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When did telephone systems start carrying more data than voice traffic?

Posted on 2011-03-14
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Help me solve a bet, my buddy told me that in 1970, telephone systems were carrying more data traffic than voice. I claim that at the earliest it had to have been the 1980's when the Internet started to take off in the edicational community. A case of beers are on the line here...Thanks.
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Question by:WilliamK99
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Rich Weissler earned 500 total points
ID: 35132096
Wow.  That'll be a difficult question to answer.
 - When you say the telephone systems, do you mean over the switched service telephone system?  Frame Relay might count, but I assumed leased lines wouldn't... yes?
 - When I think old data communication, I think of old x.25 traffic.  Does FAX count as data?
 - ISDN was never a major contributor... but are you gonna count ISDN lines as voice or data?
 - I probably started to count outside the time-frame you are considering... but as folks start to transmit real-time voice traffic over data networks...

But looking at what folks have claimed -- AT&T Labs says you are both wrong:
http://citeseerx.ist.psu.edu/viewdoc/summary?doi=10.1.1.131.4457
"A doubling of traffic each year represents extremely fast growth, much faster than the increases
in other communication services. If it continues, data traffic will surpass voice traffic around the year
2002
."  Given that the paper was written in 2001... we'll I'd say, from that paper, it's well after the 1980s.

But again, depending on how you measure things, the answer is slippery.  If I were you, I'd split the cost of the beers, and drink them together.
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by:Qlemo
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This question has been classified as abandoned and is being closed as part of the Cleanup Program. See my comment at the end of the question for more details.
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