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Is the Internet about to collapse?

Internet-Collapse

With current trends as they are, researchers believe that certain areas of the Internet may collapse due to ‘You Tube’ type websites.

Can our networks deal with the ever increasing demand!?

Since 2003, we have seen another change in the way we use the net. The YouTube generation want to stream video, and download gigabytes of data in one go.

“In one day YouTube sends data equivalent to 75 billion e-mails, so it’s clearly very different,” said Phil Smith, head of technology and corporate marketing at Cisco Systems.

Social Bookmarking and Networking Sites

Sites like Stumble Upon, Digg, Flickr etc. are all helping to create massive strain on the networks currently in place.

Fibre optic cable

“Back in the days of the dotcom boom in the late 90s, billions of dollars were invested around the world in laying cables,” said net expert Bill Thompson.

“Then there was the crash of 2000 and since then we’ve been spending that inheritance, using that capacity, growing services to fill the space that was left over by all those companies that went out of business.”

Router reliability

Much more high-speed optic fibre has been laid than we currently need, and scientists are confident that each strand can be pushed to carry almost limitless amounts of data in the form of light.

But long before a backbone wire itself gets overloaded, the strain may begin to show on the devices at either end - the routers.

“If we take a backbone link across the Atlantic, there’s billions of bits of data arriving every second and it’s all got to go to different destinations,” explained Mr Thompson.

ISPs already cutting back

The real issue that people are going to face, and are already noticing at home, is that ISPs are starting to cut back on the bandwidth that is available to people in their homes

“The router sits at the end of that very high speed link and decides where each small piece of data has to go. That’s not a difficult computational task, but it has to make millions of decisions a second.”

The manufacturer of most of the world’s routers is Cisco. When I pushed them on the subject of router overload, they were understandably confident.

“Routers have come a long way since they started,” said Mr Smith. “The routers we’re talking about now can handle 92 terabits per second.

“We have enough capacity to do that and drive a billion phone calls from those same people who are playing a video game at the same time they’re having a text chat.”

Congestion

Even if the routers can continue to take what the fibre delivers, there is another problem - the internet is not all fibre.
A lot of the end connections, the ones that go to our individual home computers, are made of decades-old copper.

“The real issue that people are going to face, and are already noticing at home, is that ISPs are starting to cut back on the bandwidth that is available to people in their homes,” said Mr Thompson. “They call it bandwidth shaping.”

“They do this because they have a limited capacity to deliver to 100 or 200 homes, and if everybody’s using the internet at the same time then the whole thing starts to get congested. Before that happens they cut back on the heavy users.”

Source: BBC News

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