Surge in internet traffic sparks blackout fears

Fresh statistics published by the Office for National Statistics, which reveal the true impact of the internet on our lives – has sparked blackout fears from analysts who fret that our infrastructure simply cannot cope with demand.

The survey found that 36m UK adults (73 per cent of the population) now log on to the web each and every day, an increase of 20m since 2006 although 4m households (17 per cent) still have no access at all. Furthermore 72 per cent of adults went on to purchase goods or services online, a huge jump from the mere 58 per cent who did so in 2008

This growth prompted Simon Pamplin, director Systems Engineering, WEST EMEA at Brocade to comment: “This upward trend in internet adoption needs to spark further discussion around how traffic can smoothly run across the internet uninterrupted. It is the frequency of use and addition of multiple devices connecting to the internet that will drive up the frequency of internet outages.

“We live in an ‘always on’ world and soon everything will be connected. Your house, your car, your fridge - the list of connected devices is endless. This is putting more and more pressure on the underlying infrastructure that supports the ISPs who provide internet access. It is the fact that this infrastructure was designed in a world when the mobile phone was the size of a suitcase, which is causing problems.”

Venturing his own solution to this pronlem Pamplin added: “It is the ever increasing combination of devices, people, councils, hospitals and businesses that are all connecting to the internet and exchanging information, which is creating an unimaginable complexity for 20-year-old technology. The signalling on the internet was designed like the M1, where traffic runs north to south and accidents cause mass delays as traffic is halted and rerouted. A new approach where all roads are intertwined and the traffic interchange resembles that of a "Spaghetti Junction", will help ISPs side step traffic collisions. This more intelligent way of automatically routing traffic around any point of failure is the only way to avoid an escalation in internet outages.”

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