Innovating around the limits of home bandwidth…
My Amazon author page!!!!

I’ve been thinking a lot about the broad concept the Data of the Internet of things (DiOT) that I had originally called the Internet of data (iOD). When we think about companies and government agencies they have specific goals and missions that in many cases make the use of some DiOT devices less likely.

At home however we may be heading towards a faster problem than we are in the enterprise. Wi-Fi is a pretty robust standard. Inside your house (or your business) it has a spectrum and moves data within that bandwidth. The number of devices that impact your home network are different than the ones you use at work. For sake of conversation I am creating a table below that we will call work/life balance. The goal is to compare activities you do at home and at work and the amount of streamed information in each case.


Life Balance

Which one uses more bandwidth?

PC connected to the network on for 8 hours connecting to email and web sites.

Media devices on for 4 hours connecting and streaming media files

Most media files in HD are about 1.2 gig. Most media files in S.D. are around 1/2 a gig or so. Streaming wins. What happens when two computers in your house are streaming the entire time?

Web Meeting focused on a project lasts about an hour (maybe a little over)

Skype with your friends in Germany

Clearly the web meeting wins here…

Getting weather information (go to the web)

having a home weather station broadcasting your information to the web

Most data would be the broadcast station.

I could go on for a long time but you get the idea. In the end there are many more devices in your home that consume massive amounts of information. Our home networks begin to saturate fairly quickly. I’ve watched mine with an old fashioned network sniffer and have found my Friday pm and Saturday pm traffic to be around 70% saturation. It is the only reason I haven’t cut the cord. If I cut the cord (no more cable/satellite TV service) I will in the end increase my network stress considerably.

Personally I think the next big innovation is the cache ahead movie system. This is where you go into your account and pick 3-5 movies you are planning to watch in the near term. Those movies are downloaded during the work day and during the wee hours of the morning to a cache on your system. Then when you want to watch them they are available.

The real bandwidth issue for home networks is that they are only used for smaller time periods during the day. There are long segments of time that have small bandwidth use. We could using technology like caching move the home network around a little. It would by the way also help the impact on the broader Internet by moving some % of traffic to off hours rather than peak times.

Bandwidth in the end is finite. Human ability to innovate around limits is not.


Scott Andersen

IASA Fellow.