The Internet is not so rubust

From Wired | Mother Earth Mother Board

Netheads have heard so much puffery about the robust nature of the Internet and its amazing ability to route around obstacles that they frequently have a grossly inflated conception of how many routes packets can take between continents and how much bandwidth those routes can carry. As of this writing, I have learned that nearly the entire state of Minnesota was recently cut off from the Internet for 13 hours because it had only one primary connection to the global Net, and that link went down. If Minnesota, of all places, is so vulnerable, one can imagine how tenuous many international links must be.

Douglas Barnes, an Oakland-based hacker and cypherpunk, looked into this issue a couple of years ago when, inspired by Bruce Sterling’s Islands in the Net, he was doing background research on a project to set up a data haven in the Caribbean. “I found out that the idea of the Internet as a highly distributed, redundant global communications system is a myth,” he discovered. “Virtually all communications between countries take place through a very small number of bottlenecks, and the available bandwidth simply isn’t that great.” And he cautions: “Even outfits like FLAG don’t really grok the Internet. The undersized cables they are running reflect their myopic outlook.”

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