Paul Baranowski of Peekabooty has written a response to Bennett Haselton’s list of possible weaknesses in Internet censorship-circumvention software. In the response, Paul makes this claim:

While processor power doubles every 18 months, Nielson’s Law [sic] states that available bandwidth grows at 50% per annum. This means that over the same 18 months that processing power has doubled, bandwidth has more than tripled.

Interesting. Let’s see what Nielsen [note spelling] himself has to say about comparisons to Moore’s law, in his original article:

comparing the two Laws shows that bandwidth grows slower than computer power. Moore’s Law says that computers double in capabilities every 18 months: this corresponds to about 60% annual growth. As shown in the table, bandwidth will remain the gating factor in the experienced quality of using the Internet medium.


Growth Rate

Growth Over
Ten Years
Nielsen’s Law Internet bandwidth 50% 57x
Moore’s Law Computer power 60% 100x

Actually, over the time that processing power has doubled, bandwidth has increased by a factor of only about 1.8 – and even that seems not to have happened since Nielsen’s article was written in 1998, while Moore’s Law has held up quite well.

On that one issue, I’d have to give the point to Bennett. The Chinese ability to filter traffic with increasing sophistication is likely to grow over time, and let’s not forget that in China the government gets to control how much bandwidth is available if they find they’re falling behind.