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Last post Author Topic: what is the potential capacity of the internet?  (Read 10125 times)

nudone

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what is the potential capacity of the internet?
« on: June 16, 2007, 01:57:10 AM »
zaine's post http://www.donationc...9;topicseen#msg65079 reminded me of this question that keeps me awake at nights:

in 'theory' what is the capacity of the internet, i.e. in visual form, if the 'internet' was a big fat pipe - is the data flowing through it like a tiny trickle or is the pipe almost at full capacity. (or is that a terrible analogy?)

or has the 'pipe' been full for years and really it's now just a case of how fast things flow through it?
« Last Edit: June 16, 2007, 02:11:51 AM by nudone »

app103

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Re: what is the potential capacity of the internet?
« Reply #1 on: June 16, 2007, 02:42:04 AM »
kind of reminds me of this one too: How much does the internet weigh?

nudone

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Re: what is the potential capacity of the internet?
« Reply #2 on: June 16, 2007, 03:13:06 AM »
kind of reminds me of this one too: How much does the internet weigh?

true. but for my mind to be at peace i'd need to know what is the capability of the weighing scales that were used to weigh the internet, i.e. was it ready to collapse under the immense weight of a few electrons or could i through a slab of butter on top too.

f0dder

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Re: what is the potential capacity of the internet?
« Reply #3 on: June 16, 2007, 04:29:14 AM »
Good question, nudone.

I'd say "it depends". There might be portions of the internet that have weaker routing (lower-capacity connections, etc.). But, say, inside scandinavia I'd doubt there's any problems, since there's a pretty massive fiber ring connecting our countries. Speeds to the .us are good as well. And do check http://www.decix.de/info/traffic.html for some statistics of one of the german nodes.

Capacity is constantly being increased, and people claiming that "omg we're reaching teh intarweb capacity max!!11! one one" are just lobbyist in the whole net neutrality charade.
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nudone

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Re: what is the potential capacity of the internet?
« Reply #4 on: June 16, 2007, 07:27:37 AM »
well, i can kind of visualise certain parts, i.e. my home connection - it's like a pretty small pipe that is 'full' when i'm downloading at the full bandwidth - it's the net beyond my house i can't picture.

if my 1Mb connection is like a drinking straw - are the typical outside connections between countries (or whatever) like a sewage pipe with a diameter several miles across? or is the diameter several hundred miles across - or several planets across?

and, still, even if the diameter is several planets across - what's the average amount of 'stuff' flowing through the pipe.

understandably the capacity is forever being increased - is there a limit to this?

perhaps it would be good to have a visual way of representing all this with a history, i.e. how big was the typical internet pipe in the 80's, 90's and now.

f0dder

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Re: what is the potential capacity of the internet?
« Reply #5 on: June 18, 2007, 06:22:21 AM »
Good questions, really - it would be interesting to know just how narrow some of the critical connections are. There's a transatlantic fiber cable, isn't there?

Anyway, appearantly it's possible to have both 100mbit and gigabit connections to the internet, and getting full speeds not just within one ISP... so there's a lot of bandwidth.
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nudone

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Re: what is the potential capacity of the internet?
« Reply #6 on: June 18, 2007, 08:06:50 AM »
hmm, it is confusing or, at least, makes it hard to visualise what things would look like when there seem to be no restrictions for some things and then slow downs for others.

perhaps it really isn't about the capacity of the 'pipes' but the 'pumping stations' that connect everything. extending that analogy too - the internet isn't like pumping water through big pipes - it's more like water ways with boats travelling across them. the water ways tend to be enormous with a great number of boats/ships sailing along them but the stations that reroute the boats from one water way to another can only do things so quickly.

i can see we need a visual representation that would demonstrate the speed at which the water way travels and the amount of traffic it could handle (perhaps the cargo the ships carry is also useful to note as that would indicate the data size maybe). and, we need something to indicate server capability as in the rerouting stations.

or something better...

allen

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Re: what is the potential capacity of the internet?
« Reply #7 on: June 18, 2007, 08:14:10 AM »
Satellite technology, and our willingness to bask in those rays, has granted the Internet something of an omnipresence.  The Internet need only continue on its present path to omnscience to become quantifiably God.

All your base are belong to us!

nudone

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Re: what is the potential capacity of the internet?
« Reply #8 on: June 18, 2007, 08:22:18 AM »
nice to see allen again.

canarsie

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Re: what is the potential capacity of the internet?
« Reply #9 on: June 18, 2007, 02:17:16 PM »

not to complicate matters   :huh:
but i've been trying to wrap my head around
"what is the potentiel capacity of the WWW"?
ever since i've gotten wrapped up in iRC i've learned
about the "undernet", "dalnet", Fnet" and God Knows
how many others ...
where do they fit in any equation.
they're not part of the "Internet"  are they
  :tellme:

nudone

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Re: what is the potential capacity of the internet?
« Reply #10 on: June 18, 2007, 03:27:37 PM »
i see your point, canarsie. but i'd say they are part of the 'internet', but like you said they aren't part of the world wide web.

maybe 'internet' isn't all emcompassing - someone else will have to provide a good definition and the correct terms to use.

f0dder

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Re: what is the potential capacity of the internet?
« Reply #11 on: June 18, 2007, 06:43:48 PM »
I also wonder if there's multiple "internets", or if everything is so interconnected today that we only have The InternetTM.
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nudone

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Re: what is the potential capacity of the internet?
« Reply #12 on: June 19, 2007, 01:38:57 AM »
I also wonder if there's multiple "internets", or if everything is so interconnected today that we only have The InternetTM.

interesting point, i never thought of that.

allen

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Re: what is the potential capacity of the internet?
« Reply #13 on: June 19, 2007, 07:08:55 AM »
Meriam Webster defines Internet as:
Quote
an electronic communications network that connects computer networks and organizational computer facilities around the world

It's vague--if I setup a gopher network between myself and Canada some 20 miles away, is it a new Internet? (A more relevant question would be:Does it matter?)  Is "Internet" like universe, can there be only one? Hard to say for sure--but there are many such electronic communications networks both for civilian and military use that are not open to the WWW we know and love, but still interconnect people under their employ throughout the world.


f0dder

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Re: what is the potential capacity of the internet?
« Reply #14 on: June 19, 2007, 09:16:38 AM »
allen: if you setup a gopher network, isn't it going to be routed through The InternetTM? Or are you going to dig your own communications cables? :)
- carpe noctem

allen

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Re: what is the potential capacity of the internet?
« Reply #15 on: June 19, 2007, 11:26:11 AM »
I'm digging my own cables! Like I trust Canadian technology!

Deozaan

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Re: what is the potential capacity of the internet?
« Reply #16 on: June 19, 2007, 11:34:16 AM »
zaine's post http://www.donationc...9;topicseen#msg65079 reminded me of this question that keeps me awake at nights:

in 'theory' what is the capacity of the internet, i.e. in visual form, if the 'internet' was a big fat pipe - is the data flowing through it like a tiny trickle or is the pipe almost at full capacity. (or is that a terrible analogy?)

or has the 'pipe' been full for years and really it's now just a case of how fast things flow through it?

I'm not trying to take the subject off topic or start anything political here. I just can't help but see the parallels to the "Oh noes teh Earth iz guna run out of resorses adn we're all gona die!!11 eleventyone" alarmists out there.

Capacity is constantly being increased, and people claiming that "omg we're reaching teh intarweb capacity max!!11! one one" are just lobbyist in the whole net neutrality charade.


nudone

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Re: what is the potential capacity of the internet?
« Reply #17 on: June 19, 2007, 12:13:01 PM »
well, i'll just have to accept that the internet is akin to staring at the face of god then.

it is not for me to try to understand but only to wonder and gaze upon with such awe that i forgot any reasoning ability that i might possess.

seriously though, i don't see why it's a bad thing to 'picture' how things work - even if they aren't with perfect analogies. in fact, i find it a bit bizarre that i'm expected to just accept the internet as just 'something' out there that does 'something' and works 'somehow'.

i feel like i've now asked something taboo, well, i actually feel like i'm inside the matrix and i've just been spotted by agent Deozaan.  8)

Deozaan

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Re: what is the potential capacity of the internet?
« Reply #18 on: June 19, 2007, 05:11:58 PM »
seriously though, i don't see why it's a bad thing to 'picture' how things work - even if they aren't with perfect analogies. in fact, i find it a bit bizarre that i'm expected to just accept the internet as just 'something' out there that does 'something' and works 'somehow'.

i feel like i've now asked something taboo, well, i actually feel like i'm inside the matrix and i've just been spotted by agent Deozaan.  8)

In hindsight, I was worried that you might consider my post somehow accusatory, nudone. Believe me when I say it is not. Like I said, I don't want to change the subject to things of a political nature. I don't think there is anything wrong with asking a question. It is natural and it is good. Asking "Is there enough?" is just fine. Trying to figure out how something works is also fine.

But like what f0dder said, I agree and say that when that kind of question is raised and people start sounding the alarms before doing any kind of serious research... Well they just want your money somehow.

It's been something like ten years since I remember the first alarmist saying the interwebs were going to collapse any time now and the www2 would be born.

To summarize: Your question was fine. Nothing wrong with wondering how things work. It's just a matter of digging more cables to Canada to keep the intertubes afloat.


f0dder

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Re: what is the potential capacity of the internet?
« Reply #19 on: June 19, 2007, 06:09:33 PM »
Quote from: Deozaan
To summarize: Your question was fine. Nothing wrong with wondering how things work. It's just a matter of digging more cables to Canada to keep the intertubes afloat.
And upgrading some routers etc... but not big deal, really. And ipv6 can bite my not-so-shiny not-so-\m/etal hiney, NAT'ing works fine :)
- carpe noctem

gjehle

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Re: what is the potential capacity of the internet?
« Reply #20 on: June 20, 2007, 12:38:34 AM »
why do people always seek simple answers to complex problems?
the internet just ISN'T "one big fat pipe"
of course you _could_ argue that _if_ one would be able to use all the broadband interconnects and end user connections _at the same time_ you could reach some hypothetical bullshit number
but that would be like arguing that if you put all the lanes of all US highways next to each other over the distance of 1 mile you wouldn't have to worry about traffic jams anymore because there's so much road....

network != single connection

if you're really into that "duh. just keep it simple" stuff, go to your church of choice.
that's one other thing "intelligently designed" for people who like it simple :P

nudone

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Re: what is the potential capacity of the internet?
« Reply #21 on: June 20, 2007, 01:01:58 AM »
haha. thanks for pointing out that it's a dumb question. i appreciate that it is when taken litterally to be a one pipe solution.

i think i better just point out - i've never heard any of these statements or rumours about the interweb being full or about to collapse or whatever. i must live in a very secluded corner of the internet where i don't hear any of the latest gossip, nor do i know anyone that would talk to me about such things (perhaps i should visit digg.com on a regular basis to keep up to date). so, all of this alarmist mockery thing is something i can see the funny side of but it's all new to me.

i see that the title of this post "what is the potential capacity of the internet?" should really have said "can someone please provide a simple analogy to describe the internet."

i thought it would be clear from what i've said above that i'm not talking about whether the internet is grinding to a halt and nor am i asking for the whole internet to be clumped together and then given a number to indicate what it is capable of.

but i will apologise, i have obviously asked a very wishy washy kind of question that does not deserve an answer. thankfully, f0dder appeared to understand what i was getting at so the post wasn't a complete waste of time.

"why do people always seek simple answers to complex problems?" i shall have to remember that - somewhat of a paradoxical statement isn't it? (perhaps that was the witty intention.)
« Last Edit: June 20, 2007, 01:19:05 AM by nudone »

gjehle

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Re: what is the potential capacity of the internet?
« Reply #22 on: June 20, 2007, 06:04:05 AM »
haha, i'm glad there are still people who can deal with a bit of criticism ;)
kudos to you nudone

the only occasion i state that the "net is full" is in this context:

somenoob: useless comment or statement
me: get off MY internet, there's not enough bandwidth for you

;-)

nudone

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Re: what is the potential capacity of the internet?
« Reply #23 on: June 20, 2007, 07:15:23 AM »
i am my biggest critic, gjehle. or, at least, i try to be. but that's what you get if you are a class A egotist like myself. never let someone else's opinion get in the way of blabbing on for a little bit longer.

let's all hug anyway.


more seriously, i'm now looking at this 'question' with regard to drawing a diagram myself. i would be grateful if anyone can provide useful information that will help with the following:

i'd like to draw/illustrate (with similar graphic style to cody images, perhaps) an 'internet' map or diagram or something. ranging from the domestic level connections up to the network that connects the globe it would use the 'pipe' analogy probably using cross sections and things to try to indicate the scale of the 'internet'.

there obviously has to be known capabilities for the cables that connect countries and similarly the infrastructure that is used within a single state/country must be known. so it should be possible to scale things proportional within the diagram.

if i get get the data to do this then i may also do a 'victorian' style network picture - using technology of that age.

i'm sure you've seen the things i'm talking about - just the stuff you'd find in a poster on a classroom wall. if the data i can work with is sufficient i'll make the image quite detailed and intricate - if not it will have to remain relatively simple.

can anyone help?

i'll add that this could be a cody project - or even an official DC project if mouser would like to sanction it.
« Last Edit: June 20, 2007, 07:18:00 AM by nudone »

f0dder

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Re: what is the potential capacity of the internet?
« Reply #24 on: June 20, 2007, 07:30:57 AM »
You'd need to hunt for things like http://www.decix.de/info/traffic.html - especially router nodes that connect states and countries would be interesting. Some big corporations, universities and cities have internal high-speed fiber nets (not just LANs), and are then routed on to "the rest of the internet" with somewhat less capable connections.

Also, more and more individual people are starting to get high-speed (10mbit) fiber at home - some of the power companies in Denmark have become tired of TDC's monopoly on the copper lines, so they've been digging fiber-optic cables for a lot of years, and are now offering fast internet at decent prices. Obviously there's no problem routing all this traffic internally, what happens when a mere 1000 users max out their 10mbit line?

I can't help but think about the "straws and pipes" analogy here, since a 1000 10-mbit users maxed out would be ~10gbit/s of traffic. And from what I can tell (from things like the amount of "remember to dig down your fiberoptic cable" postcards I've seen at post.dk), there's a lot of fiber users already. And I'm willing to bet that a lot of them are getting fiber for warezing purpose, after all you get 10000/10000 synchronous rather than async 8000/512 ADSL.

So, do those fiber providers have some insane interconnects, or are they overselling massively?
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