40 thoughts on “Open Thread: Now what would you do with bandwidth, if you had it”

  1. I agree with you and Cynthia, there is no such thing as too much bandwidth.

    If I had as much bandwidth as I wanted I could:

    -Compute from the cloud, just pull the resources I need when I need them. You can imagine a sort of “dumb-terminal” with enough bandwidth, even HD video could be processed and streamed to me from the cloud.

    -Play massively multiplayer online games, much larger than today’s MMO’s and with the potential for unlimited user created content that gets downloaded on the fly as it is encountered in the virtual world.

    -Do everything I do online now, only much, much faster. For instance, as I’m writing this I’m downloading a pre-recorded webcast on a technology I’m interested in. It’s been about 3 or 4 minutes so far and I still can’t watch it yet.

    Beyond those things, I imagine that when the bandwith is available, new innovations will arise to use that bandwidth. Kind of a chicken/egg things really. If there isn’t a lot of bandwidth, your not going to see a lot scenarios that require a lot of bandwidth. But without those scenarios, people won’t necissarily push for more bandwidth.

  2. Question: Now if you could get 24 megabits per second for $50 a month, what would you do with it?

    Answer: Rather than look at this from an individual’s viewpoint, I think the more important perspective is to have the high-speed available to the majority of users. Once a large group of people have the high speed access and reach critical mass, the system will start to generate more and more appropriate applications.

    This has already started. Take a look at how the Mass Media is suffering – specifically TV news and newspapers. There are a lot of reasons, but part of their decline is because we can get the information via the internet at the time we want it. And we can customize our news, instead of being forced to sit in front of the tube for a linear view 30 minutes.

  3. On demand HD will chew up a ton of bandwidth, especially if everyone in the neighborhood is using it (at say 9PM on a Thursday night).

  4. Guys keep them coming. I am at a conference today, so can’t be very actively engaged till 2.30 or so – but will be back. meanwhile these short bberry based comments will have to do.

  5. If I had enough bandwith (fiber to the home?) my dream device would be Tivo + Amazon’s S3. Unlimited storage, and that’s just the most obvious benefit. Imagine being able to log in to any tivo with your username and password and to be able to turn it into your tivo. Take a vacation, the hotel room has a tivo, you log in and watch your shows just like you would at home.

  6. Imagine being able to have one of those Cisco Telepresence conversations with anyone, from your home. Those consumer anywhere from 3-12Mb/s of traffic.

    Imagine being able to have HD-Radio streamed to multiple sources in your home (each kid gets a different “radio station”).

    Imagine having an ADT security system that does live, HD monitoring of your premise, where the video is streamed back to their hosted service (note: not all apps should have to be Internet -> home)

    Imagine being able to surf through live IPTV channels and getting response times like you get from your existing TV today, instead of the constant buffering icons.

    Imagine the hassle of having to move your 10Gb of pictures from Flickr (also stored on your local hard-drive) to Flickr-replacement-#67, or you just want to zip them and send them to someone else.

  7. ahem ahem,,,…
    As a kind hearted person i am/shall/will donate all my bandwidth for public use.
    And in the process i shall enrich my self with information that will provide pleasure/entertainment for myself and others.
    This said i will also encourage my fellow citizens to join me in this endeavor.

    Hail to the torrents!

  8. While a lot of focus is on bandwidth (FiOS, Light Speed, DOCSIS 3, DirecTV’s new HD satellite) I wonder if applications/content are lagging behind. Personally, I’d like to go from having Comcast as my VOD broker to being able to buy directly from the source (HBO, Showtime, the Networks and Movie Studios, the NFL and NBA) but I can’t (especially in HD) and won’t be able to any time soon. What good is higher bandwidth if the content I want is on private networks and not the Internet?

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  10. Absolutely nothing. I have far more bandwidth than I can conceive myself actually needing. I use little to no bandwidth-intensive applications, apart from the occasional network install of an operating system via HTTP or FTP. In fact, my main reason for preferring broadband over dialup probably has as much to do with the low end-to-end latency as the bandwidth margin.

  11. I use my Tivo on my network to get shows downloaded onto my computer, I play massive multiplayer online games, download/watch videos, confernece on Skype, work for a video based website from home (VPN, testing our site, or our video players etc.) and much more. I am also hugely ADHD and addicted to caffeine, seriously. I use tons of bandwidth already each moment I am on my computer. I want to do a lot of these things simutaneously and can’t. I live in a older neighborhood/ community that is unaware of Comcast and the “plus” sized bandwidth, that said I get very fast speeds but even still find it limiting. So more is definetly better. I just bought a 500G hard drive and 2G’s of memory but want more now speed and efficiency. If faster speeds are being done elsewhere in the world why do we (Californians especially)get the strangle hold on bandwidth? I live in the Bay Area north of Silicon Valley, didn’t we invent this stuff? What gives? I see some saying we don’t have need for this much bandwidth, I say, “Nay! Nay I say!”

  12. I’d be thinking 24mbit is probably not enough, the day we don’t have to worry about QoS and bandwidth restrictions is the day the internet truly arrives as the dominant media platform. That day could be at least a decade away.

  13. What would I do with 24mbits of bandwidth? I’d do what I do most nights. Pour myself a White Russian and download porn. Except this time it’ll be in HD.

  14. Um can’t you can look at Japan and South Korea for high bandwidth apps? Really for home use it’s questionable. Business and technical pressures will strive to provide HD quality over your current high speed DSL or cable connections – assuming wired is a cheap way for someone to get hd tv. Yes quad play is cool – but is it cheapest?

    of course might an easy (but not inexpensive ) way to backup one’s harddrive remotely..

    If you need to host a website – there are lots of good reasons to do it through a data center rather than home.

    Jim Grey at Microsoft performed some analysis showing that transferring large amounts of data is cheaper with FedEx and external Harddrive than a very high capacity internet connection.

  15. I just wrote about this and came up with one of the same examples as GuyNamedNate (your “computer” becomes a device in the cloud), among others.

    What’s interesting to me, though, is thinking about this question in a slightly different way: rather than “what can we do with a faster internet connection,” let’s think about “what can we do when we can move huge amounts of data around really easily?”

    That requires that “up” keeps increasing along with “down,” of course, but it’s where I think the fun really starts.

  16. I’d rather finally have 2MB, or better even 4MB, upload so I can finally backup complete installations without clogging my upload and needing a whole week.
    In Europe several countries might maybe have affordable real high-speed, but we’re stuck at 448kbps upload, unless you want to pay the big bucks.
    6MB or 8MB d/l are sufficient for me, of course who is patient enough and can wait until that track is downloaded, but actually I don’t need the 20MB some of my friends in Germany already have. Only thing I need is a reasonable upload speed.
    And software with a (upload) bandwith throttle.

  17. 24 Mbps for $50. First I would b1tch on the price not being $40 a month but back the question in hand. HD Video IM’ing with the family, HD Joost, HD Yahoo! Go TV, and downloadable HD movie rental. Stuff I can do now but the HD equivalent doesn’t exist.

    I have FiOS (15/2 Mbps, moved from Comcast HSI) but the apps I use (Joost, Yahoo! Go TV and other IPTV) hardly use up available bandwidth and there is the lack of HD content.

    (If I’m wrong please share what you’ve found.)

  18. Just to relate a similar story – I remember when a friend of mine bought a “super high-end” computer (Pentium I with 256 MB of RAM and had a 56k modem). I told him he’d never have to upgrade – they couldn’t build software that would need to scale to a higher performance system on a PC. I was obviously a retard and got it completely wrong. Software/application innovation doesn’t dictate capacity, capacity dictates innovation. The more capacity we have – whether it be bandwidth, computing power, etc. – there are engineers out there who will build applications for it. That may seem like a facile conclusion but in my experience it really is that simple.

  19. I would hook it up to a Beowulf cluster and make it public, so that one can render complex 3d images or do resource- and bandwidth-intensive computations (BOINC, anyone?).

    FLOSS repository?

    If I had a lot of free disk space, maybe a file server.

  20. i’d give away free computers. i’d put dell out of business by giving away free computers that are paid for via distributed computing cpu cycle sales and actual honest to god targetted HD streaming content. google is trying to give the internet away for free with metro mesh, why not give away the whole computer for free?

  21. With that much bandwidth i’d have about 15 Trueview Cameras in my home and office broadcasting high-def imagery so I can see what’s going on in every corner of the house.

    p.s. I have 6 today, so were getting there!

  22. Shoot, Om…for me, forget about audio this and video that…I’d settle for truly “instant” web page loading as I go from site to site…you know; like all the providers have lied to us forever that their “fast speeds” would provide us.

    I’d settle for them giving us what we’re already all paying for…

  23. Okay Idont know why anybody did not point this out. But such bandwidth already exists in the form of connections in the large universities.

    I just graduated from Gradschool in a top CS institution which was on the Internet2 backbone ( which had 0 impact for me) . Surprisingly I did not find too many things to do. To repeat the chicken and the egg argument. There are not too many applications which take advantage of the high bandwidth. Sure you can skype while downloading a movie … Download complete linux distros really really fast. But in general that extra bandwidth had 0 impact on me. The best legal video I could find (considering I graduated before Apple or Amazon or Joost launched their video wares) was youtube …

    Ideally If I had that bandwidth I would start firing torrents … I could not do that in the university for obvious reasons.

  24. And for those who wanna surf really really fast with that extra bandwitdh I have some bad news for you….

    The Bandwidth is not the only bottleneck. The latency and the rendering times of ajax heavy pages have a considrable impact. Meaning that you do not get that much of an impact on surfing with high bandwidth connections.

  25. diggspy.. listen to online FM radio around the wrld.. more muzik… more video’s..
    well i think the mose imp thing that is going to cover most of the BW is P2P app’s becoz they let u xfer files.. app’s games.. movies.. muzik.. everything n dats wat we need to share all d time..
    there could be more 3D things on the net .. as they give real lyf exprience ..

    lotss video chat with high resolution cam’s

  26. My take:

    • Remote backup of photos, files etc
    • Remote access to my content library (Music, videos)
    • Video Skype, teleprecense
    • Video on demand
    • (Some P2P)
  27. Doesn’t matter how big the pipe to the home is – it’ll be worthless if the upstream latency and packet-loss is crap (which, judging by the usual oversubscription models currently in use), which it always will be …

  28. I will second what Yuvamani says. Access link speeds are not a problem for over 90% of Internet users – network design is. The reason University networks perform so well has more to do with the I2 backbone than the attachment to your laptop (often a shared 802.11b where you are getting 3Mbps continuous throughput at best!).

    For the first 15 years of the commercial Internet, the highest bandwidth demand was for downloading low-resolution porn. Low- to Mid-resolution pirated TV and movies have recently taken over for porn. So far, the broadband providers don’t make any extra money from delivering high-bandwidth apps, so why should they invest in improving the performance? When they start to make money, you will see investment.

  29. Your question was “Now if you could get 24 megabits per second for $50 a month, what would you do with it?” Thats makes me smila because I nearly have that.

    Since yesterday I enjoy 16 Mbps since at home and just love it.

    More important than the bandwith was the price to me. I now have a plain DSL without any phone line. All my calls are VoIP and free, because I use the right services. For about 45 Dollars monthly I have all my communication needs covered. The first thing I noticed was that the Youtube films start almost immediately. Websites are also faster.

    What I really like is the big upload pipe.

    Let’s see if the new bandwidth changes my habits.

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