In xkcd's series what if, an area dedicated to answering hypothetical questions with physics, examines "When -- if ever -- will the bandwidth of the Internet surpass that of FedEx?"
If you want to transfer a few hundred gigabytes of data, it's generally faster to FedEx a hard drive than to send the files over the internet. This isn't a new idea -- it's often dubbed SneakerNet -- and it's how Google transfers large amounts of data internally.
But will it always be faster?
Cisco estimates that total internet traffic currently averages 167 terabits per second. FedEx has a fleet of 654 aircraft with a lift capacity of 26.5 million pounds daily. A solid-state laptop drive weighs about 78 grams and can hold up to a terabyte.
That means FedEx is capable of transferring 150 exabytes of data per day, or 14 petabits per second -- almost a hundred times the current throughput of the internet.
|Study on Facebook Shows We're More Closely Connected to One Another Than Previously Thought|
|Machine Learning Helps Us Understand What Makes a Good Teacher|
|InfoGraphic: Cities That Have Burned and Have Been Rebuilt|
|"There is a really powerful connection from children's early beginnings to where they end up."|
|Documenting Every Instance the Phrase "Is The New" Used Since 2005|
|Unboxing a Factory Sealed IBM Compatible PC from 1988|
|Termite-Inspired Autonomous Robotic Construction Crew|
|The Unknown Reader|
|Reviewing Counterfeit Toys Made in China|
|James Charles' Pop Culture Dollars|
|"This very internationalism that contributed to the apocalyptic disaster that ended the Bronze Age."|
|The Spaceship Propulsion Compendium|
|“There was not only automation but where the suggestion that humans had any control [...] was absent too.”|
|"Most of what kids currently learn at school will probably be irrelevant by the time they are 40."|
|“The release of methane from hydrate may be apocalyptic.”|
|"Fossil fuel executives want to get a piece of the clean-energy business."|