Traffic Jam on the "Information Super Highway"

By Bob Hansen
|  Thursday, Jan 13, 2011  |  Updated 11:41 AM PDT
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Is the WiFi world promising more than it can deliver?

Is the WiFi world promising more than it can deliver?

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We could be facing a new traffic jam in San Diego and it has nothing to do with cars and trucks. What we once called the "information super highway" is now getting bogged down with all the Internet traffic from our computers and phones.

“We all have smart phones now, we didn't use to. We all have tablets, we have notebooks, we have computers at home. We have cars that are computerized,” said Larry Piland from Datel Systems.

The more we are connected, the more potential for bogging down the system. So is the WiFi world promising more than it can deliver?

“You eat up that bandwidth really fast and it chops it up into little pieces so it gets slower and slower and slower,” said Piland.

“It's been explosive and a lot of that growth actually has been in the last three or four years,” said SDSU Chief Information Officer Rich Pickett.

There are 72,000 wireless devices registered on the campus network of San Diego State That's more than double the number of students. This week, the university doubled the bandwidth to the resident halls.

“I expect that we'll have to double it again within the next year, 18 months beyond what we're doing right now,” said Pickett.

It's not just a campus issue. Consumers are coming to expect wireless connections at home, work, malls and even parks. We all know when too many cars get on the same freeway it causes a traffic jam. Could we see a similar thing with all these wireless devices?

“The only way to do it, just like a highway, is you build more lanes or you build higher capacity lanes,” said Pickett.

It takes time and money, but the Internet and wireless companies stand to benefit from increasingly connected lifestyles and that's why as demand grows, so will the ability to connect.

“There'll be some rocky roads here in the next year or two but they'll get it together,” said Piland.

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