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Tools to Beat the Bandwidth

Photonics Spectra
May 2001
Despite the economic slump, carriers will continue to add bandwidth to their networks and will need new tools to manage it.

Daniel C. McCarthy

The demand for more bandwidth has undergone something analogous to chromatic dispersion: Its original message has changed shape over time. Perhaps because of the simplified format of marketing and media or the bottom-line mentality of entrepreneurial pitches, it sometimes seemed that the industry was demanding bandwidth for bandwidth's sake. This perspective lives on in recent market assessments that attribute the market correction to a glut in bandwidth.

This is an understandable error considering that the number of new Internet hosts coming online each year has stopped doubling and has dropped to a 60 percent annual growth rate. However, groups such as Matrix.Net in Austin, Texas, that track this sort of thing do not attribute a slack in bandwidth demand as the cause. When asked about the possibility of overabundant network capacity, Peter Salus, a Matrix.Net analyst, responded, "The answer in general is no. There is no evidence that there is a bandwidth glut. As more bandwidth has come online, we have invented more ways of filling it than providers ever dreamed possible..."


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