10GigE; What will fill the pipes?

It seems to me that every time a new generation of high-capacity networking technology makes its debut, there’s an accompanying list of applications ready to use up all that bandwidth. It’s taken for granted that applications will always find new and creative ways to use up all the available bandwidth. I’ve been disappointed, however, with the list of interesting use cases for 10GigE. It just seems like many are the same old bunch from when 1GigE launched — social networking, video, etc.

Does that mean we’re on the verge of having more bandwidth than we need? Hardly. I believe the new applications that will fill the 10GigE pipes are not entirely new at all – they are mashups of applications, services and trends that already exist, combined in ways that will chew through bandwidth like nothing we’ve ever seen.

Bandwidth Hogs

  • H1. File sharing (Multi-Gigabyte torrent files are getting commonplace)
  • H2. Video (particularly HD)
  • H3. Rich User Experiences (waiting for my BD-Live updates to load)
  • H4. Streaming Data (real-time pub/sub via XMPP, or even worse, by polling)
  • H5. Wireless/Mobile (while wireless apps use less bandwidth, developers and service providers are doing everything they can to squeeze more information and functionality through wireless networks, so it’s a similar effect)

Bandwidth Multipliers

  • M1.  Social (Twitter, Facebook)
  • M2.  User-contributed content (Flickr, YouTube)
  • M3.  Geospatial (Maps, Earth)
  • M4.  Cloud (Amazon Web Services traffic passes Amazon.com)
  • M5.  Personalized (MyYahoo, Dashboard Widgets, iPhone Apps)

Hogs * Multipliers = Ferocious Consumption of Bandwidth

The real acceleration of bandwidth consumption will be driven when the Hogs combine with the Multipliers to create even more exciting applications. For example:

  • H2 * H4 * M1 * M2 = Live Social video – Stream your Flip Videos live to all your Facebook friends. Forget Twitpics, how about TwitTube?
  • H1 * H3 * H4* M4 = Streaming HD MMO Gaming Cloud – Pretty much what OnLive just launched as “The Future of Video Games”. 720p video games screen-casting to a set-top box or Browser plug-in near you.
  • H2 * H3 * H5 * M2 * M4 * M5 = GeoTagging Services – It’s one thing to see user contributed data on Google Maps, but the Enkin guys have figured a way to superimpose geotags into real-time video on your cell phone. Imaging looking through your phone camera to see the real world tagged with little metadata bubbles following every person, place or thing of interest to you.
  • H3 * H4 * H5 * M1 * M3 = Geospatial Mobile Gaming – This category can be so much more than an interactive map of Ocarina players, or Geocaching with your iPhone. How about a Flash Mob of location-aware participants, or an army of GPS-enabled capture the flag players storming San Francisco City Hall before the red team beats them to the virtual prize. I can’t wait to see what’s coming in this bandwidth wasting category.

And that’s just me noodling on the idea for a few minutes. Imagine what the other 3, 628, 796 other combinations of the 5 hogs and 5 multipliers can produce — 40 GigE here we come!