Bandwidth Glut

We have received some nice comments about the following article regarding the Cisco 4-Slot CSR-1 Router from Zippy. I have to share this excerpt and a specific quote which I bolded below.

"As we start to see the abilities of the consumer rise, we start to see the huge impact that video will have and currently has, particularly in the U.S. but also in other markets worldwide," says Milinkovich. "Let’s look at a typical home with one high definition TV, which, using MPEG-2 compression, uses around 19 megabits per second per stream. The home is also expected to have one standard definition TV, so that uses somewhere between 1.5 and 3 megabits per stream. Naturally, there will be two personal video recorders (PVRs): one streaming to the parents and one being watched by the children at any one time, or vice versa. Then there’s the bandwidth occupied by an IP call, plus a high speed data interconnect for Internet access. The total bandwidth capacity requirements for each such typical home is thus in the range of 25 to 50 megabits per second. More importantly, in terms of the calculations of the actual content of what’s going over those connections, they’re in excess of a terabit per month. That is, if they view a 90 minute movie in combination with the other things going on, then you’re looking at a terabit worth of content being delivered per home each month."

Milinkovich muses: "Let’s put this bandwidth into perspective: 20 such homes would consume as much bandwidth traffic as what the entire Internet backbone carried in 1995!"

"When you combine the bandwidth capacity needed in such a network," says Milinkovich, "plus the intelligence in the network necessary to deliver a level of personalization to the empowered consumer, you start to see unique trends in the industry that are pushing video into becoming a new opportunity in the marketplace."

Is this not amazing? In my opinion the needs of the digital home will grow in ways we can’t anticipate today. Imagine MySpace pages with 24×7 live video feeds. I see this as a real possibility and if MySpace doesn’t do it I am sure VCs will be happy to fund about 20 startups that will.

Bottom line, there is no bandwidth glut. We will use all of it and then some. More and more capacity will be needed as time goes on because the MySpace video example will eventually have to be 3D and then holographic (4D?). It will never end — eventually video will transmit smell and then emotions (no I don’t know how I am just being visionary here). As long as there are innovative thinkers out there, more applications will be built to leverage the available bandwidth — which will of course never be enough. Bandwidth glut — Hah!

  • Dave Siegel
    September 14, 2006 at 4:17 pm

    The glut is not at the edge of the network into the consumers home, but in the core. Even then, the excess capacity fueled by over-buying and cheap equipment to be had at bankruptcy auctions is gone and new capacity has to be built through purchases of new equipment (the fiber may be in the ground, but it still has to be lit).
    It does look like there’s some price stabilization in the carrier data market, which is great news. It may indicate that the glut correction has finally occured.

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