26 June, 2008

Tiger causes slow down on the Internet

That would be Tiger Woods. While the US Open was being played on June 17th, Internet Service Providers (ISP) were caught off guard by unusually high traffic. Of course their first reaction was to investigate to see if their systems were under attack. In fact what they learned was that the US Open was being streamed across the Internet. According to Arbor Networks,
For several ISPs, traffic into their network grew by 15-25%. In one provider, inbound traffic nearly doubled.
...
Traffic dipped and peaked corresponding to Tiger’s initial misses and subsequent spectacular comeback...
What really amazes me is that how much one event can cause so much impact on an ISPs network. What's going to happen to these same networks during a live reporting of a major catastrophe? For example, what if the 1989 San Fransisco earthquake repeats itself in 2009? Could the ISPs handle having all their subscribers watching live broadcasts and other video feeds to a majority of its users? I suspect not, though lets not test it out.

On a side note, I think this supports the argument that P2P technology used to distribute content is a great alternative to millions of direct links to each downloader's computer -- it would consume less overall bandwidth. It's this same technology that could help solve some of this capacity issue, as it is exactly how Skype works. Skype uses a form of P2P to transmit 2-way phone calls on the Internet.

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