Every second, there are approximately 23,532 gigabytes of Internet traffic.1 When I do the math, that comes out to approximately 2 exabytes (2,033,164,800 gigabytes) every day. To give that a little perspective, that’s double the total amount of Internet traffic back in 2000.2 A large part of that leap in usage is due to the rise in data traffic, especially high definition (HD) content, like video.
In North America, almost 85%3 of our population uses the Internet, and streaming video services account for a healthy portion of our Internet usage. Netflix alone accounts for approximately 34% of our usage during the busiest hours of the day, with YouTube accounting for an additional 13%.4 Our demand for easily accessible, high-quality content has had a huge impact on the industry. In fact, Cisco estimates that over two-thirds of the world’s mobile data traffic will be video by the year 2018.
Additionally, an increasing amount of Internet traffic is coming from mobile devices. In fact, global mobile data traffic in 2013 grew 81% over 2012, accounting for 1.5 exabytes of traffic each month.2 As our society becomes more and more connected, our Internet data consumption grows exponentially. This growth in data consumption really shows our growing use of and dependence on mobile devices like smartphones and tablets.
As we move forward, our use of the Internet is going to continue to increase. The upcoming generation is being raised steeped in Internet usage. Their parents access the Internet for entertainment, information, and communication on a regular basis. Rarely do you see an adult without their phone or other mobile device, and children learn how to manipulate these devices almost as early as they learn how to walk and talk.
When these children grow up, their Internet usage will be second nature, and their demand for quality, HD content will be unprecedented. Back in the 90s, when the world wide web was in its infancy, I never would have dreamed that its use would become as ubiquitous and all-encompassing as it is today. Back then, it never even crossed our minds that someday we would be able to watch television programming on our own schedule and on the go.
Moving forward, it will become increasingly important to monitor our usage of these wonderful technologies to make sure that they are not taking over our lives. We should take time every once in a while to unplug and disconnect from the unending stream of information that floods our lives every day.