Amsterdam View: 1 Terabit per second
Posted on September 15, 2010
Just outside my writer’s residence stands a mailbox. Like all others in my city it is a crimson one. High on its pillars, its back turned to the canal and slits invitingly opened to us all, this bright red everybody’s friend almost begs you to fill it up with your letters. Evening after evening the mailman comes by, empties it and hurries all letters over to the addressees.
But, happy and helpful as it is, this red mailbox is a dying breed. Every day again less and less letters are deposited in its confidential entrails. The day the postmaster will come by to carry it off it is nearing quickly. One day soon this crimson mailbox will pass into obscurity like a forgotten writer.
Because we don’t send letters anymore. In stead we blog, we tweet, we mail, we surf, we spend a lifetime in a virtual world. We download music, movies and photo’s and we upload whatever we think other people would like to see or hear. We send emails, long ones to loved ones and short ones if we need to be quick or curt. Our lives are inextricably bound up with each other’s through the fibers of the internet.
How much do we send? As much as those patiently waiting mailboxes can carry?
No! We send way more than that. Yesterday the Amsterdam Internet Exchange – an internet exchange is the place where your service provider hooks up with mine, so you can read this blog post – announced that they broke the magic 1 Terabit per second limit. That means that with all our mailing, our downloading and uploading, our surfing, our blogging we send 1 Terabit of traffic per second through the routers and switches of the Amsterdam Internet Exchange.
One Terabit Per Second, you ask? What is 1 Terabit per second in human speak?
1 Terabit per second equals 125 Gigabytes per sec equals 26 dvd’s per sec equals… no less than 180 cd’s per second!
Literary agent Nathan Bransford asks us if social media does sell books. Considering the amount of traffic that passes through the internet exchanges I ask myself: how can it not?
Fascinating post, Mina. I still write letters, though, and I love doing it. It’s a dying art, true, but there’s nothing more gracious than sending a hand-written note to thank someone for a gift or a lunch date.
I know, Heather. I love hand-written notes too, although hardly anyone sends them anymore. I was happy for the internet exchange being so successful, but felt sorry for the poor red mailbox. We’ll just have to keep sending hand-written messages, won’t we?