Vint Cerf, one of the Net's original creators, stopped by the Intel Developer Forum today to chat about future infrastructure headaches. One serious problem will be "flash crowds," he says ?? essentially localized traffic jams resulting from intense and sudden (and often unpredictable interest) in a particular node on the Net.
Companies like Akamai have been helping deal with these traffic jams for a while, and peer to peer software helps distribute content in efficient ways that evade bottlenecks. But as more and more devices get connected ?? think everyone wearing a Dick Tracy Internet watch, carrying a 3G Net phone, and listening to a wireless iPod ?? developers need to think about jam-ups developing in different ways, Cerf seems to be saying. (Not to mention denial of service attacks on your watch, launched from my broadband iPod, circa 2009.)
Here's some more technical ideas on how to deal with flash crowds.