Sunday, March 15, 2020

Will the Internet Survive the Pandemic?

Tampa Bay, Fl 
Opinion by: E. Eugene Webb PhD
Author: In Search of Robin, So You Want to Blog.

UPDATE 2/24/20

 As public schools k-12 move to on line learning, the internet will be taxed as never before. Also, the infrastructure at local schools to deliver adequate bandwidth may be limited.

See from Brookings, by Lara Fisbane and Adie Tomer:  As classes move on line during COVID-19 what are disconnected students to do.

From One School House, COVID-19 School Community Resources.

Here are some suggestions if your home internet service is running slow:
1. Go to your Google account open settings in the upper right hand corner, go to advanced settings Privacy and Security and select Clear Browsing History.

2. Reboot your internet modem/gateway. This is the box the cable company installed for internet service.There may be a power on/off button on the device, if so turn it off for a few seconds and then back on. If not simply unplug it, wait a few seconds and plug it back in.

3. If you are using WIFI to connect your computer to the internet, on the back of the internet modem or gateway there are network ports. There is also a NETWORK PORT on your computer. if you can connect your computer directly to one of these ports, network access speed should improve. If you need a long cable, Best Buy, Home Depot and Loews have them.

4. Open your Trash Folder in Windows and delete all the content.

5. Check for the most recent Windows up Dates.

6. Check your Windows Download Folder and delete any downloads you are not using.

7. Check to see if there are any Apps running in the background, if so shut them off.

8. Log out of social media sites while doing online school work.

9.  Do not stream music or video while taking on line classes.

10. Apple users should clear browser history and close  Apps that run in the background. If you don't know how to do this, Google it for detailed instructions.

For decades, the Internet has been our servant and friend. Revolutionizing everything from entertainment and information to warfare, it has been capable and reliable.
The Internet got us through 911, and an almost uncountable number of disasters and storms. 

For detailed history of the Internet check out Wikipedia’s History of the Internet here is a brief except:
Computer science was an emerging discipline in the late 1950s that began to consider time-sharing between computer users and, later, the possibility of achieving this over wide area networks. Independently, Paul Baran proposed a distributed network based on data in message blocks in the early 1960s and Donald Davies conceived of packet switching in 1965 at the National Physics Laboratory (NPL) in the UK, which became a testbed for research for two decades.[5][6] The U.S. Department of Defense awarded contracts in 1969 for the development of the ARPANET project, directed by Robert Taylor and managed by Lawrence Roberts. ARPANET adopted the packet switching technology proposed by Davies and Baran,[7] underpinned by mathematical work in the early 1970s by Leonard Kleinrock. The network was built by Bolt, Beranek, and Newman.
Here is a snapshot of the Internet.
Since inception and wide dissemination, the Internet as a data and information transport system has been called on to do many things.
Since inception of the Internet, the world has never seen an event like this COVID-19 pandemic. The Internet is being called upon to provide many of the solutions to containing and defeating against  this global threat.
The Internet is being asked to respond to a sudden and dramatic shift to on-line education, on-line and remote working, massive data sharing and a global financial system that is starting to crumble.
As the Pandemic rolls along and the data and information load on the Internet increases, are local providers like cable systems and telephone companies capable of handling the load and maintaining workable network speeds without data throttling?
Can regional networks and carriers sustain the network loading?
Do long haul terrestrial carriers and satellite link providers have the capacity to handle the sustained network traffic that the decisions of Government leaders and global health care experts will create?
It is one thing to shut down a school and say everyone goes online. It is entirely different to shut down large numbers of educational facilities from schools to colleges and send everyone to the Internet for their education. Same is true for the work force.
Up to this point, Internet growth has been steady and reasonably predictable. The question is will the Internet with its interconnected system of computers, and networks respond to a rapid rise in network activity?
Should some of the billions of dollars being authorized by Congress to fight the Corona virus be directed to network expansion and increased Internet capability?
If we are going to look to the Internet as a big part of the solution to this problem, there should be federal support to make sure it works.
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