_ap_ufes{"success":true,"siteUrl":"dubeat.com","urls":{"Home":"https://dubeat.com","Category":"https://dubeat.com/category/admission-season/","Archive":"https://dubeat.com/2023/03/","Post":"https://dubeat.com/2023/03/24/sfi-alleges-attack-on-members-at-du-lit-fest/","Page":"https://dubeat.com/events/my-bookings/","Attachment":"https://dubeat.com/bq-leaderboard-ad-min/","Nav_menu_item":"https://dubeat.com/2023/02/04/72831/","Custom_css":"https://dubeat.com/2023/02/25/cheerup/","Wp_global_styles":"https://dubeat.com/2023/01/06/wp-global-styles-twentytwentythree/","Amp_validated_url":"https://dubeat.com/amp_validated_url/3edc31d68a52316e9adb387cf6a5a0f1/","Wpcf7_contact_form":"https://dubeat.com/?post_type=wpcf7_contact_form&p=52312","Mec-events":"https://dubeat.com/events/yearly-on-august-20th-and-21st/","Mec_calendars":"https://dubeat.com/mec_calendars/masonry-view/"}}_ap_ufee Do We Have Enough Internet Bandwidth for the Lockdown? - DU Beat - Delhi University's Independent Student Newspaper
Campus Central

Do We Have Enough Internet Bandwidth for the Lockdown?

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With everyone under lockdown and confined indoors, internet usage has spiked, putting a strain on the network infrastructure as it struggles to cope.

 If you are a part of the large number of people who aren’t part of the ‘essential services’ that are exempt from the lockdown that has been ordered to tackle COVID-19, chances are that you are at home, scrolling through social media, working on your computer, binging T.V. shows or using the internet in some form. You may not have thought about it, but there is only so much internet bandwidth to go around. With everyone hunkering down at home and turning towards the internet to bestow some entertainment in these trying times, do we have enough bandwidth for everyone?

First off, what bandwidth is? In a very non-technical sense, it could be compared to the ‘pipes’ of the internet. Just as a wider pipe could carry more water at a time, higher bandwidth refers to higher internet speed or data capacity. But what happens when there is a massive surge in the number of internet users and usage? While the internet in itself cannot ‘run out of bandwidth’, what can happen is an overload on the network infrastructure that ‘delivers’ to users homes. While data centres or enterprise deployments of the internet are set up to handle large volumes of data, the same does not apply for the home data pipes that can reach a bottleneck or ‘run out of capacity’.

What would happen if we ran out internet bandwidth? Well, in that case, there would be massive internet slowdowns, and congestion that could make using the internet a pain or even impossible. This is a severe problem as other than the obvious fact that we love our internet, the internet also is an essential platform to disseminate information, provide updates and even run critical services such as Government sites. We need the internet to be up and running at a time like this and a breakdown could be more than just an inconvenience. There are priorities, like news, Government sites, research, and basic communication, which are more important than you watching ‘F.R.I.E.N.D.S’ for the fifth time.

What is being done to ensure the internet stays up and running? The European Union ordered that, steps be taken to prevent a breakdown, and Netflix, YouTube and other platforms have taken measures by reducing bandwidth usage through lowering the streaming quality on their platforms.

The Cellular Operators Association of India (COAI) wrote a letter to streaming services in India asking them to reduce their internet usage, highlighting the pressure being put on Telecom Service Providers (TSPs).

In response, Netflix has reduced its traffic by 25% through bandwidth reduction on its platform. Amazon Prime has also reduced streaming bitrates, while YouTube has reduced streaming quality. Indian streaming platforms like Hotstar, Zee5, Voot, Sony LIV, Hoichoi and ALT Balaji have also taken similar steps to preserve bandwidth usage.

With coming times, we may even see the government step in and direct internet bandwidth away from non-essential or leisure services such as streaming. While Internet Service Providers (ISPs) do have the capability to slow down individual sites and services, they are not permitted to do so due to regulations that exist under ‘net neutrality’ that prevent ISPs from slowing down certain sites to charge a premium fee to access it or slow down competing sites and forcing consumers to use one service over others. If need be, there may be temporary measures brought in. After all, these are extraordinary times. If you feel your internet has been extra sluggish lately, you now know why.

Feature Image Credits: Cartoon Movement

 Tashi Dorjay Sherpa

[email protected]

Journalism has been called the “first rough draft of history”. D.U.B may be termed as the first rough draft of DU history. Freedom to Express.

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