CNET Next Big Thing: The cloud--bandwidthIf you want to rely on Web-based applications that live "in the cloud," you need reliable bandwidth. Tom Merritt investigates how users are dealing with current restraints, and what's on the horizon.
[ Music ] ^M00:00:09 >> I prefer that they're on the Cloud. I don't wanna deal with them. >> Barbara Matuzak is a business analyst working in San Francisco. She's often work from home since the days of dial-up and currently uses DSL. >> It's gotten better, actually. It used to be quite glitchy where you would get kicked off a lot, you'd have to keep reconnecting. But now it's quite stable I can plug in to the VPN like I'm on VPN right now and I won't get kicked off until I actually want to. >> She has the devices you'd expect, a laptop, a smartphone and uses online services sometimes for work... >> As far things like net meeting, live meeting, remote conferencing, that standard model, check in, check out. In fact I'm working on a document with two other people now. So we all just take turns really checking it in and checking it out and changing our own little sections. >> And sometimes she uses online services for fun. >> Surfing, lots of games, kind of a Spore addict. >> But things don't always go smoothly. >> And I have done some video conferences, but it's kind of like a novelty act. It's like, "Oh, we're doing video conferencing." "Wow, this is a real pain let's shut it off." >> As much as you hear about the bandwidth crunch though, Barbara's bandwidth problems are actually local. Andrew Odlyzko of the Minnesota Internet Traffic Studies project says that Internet traffic growth rates are stagnant or falling. The problem isn't the capacity of the Internet. It's how to deliver access to the home. In fact, Barbara feels like she's got plenty of speed at work... >> Yes, I mean streaming is fast. >> When she looks at increasing speed at home it comes down to cost and ISPs don't make it easy. >> I'm very confused on the bundles. That's why I'm -- I'm paralyzed, right? I can't make a decision on this because there are too many options on what bundle? >> ISPs are focusing on speed. Cable companies are implementing DOCSIS 3.0. Telephone companies are trying to boost DSL speeds or deliver wireless broadband. Others think fiber is the answer. >> Really as far as work is concerned, the last mile issue is a solution in search with business problem. The type of work that we do as knowledge workers is not, you know really coding, you know virtual realities collaboratively globally in real time. >> However, if she had more bandwidth, she knows what she'd use it for. >> What would be ideal, we have half the screen, which is what we're working on or the presentation or whatever. And then we have -- we can see everyone who is actually in the conference or just at -- at home, right? With their camera and seeing them, so that we can see the reactions and also I think it keeps people a little honest. >> How should bandwidth and data transfer change to help Barb and everyone else live better in the Clouds? ^M00:03:11 [ Music ]