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Facebook Size Estimates

Craig Labovitz

At a staggering $100 billion dollar valuation and reported 900 million users, Facebook represents a massive presence in the global economy. From an Internet infrastructure perspective, Facebook also ranks amongst the largest of the "hyper giants" generating a significant share of daily global Internet traffic.

This blog explore Facebook's size in terms of its Internet traffic contribution.

As in previous posts, we use data from an ongoing research collaboration with multiple large North American Internet providers. We analyze anonymized backbone data encompassing a geographically diverse set of several million subscribers. More details on the research methodologies used in our prior work is available here. We believe this is the largest ongoing study of its kind.

On average, our analysis finds Facebook contributes nearly one percent of all Internet traffic (the actual number is 0.75%). This includes traffic both to Facebook's private data centers as well as third-party edge CDN caches (over 85% of Facebook traffic relies on CDNs).

While one percent is an awesomely huge number, the really, really impressive statistic is 45%. More specifically, we estimate 45% of all Internet subscribers send traffic to Facebook servers at least once every day. This includes traffic sent directly to www.facebook.com as well as the indirect connections made by tens of thousands of third-party web sites that include Facebook content or APIs.

Some additional detail and a nice graphic visualization is available on this blog.

Given our estimate of Facebook's traffic volume and IPO price, we can calculate a new Internet centric metric to accompany Facebook's PE ratio (an incredible 95:1). We first use data from Cisco to estimate the overall size of Internet traffic (37 Exabytes per month). At 0.75% and a $104.2B valuation, this means that Facebook uses 824,000 Mbps of bandwidth continuously. When you put their valuation in terms of this bandwidth you get a staggering $124,000 per Mbps.

So, a hearty congratulations to Facebook and my friends who work there.

By Craig Labovitz, Co-Founder DeepField Networks. More blog posts from Craig Labovitz can also be read here.

Related topics: Broadband, Web

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