As the flood of data across the internet continues to increase, there are those that say sometime soon it is going to collapse under its own weight. But that is what they said last year.
Back in the early 90s, those of us that were online were just sending text e-mails of a few bytes each, traffic across the main US data lines was estimated at a few terabytes a month, steadily doubling every year. The mid 90s saw the arrival of picture-rich websites, and the invention of the MP3. Suddenly each net user wanted megabytes of pictures and music, and the monthly traffic figure exploded.
But since 2003, we have seen a change in the way we use the net. The YouTube generation want to stream video, and download gigabytes of data in one go.
"In one day YouTube sends data equivalent to 75 billion e-mails, so it's clearly very different," said Phil Smith, head of technology and corporate marketing at Cisco Systems.