February 23, 2006 4:00 AM PST

Net video explosion triggers traffic jam worries

Blame Steve Jobs, or maybe YouTube.com.

The amount of video online is skyrocketing, whether it's "Lost" episodes or movie trailer mash-ups. The phenomenon is putting new stress on ISP networks, which are seeing the demands on their bandwidth burgeon.

Now a new wave of companies--some newcomers, some with familiar faces--are stepping up to play the role of traffic cop, arguing that they have ways to manage this surge in video traffic and keep networks healthy.

"Everyone loses in the current scenario," said Michel Billard, a former HP executive who recently joined start-up Itiva, one of the companies offering video-speeding technology. "What we need is a way to amplify the bandwidth that's available."

This is far from an academic issue. Whether the new companies can deliver on their promises could have a profound effect on how the Internet operates--and it could hit consumers in the pocketbook.

Business and entertainment content worth billions of dollars now flows over ordinary ISP networks. Internet voice calls, which can be garbled by any network congestion, are increasingly common. Serious online hiccups could be as irritating, and potentially economically damaging, as persistent L.A. traffic jams.

Already, according to network infrastructure company CacheLogic, more than 60 percent of Internet traffic is being taken up by peer-to-peer swaps, and about 60 percent of those swaps involve video content. Add to that the growing amount of legitimate content from companies such as Apple Computer, MovieLink and Google Video, and the scale of consumers' demand for video begins to emerge.

Big ISPS such as AT&T have already argued that they should be able to charge companies such as Google or Yahoo for an extra tier of service, ensuring their content arrives swiftly at its destination. Web companies and civil libertarians have bitterly criticized this idea, calling for "network neutrality" that doesn't relegate other content to a slow lane, or pass along costs to consumers.

Any technologies that ease bandwidth burdens could help defuse that debate.

"ISPs' rhetoric is increasingly strident about content from outside providers raising the costs of their networks," said Jupiter Research analyst Joe Laszlo. "But I haven't seen hard data that suggests the volume of legitimate video is coming close to swamping ISP networks yet."

From P2P to Quantum streaming
As with any network issue, the problem with Web video comes down to too much data trying to fit through the same pipe at once.

In the late 1990s, when audio and video streaming first took off online, Web content companies had a similar problem. When hundreds of thousands of people tried to watch the Victoria's Secret fashion show at the same time, for example, the server hosting that streaming video would collapse under the demand.

Those traffic issues have largely been conquered, thanks to companies such as Akamai Technologies, which has put thousands of servers in ISP networks around the world, allowing people in search

CONTINUED: Peer-to-peer to the rescue?…
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This sounds like oone of those bogus stories
planted by the telecos so that they get their way to charge more for content. I'm sure the data was cooked up by an astroturf organization pretending to represent a "balanced view."

The fact is we've already paid for fiber broadband, why haven't we received it?

<a class="jive-link-external" href="http://www.newnetworks.com/broadbandscandals.htm" target="_newWindow">http://www.newnetworks.com/broadbandscandals.htm</a>
Posted by ordaj (338 comments )
Reply Link Flag
'cuz the telcos don't know where the fiber is, it got lost in the last takeover bid, hehe.
Posted by chuchucuhi (233 comments )
Link Flag
Free Lunch - Let's End it for Everyone!
Hey Verizon, about our streets you drive on with those extra heavy trucks ...

Did you used to be a regulated monopoly so we helped you build your network? We want our money back.

Or those right-of-way passage on our streets to hang your wires? I have cable &#38; cell phones - don't need your wires hanging on my street enjoying a free lunch - I know you're not a hypocrite so come and remove them ...
Posted by jbelkin (167 comments )
Reply Link Flag
P2P video not legitimate?
"more than 60 percent of Internet traffic is being taken up by peer-to-peer swaps, and about 60 percent of those swaps involve video content. Add to that the growing amount of legitimate content from companies such as Apple"

This implies none of P2P video is legitimate.

That's just not true.

A portion of video swapping is legal, even encouraged. Sources: Google, promos, amateur, etc.
Posted by 203129769353146603573853850462 (97 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Yeah! Sure, like they don't wanna
use all that left-over "dark" fibre from the last big telco meltdown.

This is a BS story dealing with the economics of scarcity when the cheapest thing in the ground is all that dark fibre.

They don't scare us in the least.
Posted by CharlesRovira (97 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Who's paying the bills here?
So who exactly should be paying for my 5 Mbit/s Internet connection? Do I pay for it or should Google pay for it? If Google pays, then free Internet for everyone!!!
Posted by nrlz (98 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Everyone pays
You pay for the pipe to be available to you. The web sites you visit pay for their data to be funneled down the pipe to your paid for availability. ISP's pay for their customers data to make the hop across other ISP networks as well as these same web sites needing to insure that they are paying THAT ISP so that their data stays in the 'fast lane' as it makes it hops across other ISP's lines.

And now a $55 month internet revenue turns into a couple hundred $$$ per month revenue stream. The internet gets bogged down with pipe tolls, newcomers unable to pay the fees that the big boys pay for cannot compete and pretty soon the internet world resembles the corporate real world where consumers have only a few options to choose from.

that leaves only two questions....

Exactly where did I place my (soon to be revived) library card and what will I do with the extra money I save when I cancel my net subscription?
Posted by The user with no name (259 comments )
Link Flag
And here we have the RIAA, claiming the net's major datastream, was full of the pirated music mp3's! ,so who is telling the truth!

Hmm, me thinks, the industry is full of it qite literally, given the volume of normal commercial data and the ever increasing satellite VoIP from overseas call centres(the daily terabyte unencoded stuff from banks/insurance companies/other usually travel by the standard unescorted white van around the country)

Oh well, we do live in the new age of propaganda, where all journalist's fail to ask the basic questions, and merely reprint comapany handouts verbatim, without verification like Judy M. !!!!!
Posted by heystoopid (691 comments )
Reply Link Flag
wheres the video?
at least let me watch some old 80's reruns or something... I guess tying content to hardware really does have its rewards... I dont want a pvr box and a television and a free-to-air tunner and a dish and a beta and a vhs and a laser disc and a dvd player etc etc etc... I have 7 hardware computers. that should be enough.
Posted by freq (121 comments )
Reply Link Flag
I have paid for full access to the internet!
It does not matter what the data is! I have paid for 1.5 Meg download speeds, and my internet provider should be able to provide this or change what they say they are offering.
Posted by sabot96 (24 comments )
Reply Link Flag
right now we are paying for "speeds up to" X Mbps. It is an easy side step to say that while you are paying for content to be delivered UP TO THIS SPEED you will not receive ALL content at the maximum. Those providers who are paying a "premium" for their content to be delivered to you at YOUR maximum will be able to do so. If someone does not want to pay the pipe toll then it is that provider who will be responsible for you not being able to access their content at YOUR maximum bandwidth that is available to you based upon your subscription.

sidenote: I do not endorse this view but it is easy to see hwo the ISP's can justify why WE are paying for bandwidth while simultaneously being throttled back based upon the content we decide to view.

one word: b@stards!
Posted by The user with no name (259 comments )
Link Flag
On-site viewing is one remedy
The reporter missed an aspect. Some portals, including Google
and Amazon, are offering content to be viewed only while you
are there. Downloads either aren't available or are fee based.
Personally, I've rejected Amazon shorts (digital prose and short
stories) because if I pay for something I want to own it. But, I
think this model is one of the answers to the increasing size of
files being transferred by ISPs. If the content is stationary, the
user goes to it. There is no transfer.

A market oddity I have experienced is having the paucity of
content for my iPod video encourage use of peer-to-peer
networks. That strikes me as an incentive for paid content
providers to make more content available. It is obvious that if
they offer it, an audience will come.
Posted by J.G. (837 comments )
Reply Link Flag
NOT an issue: inet is already p2p-tested
Already millions of users are using the internet to download tons of movies. Ok, it is illegal, but the point is: The net can stand the traffic.

Perhaps it will be neccessary to change the manner of distribution from centralized servers to BitTorrent or something similar, but that also has been proven to work with Linux distributions on DVD, so I don't get the point of this article...
Posted by booboo1243 (328 comments )
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