As more countries enforce social distancing (and even quarantine), the internet will stay online during the Coronavirus pandemic. It was designed for just this type of situation (well, nuclear war, but a catastrophe is a catastrophe). The internet got its start in the US more than 50 years ago as a government solution to problems likely in the Cold War -- Arpanet was designed to resist destruction of nodes. For years, scientists and researchers used it to communicate and share data with one another.
The work-from-home model is set to strain the internet’s underlying infrastructure, with a burden likely to be particularly felt in the home networks that people have set up, and internet service providers such as Comcast, Charter and Verizon who connect those home networks.
During the Cold War there was constant fear of nuclear attack from the Soviet Union. A communications system for computers was envisioned, and universities took the lead. Today's Internet emerged from military technology. ARPANET, developed by the American military as a network of communication across the country on servers that were decentralized, as a way to safeguard against the possibility of a nuclear attack.
By decentralizing the network, if one server of computers went down, the others would still be able to function because they would be able to simply pick up the same information from another server. A communications system for computers was envisioned, and universities took the lead. Only a few computers were the first connected in the original ARPANET, located in the respective computer research labs of UCLA, Stanford, UC Santa Barbara, and the University of Utah. ARPANET protected the flow of information between military installations by creating a network of geographically separated computers that could exchange information via a newly developed protocol (rule for how computers interact) called NCP (Network Control Protocol).
Another area of concern: response to the Coronavirus exposes Internet inequality among U.S. students as schools close their doors, as millions of Americans lack web access. This digital divide causes problems for educators’ efforts to continue instruction during this health crisis.
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