FedEx's network: Faster than the speeding Internet


If you add up the capacity of the hard drives aboard FedEx's trucks and planes, the company has the power to transfer 150 exabytes of data on a daily basis, according to a rundown by Randall Munroe at XKCD. This translates to traffic moving at 14 petabytes per second, which is nearly 100 times the throughput of the Internet, he notes. What's particularly interesting about Munroe's analysis is the somewhat dim light that it shines on the business model behind the public cloud, writes Cory Doctorow at BoingBoing.

When it comes to streaming media--especially wireless streaming--how much sense does it make to pay an ISP every time you want to watch the same content, Doctorow asks. If you download it onto your own hard drive instead, it doesn't cost anything to play it over and over, and it's a lot faster than a wide-area network connection.

"On the other hand," he writes, "it's easy to see why telcos would love the idea that every play of `your' media involves another billable event. Media companies, too--it's that prized, elusive urinary-tract-infection business model at work, where media flows in painful, expensive drips instead of healthy, powerful gushes."

The most frightening specter in this business model arises if your Internet link is no longer provided by a content-neutral provider, Doctorow warns. Especially in the case of ISPs that also serve as entertainment providers, customers could have content selectively slowed in favor of the provider's partners' content.

For more:
- see Cory Doctorow's post at BoingBoing

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