10 Fun Facts About How The Internet REALLY Works

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Photo: Konstantin Zamkov / Flickr, CC

Since you’re reading this online, it’s safe to assume you use the Internet every day. But does that mean you really know the Internet?We bet not. Because the Internet is a great big place.

Do you know how big the Internet is? Who’s building the biggest data centre? Who is the greenest Internet company of them all? What people use the mobile Internet for? How much money you really save by using the Internet to shop?

The Internet is growing unimaginably bigger every year

Some experts say that the Internet is growing by an exabyte of data every day. To put that in perspective, an exabyte equals 250 million DVDs.

After an exabyte comes a zettabyte, which equals 1,000 exabytes. In 2011, no single data centre could hold a zettabyte of information.

By 2016, Cisco predicts that data centres will be sending more 1.3 zettabytes across the Internet every year. That's the equivalent of sending all movies ever made across the Internet every 3 minutes.

The nation's spies are building the world's biggest data centre

The National Security Agency is building a $2 billion data centre in Utah that will be the world's first to store a store a yottabyte of data, reports Wired.

That's 1,000 zettabytes or 1 million exabytes (or 1 million billions of gigabytes).

Apple says its corner of the Internet is the greenest of them all

To power Apple's portion of the Internet, the iCloud, Apple has been building data centres like mad. After Greenpeace accused Apple of being a big polluter, by using data centres powered by coal, Apple fired back.

It said it was building the greenest data centre of them all, run on 100% renewable energy and using the nation's largest solar array.

A good chunk of the Internet is all about Facebook

In September, Facebook hit a billion users. It is a good chunk of the Internet.

Facebook accounted for 1 out of every 5 pageviews on the Internet worldwide, as of early 2012, according to researchers at Hitwise.

Facebook stores about 220 billion photos, the company says. Since launching features to support music apps like Spotify in September 2011, 62.6 million songs have been played 22 billion times--that's about 210,000 years of music.

People use the mobile Internet to stay healthy

About half of U.S. cell phone owners own a smartphone. Besides obvious tasks like phone calls, texts, and Web surfing, one of the most popular things to do with a phone is to track one's health.

52% of smartphone owners gather health information on their phones, says the Pew Research centre.

Almost 20 per cent use their phones for health apps, particularly diet and fitness apps.

People use the mobile Internet to bank and buy stuff

Besides health-tracking, 33 per cent of Americans use their smartphones and the mobile Internet for mobile banking. 27 per cent use it to shop.

Some 25 per cent make online payments. And 7 per cent purchased goods from an auction site, according to research by the National Cyber Security Alliance (NCSA) and antivirus vendor McAfee

Half of Americans watch TV over the Internet

Over half of Americans have watched TV streamed from the Internet.

This has already become a favourite way to watch for people under the age of 35 versus live TV, finds research Harris Interactive.

High-speed Internet can save you over $8,000 a year

Having access to a high-speed broadband Internet account can save a family about $8,400 a year, says the Internet Innovation Alliance.

People save this mney by using the Internet for daily deals and to comparison shop. They save the most money on entertainment and dining out but they also save on travel and everyday necessities like food and clothes.

The average worldwide download speed is 580 kilobits per second, Pando Networks found when looking at 27 million downloads by 20 million computers in 224 countries in a study conducted last year.

The U.S. was only slightly faster than that, with an average speed of 616 kilobits per second, or Kbps.

South Korea has the fastest Internet, with an average speed of 2,202 Kbps and the eastern European nations of Romania (1,909 Kbps) and Bulgaria (1,611 Kbps) landed in second and third place.

Too much Internet is bad for you

People who spend a lot of time online tend to be stressed out and depressed, researchers at Sweden's University of Gothenburg found.

All that time spent on the computer and mobile Internet made people feel like they could never relax and disconect, the researchers found.

Remember to stay safe on the mobile Internet ...

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