Inauguration frenzy could crash networks

January 19, 2009 11:57:45 PM PST
There is a real concern that the crowds in Washington, D.C. may be too much for technology to handle. The internet may suffer a huge hit. Plus, cell phone companies have an unusual request for their customers Tuesday.

When President-elect Barack Obama is sworn in Tuesday, cell phone companies are actually asking their customers to limit their calls and wait a while before sending pictures. The companies think the moment might be more than their networks can handle.

Santa Clara University professor Tom Plante has little faith that people will wait.

"No, absolutely not because I think there's a lot of, as we know, enthusiasm, excitement, and people in the moment are going to be hard to resist that temptation," said Plante.

Especially when you consider the technically savvy members of this generation and how the new media is trying to reach out to them and get them to participate. CNN and Facebook have teamed up and are asking people to send in an update to help capture the moment. This concerns tech expert Larry Magid.

"That could possibly slow down Facebook because, after all, you're going to have millions more people using it at the same time than Facebook is accompanied to handling," said Magid.

San Mateo's Keynote Systems will be watching the Internet very carefully during the inauguration. The company collects data from thousands of PCs and mobile devices around the world to track how Web sites are performing.

"We expect this will be the largest live streaming event ever in the history of the Internet," said Dan Berkowitz of Keynote Systems.

The big concern is that most people will be at work and will have to watch the ceremony on their computers. There's a chance all the traffic will cause a delay or a shaky image. It could also slow down your employer's network.

"We can expect to see that people will have some problems, not everyone, but there will be some performance glitches for people that are streaming the event live," said Berkowitz.

So it will definitely be an historical day, both in the real and online worlds.

For all of our Inauguration Day live streaming coverage from ABC7NEWS.COM, visit our live video section here.