Browser’s cache fulfill several aims, among others, to save network bandwidth and to diminish web pages loading time which, in turn, drop down the time costs of delays over user’s web loading. For example, suppose the typical user spends an average of 450 hours/year to surf the web at a rate of 120 pages/hour; an implied wage of 12€/hour; a fall in loading time due to the use of a cache of 1 second via desktop and 10 seconds via mobile; a caching success rate of 40%, then we easily estimate that the typical user can save between 72€/year(computer) and 720€/year(mobile) by just activating the browser’s cache.

Therefore, and given storage and bandwidth’s current costs, the implied break-even point on the use of the browser’s cache is always positive, even to store all the browsed pages that the user would ever visit for decades, a time longer than the average life of any device. This fact will still uphold true not by the exponentially decreasing costs for storage and bandwidth, but just because the labor costs are linearly increasing in time. But taking apart labor costs from the equation just consider the technological trends and taking into account that mobile bandwidth’s costs will always be several orders of magnitude higher than fiber and cable’s bandwidth, we would face the curious case that using the browser’s cache will soon stop making any sense in a computer but will still be  profitable in a mobile, and that for the period of several decades and also taking into consideration the higher mobile storage costs. Note that this is just one of the many divergences that could appear in the future evolution of the various Internet browsing devices, and that will entail much greater instruction density per transmitted byte to correct them.

The key point of this and other analyses always rests under the relative differences in the price evolution between magnetic storage (Kryder’s law -2x every 13 months-), the circuit’s scale of integration (Moore’s law -2x every 18 months-) and bandwidth’s throughput (Nielsen’s law -2x every 21 months-), among others. And we should put greater emphasis in the last one, since being the one with the slower evolution will also make it to be the most limited resource and, therefore, the one that will end up dominating the final price of any computer system. And on the other hand, storage will be the most used resource to lessen the disadvantages and deficiencies brought by telecommunication’s slowest evolution, following Jevons’s paradox, which remind us that increases in the efficiency with which a resource is used tend to increase, rather than decrease, the rate of consumption of that resource.

On the subject of the expected evolution of telecommunications, it would always be necessary to take apart the trends of the different underlying technologies (fiber, cable and wireless). And although the most optimistic would certainly lean into Edholm’s law, that predicts that the throughput of the different technologies will end up converging as a result of the law of the decreasing marginal returns on the fastest ones and even when taking into consideration the parallel increases in throughput that they have been experiencing, it will be the Cooper’s law regarding the efficiency in the use of the electromagnetic spectrum (-2x every 30 months-), the one law that highlights the underlying idiosyncrasy of wireless since it exploits a natural resource with no possibility of being expanded: analyzing its increases in efficiency in the last 100 years, we find that improvements in coding methods only explain the 0,6% of its enhancement; the enlargement of the spectrum under utilization, a mere 1,5%; and the most efficient use of the spectrum by its better confinement, the resting 97,9%. Nevertheless, optical fiber is in hard contrast to any wireless technology (Butter’s law -2x every 9 months), and just another reason to expect that the differences between the software applications available on mobile devices and the non-mobile ones using optical fiber cannot but be heightened over the years, the raison d’être of the mobile software cambrian explosion.

 

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