What is the internet?
The internet is “an extensive computer network made up of thousands of other, smaller business, academic, and governmental networks”, where computers are connected to other computers all around the globe.1
What is the World Wide Web?
In comparison, the World Wide Web is “a vast network of linked hypertext files, stored on computers throughout the world that can provide a computer user with information on a huge variety of subjects”2
What’s the difference between the internet and the World Wide Web?
The internet refers to the physical pieces of hardware that are computers, identifiable through unique Internet Protocol (IP) addresses.
The World Wide Web is software that requires the internet to exist by being accessible through computers, based on Hyper Text Transfer Protocol (HTTP) to link the computer to websites on browsers.3
How much data do humans produce?
According to Forbes, “The amount of data we produce every day is truly mind-boggling. There are 2.5 quintillion bytes of data created each day at our current pace, but that pace is only accelerating with the growth of the Internet of Things (IoT). Over the last two years alone 90 percent of the data in the world was generated.”4 and this was in 2018, three years ago from today- meaning that it has only been increasing!
To put the amount of data that humans have created into perspective, “At the beginning of 2020, the number of bytes in the digital universe was 40 times bigger than the number of stars in the observable universe.”5 To go off on a slight tangent, “If the typical galaxy had 100 billion stars, then there would be 2 x 1023 stars in the observable universe”6. With this in perspective, it is understandable that there is a question as to whether the internet and WWW will run out of space…
Could the internet run out of space?
“Currently, we are not running out of internet, but we do reach limits at times. As long as new and better ways of storing and transferring information are created, the internet will always likely be there, increasing its capacity.”7 This means that it’s unlikely that the internet and WWW would run out of space if the network of computers with storage space keep expanding alongside the amount of data created, and that there is enough energy to transfer the data and maintain storage.
Alongside this, new and more efficient ways of storing and transferring data are being created.
New Data Storage Technologies
Shingled Magnetic Recording (SMR)
Resembling shingles on a roof, the data in a Shingled Magnetic Recording is stacked to maximise and increase storage space. It also trims the stored data to release more space for storage without altering the existing data, and doesn’t need new equipment to operate meaning it is compatible to the traditional hard drive.
5D Data Storage
5D technology makes use of fused quartz or glass, holding upwards of 360 terabytes of data and are also relatively smaller than the conventional disk. Glass disks are thought to be capable of storing data for more than 10 billion years, too!
Quantum Data Storage
Although Quantum Data Storage is still very new, it has the potential to be incredibly faster and store more data than regular computers. A bit on a computer can occur as either a 0 or a 1, but on a quantum computer a bit can exist in every possible state simultaneously. The potential for this type of storage could be massive, however, because this data storage method is very unstable and can disintegrate in seconds, it isn’t currently a viable data storage option.7
1 Collins. (Anon). internet. Available: https://www.collinsdictionary.com/dictionary/english/internet. Last accessed 20th Sep 2021.
2 Collins. (Anon). World Wide Web. Available: https://www.collinsdictionary.com/dictionary/english/www. Last accessed 20th Sep, 2021.
3 TECHWELKIN. (2018). Difference Between Internet and WWW. Available: https://techwelkin.com/difference-internet-vs-www#:~:text=Difference%20Between%20Internet%20and%20WWW%201%20The%20Internet.,the%20major%20differences%20between%20the%20two%20terms.%20. Last accessed 20th Sep, 2021.
4Bernard Marr. (2018). How Much Data Do We Create Every Day? The Mind-Blowing Stats Everyone Should Read. Available: https://www.forbes.com/sites/bernardmarr/2018/05/21/how-much-data-do-we-create-every-day-the-mind-blowing-stats-everyone-should-read/?sh=106acf7f60ba. Last accessed 20th Sep 2021.
5Branka Vuleta . (2021). How Much Data Is Created Every Day?. Available: https://seedscientific.com/how-much-data-is-created-every-day/. Last accessed 20th Sep 2021.
6MARIA TEMMING . (2014). HOW MANY STARS ARE THERE IN THE UNIVERSE?. Available: https://skyandtelescope.org/astronomy-resources/how-many-stars-are-there/. Last accessed 20th Sep 2021.
7John Mortensen. (2021). Will the Internet Ever Run Out of Space?. Available: https://www.techevaluate.com/will-the-internet-ever-run-out-of-space/. Last accessed 20th Sep 2021.