Some of you may recall when network nodes required 75 ohm terminators on outlets that were not in use. I am talking of course about analog distribution networks using RG-11 or RG-6 coaxial cable. On a typical network, there might be 30 or so drops in a huge building serving 1,200 people. That was a ratio of network nodes to people of about 1 to 40. How times have changed.
Larry Hettick at Network World caught my attention when he mentioned how Cisco’s annual 'Visual Networking Index' was suggesting that networked devices will outnumber people three to one by 2016. Grant Gross had a more specific prediction: by 2016, there will be nearly 18.9 billion devices connected to the Internet -- 2.5 devices for every person on earth -- up from 10.3 billion connected devices in 2011. TVs, electric meters, you name it. Everything will be connected to the Internet. That’s a lot of machines, and apparently these machines will do a lot of talking. Cisco projected that these machines would generate an annual load of 1.3 zettabytes of Internet traffic
Now, I recall that a thousand zettabytes is a yottabyte, but I cannot recall what comes next — the word for 1,000 yottabytes. It may be "brontobyte," as one website suggests, but I am suspicious that a brontobyte is a unit of measure from a Fred Flintstone cartoon. When I was a kid, I read terms like petabyte and exabyte, thinking that these would never be used in daily life. Ironically, a petabyte (1,000 terrabytes) is nothing today.
On the convergence front, one of the most interesting predictions is that the percentage of Internet traffic originating from PCs will drop from 94 percent today to 81 percent in 2016. I imagine that’s just the start of a longer-term trend, as I don’t think traditional PCs will exist as a form factor or platform 10 years from now. You're probably thinking what I'm thinking, that tablets and smartphones will take over a larger and larger percentage of bandwidth. But I also have to wonder about those T-1000s from the second Terminator movie that were connected through Skynet. Do you suppose the Terminator could handle a brontobyte of data?