The Trouble with Bandwidth: Not Enough of a Good Thing

February 22, 2016
The Trouble with Bandwidth: Not Enough of a Good Thing

Think about the many devices now connected to the Internet: fitness trackers, home alarm and comfort systems, vehicles, televisions, and more all send and receive data through the web. For a business, the number of connections is multiplied. It’s easy to see how so much bandwidth is used, but what’s difficult to understand is why today’s bandwidth can’t seem to keep up with the demands of a high-technology society.

Complexity of Apps

Applications are often much more powerful than users can fully appreciate due to insufficient resources to support all features. The fact that many apps and data now reside in the cloud strains assets even further, since nothing relies on a local connection. This problem worsens when users are outside of supported service areas or globally dispersed.

Only as Good as the Infrastructure

Though some strides have been made to create accelerator services and content delivery networks (CDNs) that efficiently use bandwidth, these solutions achieve success on a limited basis. An area with inferior Internet speeds will not show notable improvement with CDN and wide area network (WAN) acceleration.

In contrast to CDNs, edge caching brings content geographically closer to the user. With rapidly changing content, however, this is not an efficient model as the edge cache must constantly receive a new data set.

An approach that has been attempted with some success is the addition of data centers to boost infrastructure availability. It is an expensive investment that takes a long time to see reward, and one that may not be realistic given the need for homogeneous global coverage.

Cloud Networking?

One possible solution to bandwidth woes of the present and future is the use of the cloud to optimize networks. It is currently unclear if this type of arrangement would be adequate to support big business, and there is hesitation on the part of service providers due to this concern. The question of how to sufficiently manage the needs of millions of applications and devices at a consistent quality no matter where they operate is a conundrum.

Cloud optimization of networking has great potential due to its pricing structure, seemingly infinite capacity, and pliability. Cloud can grow and stretch to accommodate an endless number of things, so it may also be a good place for networking to live to aid bandwidth troubles.

The bandwidth issue is one that must be solved. Understanding better methods of network architecture and having the tools to manage them at a microscopic level may help with concerns of congestion, lack of proximity, and the burgeoning count of things that need to be connected. Taking a proactive approach to solving these puzzles may help users finally enjoy all of benefits their apps provide.