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We investigate the effect of traffic engineering in order to allow for higher throughput of traffic in the network by balancing the load on the links. A network-wide optimization of paths for traffic flows can be used to maximize the amount of delivered traffic in a predefined topology. Based on previously developed optimization algorithms, we compare traffic engineering to pure shortest path first routing during a continuous process of expanding the link capacities to cope with increasing Internet traffic. We consider case studies and bounds on the efficiency of traffic engineering.