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The Internet of Things [INFOGRAPHIC]

When we think of being connected to the Internet, our minds immediately shift to our computers, phones, and most recently tablets. This week at Cisco live, I shared that in 2008, the number of devices connected to the Internet exceeded the number of people on Earth.

That’s right. There are more devices tapping into the Internet than people on Earth to use them. How is this possible?

The infographic below provides a visual representation of the increase in “things” connected to the Internet. With this increase, how will you prepare your network for the future?

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102 Comments.


  1. nice article :D

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    • I’m pretty sure this vision isn’t that far from reality.

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      • Personally, I use two devices at once, since I own two laptops. But I didn’t think this kind of thing was so common as to result in the number of devices connected to the internet exceeding the number of people on Earth!! Surely only a small fraction of the entire World have access to electricity, let alone the internet.

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  2. I think if it was probably already notified in advance through the movie movies that usually gives the scene about the technological sophistication

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  3. Very interesting data thanks for putting this together. I think the next trend will be in fact semi automation with ‘things’ talking to ‘things’, so essentially you will need a new graph showing people-people, people-things, and things-things interactions and the trends over time.
    Cool!

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  4. Dave Evans

    @Ron – couldn’t agree more. We’ll certainly see a lot more M2M (machine to machine) communications and likely social networks of machines – Facebook and Twitter equivalents, but for things, not people. Machines that have “friends”, that check each others “Wall”, etc.

    DTF

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  5. I read your blog .This is really a nice blog I like it so much

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  6. This is just awesome, I guess the movie “I Robot” will soon be real. Some of these innovation are indirectly dangerous to us to some extend.

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  7. Be interested to know the energy consumption of a less than perfect comm & control system. Can’t beat mother nature but keep trying because where not on this earth forever.

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    • hi dave,

      what numbers are you using for 2003, 2010, 2015 to create the circles. for 2020 it is clear — 50B.

      thanks,

      khris

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  8. Very cool. Sounds like a fun future! But I’m worried that all this technology will distract us from the real world. When I was a kid, car rides were silent unless you wanted to talk with your lame family, and you looked out at cornfields (at least in Illinois). Now kids can just zone everything out with Ipods and internet-enabled phones and not appreciate the beauty of the world. Maybe technology will evolve so far that we can still appreciate the world w/ little technological interference, I guess only time will tell.
    Sorry for sounding like a hippy haha, just the way I feel.

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  9. What happens when the things develop enough intelligence to realise that *we* are the problem?

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  10. Very interesting, great info-graphic.

    One thing caught my eye in particular though: “By the end of 2011, 20 typical households will generate more internet traffic then the entire internet in 2008″

    Is that an error? Unless you are using a very specific/non-intuitive definition of traffic, there is simply no way this could be correct. Certainly not if you define traffic as bandwidth, that would be many orders of magnitude off.

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    • Dave Evans

      @Eric, Thanks, that stat is attributed to Jim Cicconi, VP at AT&T (there’s a source link at the bottom of the infographic). We try to provide lots of sources (not just Cisco’s) in our material, so we get a well rounded perspective, but that stat has been questioned quite a bit – I’m going to dig into that one a bit further… the sentiment is absolutely correct as we are seeing exponential traffic growth, but the specific timeframe looks suspect.

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    • I agree, it doesn’t seem plausible that a handful of families in 2011 can exceed the bandwidth of the entire Internet in 2008.

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  11. Nice graphic but I think there’s a typo.

    The text says “During 2008 the number of things connected to the internet exceed the number of people on Earth”

    But the dotted line connects to 2003.

    Which is it? 2008 or 2003?

    Can you email me a corrected version please?

    Best regards

    Neil

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    • Dave Evans

      @Neil – thanks for the comment, and good catch. The year is 2008. The data is correct, but it’s visually wrong – I’ll see if we can have that corrected.

      Dave…

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      • OK cool thx :)

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      • I thought that the point of the people pointing to 2003 was actually to demonstrate the color-coding of the graphic, i.e., that brown represents people and blue represents things. 2003 is the only timepoint that brown appears on the outside and blue is “outnumbered”.

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    • Actually, it may be correct. It simply shows that in 2003 there were more people (brown) than things (blue). In 2010 there were more “things” than “people’. So sometime in 2008, the change happened …

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  12. If these numbers are accurate, then this is a great infographic. Kudos!

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  13. Hi Dave,

    Thank you for such an inspiring info graphic! It really made my day after reading a bit too much “news” (noise) about the U.S. debt ceiling and related political chaos. I’m an Earth and atmospheric scientist studying environmental risk management and I can imagine many great use cases of the internet of things in the domain I’m interested in to help make the world a better place. If possible, I’d love to print a higher resolution version copy of the info graphic to poster size so I can hang up a copy on my office wall for daily inspiration. Cheers!

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    • Dave Evans

      Thanks. We’ll look at the feedback we’re getting, and see if we can provide a higher resolution version.

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      • Thank you Dave! I don’t print much any more (trying to be green) but there is still a place for printing, such as posters of great info graphics like this that can be hung on office walls to keep us motivated to change the world for a better place (we can count on Cisco as a leader to promote change for the better when Congress fails to do so)! This info graphic is both good karm and good PR for Cisco :-)

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  14. I think that M2M is really the next stage of technology. At the moment we already have widgets and gadgets that searches for other widgets and gadgets on other sites to update information but not actually check and talk with each other.. Amazing things could be done if there was such a tech now..

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  15. I like the scenario you are showing, and it will help us to use resources more efficient. A good example could be a combination of a smart grid with technologies that are managing power consumption like energywise

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  16. Well yeahh, while I think this infographic is nice and all the traffic thing can’t be true:
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Internet_traffic#Historical_Internet_Traffic_Growth

    Global Internet traffic in 2008 per Month: 7,639 PB

    That would be a mere 32 TB per Month for every household, ca. 1 TB per day.

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    • Dave Evans

      Niclas, Thanks, that stat is attributed to Jim Cicconi, VP at AT&T (there’s a source link at the bottom of the infographic). We try to provide lots of sources (not just Cisco’s) in our material, so we get a well rounded perspective, but that stat has been questioned quite a bit – I’m going to dig into that one a bit further… the sentiment is absolutely correct as we are seeing exponential traffic growth, but the specific timeframe could easily be debated.

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  17. “By the end of 2011, 20 typical households will generate more internet traffic than the entire internet in 2008″

    This obviously isn’t true. Is it a typo or a joke or something?

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  18. As pointed out several times here http://www.reddit.com/r/technology/comments/isky1/the_internet_of_things_infographic/

    The quote “By the end of 2011, 20 typical households will generate more internet traffic then the entire internet in 2008″

    ..is complete and utter nonsense, it doesn’t make sense even as 1998! Please explain this source.

    Regards,

    Paul

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    • Dave Evans

      @Paul, Thanks, that stat is attributed to Jim Cicconi, VP at AT&T (there’s a source link at the bottom of the infographic). We try to provide lots of sources (not just Cisco’s) in our material, so we get a well rounded perspective, but that stat has been questioned quite a bit – I’m going to dig into that one a bit further… the sentiment is absolutely correct as we are seeing exponential traffic growth, but the specific timeframe looks suspect.

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  19. Great info Dave…..kinda changes your perspective on things. Right now is when we need to diseminate this l”line of thought” to our immediate reference community (professional i mean primarily)…..theres a lot more to do to cater to do this phenomenon than we clearly thought was required. Thanks again :-)

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  20. Very interesting data thanks for putting this together
    ken griffey shoes aslo names as

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  21. Dave: very interesting graphic. I am currently working on book covering some aspects of this topic. When one takes an deeper look at this issue the numbers are even more compelling. I have come to the recent conclusion that the social life of devices will be just as important as the social life of those who use them. By this I mean how devices behave in the new universe of hyper-connectedness will determine success from both a business and personal perspective.

    Charles L Mauro CHFP
    Founder
    MauroNewMedia

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  22. Hi! First of all, thank you (and Cisco) for the infographic, really interesting. I would like to know if there is any way to translate the text to other languages (I could provide the text in Brazilian Portuguese, Spanish and Italian for you), and if we could re-publish it in our blog once translated…

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  23. It is amazing how fast this area is progressing. I have seen even in the last few years the progression of this in not only mobile devices and computers but other applications like you were saying. Scary to think what will happen in 10 years time. Good article though :)

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  24. this make the future sound vry interesting but also make me think that there will be more pollution because of more satelite and stuff to detect weather changes as stated hope the technology also become green as time pass

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  25. Could you please tell me where can I find this Dutch startup Sparked using wireless sensors on cattle?

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  26. I like the graphic but it definitely gives me the impression that “big brother is watching you”, though that doesn’t necessarily mean the government anymore. The progress of technology is definitely inspiring though.

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  27. I call BS on the “20 typical households will generate more internet traffic than the entire Internet in 2008″!

    Where are your stats to back you up? I hardly believe that these 20 houses would even come close to the traffic generated by the tens of millions of people interacting and browsing Myspace (Remember them in 2008?) let alone total traffic.

    We were also promised this wirelessly integrated world with low cost Bluetooth. I have yet to see my coffee maker, alarm clock, and refrigerator communicate. Perhaps they are not on speaking terms.

    Beautiful feature but we are still a many years away.

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  28. do you have a high-res version of this graphic? i would really like to print it! or do you have posters?

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  29. “By the end of 2011, 20 typical households will generate more internet traffic then the entire internet in 2008″

    Issuing an infographic in 2011 based on 2008 estimations (not real data) is a complete nonsense !

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    • Dave Evans

      @Pierre, Thanks, that stat is attributed to Jim Cicconi, VP at AT&T (there’s a source link at the bottom of the infographic). We try to provide lots of sources (not just Cisco’s) in our material, so we get a well rounded perspective, but that stat has been questioned quite a bit – I’m going to dig into that one a bit further… the sentiment is absolutely correct as we are seeing exponential traffic growth, but the specific timeframe looks suspect.

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  30. Haha, there is no way that by the end of 2011 that 20 households will generate more traffic than the entire internet in 2008.

    That figure is off, by the order of a million magnitude. If that were true, the average household would be consuming 350 PETABYTES a month by the end of the year. Most households don’t even consume 350GB/month

    Check your facts Cisco.

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    • Dave Evans

      @Adam, Thanks, that stat is attributed to Jim Cicconi, VP at AT&T (there’s a source link at the bottom of the infographic). We try to provide lots of sources (not just Cisco’s) in our material, so we get a well rounded perspective, but that stat has been questioned quite a bit – I’m going to dig into that one a bit further… the sentiment is absolutely correct as we are seeing exponential traffic growth, but the specific timeframe looks suspect.

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      • Yeah, the time frame seems a little off but I would agree with the underlying argument that internet traffic is growing exponentially. I could see that figure being true if it were by 2020 giving the rise of video streaming, new broadband technologies, mobile data, etc.

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  31. You should have capitalized the “200 mb per year” in the cow section. 200 mb means they send a 1 or 0 once every 5 years.

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  32. Great article. Some of the points are true, some of them were amusing :) However the whole point is absolutely clear and can’t be ignored – the ‘techy’ future is just by the door. P.S. Loved the joke about the households and 2008 traffic :))

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  33. Dave-The fact that both humans and animals are now integrated into the internet is a both exciting and terrifying prospect at the same time. We’ll be able to help people live healthier and happier lives, but will they also start getting Google ads pushed through their heart monitors? The next few years are going to be very interesting, thanks for sharing this information with us.

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  34. We have a great an exciting future ahead of us, but the “Big Brother” part of always-on internet connectivity will pose some extra issues I guess…

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    • Dave Evans

      @JayAre – indeed. The bid brother syndrome is something we need to be careful to manage. Technology should help us, not erode our privacy. This is primarily a societal (not technological) issue we need to stay on top off and manage careful.

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  35. WOW this graph just blew my mind. I can only imagine whats in store for the future!

    Regards

    -Alex

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  36. Wow, this article has shocked me. I didnt know they did that with cows, its incredible, and scary, how much the internet has evolved already.

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  37. Nice Article Dave..!

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  38. I am agree with the infograph made by cisco , And its so true that the ipv6 is the only solution for more people and devices can be conected to the internet with out any problem, However there is some isp around that world that don’t accepted this protocol , I hope they could do it as soon as posible.

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  39. Am I missing something?

    20 households fully utilizing a 1Gbps connection in a perfect world (actually attaining 125MB/sec maximum) times 31,556,926 seconds in a year.

    125*31556926*20 = 78892315000 Megabytes per year

    78892315000/1024/1024 = 75237.5746 Terabytes per year

    How does this scratch the 9+ Zettabytes of internet traffic in 2008?

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    • Dave Evans

      @Katie, Thanks, no I don’t think you are missing anything. That stat is attributed to Jim Cicconi, VP at AT&T (there’s a source link at the bottom of the infographic). We try to provide lots of sources (not just Cisco’s) in our material, so we get a well rounded perspective, but that stat has been questioned quite a bit – I’m going to dig into that one a bit further… the sentiment is absolutely correct as we are seeing exponential traffic growth, but the specific timeframe looks suspect.

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      • Hi Dave,

        Nice graph. Is there already oor coming an updated version of the infographic in highres?
        We like to use it in our Dutch magazine about ‘online business, media &marketing’, called Emerce.

        Like to hear form you.

        Kind regards, Ronald.

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  40. The traffic and users of internet can exceeds from what we have suggested and their is a very good possibility of this. I don’t think the telecommunication deptts have planned for such an enormous traffic and connection to keep them secure and if they failed to do so the internet will become really insecure. :|

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  41. Just a note: IPv6 doesn’t realistically support 2^128 addresses. For most IOT uses, the worst case max is 2^40.

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  42. The 5 minutes it takes to fill up and the 15 minute detour are irrelevant since the train is 20 minutes behind.

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  43. Thanks for the Infographic Dave.

    I Enjoyed hearing you speak on this and the 9 other advances you see coming in the next ten years @ Cisco Live.
    For those of you who missed it, it is on Ustream @ http://www.ustream.tv/recorded/15980208

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  44. It is a great article. I admired on the statement “the number of devices connected to the Internet exceeded the number of people on Earth.” – It is real truth. Now a days everyone is having more than one mobile phones. I dont know the reason. I agree with your thoughts and nice pics and explanations.

    Thanks
    Ahsima

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  45. Technology become vast with each passing day and number of devices and ways to connect internet is also increasing. It seems that one day internet will b eout of address if it grows with that exponent. Lets see wat this technology brings in coming years

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  46. This is an absolutely interesting article!

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  47. This is a very informative article, I wasn’t aware about cattles being tracked down. But in time almost anything can be connected to the internet. I just hope that there will be more regulations to prevent hackers and those that abuse the internet. The internet poses a lot of advantages and disadvantages, we have to have regulations so that internet can be used properly and for the good of everyone.

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  48. Dave:
    Despite a few facts and forecast being off, the graphic is a wake up call to designers, programmers, strategist, capital etc. that connectivity to things is exploding and integral to Web Squared (O’Reilly).
    Please also consider that a high level of “Thing” intelligence will be at the Edge only, and not produce data…only an action.

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  49. That’s a very interesting way of looking at the Internet. Most times things (especially ones as comlex as the Internet) are best explained visually. I know this from experience from whenever I have to instruct my 67 year old father on anything related to computers or the Internet. Got a flowchart I can show him on how not to open up every SPAM letter from a Nigerian prince asking for money? Haha just kidding.

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  50. This is very useful article, thanks for sharing.

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  51. Very cool visualization to help us see what we kind of know is upon us. I love the alarm clock scenario. I just hope poor Jim Cicconi, VP at AT&T still provides us data moving forward – he may feel like he just got run over by a bus.

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  52. This is very useful article, thanks for sharing.

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  53. Very interesting article for sure, almost scary in a way to see just how advanced we are becoming. Especially when cows are sending 200 mbs of data to the farmer!

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  54. The designing of site is very nice. Appreciate work done.

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  55. Awesome Breakdown!

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  56. Really interesting article. Just wondering, if these facts apply up to 2020, what should we expect after that…? The limit is the sky…

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  57. Interesting stats.

    Would be interested in a follow up looking at the distribution of the devices, as I’m sure their use is concentrated in a relatively small number of countries. Can’t do the maths in my head, but wouldn’t be suprised if 20% of the world’s population are using 80% of the deviced (cows excluded).

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  58. Nice Visualisation.

    The future is getting closer to that envisaged by William Gibson and Neal Stephenson.

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  59. We have a great an exciting future ahead of us, but the “Big Brother” part of always-on internet connectivity will pose some extra issues I guess.

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  60. Wow, this article has shocked me. I didnt know they did that with cows, its incredible, and scary, how much the internet has evolved already.

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  61. very useful and interesting blog…..

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  62. Hi Dave,
    Great article and infographic. I’d like to show this infographic in a publication about the future of the real estate industry – are you happy to share it?

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  63. Ok so each cow is generating 200 millibits (mb) of data per year??!!

    Er, I don’t think so. More likely 200 megabytes? (MB)

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  64. LOL. So, a small typo but we all know that you meant 200MB. That is the important part.

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  65. Interesting infographic about Internet. What I see curious is the new ip v6 that will add more computers to the internet. I suppose that old routers and modems don’t support the ipv6. We have to update the firmware or buy a new router that support ipv6?

    Thanks.

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    • Dave Evans

      @Cinetube. Re: IPv6 – almost all new networking devices and computing devices have support for IPv6 built-in, it’s often simply a matter of configuring / enabling it as we transition to IPv6. For older devices, yes, an upgrade or replacement could be required. Dave…

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  66. This is a one in a million blog. Good Job

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  67. Dear Dave,

    I really enjoyed the TP presentation from Belgrade Serbia. We published an article on it:

    http://www.pcaxe.com/rubrike/reportaze/sta-nas-ceka-u-bliskoj-buducnosti

    and invited people to a discussion forum on PCAXE:

    http://www.pcaxe.com/forum/showthread.php?p=168419#post168419

    It’s on serbian language, but I don’t need to explane hoe to translate it :)

    Regards,

    Dusan

    PCAXE.COM

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  68. Really interesting article. Very good work on your blog.

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  69. Dave, I think that in the near future we need a new IP protocol eheheheh… I hope that everything does not end up as “terminator” (the movie)
    greetings from italy

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