Digital Rich & Poor: Why internet goes to ‘sleep’ in Asia, Latin America, not in US?

While the internet is always up and running in the US and Europe, very often people in Asia, Latin America and Easter Europe suffer outages. The richer the country, the maximum is the usage of Internet and vice versa, says a new study.

It happens because internet goes to ‘sleep’ more like human or living creatures in those parts of the world, researchers have discovered in one of the first such study to explore how networking policies affect the network.

Researchers said, “The finding will help scientists and policymakers develop better systems to measure and track Internet outages, such as those that struck the New York area after Hurricane Sandy. Understanding how the Internet sleeps will help them avoid confusing a sleeping Internet with an Internet outage.

heidemann“The Internet is important in our lives and businesses, from streaming movies to buying online. Measuring network outages is a first step to improving Internet reliability,” said John Heidemann, research professor at the USC Viterbi School of Engineering’s Information Sciences Institute and the study’s corresponding author.

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While the Internet is always up and running for some — such as those with broadband access in the United States and Europe — in other areas, people’s access to the Internet varies over the course of the day, notably in Asia, South America and Eastern Europe.

Heidemann collaborated with USC’s Lin Quan and Yuri Pradkin on the study, which will be presented at the 2014 ACM Internet Measurements Conference on Nov.  5. The study also correlates countries with strong diurnal Internet access with lower Gross Domestic Product — meaning that the richer a country is, the more likely it is that the Internet will be up and running 24/7.

“This work is one of the first to explore how networking policies affect how the network is used,” Heidemann said. There are 4 billion IPv4 Internet addresses. Heidemann and his team pinged about 3.7 million address blocks (representing about 950 million addresses) every 11 minutes over the span of two months, looking for daily patterns.

“This data helps us establish a baseline for the Internet — to understand how it functions, so that we have a better idea of how resilient it is as a whole, and can spot problems quicker,” Heidemann said.

The team’s work is ongoing. “We have grown our coverage to 4 million blocks [more than 1 billion addresses] as Internet use grows,” said Heidemann, who hopes that long-term observations will help guide Internet operation.

The research was funded by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, Science and Technology Directorate; Homeland Security Advanced Research Projects Agency, cybersecurity division via the Air Force Research Laboratory Information Directorate, and Space and Naval Warfare Systems Command.

The team’s findings will be presented at the 2014 ACM Internet Measurements Conference in November in Vancouver, Canada.

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