Practical Technology

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Office 365’s potential fatal flaw: Not enough Internet bandwidth


I’ve played with Office 365. I’m not impressed. Office 365’s pricing and requirements schemes are a nightmare. I can”t see myself–or anyone else–moving to Office 365 if they’ve already tried Google Docs. But, that said, that’s not Office 365’s real problem. No, Office 365 shares with Google Docs, the Chromebook, and all other cloud-based applications and devices, the problem that there’s not enough bandwidth to go around.

If you’ve been around Internet technology circles for a while, you’ve heard this song before. As best I recall it dates back to 1995. Then, Bob Metcalfe, co-inventor of Ethernet, predicted that consumer demand for Internet bandwidth would exceed the available network capacity. When these “exafloods” of data demands happened they would cause “giga-lapses.” These Internet “brownouts” or even complete service interruptions would leave users unable to use the Internet.

Well, as we all know, Bob was wrong. Since then though a year doesn’t goe by without someone proclaiming the End of the Internet. Short of the collapse of civilization, that’s not going to happen. But, I do think we might start seeing Internet brownouts. The rise of Internet video services, especially Netflix, means that video alone now takes up 40% of all available Internet bandwidth. That number is only going to keep going up.

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