!

        I'm gonna go out on a limb and have to agree with Dvorak: this needs to be government mandated if we are to see fast

  • Wow (Score:5, Funny)

    by Moby Cock (771358) on Thursday February 23, 2006 @12:12PM (#14785220) Homepage
    This is so profound. I am simply staggered with this depth of reasoning involved with this. Companies that depend on the availability of a resource will be affected if that resource is unavailable. Amazing!

    In a related story, high tech companies are concerned that they may lose money in the event of a power outage.
  • by narrowhouse (1949) on Thursday February 23, 2006 @12:12PM (#14785226) Homepage
    Expect a lot of stories that logically lead to a tiered Internet in the next few months. First there were stories about the telecom companies considering tiers. Now there will be stories about how the current internet structure is threatened by certain applications that require high bandwidth. Then the excuse will be that they HAD to go to tiered service because the infrastructure just couldn't handle the strain without causing riots, plaugues and famine.
  • Networks and roads (Score:3, Interesting)

    by bpbond (246836) on Thursday February 23, 2006 @12:13PM (#14785238) Homepage
    Serious online hiccups could be as irritating, and potentially economically damaging, as persistent L.A. traffic jams."

    That's a really interesting analogy. It's taken us (the U.S.) fifty years to figure out that if you build more, and higher-capacity, roads, it alleviates congestion temporarily but ultimately results in...more traffic and more congestion. Does something similar apply to networks? Adding more bandwidth may be expensive, but unlike roads, (i) usage is easy to monitor and thus charge for, increasing companies' incentive to invest, and (ii) the many damaging externalities (i.e., costs like air pollution that traditionally aren't factored into the "price" of roads and cars) seem to be absent for computer networks.
    • That's a really interesting analogy. It's taken us (the U.S.) fifty years to figure out that if you build more, and higher-capacity, roads, it alleviates congestion temporarily but ultimately results in...more traffic and more congestion.

      I'm genuine interested in that idea. It sounds plausible, like some of the reasons why one guy riding his breaks can cause a standstill three miles back, but maybe you can elaborate?
      • It's true, traffic is like a gas; it expands to whatever space you give it.

        The idea here is one of supply and demand: if the cost is too high, people will find a way to use resources more efficiently. When there is so much traffic that the morning commute is up to two hours, people will find ways to make it easier. Ride public transportation, share rides, telecommute, use small cars, ride bicycles, walk, etc.

        But you build up the infrastructure to accommodate, two things can happen. First, better infr

      • by Anonymous Coward
        To see this, you have to look at why the congestion is happening. Do you think that at the front of every traffic jam is some guy driving 5mph for the hell of it?

        From my own experience around several cities, roughly 25% of all congestion comes from the fact that the exits are too narrow. When you build out your freeway to 10 lanes, and your exits are one lane each, you're going to have complete standstills when three lanes of cars try to cram their way into that exit. Once one lane stops, people will use
        • Another 5% goes to exits that are wide enough but too close to a stoplight once you've gotten off. I drive past one of these every evening on my way home from work, and traffic backs up from the stoplight, onto the freeway, and up past the previous entrance preventing people from getting on the freeway.

          Ah, I see you're also familiar with the Gowanus Expressway in lovely NYC.

          Thanks for the reply. Plus infinity billion informative.
      • I'm genuine interested in that idea. It sounds plausible, like some of the reasons why one guy riding his breaks can cause a standstill three miles back, but maybe you can elaborate?


        Because if you build a freeway, you have to add spurs (on/off ramps) to connect with existing roads. These then opens up large tracts of land for developers to build homes and businesses, as the freeway now allows a shorter commute time between commercial and residential areas. Home-owners need cars, and you end up with more tra
    • "...more traffic and more congestion. Does something similar apply to networks?"

      Sure - RFC 1925 [rfc-archive.org] Section 2.9 of Networking Truths.
    • It's taken us (the U.S.) fifty years to figure out that if you build more, and higher-capacity, roads, it alleviates congestion temporarily but ultimately results in...more traffic and more congestion.

      This is nonsense. When is the last time your boss said you didn't need to go to work because traffic was going to be bad? People time-shift their travel to accomidate undersized highways, they don't eliminate it. The idea that increasing capacity to meet demand can't work is rediculous. I don't know how it
    • Circuit switching would be the equivalent of private transport as it stands in the US today. Packet switching is more of a mass transit equivalent. Keep in mind that traffic engineering allows you to push the buying more bandwidth/lighting fibre from the 60% to the 70% mark (also known as a couple of quarters away, and then the whole amount you pend on TE is wasted).

      The choke isn't at the backbone, it is near the edges, where the primary overselling occurs. DSL is oversold at high ratios, and when the DSLAM
  • Quality of Service (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Jon Luckey (7563) on Thursday February 23, 2006 @12:14PM (#14785240)
    Wow, its almost as if the ISPs were trying to say that people would have to pay more if they wanted thier packets routed with a high standard for delivery time. Where have I heard that recently? [washingtonpost.com]
  • Podcasts (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Plocmstart (718110)
    Very popular audio podcasts can cause some issues for small ISPs also. I own one such ISP that hosts a website with a podcast that has become very popular. Being able to deliver that much content to so many people hasn't yet maxed out our bandwidth, but it definately is using a majority of the total that we see right now.
    • Why not set up a tracker and seed for a torrent?

      This is the perfect application for this technology.
    • Very popular audio podcasts can cause some issues for small ISPs also. I own one such ISP that hosts a website with a podcast that has become very popular. Being able to deliver that much content to so many people hasn't yet maxed out our bandwidth, but it definately is using a majority of the total that we see right now.

      Assuming that you haven't already, it sounds like it's time that your customer "upgrade" to a plan that allows for higher bandwidth. I'm sure that it's all in the ToS.
  • Get more bandwidth (Score:5, Insightful)

    by AKAImBatman (238306) <akaimbatman@gUUU ... inus threevowels> on Thursday February 23, 2006 @12:14PM (#14785246) Homepage Journal
    The other day I overheard a fellow at a local game store chatting with a cop about getting better speeds on BitTorrent(!). (Disclaimer: Always remember that there *are* legal uses for BitTorrent.) At this point, BitTorrent and other P2P downloads have become so widespread that they are using a significant fraction of the Internet's resources. I don't see how adding more legal video downloads is going to create a traffic jam above and beyond what we already have. In fact, it's quite likely that many of the legal downloads will replace either illegal or amature-produced downloads. Thus the net effect, IMHO, would be undoubtedly far less than expected.

    If service providers feel they actually have a reason to be concerned about the matter, then they should see it as an opportunity to sell more server class bandwidth to customers. Assuming they're not undercutting themselves (???), they should be able to use the sales to increase their bandwidth infrastructure to meet the needs.

    Honestly, I think the question is, who is raising the concerns in the article and why? The answer seems to be, "the service providers" and "so they can sell the idea of tiered service". Will they just get over it? No one is buying the tiered service idea.
    • If the files are encrypted for each individual user, then many approaches for saving bandwidth (peer-to-peer, multicast) are no longer usable, because the content is different for each user.

      Thus, a switch to legal downloads (with the assumption of accompanying DRM) will cause massive bandwidth problems near the source of the content, because DRM forces a centralized distribution topology.

      (The one exception is if a content provider distributed many content servers all over the Internet which would perform en
  • by tibike77 (611880) <tibikegamez@ELIOTyahoo.com minus poet> on Thursday February 23, 2006 @12:14PM (#14785250) Journal
    Well, let's see...

    If Application X (games mostly) was too much for your system, what did you do ?
    Try to improve on the application engine, request code rewrites and wait for patches ?
    Duuh, nope. YOU GOT UP AND BOUGHT A FASTER MACHINE.

    If you knew NY traffic was going to be awfull, do buy a faster car ?
    NOPE. Actually, you could SELL the car.
    And you will use the subway, or in case you can't, get a cab.
    Or, if you're the mayor, put a huge "car usage price" and get the freaking streets empty (and the city rich) at the same time.

    So... is your ISP (you being a big company) having problems with your traffic ?
    Well... get a better "pipe" plan, or switch ISPs.

    AS LONG AS YOU ASK FOR MORE BANDWIDTH, and you do it for "long term", somebody, somewhere is going to be more than happy to provide it for you.
    So the answer is not "limit usage", but "build better roads".
  • I'm not a blind free-market lover, but what is this article going on about? ISPs who want to offer their customers fast connectivity and decent throughput will preferentially pay for peering with decent backbones that have invested in bandwidth.... even if that means paying a bit more, in my opinion. Therefore there is a financial reward available for provisioning more bandwidth and therefore the market should ensure that it will happen.

    It's not as if there is any shortage of dark fibre lying about and wav
  • From the article:

    ISPs' rhetoric is increasingly strident about content from outside providers raising the costs of their networks," said Jupiter Research analyst Joe Laszlo. "But I haven't seen hard data that suggests the volume of legitimate video is coming close to swamping ISP networks yet.

    I think I understand. ISPs (whatever THAT means) are annoyed that they will have to... how do I put this... Provide Internet Service? Shocking.
  • Get all the internet companies in the US to stop selling crap broadband, stop being greedy, and catch up with the rest of the developed world and give us our FTTP. Problem solved.

    Of course, with the current problem of corporations runnign everything, fat chance of that happening anytime soon.
  • by Captain Perspicuous (899892) on Thursday February 23, 2006 @12:21PM (#14785313)
    How about if the major ISPs finally get their act together and allow Multicast [wikipedia.org] on their networks? For podcasts and videopodcasts with thousands subscribers, this would cut bandwith costs by huge factors.
    • That seems to require people on the same network to be downloading the same data at the same time.
      • Exactly. That's why it works well with podcasting, where people don't need to have a file immediately, because the subscribe. Multicast an episode every 30 minutes and everybody gets the full episode daily with much less bandwith problems.
      • Kind of. There's tricks you can do, for example carousel, where you continously send the same file out again and again. So people can start listening at any point, receive to the end of the file in the current sending, then listen for the first half when it's broadcast again. Fcast (http://research.microsoft.com/barc/mbone/fcast.a s px [microsoft.com]) is an example of this approach.

        There are more complex tricks, but they're probably not worth going into.

        Oh, or you could use swarmcasting (for example, BitTorrent). It's not
        • > Oh, or you could use swarmcasting (for example, BitTorrent). It's not as good, but tends to
          > mean bandwidth usage is more localised (because clients will tend to connect to clients close
          > to themselves in network terms).

          No, BitTorrent doesn't care about where peers are. It only cares about how fast they are uploading. If ISPs didn't cap upload between subscribers then the clients would definitely prefer local peers.

          In any event, BitTorrent and CacheLogic have announced [bittorrent.com] a caching system so ISPs
      • I would say that many BitTorrent swarms (I've seen some with 10,000+ users) would qualify here.

        Yes, BitTorrent doesn't currently support multicast, but if networks actually supported multicast it wouldn't be long before it was either integrated into BT or as a sort of "back channel" for BT.

        Multicast would also be a great way to "push" content to local caches.

        As someone else pointed out, IP Multicast in its current implementation presents some scalability problems, probably one of the main reasons it hasn't
    • Multicast has a number of problems in a global internet which is why ISPs generally don't forward multicast. Furthermore, as another poster pointed out, multicast only works when everyone is getting the same data simultaneously. In other words, it works kind of like TV without a recording device. You have to be watching the channel at the right time to get the data. So it's completely unusable for most apps.
  • by TheCoders (955280) on Thursday February 23, 2006 @12:21PM (#14785317) Homepage
    The Future Of The Internet (TM) is going to be varying levels of service depending on how much you (and/or the content providers) want to pay. The specs are mostly there for providing multi-tiered Quality of Service (QOS), but the implementation is still some years away. As we know, there is also some controversy involved here.

    As an example, if a given company (can anyone say "Google"?) wanted to provide VoIP telephone service with a guaranteed, deterministic, bit-rate allocated to each connection, they would sign a contract with a particular ISP and pay certain licensing fees and so on. The controversy arises because we could reach a point where a large chunk of bandwidth is dedicated to these paid-for streams, and the rest of the world is left with a best-effort attempt at whatever's left over. This would of course leave the smaller companies out in the cold. If CNN.com pays the premium to provided guaranteed QOS for it's streaming audio, and another, smaller site does not, well, guess who's video is going to look better?

    At the moment, there is still a lot of dark fiber and unused bandwidth in the backbone, such that the real bottlenecks, if any, are in the last mile to the house, so it's not an issue. Yet. It'll be interesting to see how this pans out, but it's not hard to envision a future where the days of all internet sites being equal are long gone.


  • Most big ISPs (comcast, verizon, etc.) charge a typical flat rate for monthly service. So Bobby checking his email pays the same as Grandma downloading those high-quality Frank Sinatra mpegs.

    But maybe there's another way to do this- monthly fees based upon data transfer. I pay it now as the host, but maybe the consumer should pay some metered/scaled/tiered rate?

    It's easy enough to compute transfer rates per account (they do this now in a limited way so they can send warnings to people consuming too m
    • But maybe there's another way to do this- monthly fees based upon data transfer. I pay it now as the host, but maybe the consumer should pay some metered/scaled/tiered rate?

      Back in the bad old days of pre-dialup, most services WERE pay-by-the-minute services. I HATE that kind of plan. I hate pay-per-minute usage for phones and cell phones. I can't stand every time I go to use the thing constantly fretting about how many minutes are ticking away. I want a flat rate that I can count on being the same n
    • Been there, don't want to do it again. You basically stop using the Internet if the service is being metered.
  • Typical CNET column. They think there's a problem because it makes sense to them and then they go find someone who agrees.

    Most Internet traffic is consolidated within large network companies (Tier 1s, cable companies, phone companies) at this point. Large network comapnies exchange traffic with each other over high-capacity circuits (peering points) in multiple locations. Typically they don't charge each other for it because it allows both to keep their traffic levels at public exchanges, which are exp

  • The press is stupid (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Kohath (38547) on Thursday February 23, 2006 @12:30PM (#14785403)
    Oh no, a problem! We're the press. We don't know anything about anything. How can this problem possibly be fixed! What's to be done!? Are we all doomed?

    People who solve problems instead of hyping them understand that if there's a shortage of something (bandwidth, or QoS in this case), you go get more of it. And the problem is solved.
  • Hey I have an idea - why don't you video providers pay me extra to access my pipes and I'll bump up the priority of your traffic.

    Your truly,

    -Satan
  • How many times have we heard that in the past? USENET can not possibly keep pushing around all those news groups, it's going to die! There's just to much traffic!

    Should have put a picture of chicken little in a tin foil hat on this one.
  • Astroturf (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Doc Ruby (173196) on Thursday February 23, 2006 @12:32PM (#14785435) Homepage Journal
    When you read Borland's article, keep in mind that his argument about video streaming creating unfair expenses for ISPs, without compensating them as much as the content providers, is the reason that telcos like AT&T and Verizon are demanding different charges for accessing competitors like Google. The telcos want a "2-tier Internet", with more expensive "premium" fees for fast, reliable access to content competitors like Google and Time Warner, just as the telcos start competing with them with their own video streams. But Borland doesn't mention that aspect of his argument, even though it's hot news.
  • we can blame microsoft for this since they dropped the QOS api there was in windows 2000. Now we have to wait for ipv6 to become the standard because that one does have an option for quality of service buildin.

  • Sounds like an article sponsored by the Telco companies, to build support for their networking plans to charge providers for QOS.
  • by slashbob22 (918040) on Thursday February 23, 2006 @12:38PM (#14785496)
    I can just see the excuses now.
    Employee: Sorry I was late for work boss. My telecommute was delayed in a "traffic jam". Traffic was moving well down the backbone, but when I pulled off at the Cisco exit it slowed down to a crawl due to a collision at the next router. After so long in traffic I was running low on gas and headed for the nearest repeater, unfortunately I didn't make it and my 'car' was dropped off the road.
  • I already hear from my friends sometimes that our phone service (via Vonage) sounds like it has a delay or echo in it. Sometimes I can hear it on my end, too.

    I sometimes wonder if my content is getting "throttled" by some carrier along the way...

    Steve
  • I have no evidence but I strongly suspect this kind of news story is part of a sophisticated PR attempt by the telcos to help lay the groundwork for their attempt to tier the internet.

    I read a recent NYT article which said if we had faster broadband speeds like in other first world countries, the problems with bottlenecks simply vanish. Let's see if the telcos champion that solution.
  • "Serious online hiccups could be as irritating, and potentially economically damaging, as persistent L.A. traffic jams."

    If people need and want bandwidth, the market will happily comply and keep increasing it. I've already got 55 megabit fibre to my house where I live. Besides government regulation and controls, I can't think of any reason telecommunication companies cannot meet the demands of Internet users.
  • I'd rather have these costs hit bandwidth providers like SBC in the pocketbook. Year after year they post incredible profits and they whine about not being able to provide us with faster connections and infrastructure. Eat some profits providers. Spend some money, instead of pushing it back on us with higher costs.
  • Disregard this completely. Networks will add capacity to meet the demand of their paying customers.

    If you ask me, this is probably a bunch of scaremongering by the pigopolists over at Verizon and AT&T designed to get people to think more highly of the idea of a "tiered Internet" where "content providers" like Google have to pay extra for the privilege of sending bandwidth-intensive video over the Internet.
  • The ISPs in question are run by businessmen who are set in the mentality of a 10Mb pipe costing more than a 1Mb pipe, and less than a 100Mb pipe. In reality, the same circuits and equipment could handle several times their current speed (think moving the 1Mb level to 10Mb, 100 to 1000, etc.), but it doesn't fit the business model. This won't get any better, and the ISPs will continue to claim the sky is falling until they realize that they cannot keep the same business model of the current service levels fo
  • by ChePibe (882378) on Thursday February 23, 2006 @01:05PM (#14785736)
    I mean, look at Jack Bauer! He can get anywhere in L.A. in less than 15 minutes, all while carrying out complex functions on his super cell phone and running over countless terrorists!
  • Let's see if I've got this right. First, they use a technology that isn't designed for voice to carry voice, knowing that it is a kludge that can only work properly when the network is unusually lightly loaded. Then, they complain that the use of the network in its intended purpose is interfering with their use of it for an unintended purpose.

    Reminds me of people who buy houses near working farms and then expect the farmers to stop farming so they won't be offended by the smell associated with normal farm o
  • First, the author demonstrates a lack of understanding of the current situation with the following quote:

    Web companies and civil libertarians have bitterly criticized this idea, calling for "network neutrality" that doesn't relegate other content to a slow lane, or pass along costs to consumers.

    Nobody is calling for network neutrality. The FCC already requires network neutrality. The telcos are calling for network neutrality requirements to be overturned so that they can charge more money for a tiere
  • I'm going to be irritated if they say what has been my typical download pattern for years is "too much, and we are going to cut down your bandwidth, or only allow you x data to download per day" just because joe schmoe is finally beginning to realize what he can do over the internet now. Even a tiered internet can't solve this, since most of the high-bandwidth content providers have deep enough pockets to pay for their bandwidth. The US is behind on internet technology compared to much of Asia, but if we
  • FTA

    "Downloadable video files are large enough that few are cached at the local level, and it's expensive for content companies to do so."

    This is utter crap, video content on itunes and google is akamized. That means the popular stuff is cached on servers by your isp (if it doesn't suck). Or by the very least a public akamai server in your nearest city.

    The bandwidth "pinch" referred to by the author doesn't exsist in a modern network. If it does your ISP is incompetant.

    The only impact the increasing quail
  • The business way (Score:3, Interesting)

    by teslatug (543527) on Thursday February 23, 2006 @02:23PM (#14786471)
    Watch the ISP's start to throttle people ala Netflix.

    "Sure you can have unlimited rentals for $14.99, as long as you limit it to less than 5 a month, otherwise we'll throttle you to a limit of our choosing."

    "Sure you can have 1Mbps up/down, as long as you don't try to use it, otherwise it will be 128Kbps."

    How do they keep getting away with this. If I were to say, "sure I'll agree to pay you $14.99/mo for the service as long as it's only for one month, otherwise I'll just pay you $1.99/mo" I'd get service interrupted and a big splap on my credit history. We need consumer unions to protect ourselves. When one person drops the service, they'll be glad as it's just someone using the service to the advertised terms (instead of much lower than that), but if a thousand subscribers do it at once they'd notice.
  • by Animats (122034) on Thursday February 23, 2006 @03:03PM (#14786807) Homepage
    This reads like a planted story, intended to build public support for the "tiered Internet" concept that Verizon and other incumbent carriers have been pushing.

    Then there's a plug for "Itiva", which has some technology they call "Quantum Streaming" (tm). Itiva's web site is vague, but this seems to be more about DRM than transmission: "Itiva enables publishers and media content owners to monetize media content. The technology protects copyrighted material, supports embedded advertising, and defines the future direction of video publishing over the Internet." Itiva has done a demo, one that basically demonstrates that if you have 5.5Mb/s to the user, streaming works reasonably well.

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