There’s a lot of noise constantly being made about how at some point the number of devices connected to the Internet will surpass the number of people using it, hence the term “Internet of Things”.
However there is a slight problem that that scenario suggest a new study from the University of California San Diego’s Global Information Industry Center (GIIC) projects. Using data supplied by sources like the FCC and Cisco they have found that the required amount of bandwidth needed just isn’t there and most likely won’t be available in time.
It’s not that the Internet is running out of room but rather that serious problems will surface if we continue to increase our reliance on wireless communication. Using data from Bernstein Research, GIIC researchers demonstrated that U.S. mobile data traffic will grow from the 40 petabytes per month that was used last year to an estimated 451 petabytes by 2013.
Assuming TV ratings service estimates are correct, and that the average consumer watches an average of five hours of programming per day, the equivalent of that being 1,266,000 petabytes of streamed data annually. With the current wireless network’s capacity to transmit data at maximum service levels, GIIC estimates, in one year’s time it would only have been able to transmit the equivalent of about three hours and twenty minutes of programming.
The solution in the opinion of the GIIC team is rather than increasing our reliance on just wireless we should also be increasing our investments in fiber optic systems, although this doesn’t really address the proposed increase in things like RFID chips and RFC – cashless wallets. Either way it sure seems that we have a ceiling headed our way and the problem is going to be how to get past that barrier without increasing the cost to the consumers.