his report forecasts how much traffic will be carried for the period to the end of this decade, on the Internet backbone and on the total national North American. Given this statement of purpose for the report, it is interesting to note that there really is no Internet backbone or North American network, in the sense of an individual entity. In the past, one could, indeed, speak of and measure the backbone traffic on the North American network. The old AT&T reported traffic loads between its Class 1 offices and the relative traffic carried on its high-usage subnet. These were real numbers that could be very accurately measured, monitored, and used as the basis of forecasts for growth.
This has all changed with the transformation to a data-based network with multiple owners. Now one is hard pressed to identify exactly what the Internet backbone is, much less to accurately measure the traffic carried on it.
Given this state of confusion and lack of physical reality of an Internet backbone, one may question the value of a report on forecast traffic. However, while the physical reality is no longer identifiable and measurable, the amount and growth of traffic going across our (somewhat imaginary) Internet backbone is still very real and of great importance.
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