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View Diary: Flu Stories: Is the Internet At Risk In A Pandemic? (120 comments)

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  •  Yes I read it (0+ / 0-)

    Notice how it's all saying things like "might" and "could".  The reality is that they don't know and sure, in a wost case scenario, maybe something could go wrong.  But the job of those people in the article is risk management.  Their job is to seriously consider worst case scenarios so that they don't happen.  

    I've heard people predict zero day attacks knocking out the Internet.  I've heard people suggesting that we'd run out of IP addresses.  I've heard people talk about an utter collapse of the network even outside of such a crisis as a Pandemic flu.

    Yes, a lot of bad things could happen, but I think that the chance of a serious collapse of network infrastructure is really quite low.  Will there be sporadic problems?  Of course.  But the network was designed with the very intention of making sure sporadic outages don't become system wide failures.  

    So what I imagine happening is that we'd see some slugishness and some times when some sites couldn't be accessed.  Sure, some sites might fail all together due to ill timed hardware outages when nobody can get to the server farms to fix them.  You might not be able to VPN into work one day because of some problems.  

    The reality is though that the most vital elements of the Internet are also the least bandwidth intensive.  If the networks get slow, what's going to go first, e-mail or YouTube?  Telneting into a router can be done at 9600 baud without too much pain.  People will get tired of waiting for their downloads and go watch TV or a DVD instead.  

    •  it's that last mile' that's most at risk (0+ / 0-)

      and of course it's 'might' and 'could'. Nothing is certain except death and taxes.

      That doesn't stop contingency planning. every company from Cisco to the telecoms has a risk manager working on this.

      "Politics is the art of looking for trouble, finding it everywhere, diagnosing it incorrectly and applying the wrong remedies." - Groucho Marx

      by Greg Dworkin on Wed Feb 14, 2007 at 10:18:27 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Yup (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        That doesn't stop contingency planning. every company from Cisco to the telecoms has a risk manager working on this.

        Precisely why I'm not worried about it :)

        And agreed on the last mile, but the last mile being the risk point actually makes this a whole lot more readily manageable.  Let's say Comcast's network is just totally saturated.  They can control the routers to limit the usage of the network to insure that the important information keeps flowing.  

        Furthermore, if it's a last mile problem it means that problems will be localized.  So if Comcast in Chicago is having a problem it won't mean Comcast in LA is having a problem.  And even within a geographic region, if one provider has problems, they aren't necessarily the exclusive point of access.  If my DSL went down hard in a situation like this, I'd whip out my wireless and suck bandwidth off neighbors (and similarly offer up bandwidth to them if they were out of luck).  

        The biggest blessing in any situation like that is that, by and large, the more bandwidth intensive something is, the more that latency effects it.  For example, playing a video game or streaming a video cna both be high bandwidth tasks, but they suck rocks if that bandwidth isn't there or the network is flaky.  So those services will tend to die first, allowing e-mail, voip, and other lower bandwidth services to continue.  Add that into the ability of providers to do some QOS management of the network and I think the gears of industry will more or less keep turning.

        But yeah, planning is good :)

    •  Um ... (0+ / 0-)

      Telneting into a router can be done at 9600 baud without too much pain.

      Yes, it can be done ... for those who remember how to use Telnet.

      OTOH, anything that might revitalize Usenet has an up side, as far as I'm concerned.

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