Advertisement

Internet Growth: Is There a “Moore’s Law” for Data Traffic?

  • K. G. Coffman
  • A. M. Odlyzko
Part of the Massive Computing book series (MACO, volume 4)

Abstract

Internet traffic is approximately doubling each year. This growth rate applies not only to the entire Internet, but to a large range of individual institutions. For a few places we have records going back several years that exhibit this regular rate of growth. Even when there are no obvious bottlenecks, traffic tends not to grow much faster. This reflects complicated interactions of technology, economics, and sociology, similar to, but more delicate than those that have produced “Moore’s Law” in semiconductors.

A doubling of traffic each year represents extremely fast growth, much faster than the increases in other communication services. If it continues, data traffic will surpass voice traffic around the year 2002. However, this rate of growth is slower than the frequently heard claims of a doubling of traffic every three or four months. Such spectacular growth rates apparently did prevail over a two-year period 1995–6. Ever since, though, growth appears to have reverted to the Internet’s historical pattern of a single doubling each year.

Progress in transmission technology appears sufficient to double network capacity each year for about the next decade. However, traffic growth faster than a tripling each year could probably not be sustained for more than a few years. Since computing and storage capacities will also be growing, as predicted by the versions of “Moore’s Law” appropriate for those technologies, we can expect demand for data transmission to continue increasing. A doubling in Internet traffic each year appears a likely outcome.

If Internet traffic continues to double each year, we will have yet another form of “Moore’s Law.” Such a growth rate would have several important implications. In the intermediate run, there would be neither a clear “bandwidth glut” nor a “bandwidth scarcity,” but a more balanced situation, with supply and demand growing at comparable rates. Also, computer and network architectures would be strongly affected, since most data would stay local. Programs such as Napster would play an increasingly important role. Transmission would likely continue to be dominated by file transfers, not by real time streaming media.

Keywords

Internet traffic Moore’s law Bandwidth. 

Preview

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Bibliography

  1. Boardwatch magazine, 2001. http://www.boardwatch.com.
  2. L. Bruno. Fiber optimism: Nortel, Lucent, and Cisco are battling to win the high-stakes fiber-optics game. Red Herring, June 2000. Available at http://www.herring.com/mag/issue79/mag-fiber-79.htm1.
  3. N. Cochrane. We’re insatiable: Now it’s 20 million million bytes a day. Melbourne Age, Jan. 2001. Available at http://www.it.fairfax.corn.au/networking/20010115/A13694-2001Jan15.html.
  4. K.G. Coffman and A.M. Odlyzko. The size and growth rate of the internet. First Monday,Oct. 1998. http://firstmonday.org/, Alsoavailableathttp://www.research.att.com/amo.Google Scholar
  5. I. de Sola Pool, H. Inose, N. Takasaki, and R. Hurwitz. Communications Flows: A Census in the United States and Japan. North-Holland, 1984.Google Scholar
  6. L. Dunn. The Internet2 project. The Internet Protocol Journal, 2, Dec. 1999. Available at http://www.cisco.com/warp/public/-759/ipj_issues.html.
  7. Not Moore’s Law. The Economist,July 1997.Google Scholar
  8. C.A. Eldering, M. L. Sylla, and J. A. Eisenach. Is there a Moore’s Law for bandwidth? IEEE Communications Magazine, pages 2–7, Oct. 1999.Google Scholar
  9. D. Galbi. Bandwidth use and pricing trends in the U.S. Telecommunications Policy, 24, Dec. 2000. Available at http://www.galbithink.org.
  10. G. Gilder. The bandwidth tidal wave. Forbes ASAP, Dec. 1994. Avail- able at http://www.forbes.com/asap/gilder/telecosml0a.htm.Google Scholar
  11. G. Gilder. Fiber keeps its promise: Get ready, bandwidth will triple each year for the next 25. Forbes, April 1997. Available at http://www.forbes.com/asap/97/0407/090.htm.
  12. J. Gray and P. Shenoy. Rules of thumb in data engineering. In Proc. 16th Intern. Conf. on Data Engineering,2000. Also available at http://research.microsoft.com/“gray.Google Scholar
  13. A. Gupta, D.O. Stahl, and A.B. Whinston. The Internet: A future tragedy of the commons?, 1995. Available at http://www.cism.bus.utexas.edu/res/wp.html.
  14. J. Harms. From SWITCH to SWITCH - Extrapolating from a case study. In Proc. INET’91, pages 341–1-341–6, 1994. Available at http://info.isoc.org/isoc/whatis/conferences/inet/94/papers/index.html.
  15. J.L. Hennessy and D.A. Patterson. Computer Architecture: A Quantitative Approach. Morgan Kaufmann, 1990.Google Scholar
  16. P.J. Howe. MCI chief sees big outlays to handle net traffic: Ebbers estimates $100B to upgrade network. Boston Globe, March 2000.Google Scholar
  17. M. Jander. LINX to Cisco: “Good Riddance”. Light Reading, March 2000. Available at http://www.lightreading.com/document.asp?doc_id=266.
  18. M. Lesk. How much information is there in the world?, 1997. Available at http://www.lesk.com/mlesk/diglib.html.
  19. J.C.R. Licklider. Libraries of the Future. MIT Press, 1965.Google Scholar
  20. P. Lyman and H. R. Varian. How much information?, 2000. Available at http://www.sims.berkeley.edu/how-much-info/.
  21. J. McCredie. UC Berkeley must manage campus network growth. The Daily Californian, 2000. Available at http://www.dailycal.org/article.asp?id=1912&ref=news.Google Scholar
  22. A.M. Noll. Introduction to Telephones and Telephone Traffic. Artech House, 2nd edition, 1991.Google Scholar
  23. A.M. Noll. Technical opinion: Does data traffic exceed voice traffic? Comm. ACM, 42: 121–124, June 1999.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. A.M. Odlyzko. Data networks are lightly utilized, and will stay that way, 1998. Available at http: //www.research.att.com/amo.Google Scholar
  25. A.M. Odlyzko. The history of communications and its implications for the Internet, 2000a. Available at http://www. research.att.com/“amo.Google Scholar
  26. A.M. Odlyzko. The Internet and other networks: Utilization rates and their implications. Information Economics Policy, 12: 341–365, 2000b.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. V. Paxson. Growth trends in wide-area TCP connections. IEEE Network, pages 8–17, 1994.Google Scholar
  28. T. Oetiker. RRDtool, 2001. http://ee-staff.ethz.ch/“oetiker/web-tools/rrdtool/.Google Scholar
  29. T. Oetiker and D. Rand. The Multi Router Traffic Grapher, 2001. See http://ee-staff.ethz.ch/Thetiker/webtools/mrtg/mrtg.html.
  30. D. Plonka. UW-Madison Napster traffic measurement, 2001. Available at http://net.doit.wisc.edu/data/Napster.
  31. P. Reichl, S. Leinen, and B. Stiller. A practical review of pricing and cost recovery for Internet services. In Proc. 2nd Internet Economics Workshop Berlin (IEW’99),1999. Available at http://www.tik.ee.ethz.ch/“cati/.Google Scholar
  32. R.R. Schaller. Moore’s law: Past, present, and future. IEEE Spectrum,34:52–59, 1997. Available through Spectrum online search at http://www.spectrum.ieee.org.Google Scholar
  33. P. Sevcik. The myth of Internet growth. Business Communications Review, pages 12 - 14, 1999. Available at http://www.bcr.com/-bcrmag/01/99p12.htm.
  34. B. St. Arnaud. The future of the Internet is NOT multimedia. Network World, Nov. 1997. Available at http://www.canarie.ca/-bstarn/publications.html.
  35. B. St. Arnaud, J. Coulter, J. Fitchett, and S. Mokbel. Architectural and engineering issues for building an optical Internet, 1998. Full version available at http://www.canarie.ca/bstarn/optical-internet.html.
  36. S. Taggart. Telstra: The prices fight. Wired News,December 1999. http://www.wired.com/news/politics/0,1283,32961,00.html.

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2002

Authors and Affiliations

  • K. G. Coffman
    • 1
  • A. M. Odlyzko
    • 1
  1. 1.AT&T Labs — ResearchFlorham ParkUSA

Personalised recommendations