Traffic on the internet has exploded with video being the media of chance that is guzzling down the information superhighway. Separate reports indicate that the traffic is set to scale skywards but the question is whether the ISPs can scale to the demand as well.
“Innovations like YouTube, IPTV, high-definition video and mobile phone cameras are driving this new wave of data—or exaflood—of Internet and IP traffic,” said Bret Swanson, an adjunct fellow at the Discovery Institute and co-author of the report. “Many of the new online opportunities we can’t even imagine today. But these exciting applications and services will only be possible if we make large new investments in broadband fiber-optic and wireless networks.”
Video will drive a 21 percent compound annual growth rate in business IP traffic across WANs from 2006 to 2011, according to a forecast on global IP traffic released this week by Cisco.
That and consumer traffic, which will surpass business IP traffic in 2008, will cause overall IP traffic to almost double every two years through 2011, the Cisco report finds. Total IP traffic will nearly quintuple in the five-year period from 2006 to 2011, driven by high definition video and high speed broadband penetration, the firm says.
And at the heart of the approach being touted by the ISPs and one that has received a lot of attention is the attempt to “shape” traffic so as to differentiate on the basis of the type of application commanding the traffic. This has raised a furore from the advocates of net neutrality.
ISPs cannot be completely blamed for trying to figure out better pricing models that can bring in more revenues. Alternatives being thought of are either charging the companies that want to deliver content ( such as Google and Yahoo ) or charge customers based on data download.
The technological approach is also being tried here with several firms trying to solve the problem with approach that harnesses the advantages of P2P and caching. Essentially the technology involves channeling traffic between users rather than occupy the main network backbone of the ISPs.
While ISPs have traditionally continued to frown upon Peer to peer traffic, perhaps it may one day provide the panacea to traffic woes.