A report by US analyst firm Nemertes Research has predicted that the internet is facing massive slowdown, with the spectre of complete meltdown a real possibility by 2010 due to the increase in feature rich applications. Chris Merrick, chief marketing officer at broadband resource specialist Operax, has some advice on what operators can do to avoid this impending gridlock damaging key revenue-generating services, and explains that costly investment in new networks is not the only answer.
“The report by Nermetes Research is timely and highlights an issue we identified some years ago. The problem is that the internet, as it was originally designed, is simply not up to the task of managing the ever increasing demands being put upon it. In this respect it bares a close resemblance to the congestion experienced on motorways.
In the past no one predicted the number of cars that would eventually be on the road and as a result commuters are faced with chronic gridlock especially during rush hour. Similarly, no one could have predicted the rise of the new generation of applications gaining such popularity on the internet – YouTube, Facebook and MySpace amongst many others. These applications demand a great deal of bandwidth and so are consequently jamming the networks carrying the information and degrading overall performance quality.
The solution is not, however, to simply build larger networks. This will only temporarily solve the problem; in much the same way as building an extra lane on a motorway only briefly eases traffic congestion. This will impair the success of innovative new services as they struggle to get the resources they require for satisfactory performance.
Rather, it is essential for operators and ISPs to take a much more intelligent approach to the use of their networks. Technology already exists whereby operators can view all the network resources they have in use at any one given time and make sure that it is deployed in the most efficient manner. By this means, premium services can be allocated available resources in real-time to ensure quality for a particular session or service. Service providers will, therefore, be able to guarantee customers the quality of their internet sessions for innovative new services without the need to buy extra capacity or upgrade the entire network.”