How big is the Internet?

Researchers have complained for years about the lack of good
statistics about the internet for a couple fo decades, since the
end of NSFNET statistics.

What are the current estimates about the size of the Internet, all IP
networks including managed IP and private IP, and all telecommunications
including analog voice, video, sensor data, etc?

CAIDA, ITU, Telegeography and some vendors like Cisco have released
forecasts and estimates. There are occasional pieces of information
stated by companies in their investor documents (SEC 10-K, etc).

Current size is HUGE and growing at a phenomenal speed.
Public IP networks...just look at ARIN, RIPE,etc and see how many IPs there are left.
Private networks and private IPs...well that is anyone's guess.

There are no estimates because everything changes rather fast and noone can keep up with all this stuff.
The only thing you could have a really good estimate are the resources used by your company and thats about it.

Iz this big

*spreads arms wide open*

Pretty big, but they gotta keep it trimmed down to fit on a floppy disk.

Details within ->


One segment is the number of people on the planet with a mobile device
that can connect to the Internet? Throw in laptops, workstations,
servers, routers, toasters, etc and the number starts to get pretty big.

The NSA will need some more hard drives. lol

** Of the 6 billion cell phones in use, only around 1.1 billion of them
are mobile-broadband devices. **


the whole internet...
.. is actually the same size in v4 and v6:


PS: sorry. my mistake: one of them is ::/0

One interesting datapoint might be how many OUI have been allocated, it's
about 18k, 2**24 potential MAC addresses in each, so we have 300billion MAC
addresses, which is smaller number than what I would have expected.

thats easy... the number of allocated IPv4 /32s and the
  number of allocated IPv6 /64s. By definition, private
  networks (RFC 1918) space is not part of the Internet.

  Or, is your question actually the absolute number of globally
  reachable IP addresses at any given instant? (reachable from where?)

  Or do you mean anything that might have an IP address associated with
  it at some time in its existance?

  Clarity would be helpful if you want a repeatable answer.


"This big" has been a pretty accurate answer over the years


Oh hahahhaah. Oh man, I better get back to work.
Have a nice day gentlemen :).

Nick from Toronto.

Not as big as the one that got away... (IPv6)

To paraphrase Douglas Adams...

"The Internet is big. Really big. You just won't believe how vastly,
hugely, mind- bogglingly big it is. I mean, you may think it's a long way
down the road to the chemist's, but that's just peanuts to space!"


According to The IT Crowd...

That big.

You guys are cracking me up and I'm getting odd stares. Now stop it. I've got to get this "internet" thing on a CDROM for my boss by 5p so he can review it tonight...

I should have remembered, NANOG prefers to correct things. So here are
several estimates about how much IP/Internet traffic is downloaded
in a month. Does anyone have better numbers, or better souces of
numbers that can be shared?

Arbor/Merit/Michigan Internet Observatory: 9,000 PB/month (2009)
Minnesota Internet Traffic Studies: 7,500-12,000 PB/month (2009)

Cisco Visual Network Index:
   Total IP: 55,553 PB/month (2013)
     Fixed IP: 39,295 PB/month (2013)
     Managed IP: 14,679 PB/month (2013)
     Mobile Data: 1,578 PB/month (2013)
Telegeography via ITU report: 44,000 PB/month (2012)
National Security Agency: 55,680 PB/month (2013)

Individual providers/countries
Australian Bureau of Statistics (AU only) : 184 PB/month (2012)
AT&T Big Petabyte report (AT&T only): 990 PB/month (2013)
CTIA mobile traffic (US only): 69 PB/month (2011)
London School of Economics (Europe only): 3,600 PB/month (2012)
TATA Communications: 1,600 PB/month (2013)

NSFNET: 0.015 PB/month (1994)

Well, the NSFnet numbers did not reflect CSnet or the DoD/ARPA follow on networks,
  of any of the other IPbased transmission systems of the era.

  And each of the sources you cite are undoubtedly correct and the best available.
  Two bits of missing data prevent you from reaching your goal of traffic loading,
  across all IPbased transmission systems.

  a) duplicate suppression in the existing datasets.
  b) access to datasets for unrepresented IPbased transmission systems.

  You seem to be asking for "b". Not sure how to correct for "a" without direct
  access to the raw data (and even then, there are issues).

  Other than more datasets, are you looking at traffic loading graphs, wiht the
  idea of projecting future loading trends? If so, I'd be interested in your methods
  since there is some interest in what might be called "the southern hemisphere"


To paraphrase Douglas Adams...

"The Internet is big. Really big. You just won't believe how vastly,
hugely, mind- bogglingly big it is. I mean, you may think it's a long way
down the road to the chemist's, but that's just peanuts to space!"


So the correct answer is 42?

I stumbled on (an) ANT the other day. Very interesting, esp. the part about tracking the growth of Google. I've only made a cursory review over some of the projects but I think it is somewhat relevant to your research, and I'm sure there are many other similar .edu projects you could cull together for a rough estimate.

OPTE seems to have gone stale, too bad. Mapping the internet in a single day... instant gratification !



I think you are not defining things precisely enough to be corrected. What does "downloaded" mean? For instance:

1) If a Google server pulls traffic from another Google server in another datacenter over the Google backbone, is that "downloaded"?
2) How about if an an Akamai server pulls traffic from another Akamai server in the same building but two different networks?
3) How about if the two servers are on the same switch?
4) What if I am playing X-Box with another user on Comcast on the same head end?
5) Two different head ends in the same city?
6) Different cities?


It is actually even harder than the above illustrates. Most people define "Mbps on the Internet" as inter-AS bits. But then what about Akamai AANP nodes, Google GGC nodes, Netflix Open Connect nodes, etc.? They are all inside the AS. Given that Akamai claims to be 20% of all broadband traffic, Google is on the same order, and NF claims to be 30% of US peak-evening traffic, it seems like it would be foolish to ignore this traffic.

I could go on, but you get the point. Definitions are a bitch.

Once you define what you mean by "how bit is the Internet", I'll be happy to spout off about how big it is. :slight_smile:

All that said: My back-of-the-envelope math says the Internet is order of 1 exabyte/day, as defined by my own rules on what counts as "the Internet"[*]. I could easily be wrong, but you asked.

IPV6 makes it wider