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Internet Traffic Congestion Real, But Sporadic, Study Says

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A new study suggests Internet congestion is a real problem, but one that is often temporary.


Researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and the University of California San Diego (UCSD) have conducted a study suggesting Internet congestion is a problem but it is often intermittent and temporary.

Netflix and Internet backbone providers have accused U.S. broadband providers with intentionally allowing network congestion in order to charge Internet video services for carrying their traffic, and the U.S. Federal Communications Commission is investigating the complaints.

The study is preliminary and does not determine fault, but it suggests Internet service provider (ISP) customers and Netflix have legitimate network problems, says MIT senior research scientist David Clark. He says U.S. ISPs have experienced periods of congestion on interconnection points with backbone providers that last for months, but many of the problems suggest disagreements over business arrangements pertaining to mismatches between network capacity and demand.

The cable industry says the study supports ISPs' stance that Netflix has routed its traffic through congested interconnection points to increase its bargaining power for traffic carriage by ISPs. Netflix contends the study's suggestion that congestion is linked to business disagreements is indicative of traffic manipulation.

As MIT and UCSD researchers seek ways to gather more data, streaming-video providers and ISPs should look for ways to remedy congestion issues, according to Clark.

From IDG News Service
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