Internet traffic to reach zettabyte by 2015

Internet is managing to reach every part of the globe in some manner, including countries with restrictive governmental regimes, like North Korea. As the number of internet users increase, so too do the numbers associated with their traffic.

Cisco estimates this, and the figures they have produced are quite astonishing to look at. By 2015, they expect that global internet traffic will reach the zettabyte threshold annually. What is a zettabyte? 966 exabytes. What is an exabyte? About 1,000,000 terabytes.

This is a Hitachi Cinemastar HDD with 1TB of storage. Suddenly it seems lacking.

In a normal month during 2015 they're expecting 80.5 exabytes of global IP traffic. Assuming they're accurate, internet speeds will continue to increase, and this figure likely also will.

In the space of five years, global IP traffic has increased eightfold. Given five years more the figure we're currently at will increase fourfold. Between 2010 and 2015 they expect a compounded annual growth rate of 32%.

In 2015 they're expecting the gigabyte equivalent of every movie ever made to cross global networks.... every five minutes. The number of devices connected to the internet will be double the global population figure of the time.

The figures and facts keep coming, and they're all very hard to comprehend. The sheer amount of traffic involved in a single zettabyte is staggering. Let's try and get an idea of what you could do with zettabytes.

If every piece of speech was digitized as 16kHz, 16-bit audio, you'd need roughly 42 zettabytes, according to Mark Liberman. Liberman's statistic is not just based on one person's speech, but on everything anyone has ever spoken. Small-talk with your colleagues, legendary film scenes like Charlie Chaplin's speech in The Great Dictator (and all the cut versions of these scenes), and the inane, ranting speeches of tyrants and dictators. All of this would work into 42 zettabytes. The Internet was estimated to be 546 exabytes in size in 2009. That's only half of a zettabyte. You could download the entire Internet to a zettabyte hard drive, and still have plenty of space left over for no good reason, assuming such a hard drive would exist.

Make this out of 64GB microSD cards and you're close.

There is only one size larger than the zettabyte, and that is the yottabyte, but the figure is so astronomically high it would be impossible to even attempt to convey it in human terms. Assuming you saved a yottabyte's worth of information to 64GB microSD cards, the stack of microSDs would weigh just under 4,000,000 tons; roughly two thirds of the Great Pyramid of Giza's weight. There are not many ways of depicting the sheer size of the number, but when you think about the inevitable increase beyond 2015, you'll see just how critical the internet has been and will continue to be for the foreseeable future.

Source: Cisco
Hitachi Cinemastar: iTechNews
Pyramid of Giza: Wikipedia

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21 Comments

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"the yottabyte, but the figure is so astronomically high it would be impossible to even attempt to convey it in human terms."

the next sentence:
"Assuming you saved a yottabyte's worth of information to 64GB microSD cards, the stack of microSDs would weigh just under 4,000,000 tons; roughly two thirds of the Great Pyramid of Giza's weight."

figure conveyed.

If every byte in a yottabyte were a cm, it wouldn't even get you half the way to our nearest Galaxy (Andromeda).

Bag said,
If every byte in a yottabyte were a cm, it wouldn't even get you half the way to our nearest Galaxy (Andromeda).

Maybe you could say "if a byte were an inch then you'd just get to the Andromeda galaxy"

Also,

Paul Ferson said,
What is a zettabyte? 966 exabytes. What is an exabyte? About 1,000,000 terabytes.

Zettabyte = 1024 Exabytes, not 966. Or 1000 if you want to be completely SI-compatible. The higher you go the 1000 vs 1024 difference becomes more significant: an error of 2.4% at kilobyte but about 18% at zettabyte and over 20% at yottabyte.

Imagine having a ZB (or yottabyte - YB) of hard drive space ....

and 1 YB of RAM ..... and 1 YHz of processor clock speed.

Lmao - I know that won't be achieved until the year 3000.

MtnDewCodeRedFreak said,
Imagine having a ZB (or yottabyte - YB) of hard drive space ....

and 1 YB of RAM ..... and 1 YHz of processor clock speed.

Lmao - I know that won't be achieved until the year 3000.

You mean 30.000.

MtnDewCodeRedFreak said,
Imagine having a ZB (or yottabyte - YB) of hard drive space ....

and 1 YB of RAM ..... and 1 YHz of processor clock speed.

Lmao - I know that won't be achieved until the year 3000.

You seriously underestimate the speed at which technology progresses

If ISP speeds would increase without the price-per-month going up beyond normal inflation then you can obtain the data much faster thus being less load on the source or hops to the source. I don't think ISP's really have a grasp on competition either and flaunt it in area's where there really isn't any with the notion of specials or promo's that are still higher than other area's on the same company.

djpailo said,
Surely anything related to ridiculous sizes can be related to outer space?

Much agree, and top give an example of how well it can do this:

1 yottabyte is 1.20892582 × (10^24) bytes.
If every byte equalled one cm in distance, that would result in a total distance of 1277862.89 light years.

Despite being an insane distance its still less than half the distance to our nearest galaxy Andromeda and only 0.0098% of the way to furthest detected galaxy UDFy-38135539 (which is around 13.1 billion light years away) - just proving the space can make pretty much anything sound small.

A zettabyte (using the byte=1cm) approach would give you a distance of 1247 light years. Which is just under 0.048% of the distance to Andromeda.

Disclaimer: Figures from Wikipedia and maths done via google search

How much of that is glorious pr0n?! eh? .... it can never be enough ....

I wonder if they include random data that everyone stores or they include specialized university research and every other bit of data .... insane traffic ...

also, all that traffic electrons/photons amass to some weight ... we need to develop some other storing technologies