In November, many of us in the United States think about the Internet in terms of having to fix the connectivity problems at a relative’s house while visiting them for Thanksgiving, or using it to escape from those same relatives for a few minutes by browsing social media or watching a video. However, across the rest of the world, the connectivity problems seen in November weren’t the kind a quick router reboot would solve. Blackouts caused Internet disruptions in Curaçao and Venezuela, fiber/cable issues caused problems in Haiti, Venezuela, Liberia, Sierra Leone, and the Gambia, and routing issues disrupted connectivity in Indonesia and Ecuador. However, the most significant Internet disruptions in November were week-long government directed shutdowns in Iraq and Iran.Continue reading →
The August 1994 issue of WIRED Magazine hardly hinted at the coming ubiquity of the Internet, featuring articles on CD-ROM games and reviews of the Apple Newton. Commercial Internet services were very much in their infancy at the time, with the issue containing just a few advertisements for nascent Internet Service Providers, such as the one shown below. Twenty-five years ago, Internet disruptions were more likely to be caused by overloaded modem banks or congestion at one of the few peering points available at the time.
Today, Internet connectivity is significantly more ubiquitous, faster and less expensive (in most places), and generally reliable. With increased Internet availability and usage, however, disruptions become more noticeable, and impact a significantly larger population of users. In August, we observed Internet disruptions around the world due to power outages, national exams, and network issues. Several government-directed disruptions were widely reported as well, but were not easily observable in monitoring tools.Continue reading →