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.
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