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Is the internet slowing down?

By jardinier ·
I used to know a man who was partially responsible for building the first computer in Australia. He was Ross Blunden. He moved from electronics to become the foundation Professor of Traffic Engineering at the University of New South Wales.

I had the privilege of exchanging home-spun wisdom with this very talented person, over a cup of coffee, at quite frequent intervals. He referred to the internet as the information super-highway. He may not have coined that expression.

He carried with him at all times a program he had made on a hand-held computer, which calculated the slow-down in traffic as it merged to pass through some gateway.

Some years ago I could do everything I wanted on the internet with a 486 DX 100 MHz with 48 MB RAM.

More recently I could run the internet satisfactorily with a Pentium I and relatively small amount of RAM. A particular computer which used to handle the internet quite well with 64 MB RAM, now can barely crawl along with 128 MB RAM.

So I believe that Professor Blunden's forecast that the internet super-highway would eventually be clogged with traffic, has proven to be true.

I am not imagining this. The slow speed of the internet is a constant annoyance to me. Is it because there is a lot more (electronic) traffic, or is there some other factor that I am not aware of?

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Multiple Factors

by TheChas In reply to Is the internet slowing d ...

There are multiple factors that result in both real and perceived slower speeds on the Internet.

One of the large "real" factors is that web pages and the advertising that supports the sites continue to grow in size (bytes of data) as more features and content are added. The growth of data and applications on a web page is why you need more and more computer power to view web pages. The Flash, JAVA and other animations just need more power and RAM to display.

Along with more information, is more traffic. With greater numbers of people using the Internet to do more and more, there is more demand on the backbone to route and deliver content.

Back in the dial-up days, we had only one computer connected to the Internet and then typically for only short periods of time. Now, we can have 4 computers continually accessing the web for hours on end. There is at least a 100 fold increase in data traffic in just our house as compared to 10 years ago.

You also can have times when large numbers of users are accessing a single web site at the same time.

On the plus side, the backbone continues to grow. Just not as fast as use has grown.

The next big bottleneck is going to be over 3G and 4G wireless connections as more people access the Internet with smartphones and related devices. This may actually bring some relief to those using land wired connections.

Chas

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Ah yes, the bells and whistles

by jardinier In reply to Multiple Factors

Advertisements are becoming increasingly intrusive and will sometimes hide part of the desired text.

Regarding multiple persons accessing a website at the same time, I have just learned that Friday and Saturday nights are NOT good for fast downloads.

In my house (in which I live alone) I have one dial-up and two wireless connections so there is no increase in overall access as each of these is separate.

But if you find the slow opening of web pages frustrating, you can always visit my websites which open almost instantly on wireless. :)

http://thirdworldorphans.org

http://gardening4pleasure.com

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You system has more to process in the super-commercialized Net.

by seanferd In reply to Is the internet slowing d ...

Many websites pull content from multiple domains, and everything is moving from text to eye-candy Flash and Silverlight. More scripts to run, more images to load, more junk moving pictures to display.

Plus, I have heard loads of complaints from people in Oz about the speed and bandwidth provided by their ISPs (inconsistently), for years.

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OZ is OK

by jardinier In reply to You system has more to pr ...

We have high-speed ADSL which I think is quite fast. I can still operate the internet on dial-up but for most purposes I use wireless which downloads stuff at a reasonable speed. I have just learned however that Friday and Saturday nights are not good times for downloading.

Where we are falling behind the rest of the civilized world is capped download plans. I have Optus wireless. After hours support is in the Philippines where people can have unlimited downloads on ADSL.

There is also cable but I don't know personally of anyone who is using it.

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Yup.

by boxfiddler Moderator In reply to Is the internet slowing d ...
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Of course the internet is slowing down

by Michael Jay In reply to Is the internet slowing d ...

Has to do with global warming, you see, when the wires get warmer the electrons move slower, so yes the internet is slowing down but not as much as it will in the years to come. But as the warming reaches a peak and the oceans rise to the hight of Mt Everest the water will cool the wires and the internet speed you seek will return.

I read it on the internet, it must be true.

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My fault.

by CharlieSpencer In reply to Is the internet slowing d ...

It was my turn to oil it this month, and I forgot.

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