How big is the Internet?

Big. Very big. So very big in fact, that it is running out of the 4 billion originally possible addresses that can be assigned to connected computers to allow them to find and talk to each other!

The internet started in the ’70s by connecting a handful computers between four universities and research facilities. Today it is a massive global network connecting almost 5 billion computers, smartphones and other devices, providing access to over 3 billion people – almost half the world’s population.

Every minute over a million gigabytes of data is transferred over the internet. That’s 1,000,000,000,000,000 bytes – the equivalent of over a million CDs, 500,000 movies or a billion books – every 60 seconds!

and more …

What does the internet look like? What did it look like in the beginning?

† How are we dealing with running out of address?

  • Tricks allow computers to share addresses.
  • A new internet protocol, IPv6, is slowly being adopted.

This post comes from my mate Ben, who happens to have been one of the lead engineers on Amazon Cloud! Thanks Ben.