In today’s age, almost every activity involves a computer. As a result, computers have secured a place in philosophical inquiry as well. Like identifying the most powerful entity in the universe has remained a topic of discussion for millennia, people have now started to wonder what the largest computer network in the world is. In this article, we will argue that it is the internet. We will first define a computer network and then qualify the internet as one. Then, we will argue why the internet is larger than all other computer networks.
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Semantics – We Love Em!
To explain why a specific entity is the largest of a lot, we need to establish what the entity and the lot are. The lot, in this case, includes all computer networks in the world. One can define a computer network as a connection between computers that enables the receiving and sending of information. By computers, we do not mean just the personal computer; any item that can run a program, including a phone, a tablet, or a sensor, can be considered a computer.
Now that we have defined the lot, we have to define the entity. The entity is the internet. By the internet, we do not just mean the websites you have started using since Xfinity internet became a thing and you started getting internet. We mean all web pages on the world wide web. Alongside, all apps running on the internet, including social media apps like Facebook and online gaming apps like 8 Ball Pool, are connected through the internet. Besides, networks that help organizations such as companies, governments, and universities run are also connected through the internet.
In the preceding paragraph, we learned how computers are connected over the internet. We also learned that connections between computers are called computer networks. Thus, we can easily deduce that the internet itself is a computer network.
One of the most important factors we have to look at when deciphering the magnitude of an entity is its geographical presence. The internet is available on all continents of the world. In fact, it is available even in space on the International Space Station. Some may also argue that the internet is present beyond the borders of this universe as the entire metaverse is built on the internet. Currently, no other computer network exists all around the globe, let alone space. Thus, by geographical presence, the internet is clearly the largest.
Besides geographical presence, the internet is also the largest network in terms of the number of people it serves. In fact, according to the last available data, 4.66 billion people actively use the internet. That is 59.5 % of the world’s population. Considering this data is from January 2021 and the internet is growing by the day, we can only expect the actual figure to be higher. Notably, the internet is used by all segments of the global population. No matter you go to the developing world or the developed countries and no matter you go to the Islamic or the Christian world, you will find people using the internet.
On the other hand, none of the other computer networks in the world serve nearly as large or diverse a population. Thus, it can be concluded that the internet is the largest network not only in terms of geographical presence but also in terms of the people it serves.
The internet is not only used by the most number of people; it also connects more computers than any other computer network in the world. At the end of 2018, Strategy Analytics – a leading market research company headquartered in Newton MA, published a report saying that a whopping 22 billion devices were connected to the internet. As the internet is growing day by day, we can expect this number to have risen significantly since that time. Some argue that the number could be well above 35 billion by the year 2025.
Just like there is no comparison to the internet in terms of the number of people using it, there is also no comparison to it in terms of the number of devices connected to it. After all, which other network has tens of billions of devices connected?!
Once we have established that the internet is the largest computer network in the world by multiple measures, including its geographical presence, the number of people it serves, and the number of devices connected to it, we can go ahead and brainstorm about the network that is the second largest in the world. We bet that it must be the intranet of one of the largest organizations in the world. It could be of a large government organization such as the United States military or a large private business such as Google. The irony is that whatever the second largest network is, it probably cannot function without the internet as well. Thus, we can conclude that the internet is not only the largest network right now but it will be on the top spot for many years to come.