Fibre jam

Jonathan Morissette and Oleh Ilnyckyj on Grouse Mountain

Some people are predicting that 2008 will be the year when the internet slows down. The cause is expected to be massive amounts of video traffic, partially driven by social networking sites. All those voice-over-internet phone calls will naturally add to the flow of packets that need to be routed around the world.

All this makes me wonder whether it might be better to allow a bit more discrimination in routing. Sending and receiving video is fun, but rarely essential. Having the more prosaic uses of the internet suffer unduly because of such things seems improper. I could probably surf text all day using the bandwidth required to watch a few minutes of television online.

I don’t really know enough about internet architecture to be able to say whether such filtering could be accomplished, whether it would be cheated very easily, or whether it would cause additional problems. That said, you can certainly expect such questions to get asked more often if predictions of slowly loading websites and jerky video calls prove correct.

Author: Milan

In the spring of 2005, I graduated from the University of British Columbia with a degree in International Relations and a general focus in the area of environmental politics. In the fall of 2005, I began reading for an M.Phil in IR at Wadham College, Oxford. Outside school, I am very interested in photography, writing, and the outdoors. I am writing this blog to keep in touch with friends and family around the world, provide a more personal view of graduate student life in Oxford, and pass on some lessons I've learned here.

2 thoughts on “Fibre jam”

  1. Aren’t there a lot of unused fibre optic cables right now? Where is the capacity bottleneck?

  2. I think there is a lot of ‘dark’ fibre. My guess is that the bottleneck lies with the backbone servers.

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