We take the internet for granted and most of us use it daily, but if we were asked to guess how much we thought the internet weighed, pretty much all of us would not have a clue. The hard work has been done for us, however, as mathematical researchers have devised a formula to discover the weight of the internet – with rather surprising results.
The Weighty Truth
So how much does the internet actually weigh? According to the Guardian, it weighs about two ounces (60 grams) or perhaps 0.2 millionths of an ounce (6 micrograms), depending on the method used to calculate the weight of the active electrons that are needed to sustain the global network.
The weight calculations vary depending on the method used. The Russell Seitz’s method involves taking the number of servers running on the internet (somewhere between 75 million and 100 million), their average power consumption (between 350W and 550W), the average voltage inside a logic gate (3V), and the average speed of the chips (1GHz). Figures come out at around 50 grams with this method.
Calculations made by Discover magazine, however, are based on ‘bits’, which are multiplied by the total volume of information passing through the internet. A figure of around 0.2 millionths of an ounce is reached with this method.
Whichever method seems more logical, the truth is that the weight of the internet is miniscule. In fact, according to the Telegraph the internet weighs the same as a strawberry. Experts have also suggested that the weight of the information that is contained on the internet, such as photos, emails, social media updates, for instance, weigh even less – the equivalent to a single grain of sand.
Complexity of the Internet
Working out the internet’s weight relies on trying to understand the processes that control information flow across the net and how data is broken down. It is a complex process and for many, because we cannot physically see how the internet operates, it can be difficult to get to grips with. Whether you are relying on experts to put your website together, such as Northampton Web design business MPS Creative, or you are looking into hosting requirements, what is certain is that the internet is a complex and highly sophisticated resource, but its influence is extraordinarily huge – despite its weight being of little significance.
Some researchers believe that the calculations made to work out the weight of the internet may be out of date, as they are based on the internet’s size five years ago. The internet has, obviously, grown since then. At the same time, the calculations only take into account the energy needed to run the internet, not the size of its contents.
Whether the figures are accurate or not, there is not likely to be much deviation from the original calculations. The internet may weigh as much as a strawberry based on data taken from five years ago, but it is not likely to have turned into melon proportions since then – more likely just a slightly plumper strawberry.