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What would happen if the Internet collapsed?

Discussion in 'Tech, Gadgets & Science Forum' started by Kimbweka, Jun 8, 2010.

  1. Kimbweka

    Kimbweka JF-Expert Member

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    The Internet is robust. It's not dependent upon a single machine or cable. It's a network made up of other computer networks. It spans the globe. Connections cross over continents, under oceans and through space via satellites. And as the Internet has grown, so has our dependence upon it.
    Connections across the Internet are flexible. When you use your computer to contact another machine on the Internet, the data could cross one of millions of pathways. Whenever you download a file, the file comes to your machine in electronic data packets that travel across the Internet. The packets don't all take the same path -- the traffic routes are dynamic. If a particular connection is damaged or unresponsive, the data can follow a different path to reach your machine.

    This makes the Internet a reliable communications resource. Even if an entire section of the Internet were to go offline in the wake of a natural disaster or a nuclear attack, other sections could remain functional. While any data stored on machines that were hit by the disaster might be lost, the Internet itself would remain.
    It's almost impossible to imagine a set of circumstances that could cause the Internet to collapse. It would require destruction on such a widespread scale that the loss of the Internet would probably be the least of our worries. But what if the Internet did collapse? How would that affect us? Would life change drastically or would we quickly adjust, relying on older means of communication?
    Guys let us discuss this!!!!!!!
     
  2. Kimbweka

    Kimbweka JF-Expert Member

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    Internet Collapse and Communication Errors
    Imagine a world without the World Wide Web, Facebook, Twitter or even e-mail and you might start screaming too.

    A world without the Internet would probably seem very strange to us now. Depending upon the nature of the disaster and how you defined the Internet, even basic services like text messaging or cell phone service could become unavailable. That's because the infrastructure for these services is also part of the Internet infrastructure. If you take this thought experiment to an extreme case, even the phone lines might not work since they, too, form part of the Internet's infrastructure.
    Some cable and satellite services would be unavailable. You could still access television programming sent via broadcast towers if you had an antenna. But if the cable and satellite systems were part of the general collapse, you'd lose access to most channels.
    You wouldn't be able to log on to social networking sites and services like Facebook or Twitter. You wouldn't be able to fire up an instant messaging service to check up on friends. Many of the tools we rely on to keep up with what our friends and family are doing would cease to exist. If the cell phone towers and telephone lines were also affected, we'd be reduced to writing letters and sending them through the post office.
    Transferring files between computers would be difficult, too. You'd either need to store the files on some form of physical media like a compact disc or you'd need to connect the two computers with a physical cable. Projects that depend upon grid computing to make complex calculations wouldn't work either. Cloud computing services would also fail and the information you store on those services could become inaccessible.
     
  3. Kimbweka

    Kimbweka JF-Expert Member

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    The Economic Fallout of a Collapsed Internet
    Eric Schmidt, CEO of Google, addresses the World Economic Forum, indicating how important the Internet has become

    If the Internet did collapse somehow, the economic impact would be disastrous. While the loss of services like electronic banking or PayPal would be annoying, the effects would extend much further.
    Think of the businesses that depend upon the Internet. Every Web site would be offline. Huge companies like Google or Amazon would become obsolete instantly. Other companies like Microsoft would see enormous sections of their operations disappear. Even companies that only use the Web as a means of advertisement would be adversely affected.
    Assuming the collapse was either of a permanent or extended nature, many companies would go out of business. Hundreds of thousands of people would be out of a job. Google employs nearly 20,000 people alone [source: Google]. With hundreds of companies folding or cutting back on staff, the market would be flooded with people in need of a job.
    According to the U.S. Census Bureau, e-commerce accounted for 35 percent of all shipments from the manufacturing industry in 2007. That amounts to more than $1.8 trillion for that industry alone. When you extrapolate those numbers to all industries across the entire world, you'll see that commerce on the Internet is big business. If the Internet collapsed, multiple industries would experience an instant recession. There's no easy way to bounce back from a loss of trillions of dollars.
    Some countries would feel the sting more than others. Developed countries would face severe economic crises as entire industry sectors either disappeared or struggled to survive in the wake of devastating losses. Other countries wouldn't suffer as many direct effects from the collapse because they don't have much of a presence on the Internet. But these countries would also suffer as the trade and aid they depend upon from other connected countries decreases.
    Very few types of businesses would remain unaffected by the collapse of the Internet. The Internet has become pervasive in business.
     
  4. Kimbweka

    Kimbweka JF-Expert Member

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    Political Crises After the Internet Collapse

    The political fallout following the collapse of the Internet could be devastating.

    The economic fallout would probably be the primary crisis governments would face around the world if the Internet were to collapse. But that would just be one problem world leaders would face.
    In the United States, there's a push to develop the power grids around the nation into a smart grid. Smart grids could theoretically respond to customer needs more efficiently, conserve power and communicate with one another over Internet connections. In theory, this system could reduce power outages and other problems. But if the Internet were to collapse, a smart grid would be crippled. Massive power outages could become a problem across any country using such a system.
    As the Internet has become more pervasive, countries have used it to gather intelligence and to spy on one another. The loss of the Internet would be an enormous blow to intelligence agencies. Sharing information would become slow and difficult. Some governments might react to such a situation rashly. It's impossible to predict how each government would react; however, it's not hard to imagine a series of events that could escalate into a conflict.
    Assuming world leaders could maintain order and resist the urge to blow each other up, other problems would surface. The Internet has become an important part of many educational programs. The loss of the Internet would leave a void that other resources would need to fill. Resources cost money -- something that would be in short supply as markets around the world try to recover from staggering losses.
    In the United States, military organizations and some research institutions are part of networks that are similar to the Internet but are technically not part of the Internet itself. If these networks remained unaffected, at least some electronic communication and data transmission would be possible. But if our imaginary crisis extended all the way to these computer networks, the country would become vulnerable to all sorts of attacks.
     
  5. MziziMkavu

    MziziMkavu JF-Expert Member

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    "I've gotten some forwarded emails claiming that the Internet is doomed to collapse very soon, unless some big changes are made to the infrastructure. Is it true… is the Internet going to go "poof" and vanish in a cloud of greasy black smoke?

    Is The Sky Really Falling?

    [​IMG] Over the past decade, there have been voices crying in the technology desert claiming that the end is near... the Internet is doomed to collapse. In these apocalyptic forecasts, the culprits range from spam to viruses to YouTube, even to all out cyber-terrorism as potential reasons for the Great Crash of the Internet. Are these doomsday warnings correct? Is the Information Superhighway headed towards a dead end?
    Although the origins of the Internet date back to the late 1960's, the Internet as we know it today came to full blossom in the early 90's with the advent of the Web, graphics, audio and video online. Vint Cerf, one of the early pioneers of the Internet, said in a 2007 interview with the The Guardian that some had predicted the end of the Internet 20 years ago when people "started using it en masse." Robert Metcalfe, inventor of the Ethernet networking technology, famously ate his own news article in front of a live audience in 1997 after writing in the 1995 article that he would "eat his words" if the Internet did not collapse by then.
    Fast forward to a few years later, even after Metcalfe had to literally eat his words; claims about the inevitability of the Internet's collapse were still resounding. A lot of these claims were made in the wake of the tragic events of 9/11. In November 2002, the BBC news ran an article online featuring researchers warning that the Internet was vulnerable to disaster or terrorist action. Concerns about cyber-terrorism became more prevalent after 9/11, prompting Internet Service Providers and webmasters to tighten up security.
    Lions and Tigers and... Impending Doom!

    The critics of the Internet's stability fanned the flames again in 2002, when WorldCom, then the largest global ISP, suffered major outages that left millions of business customers without web and email access for several days. Service providers blamed the hardware providers, and vice versa, prompting IDC analyst Melanie Posey to quip "There's a dead body rolled up in a rug somewhere..." It was only months earlier that WorldCom had filed for bankruptcy, in the wake of a massive accounting scandal.
    In 2004, alarmists cited viruses and spam as portents of the Net's demise. Among them was Finnish computer scientist Hannu Kari who purported that malware and "bad people who want to create chaos on purpose" would be behind the Internet's collapse.
    Last year, Deloitte & Touche released their take on the matter, asserting that global traffic would soon exceed the Internet's capacity. More recently, "network neutrality" has been put forward as a reason for potential Internet collapse. Network Neutrality is the moniker given to the fact that ISPs/Telecom companies do not base their rates on content or type of service. In other words, the service these companies provide is not restricted. An online Forbes article suggests that the controversy over network neutrality is the reason why many ISPs are delaying necessary upgrades to contend with the ever increasing amount of Internet users.
    Video Killed the Radio Star - Is the Internet Next?

    More recently, the hand-wringers are blaming the potential Internet crash on the recent popularity of videos on the web. One research firm suggested that the spike in video sites like YouTube could very well make the Internet reach its breaking point by 2010, unless backbone providers invest up to $137 billion in new capacity.
    Professor Michael Kleeman of the University of California also has concerns about the fact that YouTube serves over 100 million videos per day. Kleeman is urging that more data compression should be used to reduce strain on the network, and that a system of triaging Internet traffic should be established to give priority to certain kinds of content. Without aggressive action soon, Kleeman says, video downloads and VoIP traffic threaten to overload the Internet's aging technology.
    Survivor: Internet

    But not everyone agrees that the Internet is destined to collapse under its own weight any time soon. John Dvorak has noted in PC Magazine that none of the many predictions of impending Internet collapse over the past 20 years have come to fruition, and reminds us that when deficiencies in the infrastructure are noted, the Internet does tend to fix itself. New ways of allocating IP addresses, and the installation of ever-faster networking equipment are cited as examples. Dvorak says that in his opinion, the worst-case scenario is scattered, occasional outages, and reminds us that the Internet is "essentially run by phone companies, who know how to keep networks up."
    As time goes on, this debate will surely continue. But perhaps the most compelling evidence for the Internet's resilience is the fact that in 2008 it is still intact. Despite the best efforts of miscreant malware creators to cripple the Internet, despite the onslaught of spam that accounts for nearly 90% of all email traffic, despite the heavy demands of Internet phone calling, and a surge in the popularity of online video, the Internet seems to be saying "I feel fine!"
    My opinion on this is simple. The Internet cannot collapse, because the Internet MUST NOT collapse. If that sounds too simplistic, consider this. Much depends on the smooth functioning of the World Wide Web - banking, the financial markets, shopping, shipping, entertainment, medicine, along with so many other facets of the economy and daily life. Not to mention the telecommunications industry that operates most of the Internet... There is too much invested, and too much to lose.
    If new hardware is needed, it will be invented. If new software is needed, it will be developed. Whatever financial investments that are required to meet the needs of today's and tomorrow's Internet WILL be made. Agree? Disagree? Post your comments below.
     
  6. Kimbweka

    Kimbweka JF-Expert Member

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    Could the Internet collapse?

    Here's the good news -- a total collapse of the Internet would be almost impossible. The Internet isn't a magic box with an on/off switch. It's not even a physical thing. It's a collection of physical things and it's constantly changing. The Internet isn't the same entity from one moment to the next -- machines are always joining or leaving the Internet.
    It's possible for parts of the Internet to go offline. In fact, this happens all the time. Whether it's a particular server that crashes and needs to be rebooted or replaced or a cable under the ocean gets snagged by an anchor, there are events that can disrupt Internet service. But the effects tend to be isolated and temporary.
    While there is such a thing as the Internet backbone -- a collection of cables and servers that carry the bulk of data across various networks -- it's not centralized. There's no plug you could pull out from a socket or a cable you could cut that would cripple the Internet. For the Internet to experience a global collapse, either the protocols that allow machines to communicate would have to stop working for some reason or the infrastructure itself would have to suffer massive damage.
    Since the protocols aren't likely to stop working spontaneously, we can rule out that eventuality. As for the massive damage scenario -- that could happen. An asteroid or comet could collide with the Earth with enough force to destroy a significant portion of the Internet's infrastructure. Overwhelming gamma radiation or electromagnetic fluctuations coming from the sun might also do the trick. But in those scenarios, the Earth itself would become a lifeless hulk. At that stage it hardly matters whether or not you can log in to MySpace.
    The positive way to look at this is to realize that the men and women who helped design the Internet created an amazing tool that's remarkably stable. Even when sections of the Internet have a technical hiccup, the rest carries on with business as usual. While the collapse of the Internet would be a catastrophic event, it's not one you need to worry about.
     
  7. Gaijin

    Gaijin JF-Expert Member

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    too many words ...........
     
  8. MziziMkavu

    MziziMkavu JF-Expert Member

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    How many of you know how the internet actually works? Here's a question for you: Why is it called the World Wide Web ? Another question: What was the original function of the Internet?

    Last question first. The internet was created to maintain communications in the event of a full-scale nuclear war! You think some terrorists are going to take it out?

    Second question next. It is called the world wide WEB because, when you draw out how it ACTUALLY connects, it looks like a giant spider web that covers the entire earth.

    Here's how the internet actually works (greatly, greatly simplified). Lets say you have city A. City A is in the middle of an area with 4 other cities. Let's call them N, E, W, and S. (each letter representing the direction from city A, of course). City A connects to EACH of those cities. Now, each of those cities also connects to ALL the other cities. DRAW IT OUT ON PAPER TO VISUALIZE IT PROPERLY. What happens when the line between City A, and City N gets cut? Internet traffic AUTOMATICALLY REROUTES THROUGH CITIES E, W, and S TO GET TO CITY N. (Which way it routes depends on the routing protocol). To isolate city A, you would have to either destroy all 5 cities, or sever all 5 connections (again, greatly simplified). If you have drawn it out, you see how complex it is with just 5 cities. Now imagine THOUSANDS of cities.

    *IF* the network is provisioned right, you may see a drop in performance, but not an outage. A PROPERLY SET UP INTERNET SERVICE WILL ALWAYS HAVE AT LEAST TWO BACKBONE PROVIDERS. THOSE BACKBONES WILL PHYSICALLY ROUTE TO TWO DIFFERENT PLACES. If the primary link should go down, traffic is automatically routed through the backup link. Sometimes, they just load-balance, and use both connections simultaneously, with one connection taking up all the traffic, if the other should fail.

    Are you beginning to see how "terrorists" could never even have a hope of partially taking down the internet? A single internet provider can go down (meaning that potentially tens of thousands of customers can't get onto the internet), but other providers will stay up.

    There are several ways I can envision the internet "collapsing". Almost all of them have to do with intentional collapse from government instructions to do so (whether "shadow government" or not). The other would involve hundreds of thousands, possibly tens of millions, of people not noticing a problem for more than 48 hours before the internet would collapse (Do you see the almost impossible probability of that happening?)

    If the internet "collapses", there is a VERY GREAT PROBABILITY it has "collapsed" due to collusion in the government and/or private sector. Don't believe otherwise.
     
  9. pmwasyoke

    pmwasyoke JF-Expert Member

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    Kale kabiashara kangu tarajiwa ka internet cafe ninakopanga ili kanisaidie nitakapostaafu katakuwaje iwapo ndoto yako itatimia? usitupe wenzio presha bwana
     
  10. Kimbweka

    Kimbweka JF-Expert Member

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    nafahamu watanzania wengi wavivu wa kusoma! Haya kalale upumzike
     
  11. Kimbweka

    Kimbweka JF-Expert Member

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    Usiogope Mukubwa mpaka tufike huko ushapata faida sana endelea na biashara yako
     
  12. Gaijin

    Gaijin JF-Expert Member

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    maneno yako yanaweza kuwa yana ukweli ndani yake .................lakini hayamaanishi kuwa kama mtu si mvivu wa kusoma ndio asome kila utakachopewa na every tom and bob in this world.

    kuna crap nyengine ukisoma (not necessarily this one) utaondoshwa kwenye kundi la 'wavivu wa kusoma' na kuingizwa kwenye kundi la 'waharibifu wa muda'.

    hii post yako kwa leo kwangu imeangukia kwenye uharibifu wa muda zaidi ya uvivu wa kusoma ..................but u r welcome to think otherwise.
     
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