Net usage

Jonathan Day (
Wed, 21 Feb 1996 22:59:48 +0000

Luther, Bil MV wrote:
> maybe i'm just ignorant but,
> where does all of this audio/video stream stuff go?
> the net is browning out worse every day....
> surfing is more like paddling in a pond with a spoon...
> does this kind of broadcasting make sense??
> [not asking for a flame -- just an explanation of what kind of load
> audio/video [non-multicasted] makes when it is continuous like this?]
> bil

It's a perfectly rational fear and there have been reports of networks
in Europe severely restricting, or even banning, such traffic. In the
end, though, the network usage will /always/ increase to the available
capacity. That is the nature of any network. The link from the UK to
the US is utterly unusable for any traffic, bar e-mail, from about 10am
until about 7-9pm GMT. A typical web page might take 30 seconds to
download at 10am, but take over 4 minutes at 2pm. Ok, the timings
tests weren't very precice or scientific, but imagine what that sort
of slow-down does to videoconferencing.

Interestingly, rumour has it that the complete failure of the
transatlantic link for several days, last year, at Sprintlink was partly
the result of automatic traffic and web robots.

Videoconferencing is too useful to vanish, but I suspect that its usage
is going to change quite substantially over the next few years, along
with the way that people perceive the net. Attitudes only shift when
they have to, but with the massive increase in net usage, gridlock
can't be avoided forever.