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What is Devouring the World’s Bandwidth?

What is Devouring the World’s Bandwidth?
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From the streaming television to the conference room, bandwidth has become a major concern for just about everyone online. With more than 2.4 billion people using the Internet for everything from surfing the Internet and checking email, to venturing into an online class, bandwidth is becoming a precious commodity for modern business, education, and entertainment.

If you are not familiar with it, bandwidth is the total amount of information that can flow through the various channels of the Internet; it’s not a measure of speed, so much, but of the capacity. When the Internet was in its infancy, it was primarily dedicated to research and educational ventures, mainly because not much else required Internet access. However, when the Internet, as we know it, came to fruition around 1995, bandwidth limitations became a critical issue. As more and more of the public wanted to jump on the Internet bandwagon, the Internet began to experience “traffic jams.”  And soon the problem was exacerbated by application development in the areas of communication and entertainment.

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The Internet has serves as a gateway to an endless supply of information. It is a much easier, and significantly more time-efficient, to access information via the Internet rather than searching through a card catalog at the library. Now, we simply flick on the computer and type our query into a search engine and we are instantly presented with a seemingly endless supply of results. You can search for anything; from recipes to long-lost relatives, there is nothing that you cannot find on the Internet. Many people are active participants in blogging and social media, which is another great way to stay connected, however, all of these activities require bandwidth.

Let’s look at a few of the statistics: according to TeleGeography, international bandwidth availability has soared over the years from 1.4 terabytes per second in 2002, to an astonishing 92.1 terabytes per second in 2012. They project these numbers will reach 607 terabytes per second by 2020. This is largely due to the fact that technology is becoming more affordable, as well as, more readily available to a larger portion of communities. Research has also shown that peak Internet usage is between the hours of 9 p.m. to midnight, and during this time, traffic is at its highest on streaming services, social media, and other data sharing sites. The amount of traffic is expected to increase threefold by 2017, amounting to the equivalent of 720 million people streaming a high-definition video continuously.

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Perhaps the most interesting statistic: Netflix accounts for 33% of all streaming traffic during peak hours in North America. Meanwhile, Facebook accounts for 37% of all social networking traffic. This is a bit surprising, considering it’s down from 54% in November 2011. An astounding 35% of all Internet downloads are pornographic in nature. One of the most popular sites hosts over 100TB of content and serves more than 100 million page views per day, which equates to an average of 950 terabytes of data transferred per day!

Take a look at this infographic from WhoIsHostingThis? to see how bandwidth use has evolved:

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    Another element that has effected the demand on bandwidth is our increased usage of mobile devices. As of 2013, nearly one in three website visits were made from mobile devices. Taking online classes, staying connected, and shopping online can all be done from tablets and smartphone; however, they all demand their share of the Internet traffic. This is not taking into consideration the  thousands of Internet-enabled games, apps, and stores accessed and utilized by millions of people daily. From our gaming consoles to streaming boxes, the Internet is a very prevalent part of our lives.

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    How does this compare to the way you spend your time on the Internet? Have you noticed any decrease in Internet speed during peak hours?

    Featured photo credit: World Map/Flickr via nationsonline.org

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    Last Updated on December 18, 2020

    Can Technology have Biases Like Humans?

    Can Technology have Biases Like Humans?
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    Technology has taken a vantage leap in providing solutions for man. Before now, technology used to appear complex and would require a great deal of expertise to handle solutions available. Today, we have technology applicable in the simplest human activities as smart products with intelligent algorithms powering them as they make error-free judgments and provide intelligent and analytic solutions.

    Does technology have all the answers?

    This article from Credit Suisse, tells us that technology does not have all the answers because it has been found to exhibit “similar biases,” as humans. No one can discredit the impact of technology, but it is not totally free of human input and this is the reason we experience these biases in many areas we have technology holding foot.

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    Creating technological solutions transparently

    This article suggests that the process of creating technological solutions be made transparent and subject to contribution from many people who would end up as users of the product – male, female, young, old, learned, unlearned and all other preferences as we have them. It also underscores the importance of having women on product development teams. This approach is not sure to eliminate all forms of bias, but it is a good way to start in order to appraise the full benefits of technology.

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    Technology as the connecting tool

    Technology so far has been a major connecting tool amongst us humans. It is used and appreciated by all regardless of race, language and sex. In order to keep it less subjective to these arguments about human biases. I believe we should gather opinions on products and solutions before making them available to the public. This could be done by gathering input from intended target users and receiving feedback across the stages of production.

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    “Recognizing the problem is a start…success will depend on inclusive technologies that meet this vast untapped market.” This cannot be more apt especially at a time when we look up to technology for solutions. We should not muzzle our progress with technology by battling algorithm bias. The first way to avoid this battle is by reading this article here.

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