Net not affected

Posted on Aug 16, 2003

Write Robert MacMillan of the Washington Post, “no refrigeration, no subways, no smooth traffic flow, no air conditioning—well, at least the Internet worked.

So did the phones, at least in theory. That was the big message in the tech media’s coverage of the mega-blackout that took down the power grid serving much of the northeast United States and southern Canada yesterday.”

Internet 1, Blackout 0

No refrigeration, no subways, no smooth traffic flow, no air conditioning—well, at least the Internet worked.

So did the phones, at least in theory. That was the big message in the tech media’s coverage of the mega-blackout that took down the power grid serving much of the northeast United States and southern Canada yesterday.

Oh, and the FBI said the Blaster worm had nothing to do with it.

The largest blackout in U.S. history did not affect Internet service because the data networks are “redundant, robust” and all those other cliches that tech companies typically apply to their networks, the BBC reported.

“California-based Keynote Systems, which monitors average traffic times across the net’s backbones, said it saw no appreciable slowdown of traffic when the power cut hit,” the BBC continued. “‘As is true of the telephone system, the internet and major websites have been engineered with redundancy and backup power systems to withstand power outages,’ said Eric Siegel, a spokesman for Keynote. ‘As long as there isn’t major physical damage,’ he said, ‘such as that caused by the July 2001 Baltimore tunnel fire, or major congestion, such as that caused by the SQL Slammer worm in January 2003, the internet and the web have enough redundancy and resilience to withstand most problems.’”

The BBC also cited AT&T spokesman Dave Johnson’s rosy comment: “There is no impact that we are aware of. All data switching centers and long-distance switching centers have large battery racks and diesel generators which automatically kick in whenever we have a power failure such as this.”

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