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6D. Technical Infrastructure:

Key Concepts

  image quality



Efforts are continuing to increase network throughput. One strategy is to improve speeds on existing networks through new forms of compression or presentation. However, the need to reduce file size to speed delivery may be a limited-term concern as broad bandwidth information pipelines and wireless high speed data transfer capabilities are developed in the next 5-10 years to support research, electronic commerce, and entertainment. The increasing deployment of cable modem and DSL services to residences will ease bandwidth concerns at the user's end. The potential of digital television, in particular High Definition Television (HDTV), to provide new and different kinds of information to a broad range of users—including access to digitized cultural resources—is tantalizing. Current US Federal Communications Comission (FCC) rules require all analog broadcasts to be phased out by the end of 2006. Beginning with Internet 2, the U.S. government is funding efforts to build the Next Generation Internet (NGI) to link research labs and universities to high-speed networks that are 100 to 1,000 times faster than the current Internet. Designed to handle high volumes of information, the NGI will make access to digital image files easy and high quality audio and moving image transfer practical.

Computer Considerations
Most of the requirements for a network server have already been touched upon. Such machines are very resource hungry, especially if heavily used. Keeping a network server optimally tuned requires a skilled systems administrator. Perhaps the best advice is not to skimp on personnel for managing networks and servers.

Reality Check

User feedback on your Web site indicates a large number of complaints about how long it takes to view images. What first step(s) should be taken to respond?

  Install more or larger servers
  Upgrade to a higher bandwidth Internet connection
  Reduce the resolution or bit-depth of your images
  Gather more information from the complainants



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