Internet Problems


So, you might have experienced some traffic outages or you couldn’t get to google, yahoo, microsoft or apple yesterday. As this: arstechnica article explains it was down to Akamai having an outage with their DNS servers, and they provide the DNS for those and other sites as they are mean’t to be highly reliable.

Apart from the good side effect that they mean that you might actually get on with something more productive instead of wasting countless hours on the web it just shows how fragile the DNS system and parts of the internet could be. Thinking about it, most links now are quite fragile be it, your local hardware (computer, router, cabling), your power source and/or others, you ADSL connection and dialup-backup, your providers links and routes out into the internet, there equipment, their peering arrangements, routing protocols, DNS protocols, DNS caching and the list keeps going on.

The original DARPA project is but a distant memory for a few and for the masses just another part of techie history, but I would have thought that the legacy of redundancy it provided would have lived on but this isn’t the case. I can’t say I expect the local end of the loop to be redundent but I would have thought DNS and other services would keep on following.

DNS is now needed for large parts of internet traffic to flow correctly, from your email though to getting in touch of various servers it is all reliant on this strange system (even for someone that has read several books on the subject, reads the Bind list and runs a small DNS server it is strange), true IP addresses and IPv6 are nasty to look at and remember but they are the most fool proof solution we have at the moment. We will have to wait until a much bigger outage until something major happens to resolve these issues.

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