Researchers at Lawrence Berkeley National Labs in the US say they've developed a system for effectively prioritising traffic on the Web.
Working with router vendor Cisco Systems, the researchers say they've successfully demonstrated software that performs what they call "differentiated services".
The idea, according to Lawrence Berkeley's Stewart Loken, is to give individuals or organisations the ability to specify the priority of a particular data transmission. The Internet currently relies on a "best-effort" methodology for all traffic, whether it's junk e-mail or a digital video of a medical procedure.
Loken says the software is still in beta form and needs a bit of work before it can be marketed. But its feasibility is now proven.
According to Loken, "Once this is fully functional . . . I think we will see a transition to ISPs (Internet service providers) being able to differentiate between high-priority service that a small business might subscribe to and less-expensive space-available [service] for . . .a home."