Internet Resilience


From this mornings SCMP:

On Other Matters...

Didn't the inventors of the internet claim that it would continue functioning despite anything, even an atomic war?

If so, how come we're now cut off from the world because an earthquake damaged four undersea cables?

Ron Baker, Tsim Sha Tsui

I don't know if they used those exact words, but the Internet protocols are very robust indeed and will usually find a path (if one exists) to the desired hosts. The problem with the internet this week hasn't been that the protocols are weak, it's been that there was a single point of failure for most communications.

We're hardly cut off from the world. I experience about a day or so of poor or little connectivity, and everything seems to be back to normal about now. That may just be my ISP routing through Singapore. Other people seem to be having more of an issue, but even at the worst, I could still contact other sites, even if I couldn't reach everywhere.

Blame PCCW for focusing all our international infrastructure on a few links going through an earthquake zone, not the Internet.

Various media reports have been going on about how we need satellite data links. I'm not sure how much good that would really do. Satellites are always available (assuming they're in geostationary orbit and theres no large objects in the way), but they're a long way away. Data will take a significant amount of time to get there, even travelling at the speed of light, so the latency would be worse, even though the bandwidth would be ok. What that means in practice is that and kind of streaming transmission (like iChat, Skype or online games) would be poor, although raw data (webpages) should be OK.

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This page contains a single entry by dave published on December 30, 2006 9:00 AM.

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