Blackberry outage highlights need for network diversity

Submitted by acohill on Thu, 12/24/2009 - 10:03

The recent outage that took down the RIM Blackberry network highlights the need for network diversity. The Internet has, in part, been such a fantastic success because there is no central controlling authority. In fact, there really is no "Internet." It just does not exist. What exists are hundreds of thousands of individual, physically separate networks that use a common set of protocols (rules) to exchange information like email, Web pages, and YouTube videos, among other types of information.

Any one of these networks can down without affecting any other network. Many of these networks can down without affecting the rest of the Internet. But it is even better than that. If major chunks of the Internet (i.e. individual networks) go down, these Internet protocols (rules) allow routing around the damage and most users on all those other networks do not even realize some portion of the Internet is temporarily down.

The Internet just works. To keep it working, we need more independent networks, not fewer, larger networks. We need private sector networks. We need community-owned networks. We need neighborhood networks. More networks, more independent networks equals more reliability, more competition, more choice, more robustness.

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