10 Surprising Facts about the Internet

The internet can be used to access information about just about any topic you can think of, find directions for nearly anywhere on the planet, and connect with other people from all over the world. But there are some things about the internet that might surprise you, even if you consider yourself to be an internet expert. From the latest research on how much time we spend online to fascinating facts about the history of the internet, here are 10 surprising facts about the internet that you probably didn’t know.

1) The internet was built to withstand nuclear war

Remember that movie where Ben Affleck figures out how to stop a nuclear war by logging into his account on AOL? And then some days later all the bombs go off but he’s saved because of one thing: the internet. Yeah, it turns out that’s kind of true. The whole point of ARPANET (the predecessor to today’s internet) was to create a system that could withstand a nuclear attack and keep sending data from place to place after being destroyed—regardless of what happened above ground. The internet can detect earthquakes before they happen: Earthquakes don’t just cause damage when they happen—they can also trigger other quakes when they’re happening as well.

2) We have more data than we can store

Scientists estimate that 90% of all data in existence has been created in just over a decade. Humans are currently producing around 2.5 quintillion bytes of data per day and 90% of it is stored online. If it continues at current rates, by 2020 we will produce 44 times more data than we did in 2013 and will be creating more than 9 exabytes per day! What do you think your future self would like to tell you right now? I bet they’d share all kinds of awesome insights into where technology is going next… As our world becomes increasingly digital, so too does our planet, as many areas have started to go paperless.

3) There are more cell phones than there are people in the world

Over 7 billion people live on our planet, while over 7 billion mobile phones are in use globally. This is even more remarkable when you realize that most of these cell phones don’t support internet access and aren’t connected to a traditional network like our 4G LTE network. The true value of a mobile phone lies in its ability to connect us. Every day, more than 75 percent of us rely on our phones for connectivity to email, social media, and instant messaging services; those same people carry it with them everywhere they go — even places where no cellular signals are available. Whether your business is B2B or B2C, having an app that enables connectivity can provide significant benefits for your company—no matter what industry you’re in.

4) 99% of all information on the internet was created in the last two years

It’s a pretty staggering statistic. With more than 100 hours of video uploaded to YouTube every minute, it’s easy to see how we created all that new content in such a short period of time. According to Cisco, internet traffic will grow by 50% over 2017 to reach 80 zettabytes annually by 2021—that’s $2.8 trillion in revenue and growth across cloud, mobility, security, and IoT segments. After talking with network experts at Cisco’s annual user conference, we found that internet speeds are going up while mobile networks are getting better too.

5) Internet traffic is growing 50% every year

By 2019, people will be using 10x more data than they do today. Think about it—the average person downloads 75 songs per month on their smartphone. This means that as of 2019, people will be downloading 750 songs every month (assuming each song is three minutes long). If you think back to 2002, your standard dial-up connection would have allowed you to download 3 to 5 songs per minute. You’re not going to want to spend hours sitting at a computer waiting for your 700-song playlist to finish downloading! However, there are a few things we can do today that will prepare us for tomorrow: Give yourself enough bandwidth: Being able to load photos and videos quickly won’t matter if you don’t have enough bandwidth.

6) Data transfer rates will be 10x faster in five years

If you think 4G is fast, just wait until 5G arrives. The technology—which was initially conceptualized as far back as 2001—has finally started making its way into mainstream data centers. Verizon, AT&T, and T-Mobile are already testing 5G wireless networks, and all three are expected to be ready for commercial use in 2020 or 2021. As a result, average connection speeds could increase tenfold over what we have today from 10 Gbit/s to more than 100 Gbit/s—all without any new cables being laid! That’s pretty fast when you consider it took 20 years for broadband connections to go from 1 Mbit/s to 100 Mbit/s in 2000.

7) The number of devices connected to the internet will double every two years until 2025

According to Cisco, there were 6.9 billion connected devices in 2012. This number will jump to 20.8 billion by 2020 and 50 billion by 2025. In fact, by 2018 there will be almost as many devices online as people on Earth (there are currently 7.2 billion). *Internet usage per person has doubled since 2009: The amount of data we consume each month continues to grow rapidly and is expected to keep going up. By 2019 it’s projected that each person will have downloaded 1 TB of information. That’s equal to downloading 170 HD movies every month! Mobile traffic now accounts for 57% of all internet traffic: More than half of all web browsing occurs on a mobile device like a smartphone or tablet—and it’s growing faster than desktop browsing growth.* We now spend more time with digital media than any other activity besides sleeping: The average American spends 11 hours and 45 minutes a day consuming media—whether that’s TV, video games, movies, music, or reading—according to Nielsen’s Media & Marketing report.

8) 75% of all web searches come from mobile phones

It’s more than just an educated guess, according to research conducted by Bing. About 75% of all web searches happen on mobile devices, with smartphones accounting for close to three-quarters of those searches. The trend should continue as overall smartphone use increases: By 2020, there will be 5 billion people with smartphones globally, according to eMarketer—and that’s not even including tablets and other mobile devices.

9) The first computer mouse prototype was made from a block of wood, a cordless drill and two wheels from Rollerblade skates

The first computer mouse prototype was made from a block of wood, a cordless drill, and two wheels from Rollerblade skates. In other words, it wasn’t actually designed to be used on computers; rather, researchers were trying to create a new way for users to interact with graphics. That’s why there are just two buttons on it (up and down), rather than today’s three or four: The third button was added in 1981 when Apple II programmer Larry Tesler wanted more than up-and-down motions (to rotate an image). Even then, only one of his colleagues used it regularly — because he couldn’t figure out how to use it. But by 1996, Microsoft released its IntelliMouse Explorer 3.0—the first mouse with a scroll wheel.

10) 14% of internet users browse with images disabled, so you think it loads fast?

Several studies have found that roughly 14% of internet users browse with images disabled, do you think it loads fast? Well, it does. But why is your site still loading too slow for them? Check out your page speed here: Pingdom Tools – Page Speed Test and see how you can improve your web performance.