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Abstract

Global Internet usage has fueled much of the technological innovation seen during the first decade of the twenty-first century. Unsurprisingly, this has led to a commensurate increase in consumption of bandwidth, the measure of how much information the Internet can transmit. However, bandwidth is not an inexhaustible resource. Wired communications require physical infrastructure, requiring considerable investment and construction to expand, and wireless communications require sections of electromagnetic spectrum, which has grown much more crowded. This article examines the current bandwidth situation in light of networking trends and events as of 2010. Findings indicate that, although there is no immediate bandwidth crisis, one may eventually come, especially in the wireless spectrum, and, although technological innovation may provide a considerable hedge against the crippling impli-cations of such a shortage, care must be taken to manage growth in bandwidth usage to maintain it at acceptable levels while accounting for the needs of all concerned parties.

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