From WSJ Pessimists Say File Swapping Is Creating Traffic Jam
Researchers have long warned that rapid increases in Internet usage could strain the capacity of the data lines and gear that make up the network, severely slowing traffic and even knocking out service.
Prompting the latest concerns is the rapid growth of bandwidth-hungry applications like online video, file-sharing programs and Internet telephone service. Transmitting a minute of video can require 10 times the bandwidth of audio -- or more, depending on the quality. Already, peer-to-peer video swapping -- most of it illegal -- is estimated to represent in the range of more than one-third of all Internet traffic this year.
U.S. Internet video sites alone transmit more data per month than was carried over the entire U.S. Internet backbone monthly in 2000, according to network gear maker Cisco Systems Inc.
"One of the key possibilities for 2007 is that the Internet could be approaching its capacity," analysts at Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu wrote in a January report
Robert Metcalfe, a venture capitalist at Polaris Venture Partners who helped build the early Internet as an engineer, thinks online-video traffic could cause slowdowns in Internet service for consumers, but that could lead them to use online video less, resulting in a sort of equilibrium.
"I've been talking about the next big Internet thing, 'the video Internet,' for years now,"