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Slow crash -> internet fail -> fast crash?
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UndercoverElephant



Joined: 10 Mar 2008
Posts: 8991
Location: south east England

PostPosted: Fri May 25, 2018 12:56 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

adam2 wrote:
Little John wrote:
logisitcs


Indeed, I suspect that most members of these forums are able to survive as individuals without the internet for some time, probably indefinitely.

The problem is the effect on wider society, upon which we are all reliant though to varying degrees.
No internet means almost no food in the shops ! the vast majority of food is purchased from major supermarkets, and replenishment is largely automatic and internet based. Small shops tend to order on-line but manually.
Farm shops and the like might be OK at least initially, but how much food is available thus ?

No internet would severely impact food production after a while. How do farmers obtain seeds, spare parts for machines, and agro chemicals, almost certainly on line. Smaller farms may purchase these items locally for cash, but from distributors who rely on the internet.

Electricity supply would be seriously affected, a lot of plant is remotely controlled via the internet. Fuel is paid for on line.

Most large organisations would be thrown into chaos. How would staff even know what their hours of duty are ? (staff rota planning outsourced to Bombay and emailed) How would they be paid ? (payroll and bank transfers also outsourced, but to Delhi)

Most of us could survive this sort of thing for a while, but for how long ?


Indeed. The problem is the massive and ever-increasing dependency of the modern world on the internet, for almost everything. It is just assumed that it will always be there, and though only 20 years there were systems still in place for managing perfectly well without it, the world is now adapting to an internet-based system, and simply going back to the old ways is not something that can be easily achieved.

And that's before we consider the impact the sudden disappearance of social media would have. Who wants to depend on old-style mainstream media for their information about what is actually happening in the world? It's our primary means of protecting ourselves from the worst excesses of mis-governance and corruption.
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Lurkalot



Joined: 08 Mar 2014
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PostPosted: Fri May 25, 2018 1:52 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'd agree with what has been said about the effects but would like to ask what people think is a likely cause for an outage of the internet? Very large solar flare perhaps or a direct attack? I'm not entirely convinced that a terrorist or rogue nation would simply try to shut it down , I would have thought more havoc could be caused by using the internet to take control of certain areas and to use it to spread disinformation or propaganda.
As I understand the internet was initially conceived as a way for the military to remain operative in the event of a war . Does their use or access have any more resilience that the majority perhaps don't enjoy?
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UndercoverElephant



Joined: 10 Mar 2008
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PostPosted: Fri May 25, 2018 8:09 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Lurkalot wrote:
I'd agree with what has been said about the effects but would like to ask what people think is a likely cause for an outage of the internet? Very large solar flare perhaps or a direct attack? I'm not entirely convinced that a terrorist or rogue nation would simply try to shut it down , I would have thought more havoc could be caused by using the internet to take control of certain areas and to use it to spread disinformation or propaganda.
As I understand the internet was initially conceived as a way for the military to remain operative in the event of a war . Does their use or access have any more resilience that the majority perhaps don't enjoy?


CLV has offered an answer to that above, although I am sure there are others.

My original point though, was that if there is a slow crash then sooner or later something will cause a critical failure of the internet, because when the slow crash is finished, there will surely be no internet.

CLV suggests electrical supply, and he may well be right. Another possible answer is a cascade failure of communications satellites or deliberate sabotage of key infrastructure or communications routes/systems as and act of either war or terrorism. The very face that the military depends on it makes it a military target.
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adam2
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PostPosted: Sat May 26, 2018 10:45 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Lurkalot wrote:
I'd agree with what has been said about the effects but would like to ask what people think is a likely cause for an outage of the internet? Very large solar flare perhaps or a direct attack? I'm not entirely convinced that a terrorist or rogue nation would simply try to shut it down , I would have thought more havoc could be caused by using the internet to take control of certain areas and to use it to spread disinformation or propaganda.
As I understand the internet was initially conceived as a way for the military to remain operative in the event of a war . Does their use or access have any more resilience that the majority perhaps don't enjoy?


I do not think that a widespread or prolonged internet outage is that likely, except as part of a general end of the world scenario.
The internet is designed with a good degree of resilience against faults and failures, including malicious attacks.
Areas of the country, or entire smaller nations, can be largely cut off from the internet by simply cutting the cables.
This however would not prevent access to internet sites WITHIN the area cut off, only to those elsewhere.
Large numbers of internet sites may be closed down by simply blowing up the building in which the servers are located, important sites should have a backup some distance away, preferably on another continent.

It is still well to be aware of the possibility of significant internet outages, even if this be considered a relatively unlikely event.
Stocks of food, water, fuel, clothing, footwear, blankets, and defensive equipment are prudent for emergencies in general.
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Lurkalot



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PostPosted: Mon May 28, 2018 8:45 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'd agree with your original point and had noted CLV's point of the electric supply although it seems a little chicken and egg type of thing , which fails first . The shortage of generating capacity and the possibility off black outs or brownouts has been discussed and wonder how high powering the internet is on a list of priorities? Would periodic blackouts of the net cause people to look for alternatives if they started to see it as unreliable and the net too became part of the slow Crash?Also I wonder if it's possible to "turn off" sections of the net that are seen as less important , porn for instance , to ensure that the more vital portions continue to function. Forgive my ignorance on that , I use it but frankly I'm not totally sure just how it works.
On your point of having a decent library of physical paper books I'd agree too , I have books that would be useful post internet although a visit to our local library was interesting. I went with my daughter a little while ago , she's at secondary school and looking round the content of the library does seem bias towards school kids as they seem to be the sector that tends to go for the non fiction books .
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UndercoverElephant



Joined: 10 Mar 2008
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PostPosted: Mon May 28, 2018 10:47 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Lurkalot wrote:
Would periodic blackouts of the net cause people to look for alternatives if they started to see it as unreliable and the net too became part of the slow Crash?


That is an interesting question. I guess there's two options - either a catastrophic failure that few people saw coming (as would happen if there was a cascade failure of comms satellites), or an extended period of decreasing reliability, which could also also involve increasing costs for those who want to pay for a more reliable service, meaning those with less money have to start looking for alternatives.

Although in some respects, there aren't any alternatives. There's no real alternative to the internet for social media and non-MSM news sources.

But I think the answer is probably that it is most likely that the failure of the internet will itself follow the slow crash --> fast crash pattern. First it will become less reliable, and eventually it will start failing on a more widespread and permanent basis.

Quote:

Also I wonder if it's possible to "turn off" sections of the net that are seen as less important , porn for instance , to ensure that the more vital portions continue to function. Forgive my ignorance on that , I use it but frankly I'm not totally sure just how it works.


It would very difficult to enforce that. The powers that be would dearly like to "turn off" torrenting / file-sharing usage of the internet, but as soon as they try a new tactic for making this happen, a community of "hackers" out there competes to come up with the method of working around it. If past experience is anything to go by, the hackers usually win.
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adam2
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PostPosted: Mon May 28, 2018 10:49 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I do not feel that TPTB can allocate any particularly high or low priority to "powering the internet"
Most internet sites are hosted on servers in large "server farms" these cant be given lower or higher priority than any other consumer, they are liable to accidental breakdowns or planned interruptions just like any other consumer.
Most server farms are equipped with UPS systems and standby generators, some of which work.
Important websites are normally hosted in at least two different locations.

The end user of the internet, such as members of these forums, are reliant on an electricity supply for a PC or for charging a mobile device. A laptop with a decent battery, or a UPS for a desktop PC, or a smart phone are useful for power cuts, or of course one can simply wait for the power to come back on.

The distribution of the internet data does of course require electricity at telephone exchanges, cellphone towers, and street side cabinets.
Such facilities are equipped with backup power, which USUALLY works.
And even it is does not work, internet service might be available via a different route.

Rota power cuts will no doubt cause a certain amount of disruption, but are unlikely to be serious.
Suppose for example that a major supermarket automatically re-orders at 15-00, but that the power is off until 18-00. The orders can be sent when the power comes back on.
This might mean that an order deadline of say 17-00 has been missed, and that delivery is delayed by a day.
Hardly TEOTWAWKI, but could result in local shortages as "just in time" becomes "the day after just in time"

And if it happened regularly, businesses would adjust. In this particular case, the supermarket might re-order an hour earlier, or the supplier might work a little later and dispatch orders an hour or two after the normal deadline.
"Brown outs" I.E. voltage reductions should have no effect whatsoever.
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fuzzy



Joined: 29 Nov 2013
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PostPosted: Mon May 28, 2018 3:02 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I would be more worried about the dismantling of internet traffic neutrality. It is very simple technically to regulate flow rates and the money grubbers want it. If you think of what has happened to domestic TV since 4 channels became 5 etc. it's pretty easy to see what will happen when sky, the bbc or gods messenger own web access.
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adam2
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PostPosted: Sun Nov 04, 2018 2:20 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I recently visited a beach in the West of the UK and was somewhat concerned to observe that recent storms had exposed the shore portions of a couple of submarine cables, that I presume carry international internet data.

It would be very simple to destroy these cables and thereby greatly disrupt internet traffic.

I do not feel it helpful to publish the location, but it is open to the public and not guarded or protected in any way.
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Potemkin Villager



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PostPosted: Sun Nov 04, 2018 4:38 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

This could be categorized as a difficult to anticipate outcome of climate change!
I wonder how many more there are?
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adam2
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PostPosted: Sun Nov 04, 2018 11:30 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Indeed.
There are many international telephone and data cables, all of which come ashore somewhere.
The ones on the south coast that go to mainland Europe are less of a concern than the transatlantic cables.

The cross channel data cables are somewhat vulnerable to accidents but are relatively cheap and simple to replace.

Longer distance routes are of greater concern.
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vtsnowedin



Joined: 07 Jan 2011
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PostPosted: Mon Nov 05, 2018 3:05 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'm surprised that anyone still uses the 1865 technology of a trans Atlantic cable considering it was rendered obsolete by the 1965 Telstar 1 and all the satellites that followed.
I remember visiting and walking around the antenna at Andover Maine under it's dome held up by air pressure. You had to go through an air lock to enter the dome and the old style phone booths at the ninety degree points told you where you were as everything else was the same. We got the tour because my step grandfather was a retired AT&T phone worker.
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adam2
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PostPosted: Mon Nov 05, 2018 4:30 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

The vast majority of long distance telephone and internet traffic is still carried by cable and not by satellite.
Satellite communication is useful in remote locations but is not used for bulk data between developed nations.


Satellites do not have the bandwidth required for todays data rates, and also suffer from latency, which is the speed of light delay caused by the much longer signal path up to geosynchronous orbit and back.

From the USA to the UK by satellite is well over 60,000 miles, by cable it is only a few 1,000. The resultant latency in a satellite connection is just detectable to the human senses if a phone call is routed by satellite rather than by cable. It would be hopeless for high speed real time internet traffic.

The cables are generally fibre optic, not copper.
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fuzzy



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PostPosted: Mon Nov 05, 2018 7:19 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

https://submarine-cable-map-2017.telegeography.com/
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vtsnowedin



Joined: 07 Jan 2011
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PostPosted: Mon Nov 05, 2018 12:58 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I was not considering the 325ms time delay. Embarassed
I had a classmate that took a job in the eighties researching ways to tap into a fiber optic cable and reading the data without disrupting the signal which would give the tap away. One of those" figure it out before the Russian's do" sort of things. The results of his research have always been way above my pay grade.
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