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The Internet Education Networking

Why the Coming Data Flood Won't Drown the Internet 146

Posted by Zonk
from the really-strong-tubes dept.
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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Why the Coming Data Flood Won't Drown the Internet

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  • by guysmilee (720583) on Tuesday December 18, 2007 @09:48AM (#21737862)
    Grab two of every packet and burn them to a HDVD!
    • by shawnap (959909)

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

      Should've been:

      Grab two of every packet and archive them!
    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      by Zigmun_Barsac (861070)
      "Imminent death of the net predicted, news at eleven."
    • by HeroreV (869368)
      What is this HDVD thing you speak of? Perhaps "High DVD", like some DVDs that have smoked some weed?
      • by omeomi (675045)
        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.
  • by smitty_one_each (243267) * on Tuesday December 18, 2007 @09:49AM (#21737872) Homepage Journal
    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: (Score:2, Funny)

      by bhima (46039)
      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: (Score:3, Interesting)

        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
        • 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!!!!
          • 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 amount
          • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

            Credit where it is due.

                http://www.eecs.umich.edu/~fessler/misc/funny/gore,net.txt [umich.edu]

          • 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.
            • by jayminer (692836)
              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..
    • by Billosaur (927319) *

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

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

      Go forth and proverb.

    • by ArhcAngel (247594)
      I hope you aren't charging your client for the 40 days and 40 nights it took to do all this.

      • 40 days and 40 nights? What do I look like, a government contractor?
        The actual procedure was to to copy the appropriate chapter from the Book of Genesis, and spend, maybe, two minutes sexing it up, another two putting in the HTML, and then, of course, the required 20 second delay to Submit.
        As noted earlier, this was in pursuit of a First Post, and you'll note it was, in fact the 'tooth' post, which is a sizeable deadline.
    • by ecloud (3022)
      You rock! Funniest thing I've read in a month. And I can tell you've read the Bible too because most people screw up the Olde English grammar, and you didn't. Way to go!
  • Why? Simple! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by morgan_greywolf (835522) on Tuesday December 18, 2007 @09:50AM (#21737876) Homepage Journal
    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.

    • by aicrules (819392)
      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???
      • by funaho (42567)
        I hope IPv8 is better than IPv7 ("protocol version 7"), with its annoying "I built my consciousness into the protocol" easter egg that the developer put in there...

        (Serial Experiments Lain reference, for those wondering what the hell I'm talking about.)
    • by Billosaur (927319) *

      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.

    • 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?
      • by HTH NE1 (675604)

        just as major hardware upgrades were necessary to increase capacity in the mid-late 90s and early 00's.
        That wasn't just Y2K preparation?
    • Re:Why? Simple! (Score:5, Insightful)

      by apt142 (574425) on Tuesday December 18, 2007 @11:21AM (#21738900) Homepage Journal
      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! (Score:5, Interesting)

        by jimmyfergus (726978) on Tuesday December 18, 2007 @12:29PM (#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!

        • by jafac (1449)
          It is also what the financial industry is doing.

          "oh - computer security is SOOOO hard, those Russian hackers are soooo sneaky. Pay this extra fee, and we'll protect you from identity theft!"

          It's just another variation on the protection racket.

          Incidentally - it's what the Petroleum industry has been doing for the past 60+ years.

          The fact that there *IS* competition, and it's virtually impossible to militarily CONTROL all the petroleum in the world, and they STILL get away with collusion and market manipulati
        • by h4rm0ny (722443)

          That plan will only work so long as the average american citizen pays no attention to the state of things in the rest of the World.


          Oh wait. ;) :p
    • 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 wr
  • Brett Swanson? (Score:4, Informative)

    by MECC (8478) on Tuesday December 18, 2007 @09:57AM (#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]

    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by westyx (95706)
      I guess the internet isn't intelligently designed.
    • by nwbvt (768631)
      Its also an article in the Washington Post, not the Wall Street journal, so I'm guessing somebody copy and pasted the wrong link.
  • by the_other_chewey (1119125) on Tuesday December 18, 2007 @10:00AM (#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.
  • by DeeQ (1194763) on Tuesday December 18, 2007 @10:02AM (#21737992)
    I've built an ark out of Ethernet cables and welcome all of slashdot onboard!
  • by jonwil (467024) on Tuesday December 18, 2007 @10:08AM (#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: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by MBraynard (653724)
      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: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by jonwil (467024)
        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 "le
        • by Dirtside (91468)

          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)

          (Forgive me in advance if you're already aware of everything I'm about to say :) )

          While relatively free markets are, in general, a good thing, there are certain markets t

          • by jonwil (467024)
            I agree that some markets need to be regulated.
            However, the problem right now is that some markets that need to be treated as regulated monopolies (or oligopolies) are not regulated anywhere near enough to ensure that the best outcome is being generated for consumers (i.e. my comments about the Telcos needing to be regulated so they cant dictate what services consumers may use on top of their wires/airwaves). On the other hand, there are markets that are OVER regulated such as the airline industry. Get rid
      • by Billosaur (927319) *

        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.

      • by langelgjm (860756)

        honestly earned profit is almost the greatest virtue to be had

        How's the weather on Ferenginar these days?

  • by redelm (54142) on Tuesday December 18, 2007 @10:08AM (#21738048) Homepage
    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.

    • by Isao (153092)
      The fundamental problem is people think of the internet as a water pipe... It is not.

      What, it's a truck now?

      • I don't know how many times I'll have to repeat this: the Internet is not something that you just dump something on. It's not a big truck.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Where are you?!?
    • Why would nothing bad happen?
    • Because some of the people, who say, that something will, advocate a solution we dislike.

    Excellent logic!

  • 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.
  • 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
    • * 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 vide

      • by Firethorn (177587)
        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.

        I have you beat. 2mbit DSL, and my town has less than 30 people in it. The nearest gas station is 30 miles away, the nearest movie theater ~45.

        For the farmers, point to point radio can be an answer. Use high gain antennas and you probably won't cause much inteference.
      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by vtcodger (957785)
        ***And people in rural areas will most definitely see the difference. I live in a small town (10,000 people) in Iowa ...***

        Excuse me, but you are NOT really a rural customer and 10,000 is NOT a small town. I live in town of about 8000 and yes we have cable and DSL as well as natural gas, paved streets, sidewalks, street lights, and way too damned many traffic signals. I think we may get fiber in the next decade (but only, I suspect, because the largest surviving industrial plant in New England is abou

  • by dpbsmith (263124) on Tuesday December 18, 2007 @10:34AM (#21738316) Homepage
    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?
    • 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?
  • ams-ix (Score:5, Informative)

    by wwmedia (950346) on Tuesday December 18, 2007 @10:36AM (#21738344)
    checkout the massive growth [ams-ix.net] for last year at the worlds biggest Internet exchange
    • by ppanon (16583)
      Yeah. It about doubled but it looks a lot worse because of a non-0 offset axis for the vertical dimension. Of course that's pretty common in computer review rags that expand a 2% difference in CPU speed into 75% of a graph's vertical range, but hey that's sensationalized reporting for ya. But when it's used to exaggerate perceptions of growth to justify legislative lobbying, it's political fraud.

      Lies, damn lies, graph axis offsets, and statistics. When dealing with a nearly innumerate population, they're al
  • by postbigbang (761081) on Tuesday December 18, 2007 @10:40AM (#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.
  • by slashname3 (739398) on Tuesday December 18, 2007 @10:42AM (#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.
  • by charlesbakerharris (623282) on Tuesday December 18, 2007 @10:47AM (#21738470)
    I have to say, an exaflood really *does* sound about a thousand times worse than a petaflood.
  • Two Internets? (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Toad-san (64810)
    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
    • 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: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by DigiAngel (1191735)
      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.
  • 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!!!
  • 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.

    • 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 eq

  • The exaspam!
    • by apt142 (574425)
      I'm not sure that the exaflood isn't the exaspam. Just how much of the traffic on the tubes is spam, phishing or bot net activities? Does anybody know?
  • by yuna49 (905461) on Tuesday December 18, 2007 @11:52AM (#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?"
  • 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.

    • I think they were implying that broadband become available to home users around six years ago.

      I'm pretty sure they're wrong, though. I've had broadband for at least six years, and it was being rolled out before that.
  • by Animats (122034) on Tuesday December 18, 2007 @01:46PM (#21740736) Homepage

    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.)

  • ask a guy who might know. Vint Cerf wrote an article in IEEE Computer back on January [ieee.org] that put forth his worries that our data comms bandwidth and our content packaging automation will outstrip human capacities to absorb and understand [I think it already has...most people don't even know how much of the flood of data has passed them by]. You may have a problem with the link [to the abstract] because Computer is a subscription journal for IEEE members. Cerf's short piece is mostly concerned with the way

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