MoonDawg's Den: What the Net can bear...

MoonDawg's Den

Friday, June 30, 2006

What the Net can bear...

This week Computerworld catches on to a story I blogged about way back in April, regarding a bird flu pandemic simulation conducted at this year's World Economic Forum in Switzerland - well, better late than never, I suppose. The simulation predicted that an overloaded Internet would shut down within days of the outbreak of a pandemic, thus eliminating telecommuting as an option for companies that intend to implement social distancing measures in response to a mass outbreak of the virus.

However the Computerworld article does provide some more good background info, and indicates that during a global outbreak of avian flu, the Net might hold up better than was predicted in the simulation:
"We don't believe that the Internet will be compromised within a matter of hours or days," said Brent Woodworth, worldwide manager for IBM's Crisis Response Team, which does consulting on disaster preparedness. "Most Internet traffic is reroutable, and as different areas are affected at different rates by a pandemic, the networks could anticipate increased traffic and adjust accordingly -- with the caveat that critical components will be maintained."
I hope Woodworth is right - many firms, including my own, rely on the Internet to serve our customers as well as conduct internal company functions. With the limits on movement that could be imposed by the government in response to a bird flu crisis, telecommuting via the Internet may be the only way many businesses can continue to maintain near-normal operations.

Without telecommuting a lot of companies would fail during a pandemic emergency, which could last weeks or even months. Hopefully we'll never have to find out just what the Net can bear...


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