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The Problem of Technological Gridlock Essay

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Updated: Sep 26th, 2021


The problem of technological gridlock over the internet has been an increasing concern for the authorities and the future of internet business and usage. The term gridlock indicated a blockage in the transportation network due to over jamming. The technological gridlock has arisen due to excessive internet traffic due to increased usage of multimedia services that creates cyber traffic jams (Robinson, 1999). This is the phenomenon that has been troubling the network administrators as a traffic gridlock has been troubling the city authorities. The question that arises is what this gridlock does to the network and why is it considered a problem.

Main body

To understand how a gridlock occurs we must understand the flow of internet traffic. Streaming media is similar to broadcast media in that the audio or video material is produced as soon as a computer receives the data over the Internet. The problem is that the streaming data does not respond to network congestion in the way other Internet traffic does. When a computer sends conventional data, it encounters congestion and significantly slows its transmission rate, but a computer sending streaming data will reduce the flow only slightly. So if streaming traffic competes with conventional traffic for the same congested strip of roadway, the streaming traffic, like some V.I.P. motorcade, just assumes the right of way and lets all other data traffic pile up. This causes gridlock on the internet. (Robinson, 1999).

What causes such a traffic jam on the internet? The primary reason is, according to Google, the growth in video downloads could create an internet traffic jam that threatens the net’s development (Johnson, 2007). Services that provide a real-time download of data such as YouTube are creating a problem by allowing the download of data that are jamming the network due to increased use. Surfers around the world already use sites such as YouTube to watch videos online, but video file-sharing services are increasing pressure on the internet’s capacity. One of the unwitting culprits is BitTorrent, a technology already used by millions of people to obtain high-quality video over the net. Many people use it to download episodes of US TV series such as Lost, which have yet to be shown in the UK or to see concert footage. Even though the number of users of systems like BitTorrent is not very high, their share of the total internet traffic is around fifty percent (Johnson, 2007). Most of the internet traffic is a peer-to-peer video downloading and without proper infrastructural investment the internet system will clog and will bring the system down.

Currently, the internet capacity is moving to hit the limit. What is feared is that a technological gridlock will lead to not only a jam in the network but also poor quality of services provided by the service providers. There were millions of dollars invested in establishing this high-speed connectivity. The increasing prevalence of peer-to-peer services would eat up the bandwidth and increase congestion in the system. This would adversely affect e-commerce for which these investments were meant to be. The question that needs to be addressed is what is the solution to such a problem? Increasingly ideas are being developed in the business world to price different services differently. The talk is about network neutrality and the shaping of the traffic that they carry (Thompson, 2007). The second group of thought preaches the making of a new and clean architecture for the network (Robinson, 1999). But there exists a ringing question if a new internet infrastructure is required. The Internet Protocol, the core standard that determines how data moves around between computers, is a wonder of our age, as significant in its impact as the invention of the internal combustion engine, and it has proved its adaptability and capability again and again. The problem was seen in the telephone network systems and the IP-based telephony completely overturn their business models.

There are looming ideas which state that the internet will collapse before 2010. The worst-case scenario is not so much a crash as a global gridlock in which email, social networks, and everything else on the internet slow to a crawl, with potentially devastating consequences for both government and business (Smith, 2008). The question still lingers what can solve the problem and in policies regulating the control of the illegal and peer-to-peer internet transfer which is clogging the internet system. The internet protocols need to be changed to control this excessive traffic on the internet so that the internet can become a viable medium for e-commerce.

Works Cited

Johnson, B. (2007). . Web.

Robinson, S. (1999). TECHNOLOGY; Multimedia Transmissions Are Driving Internet Toward Gridlock. The New York Times.

Smith, D. (2008). . Web.

Thompson, B. (2007). . Web.

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