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Edholm's Law of Bandwidth

Telecommunications data rates are as predictable as Moore's Law

3 min read

Some telecommunications technologies, like cellular telephony, can be used as you move around freely. Others, like Wi-Fi, can be used while moving from place to place but aren't fully mobile. A third category can be used only with equipment tied to a specific location, as Ethernet is to your office's desktop computer. For lack of better terms, we'll call these three categories wireless, nomadic, and wireline.

It seems intuitive that the least mobile systems have the highest data rates. And it's obvious that all three get faster over time; we now routinely achieve cellular data rates that match those of the best dial-up modem speeds of the early 1990s.

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Why the Internet Needs the InterPlanetary File System

Peer-to-peer file sharing would make the Internet far more efficient

12 min read
An illustration of a series
Carl De Torres

When the COVID-19 pandemic erupted in early 2020, the world made an unprecedented shift to remote work. As a precaution, some Internet providers scaled back service levels temporarily, although that probably wasn’t necessary for countries in Asia, Europe, and North America, which were generally able to cope with the surge in demand caused by people teleworking (and binge-watching Netflix). That’s because most of their networks were overprovisioned, with more capacity than they usually need. But in countries without the same level of investment in network infrastructure, the picture was less rosy: Internet service providers (ISPs) in South Africa and Venezuela, for instance, reported significant strain.

But is overprovisioning the only way to ensure resilience? We don’t think so. To understand the alternative approach we’re championing, though, you first need to recall how the Internet works.

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