1. Tall and Weird
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    Tall and Weird New Member

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    How many computers would have to die?

    Discussion in 'The Lounge' started by Tall and Weird, May 26, 2009.

    I wasn't sure if this topic should be in the Research section since I am only posting it because I had a flash of thought while reading a thread about Post Apocalyptical stories and someone said they'd raid an Alenware stockist.

    So my question is this:

    How many computers would need to fall off the line before the Internet fell apart?
     
  2. lordofhats
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    lordofhats Contributing Member

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    None. The Internet would fall apart simply if there was too much traffic and not enough bandwidth for all of it! Ironically this is a current threat to the internet as not much has been invested in maintaining its infrastructure despite rising usage. In short: Too many cars on a highway thats way to narrow.

    There are many other ways the Internet could "fall" (fall is a bit ambiguous a term in relation to the internet). Heres a few examples of things that can cause trouble with accessing the net:

    Real life example: Pakistan attempted to block all access to youtube from within it's borders, and incidentally cut off internet access to half of southeast asia! The internet technically worked fine, but some bad code really screwed up the network's accessibility. Something similar happened in China awhile back but they were blocking Facebook I think.

    Server crashes are relatively common, but it would take a lot of crashing to actually hurt the internets ability to function (this wouldn't actually be a crash in the internet. The net would work fine, it would merely mean that there would be no data on the net if all the servers crashed). That would of course depend on if you view the internet as just the connection between the servers or if you view it as the interaction between multiple computers. I think of it simple as the network that connects everything together.

    Malware can have some pretty nasty effects based on what their designed to do. There's actually probably an infinite number of ways it can happen. I've seen computers do some crazy stuff XD.
     
  3. M9A8E6S4TO
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    M9A8E6S4TO Senior Member

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    The servers would have to die.
     
  4. Wreybies
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    Wreybies The Ops Pops Operations Manager Staff Contest Administrator Supporter Contributor

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    So, given that increase in complexity and increase in delicacy tend to go hand in hand... how many complex systems need to go down before...

    "Who runs Barter Town? The best legs in the industry. That's who!"
    [​IMG]
     
  5. lordofhats
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    lordofhats Contributing Member

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    Doesn't work that way. The Internet is nothing more than a bunch of cables and wires and fiber-optics. Server systems go down all the time but they won't crash the net simply by going offline. Every server in the world could shut down but the networks still fine, there's just nothing on it so web browsers would return constant "Could not Connection to Server" messages. It also depends on how networks are set up. Most corporations and government offices have their own networks and simply connect to the net. If the net servers fell, their networks would be fine unless whatever the problem was spread. And even then, that's just a pain, cause a hard reset can solve many problems. What a hard reset can't do, a few hours reloading the OS can XD.

    It's not a domino effect, data on the net isn't that interconnected. One server going down isn't going to hurt those that don't need any of their data on it. Now of course, there are exchange point that serve as go between for different sections of the net (The ISP's). Those go down and you could lose internet connection to a large number of people. But again, they could all crash and all it would do is cut the net up into the individual areas (I could only access servers that I have a local area connection to, which might as well cut me off from most of the sites I actually use unless I live in the same region the server they are one is located at). Most of the exchange points though are just a massive bundle of routers/network switches, and as long as they have electricity they don't really crash because they're not the same as servers. They don't really have memory and what not. They're just circuit boards.

    To tell the truth, I doubt the internet crashing would really end the world. Most vital infrastructures have independent networks, or networks that simply have an internet connection :p. The net crashing would be bad but it is not really all that apocalyptic. It would just suck for those of us who use it XD. It's just not that integrated into the vitals of the modern world. All that would really happen is I can't go to youtube, and President Obama needs to make a phone call to the Treasury Department rather than exchanging emails XD.

    The Internet actually isn't very complex in terms of computer systems. Its surprisingly simple. I would say the most likely reason for a net crash would be some sort of malware that screws with packet switching protocol, or the aforementioned weakening of the net's infrastructure, which technically wouldn't break, just slow to a grinding halt with too many people trying to access too much data. I doubt anyone would make malware to crash the net. I mean, computer criminals pretty much use it for everything, so why would they want to crash their cash cow?

    PS: LMAO :p. Thunderdome ftw.
     

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