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The impact of Metcalfe’s Law and other laws on communication networks

July 18th, 2006

IEEE Spectrum: Metcalfe’s Law is Wrong
I’ve read with interest this article recently published in the July 2006 IEEE Spectrum magazine, which refutes Metcalfe’s Law that states that the value of a communications network is proportional to the square of the number of users on the system, and proposes an alternative which states that the value of a communications network of size n grows in proportion to n log(n). They do highlight that this is a growth law, which means it cannot predict the value of a network from its size alone, but has to know the valuation of a network at one particular size. It can then estimate its value at any future size.
Why is it interesting. Well it’s starts to put in perspecific how the communication network will effect Web 2.0.
The article also gives the currently popular thesis called The Long Tail, some validity.
There are also some other communcation laws not cosidered by these articles which should be, such as Gilder’s and Cooper’s Laws on network bandwidth and the effectiveness of wireless spectrum utilisation in personal communications, as noted in the article Laying Down the Law
Which leans me towards how future wireless networks may effect a create a new law.
For further unrivalled comments have a look at the good folks at Slashdot, in which they have Metcalfe’s Law Refutation Explained