What if the internet just stops?

Undersea Cables - http://www.flickr.com/photos/angusf/423828944/

A few weeks ago a conversation floated back and forth around my office about how reliant we all are on our technology and what would the reprecussions be if anything would ever happen to affect our symbiotic relationships.

Then, last week, undersea cables carrying massive amounts of Internet bandwidth (as well as telephone service) started getting severed.

The first cables to go, off the coast of Egypt, caused huge outages from Egypt to India. Then later in the week, another cable was severed off the coast of Dubai. And yet another was damaged between the UAE and Qatar over the weekend.

And no one knows how or why this is happening but apparently there were no ships in the area.

And while there are some great theories spreading this week around why this happened or who could have done it, it really sheds a different colour light on that office meme I mentioned at the beginning of this post.

What would you do if you were suddenly disconnected?

Picture the poor sap on the Rogers commercials who’s always dropping cell connection everywhere he goes. Now picture that being you. Now picture that being you ALL THE TIME.

The thought probably sucks. And if you’re someone like me… the thought REALLY sucks :)

I can’t live in an unconnected world for very long anymore. As much as I don’t want the Internet to morph into a cloud, I’m submitting to the concept more and more all the time. I twitter and upload photos from my phone. I use Google docs so I can easily share, collaborate, and access my work. My address book, years worth of email communications and blog posts are all online. I have ultimate trust in the internet to protect my data for me.

So what happens if it just stops one day?

There are people who claim the Internet is reaching it’s maximum capacity or even an end of life and we shouldn’t rely on it. There are others who claim the Internet is one of the more reliable of modern ammenities. I think (fortunately) this event proves the latter. Despite losing more than half of it’s internet capacity initially, India had managed to rerout its bandwidth and had regained most of its capacity within 3 or 4 days.

But what if the infrastructure is aging… and what if the bad guys fly their planes into a couple of major datacenters next time? What if an act of nature takes it all out?

Earthquake takes out internet - http://www.flickr.com/photos/pshaw/351306634/

I don’t know, but I think I’m going to go export my Google spreadsheets. ;)

2 thoughts on “What if the internet just stops?”

  1. I like the comparison :)

    I am also running under the assumption that, as we move towards a more ‘internet-as-a-platform’ world, our Google & Amazon (et. all) overlords won’t let us or, themselves, go without.

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