Ethernet Switches & Routers

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Registered: ‎03-07-2011

Weekly Link Sharing - Bandwidth Caps

There has been a lot written recently about service providers placing caps, or considering placing caps, on users' bandwidth usages. Very small numbers of users are currently affected by such caps, but the ones that are often respond angrily. With bandwidth usages exploding at a staggering rate, are caps a good business decision?

One regional ISP sees caps as a potential component of the industry's future. They say that should bandwidth usage continue to grow unabated, caps may be necessary to keep providing high-quality service to the entire network and to manage expenses. Currently, they do not have plans to implement bandwidth caps, but they see them as a widespread possibility in the industry's future. Do you agree?

Other ISPs already have bandwidth caps and charge users additional fees per GB in excess. They take steps to warn users of potential violations and try to deliver the most appropriate service package for every user, but a small percentage of users still exceed their bandwidth limits.

Some service providers in France are considering implementing bandwidth caps as well, although they are facing backlash at the proposal. Many users have grown used to unlimited access and balk at the thought of a different system. With the costs and strain to the network that come from users with heavy bandwidth usages, are caps or metered services a necessary future step for the industry, or will the growth and expansion of advances like 10 GbE and 100GbE keep up with increased bandwidth needs?

One interesting thought to consider is how the expansion of the cloud and cloud-based services will affect bandwidth usage. This article suggests that as the cloud grows, we will see a corresponding growth in bandwidth usage, and service providers need to take that into account. While bandwidth caps (for ISPs that have them) currently affect only a small number of users, will that have to change as the cloud becomes more prevalent?

Feel free to share any links or thoughts you may have! This is the place for it.

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