Consumers driving bandwidth demand

Consumer interest in the latest Internet technologies and applications continue to drive bandwidth requirements, and the increased need is not likely to abate.

SINGAPORE--Rising consumer demand for online services is one of the chief factors driving investment in broadband infrastructure today.

Speaking at Frost & Sullivan's Next Generation Networks Asia 2007 summit held here Tuesday, Sharat Sinha, director of Cisco Systems' service provider business in Asia-Pacific, said during the panel discussion: "In the mid-'90s, enterprises led technology demand... Today, it's the consumers."

Sinha cited the growing use of Web 2.0 and social networking features of the Internet, and how adoption levels are being fueled by user demand, not management decision.

However, growth in Internet usage and bandwidth-hungry applications are putting pressure on networks.

Wilfried Schrupp, head of sales of broadband access, Asia-Pacific, Nokia Siemens Networks, said during a presentation that bandwidth needs are increasing constantly, and countries need to recognize that.

Typical Internet applications require 25 Mpbs per user at the minimum, excluding bandwidth-intensive needs such as video-sharing, Schrupp said.

According to a Nokia Siemens Networks 2006 survey, which provided an insight into a consumer's bandwidth usage in a single session, where applications run simultaneously, the smallest bandwidth eater was VoIP (Voice over Internet Protocol), which took up 0.1 Mbps. Internet surfing required 5-10 Mbps, while IPTV (Internet Protocol Television) demanded a whopping 20-30 Mbps from the session.

In total, Schrupp said, users need some 25-100 Mbps of bandwidth to utilize next-generation applications--and this number is not about to go down.

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