The Iphone effect: Video streaming on bandwidth

The Issue: With the immense mobile web-traffic created by the iPhone and the popularity of video streaming sites –mainly YouTube- overwhelmed cellular and Wi-Fi networks are becoming an issue.

The Story: The video uploading and downloading on YouTube alone in 2007 has “consumed as much bandwidth as the entire Internet did in 2000” according to a NY Times article. In the BI era (Before iPhone), mobile internet traffic was barely an issue considering it was mainly used for e-mailing. But now, all video junkies are getting their daily video streaming fix via iPhone. On the downside, they are hogging the network, and slowing things down for all other traffic. Although some ‘collision avoidance techniques’ have been implemented, no real improvement has occurred for the other internet traffic. Since video and audio streams in packets, other traffic is forced to wait for gaps between the packets to avoid the fragmentation of audio and video. In other words, while Jim in PR is showing the guys the latest LonelyGirl video on his iPhone, Pat in IT has his diagnostic report barely crawling to reach its destination.

Why This Matters: Numerous companies have already implemented policies which restrict the use of mobile video streaming. Typical offices powered with a single T1 line can lose up to 75% of their bandwidth on a single video download. The resolution could result in either an increase in bandwidth or a policy banning the use of mobile devices like the iPhone to stream video in the workplace. Realistically, it’ll be the latter. The real problem will start when handsets become 4G capable and begin transmitting hundreds of megabits per second.

Importance: Unless your boss cut your YouTube access on your beloved iPhone, I wouldn’t break a sweat.

What Says The…

Geek: The real question is, why is the infrastructure of the US cyber world so far lagging behind tech    leaders like Japan where bandwidth is a non-issue?

Socialite: If my boss bans YouTube, how am I going to find out who got booted off Dancing With the Stars during my five minute trip to the bathroom?

Soccer Mom: Yawn.

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