The spread of H1N1, commonly known as swine flu, may have some drastic consequences for corporate IT departments and businesses as students staying home from school may stress the internet's bandwidth capacity.

The problem, identified by a government report this week, suggests that network management of the internet could be put to the test as home-bound children missing school due to the flu increase traffic during peak business hours.

That report was backed up by analyst firm Gartner, which said a drastic increase in daytime traffic by students downloading movies and other bandwidth-heavy files could hurt business connections.

Gartner said carriers are encouraging organizations to use third-generation (3G) or other non-tethered access as a backup solution to defend against last-mile failures.

"However, this solution could lead to wireless system overload, so the problem is not solved, it is merely moved," said John Girard, vice president and distinguished analyst at Gartner.

At a time when businesses are increasingly relying on a mobile workforce, the network of the internet is under increased stress due to surging traffic.

Proposals by the Federal Communications Commission to guarantee "net neutrality" would allow internet service providers to use reasonable measures for network management to deal with traffic surges.

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