Fiber optic wires, servers, and more than 550,000 miles of underwater cables: Here’s what the internet actually looks like

Divers repair internet cable

Every second, millions of emails, clicks, and searches happen via the world wide web with such fluidity that the internet seems almost omnipresent. As such, people often mistakenly assume that internet traffic happens by air — our mobile devices, after all, aren’t wired to anything.

But satellites carry less than 1% of human interactions, and in some ways the truth is far more impressive than messages sent by tower signal.

The internet — arguably the most important resource in the modern world — is very tangible and fairly vulnerable. It exists in large part under our feet, by way of an intricate system of rope-thin underwater and underground cables hooked to giant data storage units so powerful, they’re capable of recalling any piece of information at a moment’s notice.

Here’s what the infrastructure of the internet actually looks like today:

In the most basic sense, the internet’s job is to carry information from point A to point B.

Those points are IP addresses — the unique codes that identify locations around the world — and they’re what your devices are linked to when you’re connected to the internet. Curious what yours is? If you type “My IP address” into Google, the search engine will bring it up.

As it travels, any information transferred over the web arrives at internet data servers, which live in data centers around the world. In 2008, an estimated 9.5 trillion gigabytes passed in and out of the world’s servers — but more on those later.

Moving information to and from servers often involves crossing oceans. We rely almost entirely on cables for internet traffic because they’re faster and cheaper than satellites, but laying them across bodies of water is a tedious process that’s taken almost 200 years and requires a lot of maintenance.

See the rest of the story at Business Insider …read more

Source:: Businessinsider – Life

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