The Future of the Internet

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It's on television, in magazines, newspapers, and in our schools. Everywhere you go you hear about the Internet. Dubbed "The Information Superhighway," one might think that this network of millions of computers around the globe is as fast and as captivating as television, but with more and more users logging on everyday and staying on longer and longer, this "Information Superhighway" could be perhaps more correctly referred to as a clogged Los-Angeles expressway at lunch hour.Users are often frustrated at busy signals and slow speeds. The corporate giant, America Online, Inc, has recently been the target of several lawsuits over this because when it changed it's pricing plan, so many new users came on, and so many people started staying on longer, that it's system couldn't handle the strain and would run very slow and give busy signals to almost everyone that tried to log on. As a result people started staying online because they were afraid that if they logged off, they would never get back on. This forced America Online to upgrade enormous amounts of equipment, lease new telephone lines, and issue commercials apologizing for the whole predicament. They even started giving refunds to users who were never able to get on during the troubled ordeal.Some people are predicting, because of the length of Internet calls and the amount of bandwidth the calls take, that one day in the not so distant future, the entire telephone network, or at least a great portion of it, will cease to function, and all telephone calls will fail to connect. This idea is referred to by some as the "Gridlock Theory." Others advise that steps can be taken to avoid such a disaster, such as upgrading phone lines and limiting Internet usage.Following the gridlock idea is Ethernet creator Bob Metcalfe, who believes that the slowdowns will only get worse. "We recently had an outage... (that) denied 400,00 people access to the Internet, in its entirety, for thirteen hours....
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