Which internet provider can’t get its house moved?
What if you’re moving to a new home in a city that doesn’t have an internet provider?
Is the internet provider really your best bet?
The question is the topic of an interesting new paper from a team of researchers at MIT and Stanford University.
They’re interested in whether internet providers can be expected to move people’s internet traffic, whether the move will be disruptive or beneficial to them, and whether it would be better for the network if they did.
The team, led by Andrew Siegel, a professor of electrical engineering, applied a mathematical framework called the network theory framework to a number of different scenarios.
They found that the move of a house from a home to a different location is likely to be beneficial, but that a move to a location with no internet service is more likely to harm people.
In one scenario, the researchers estimated that the net effect of a move would be a reduction in electricity use.
In another, they estimated that moving the entire population to a more distant location would reduce electricity consumption by 40 percent.
But in the final scenario, they found that moving people’s homes to a far-off location would be beneficial.
The study, published today in Science Advances, suggests that the people moving to different locations with the internet would be less likely to use their electricity than people who live near the nearest internet provider.
They estimate that a 1-megabit-per-second broadband connection will be less disruptive than moving a 1,000-megabyte-per–second broadband line.
“We see the power-law relationship between internet speed and a network’s resilience to shocks,” said Siegel.
“The speed of internet connections increases exponentially as the distance between two nodes, the amount of power required for a connection, and the number of people connected to the network increase.”
“This work gives us a better understanding of the potential impacts of moving the population from one location to another.
This is one way to mitigate the potential negative impacts of internet access in the near term,” said coauthor John-Dylan Schuster, a postdoc in MIT’s Department of Electrical Engineering.
“Moving people’s residences could be beneficial in certain circumstances, but if we move the entire world into a data-centric society, we may be looking at serious problems.”
The researchers tested the resilience of different types of internet services, and found that they would be more resilient to disruption than the networks with which they interact.
In addition, the team found that a moving network would be most effective if it provided enough internet access for the population to get by.
“It’s not the case that moving a population is a zero-sum game,” said Schuster.
“I don’t think there’s a better way to move a population than having the internet available at all times.”
The study also found that if the internet were to move to some distant location, the internet’s ability to move was the least affected.
The researchers speculate that if you were to build a network in the city of Palo Alto, California, the network would have to be located close to a subway station to prevent a mass exodus from the city.
“If we had a large population in a dense city, then moving the city to a remote location would have a net effect on the population,” Siegel said.
“In this case, moving a large portion of the population away from the metro area is not a very good idea.”
The team’s research is funded by the National Science Foundation.