Thursday, June 02, 2011

Intel and Cisco Look To Broadcasting

Under a CC license by Thomas Hawk.

The BBC writes that the number of internet connected devices will explode to over 15 billion, twice the worlds population, by 2015. They point to research done by Cisco which believes that television and video services will continue to dominate internet traffic, and that one million minutes of video will be watched every second. That is a hell of a lot of data. Let's say that the average bandwidth is 2000Kbps. Many will prefer HD quality at a 4-6Mbps, others will have to settle for much worse video quality at a lower bandwidth due to less bandwidths being available from their ISP. An average bandwidth of 2000Kbps is not taken out of the blue. Norwegian Broadcasting Corporation (NRK) has the most popular web TV service in Norway.  Their average streamed bandwidth per user is 2500Kbps, although the internet were in for some trouble at the web tv player's record breaking moment, with average bandwidths going down to 1500Kbps.

One million minutes at 2000Kbps is almost 14 Terrabyte of data every second. Or 111Tbps (Terabit per second). Slightly higher than my internet connection at home.

If added up, that means 1.15 Exabyte per day, or 420 Exabyte per year. Cisco's calculations are however based on an average bandwidth of around half at 1024Kbps. We are in that case looking at 215EB per year.

One Exabyte is the same as one quintillion bytes. As if that helps anyone's understanding of it. I'll leave explanations to Wikipedia. The bottom line is that an Exabyte is an enorumous amount of data. 215 or 420 of it in almost unimagninable.

Cisco is naturally worried about how to be able to deliver infrastructure that can cope with such vast amounts of data.

"The most important question we face is how to manage all this traffic intelligently," Suraj Shetty, the company's vice president for global marketing tells the BBC.

One obvious answer is to use broadcasting technologies for all live radio and TV content. In combination with traditional internet services, obviously. That means that many of the 15 billion internet connected devices out there should have a chipset that also supports broadcasting. Is that going to happen?

Intel jumps on the broadcasting bandwagon
Well, a week ago, the worlds biggest processor and chipset manufacturer Intel, aquired SiPort, a company that specializes in broadcasting chipsets.

SiPort writes the following on their webpage:
"Digital radio is poised to become an important ingredient for handsets and other mobile devices as broadcast radio transitions from analog to digital. Intel’s acquisition of SiPort enhances our abilities to continue as the leading provider of low power, single-chip CMOS solutions enabling wide spread adoption of broadcast digital radio. SiPort’s digital radio expertise and solutions will leverage Intel’s market and technology leadership to provide best-in-class digital radio solutions." 
SiPort produces chipsets for the broadcasting technologies of HD Radio (used in the US) and DMB/DAB/DAB+ which is used in over 40 countries on five continents.

The internet is already struggling at peak times, something that the entire industry knows and understands. Some of the biggest players out there is now pointing to broadcasting as one solution to load unnecessary traffic off the infrastructure, optimizing it's usage for everything else out there on the internet. More and more people are starting to understand that combination is key. That is good news to all of us that cherish the services and possibilities given to us by the internet.