An Express-Lane for the Internet

The Internet is expected to be inundated in the future with billions of gigabytes (or exabytes) of data as high-definition video and other bandwidth-busting downloads become the norm. The cost of upgrading the Internet for this so-called “exaflood” could make Web connections too expensive for most consumers. Internet service providers may be able to keep prices down by opening up an express-lane for large data hauls.

It is estimated that 99 percent of the traffic volume of the Internet is devoted to large downloads — like movies, medical scans and financial data — that are only 1 percent of all data transfer sessions. These huge bundles are currently handled in the same way all data is handled by the Internet: the files are chopped up into little packets and then shuffled through traffic. Although this works fine for e-mail and Web pages, says MIT researcher Vincent Chan, it … Continue reading.

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