Article

Social Dilemmas and Internet Congestions

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Abstract

Since the Internet is a public good and its numerous users are not charged in proportion to their use, it appears rational for individuals to consume bandwidth greedily while thinking that their actions have little effect on the overall performance of the Internet. Because every individual can reason this way, the whole Internet's performance can degrade considerably, making everyone worse off. An analysis of the congestions created by such dilemmas predicts that they are intermittent in nature with definite statistical properties, leading to short-lived spikes in congestion. Experiments in which we measured Internet latencies over a wide range of conditions and locations confirm these predictions, thus providing a possible microscopic mechanism for the observed intermittent congestions of the Internet.

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... Ethics entails demonstrating mutual respect, empathy, trying to understand each other and be understood and ensuring a proper working environment. For instance one is supposed to get one's right part of shared resources (such as Internet bandwidth) as distinct to overusing such resources for the fact that they are provided for free, is also part of ethical behavior (Hardin, 1968;Huberman & Lukose, 1997). ...
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