off-topic: historical query concerning the Internet bubble

kris foster kris.foster at
Wed Aug 11 06:48:50 UTC 2010

A comment from Jeremy Orbell at LINX:

The period of growth being discussed predates my own involvement in the industry as I didn't join LINX until 2003. However I do know that LINX regularly announced new traffic milestones at the exchange as they happened back in the late 90s. I've looked back through our archive of press releases and noted a few of these so you will get an idea of how peak traffic was increasing at LINX at that time.

27 April 1998 - 200 Mbps
24 August 1999 - 850 Mbps
17 September 1999 - 1 Gbps
5 November 1999 - 1.25 Gbps
13 December 1999 - 1.5 Gbps
27 March 2000 - 2 Gbps
11 January 2001 - 5 Gbps

Unfortunately I cannot post links the original material as it isn't available online at the moment but in the LINX 15th anniversary issue of HotLINX last year we reprinted a copy of a LINX press release from 17th September 1999 which said:

"The London Internet Exchange is pleased to announce it has this week reached traffic levels of one Gigabit, positioning it clearly as one of the top 5 Internet Exchanges in the world. This shows a 455% increase in traffic from the level of 180 Mbps one year ago."

Looking at that 180 Mbps number it looks like it might refer to a Spring 1998 figure rather than September 1998 because I did find a reference to a peak of 200 Mbps being achieved in April of that year. The discrepency could perhaps be explained by other means such as averages but like I say, it was before my time.

Anyway, the full press release which I quoted from can be read on page 3 of the following PDF:

I hope this will be of hope to you.

Jeremy Orbell
LINX Marketing & Communications

On Aug 10, 2010, at 4:28 PM, Jeff Young wrote:

> Hash: SHA256
> At the time these statements were made it was possible to make reasonable 
> assumptions about the size of the Internet.  As a Tier 1 knew how much traffic our 
> customer links generated by the size of the link.  We knew exactly how much
> traffic stayed within our backbones and how much traffic ended up in a 
> peering arrangement.   We knew with some precision just how much of the 
> Tier 2 ISP market was connected to us and how much was connected to others, 
> and who the others were.  I don't think the theory still holds but traffic on-net
> versus off-net was a pretty good indication of market share.
> Today's Internet handles much more traffic in-region and is bounded by 
> phenomenon such as language barrier (although the amount of spam I get
> in Chinese characters has increased recently, who let the barrier down?).  
> This phenomenon wasn't as prominent in '98-'01 and while I wouldn't say 
> it's impossible I think you'd have to commission the folks at UCSD to get 
> anything that resembled a value for total Internet capacity today.
> Doubling in 9-12 months was a reasonable figure back then.  100 days
> might have been a short-term spike caused by a back-log of activations
> (we sometimes stopped the machine while we made upgrades) but it 
> certainly was an anomaly.  
> jy
> On 10/08/2010, at 9:01 AM, Kenny Sallee wrote:
>> On Fri, Aug 6, 2010 at 2:52 PM, Jessica Yu <jyy_99 at> wrote:
>>> I do not know if making such distinction would alter the conclusion of your
>>> paper.  But, to me, there is a difference between one to predict the growth
>>> of
>>> one particular network based on the stats collected than one to predict the
>>> growth of the entire Internet with no solid data.
>>> Thanks!--Jessica
>> Agree with Jessica: you can't say the 'Internet' doubles every x number of
>> days/amount of time no matter what the number of days or amount of time is.
>> The 'Internet' is a series of tubes...hahaha couldn't help it....As we all
>> know the Internet is a bunch of providers plugged into each other.  Provider
>> A may see an 10x increase in traffic every month while provider B may not.
>> For example, if Google makes a deal with Verizon only Verizon will see a
>> huge increase in traffic internally and less externally (or vice versa).
>> Until Google goes somewhere else!  So the whole 'myth' of Internet doubling
>> every 100 days to me is something someone (ODell it seems) made up to
>> appease someone higher in the chain or a government committee that really
>> doesn't get it.  IE - it's marketing talk to quantify something.  I guess if
>> all the ISP's in the world provided a central repository bandwidth numbers
>> they have on their backbone then you could make up some stats about Internet
>> traffic as a whole.  But without that - it just doesn't make much sense.
>> Just my .02
>> Kenny
> Version: GnuPG/MacGPG2 v2.0.14 (Darwin)
> iF4EAREIAAYFAkxh4LUACgkQxvthcni5E2+7AwD+Lx+Dm14XTn/qZpy2co3CrcI1
> dzA9QycoM2VmMBjmfxwA/1LD7gqI3zd80VozkHMDbDIREDPxKBPPtMlb+7Tu/nPV
> =wt/O

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