Students would have a hard time writing their term papers without it. Businesses would struggle without it. Families would have a more difficult time staying in touch with each other without it. We are talking about the Internet.
The Internet has grown from simple research programs in the 1980s to an integral part of daily life. The Internet’s utility continues to grow as more and more of the world’s population gains access to it and begins to contribute to the immense library of knowledge. This exponential growth, although great in concept, could end tragically if infrastructure does not continue to develop systems to support it.
The Internet began as interest in networking multiple computers together between each other gained popularity. Research conducted at MIT and UCLA led to packet switching technology and new protocols for communications between physically separated computers.
The global introduction of the Internet began in 1982 and quickly spread. Internet service providers quickly commercialized access to the Internet and catalyzed its growth.
Uses for the Internet have morphed from a communication tool to a business and social tool. With this, increased usage data rates communicated across the internet has grown exponentially. Increased email volume along with photos, music and video is flooding the Internet. Websites such as Facebook, MySpace, YouTube and Flickr receive millions upon millions of rich media each and every day.
This incredible communication of data has come to be referred to as an “exaflood” of information. As of 2010, it is estimated that over 21 exabytes of information is transferred over the Internet. One exabyte is equal to one quintillion bytes! This startling statistic is cause for concern for some industry analysts as the rate of growth is quicker than the rate of growth for storage availability. In other words – the Internet will run out of space.
As technology advances, so will the amount of information transferred of the Internet increase. Innovation will have to keep pace with this exaflood of information. Companies would do well should they find the solution to ongoing issue.