XO Communications' Blog

Petabytes, Exabytes, Zettabytes .…Oh My!

[ 0 ] April 13, 2012 | By

When I first entered telecom, 56K modems were still the rage and a T1 was seen as an incredible amount of bandwidth for data.  It’s really amazing how times have changed over the last twenty years.  We’re now talking about customers who want 100 Gigabit interfaces to the Internet and the industry is now starting work on a 1 Terabit interface specification.

According to the Cisco Visual Networking Index, Cisco predicts that by 2015 annual global IP traffic levels will reach a Zettabye.  A Zettabyte is equal to 1 billion Terabytes.  I know, this probably means very little for the majority of us.  But let’s put this in perspective, Cisco claims that in the Zettabyte age, “it would take over 5 years to watch the amount of video that will cross global IP networks every second”.

Let me explain the difference between the the words byte and bit. Byte means the volume of data, while a bit means the data transfer speed.  In short form, byte is represented by a capital B and the bit by a lower case b as shown in the example below:

Gigabyte = GB

Gigabit = Gb

Since we’re now approaching the Zettabyte age, can you imagine what might come next?  Yottabyte has been defined by the international standards board.  I estimate that we’ll be talking about Yottabyte within the decade.  This might be a direct result of the ever increasing existence of our daily lives and interactions on the Internet.  So, if we hit a Yottabyte worth of data with folks connecting to the Internet at petabit interface speeds, what comes next?  This is still an unknown but will have to be defined soon.  Any suggestions?

What about Omegabyte?

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Category : Industry Trends

About Eric Points: I'm the Director of Product Management for XO’s data products. I've got over 18 years of Telecom experience that has included managing all types of voice and data products across different customer segments. I've been recognized for having a knack for predicting where the market is heading for my products. When I'm not thinking about building the next telecom product, I enjoy quiet time at home with the family and spending time at the beach. I've got a BA in Political Science from University of Virginia and a Masters degree from University of Miami. View author profile.

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