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Internet Overload?

Well I know that one problem I have is trying to deal with the vast amount of data out there: just trying to get an angle on what the 'Malaysian blogosphere' might consist of gets my head spinning. Information overload is something we have to deal with more and more now (one symptom of this is the kids dragging a trolley bag of books to school, I suppose): Nardi et al. suggest that blogs may be popular specifically because of the limited interactivity they offer: i.e. they offer a way to communicate with others, and present a digest of one's public face, that can be interacted with at one's one speed - though the more popular bloggers have also often noted the pressure to produce regular postings in order to keep their audience happy.

Anyway, there was an article on BBC recently about "Warnings of 'internet overload'" . Apparently the backbones of optic fibres are not an issue, as "scientists are confident that each strand can be pushed to carry almost limitless amounts of data in the form of light." (Kelly), but as more people use more video and other realtime connections, there is a possibility that routers and local copper wire loops cannot keep up with the demand.

As far as Malaysia is concerned, it seems like for once our ISP(s) are ahead of the times...
"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."

or perhaps it's just a case of being lapped? ;-)

A recent study reported in the Technology Review gives a possible solution to the problem - using peer-to-peer connections to take some of the load off the "80 or so critical nodes" (Graham-Rowe) which form the centre of the internet network - not a lot when you think of it!

It's an interesting idea, though there must be security and privacy issues that would pop up. Continue reading "Internet Overload?"