Is the Internet Running Out of Space?

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The internet may seem like the final frontier: vast, infinite, ever expanding, but the internet is getting close to reaching it's limit. Physicists and engineers are working to make some structural changes to the internet so we don't have to suffer through an internet drought.

This "capacity crunch" is caused by the rapid growth of online media consumption via websites like Netflix and Youtube. There is a limit to the amount of information we can transfer through a communications channel, fibre-optic cable or copper wire, depending on the channel's bandwidth and it's signal-to-noise ratio. Researchers are working on ways to deal with this issue, both in the tweaking of the way we send that information and in the physical fibers that transfer it. But if researchers aren't able to commercialize their solutions, rationing or other restrictions on internet use may be the only option. So go on, log into Netflix and finish Friday Night Lights while there's still time!