Demand for Internet bandwidth will exceed the Internet's capacity by 2012, predicts a new Nemertes Research report. Nemertes originally projected that Internet traffic would eclipse capacity by 2010, but the firm has since adjusted its prediction to reflect the economic crisis. Nemertes does not expect the bandwidth crunch to cause the Internet to crash or shut down completely, but warns that users will experience brownouts that slow high-bandwidth applications such as high-definition video-streaming and peer-to-peer file sharing. A major reason for the expected growth in traffic is the increasing popularity of virtual workers who work from home or remote offices. These workers often require advanced communication and collaboration tools, such as Web and videoconferencing, according to the report. Another major contributor is the large growth in high-bandwidth applications that users access. Nemertes expects that an increasing number of Internet service providers will implement bandwidth caps that will enable them to charge extra for heavy bandwidth consumers. The firm says that if the capacity issue is not addressed, the Internet will fracture into a tiered system in which companies with the most money will pay for specialized network infrastructure that ensures their content is delivered at a higher speed, while companies with less money will struggle to make their content accessible.
From Network World
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