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Tech Tuesday – The Internet Survives the Japanese Quake

Redundancy was built into the Internet from the start. It’s primary purpose was to survive a nuclear attack and keep information flowing. And is has done this many times during past disasters, and the Japanese earthquake is no exception. In fact, in a matter of a few hours it was back up to normal traffic levels.

Photo by German Aeorpace Center DLR/ZKI via Getty Images

While the area of Sendai in Northeastern Japan, most hit by the quake will be rebuilding for sometime, the information flowing on the internet will go around it, in most cases automatically. According to the Japan Internet Exchange, traffic dropped by 25 gigabits per second (That can fill your 160GB iPod Classic in about 3 minutes.). In the grand scheme of things, that’s not a big drop. And by the end of the day of the quake, traffic was back to normal, having been routed around the affected networks. Fiber cables that run along the sea floor, called the Pacific Connect, were affected in the quake, but it looks like that traffic for that has been routed around those connections as well.

What this all means, is that information is still flowing. And that the major connection hub for east Asia took a shot to the gut and walked it off. When you think about how much we rely on the Internet for so many things, it’s good to know that it works the way it was designed.

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