Japan's Internet infrastructure demonstrated surprising resilience in the face of the recent earthquake and tsunami, as most Web sites remain in operation and the Web is still accessible to support crucial communication functions, says Renesys' James Cowie.
About 100 of Japan's 6,000 network prefixes were removed from service immediately following the quake, only to start to reappear on global routing tables in a matter of hours. A similar recovery was seen in Web traffic to and from Japan, while traffic at Japan's JPNAP Layer 2 Internet exchange service seems to have slowed by only 10 percent since March 11.
Cowie says that one possible reason why Internet connectivity was less affected by the quake than other Japanese infrastructure is that undersea cables remained relatively intact, and the only noticeable breaks were in two segments of Pacnet's EAC submarine cable system, which caused blackouts in several Japanese, Filipino, and Hong Kong networks. Damage also appears to have occurred in sections of the Pacific Crossing submarine cabling system linking the United States to Asia.
Cowie says that Japan's attempts to construct a dense web of domestic and international Internet connectivity "may have allowed the Internet to do what it does best: Route around catastrophic damage and keep the packets flowing, despite terrible chaos and uncertainty."
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