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IoT: Cyberspace in 60 Seconds

Time is nature’s way of keeping the wheels of life turning every year, every day, and every minute. One minute doesn’t give us much of an opportunity to accomplish a great deal. It may take us that long to put on our shoes, clean the table, or formulate a sentence for a web article. However, on the internet, a lot can happen in 60 seconds.

Under our oceans lay over 500,000 miles of cable that transmits data at 186,000 miles per second. With close to 10 billion devices believed to be connected to this global network, the internet touches nearly every aspect of our lives. Every minute, we spend over $130,000 on Amazon, upload over 38,000 photos to Instagram and download 194,000 apps onto our mobile devices. We make 4.1 million Google searches and stream over 150,000 hours of video through YouTube and Netflix, which account for more than half of all internet traffic. In 60 seconds, we transfer half a petabyte of data through cyberspace in the same time that it takes us to tie a shoelace.

So how does this vast amount of data travel across the world so quickly?

Data travels through cyberspace in the form of packets. These packets include information on the data type, where it came from and its final destination. When we send an email, the message is broken up into these packets that travel across the network. They may not always follow the same path, which is why the data can travel so fast. Once the packets arrive at their destination, the computer receiving the data assembles them like a puzzle, and voila! Our email has been recreated.

But then, what determines the path in which these packets travel if not by convoy?

The process of delivering a packet from point A to point B is referred to as routing, and the devices responsible for accomplishing this task are called routers. When we get in our car and travel from point A to point B, we would opt for the shortest distance between those points. A packet will travel much the same, only instead of crossing bridges and changing at junctions it traverses networks until it reaches its destination.

As the globe grows increasingly connected, it might be easy to say that the Internet is everywhere; all around us. However, there are some places on Earth that the Internet can actually call ‘home’. Whether you’re googling in Cairo or contacting friends on Facebook in Helsinki, you can be quite certain that your data is travelling through one of 5 locations…