In 1969, Nixon became President, the Beatles released “Abbey Road”, and the first transmission over the earliest version of the Internet was recorded. Things have changed a lot in 40 years, what began as a connection between two university computers, now rules the world. Just the thought of life offline is enough to send some off their rocker. Worldwide internet failure would mean faxes instead of emails, maps instead of GPS, cash instead of credit cards, and social networking would actually require face to face meetings.
E EXCERPT FROM TED'S BLOG:
"It's sounds like a plot for a sci-fi movie. It's a peaceful day all over the world. People are emailing, facebooking and watching youtube when all of a sudden (insert scream) the Internet stops working. People start walking around the streets in a daze as the world comes to a grinding halt."
“Within three weeks we would be back to 1840,” says Boston-based computer security analyst, Robert Siciliano, of www.IDTheftSecurity.com , who paints a doomsday scenario about the potential crash of the web. “The internet controls electricity, it controls running water, it controls commerce, we have become to rely on the internet in a way. If it were to cease to function today, life as we know it would cease to function,” Siciliano says.
It has been more than 20 years since the last major overhaul of the internet, and the core architecture hasn’t really every changed. Nearly every day there are outages, some bigger than others. Last year an explosion and fire at a large data center in Houston shut down thousands of websites. Hundreds of thousands in the Middle East and India were knocked offline when several underwater telecom cables were damaged. Youtube.com was unavailable for 2 hours when a Turkish telecom company mistakenly claimed their IP address.
“A lot of people who don’t know how the internet is built under the hood will always have fear,” says David Berlind, the Chief Content Officer and Editor and Chief of TechWeb.com . He says complete internet failure is not just unlikely, it is nearly impossible.
The internet is a de-centralized system of routers and networks owned and operated by many governmental and private organizations. He says even if there’s an outage or problem in one area of the world, there are millions of other paths the information can travel. Berlind says the companies that provide internet service also have a vested interest in maintaining the infrastructure and the advances are being made to increase capacity every day. As the internet celebrates it’s 40th anniversary, we can remember localized problems will always occur, but a global failure of the internet doesn’t appear likely, at least anytime soon.