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Fastly: Internet blackout warns of web fragility | Scientific and technological news

A huge global web blackout is still slightly shocking.

We expect websites like Twitch, Pinterest, Reddit, Spotify, and the UK government site,, to be there when we want them, so when they are suddenly unavailable, or even just a little slow, it’s outrageous.

In truth, what is scandalous is that these sites don’t go down more often. When you think about the issues they’re grappling with, it’s amazing that they exist, let alone the instantaneous way we take for granted.

Consider just one of these issues: the speed of light.

The Internet is built on a network of fiber optic cables that transmit information in the form of light pulses. They are amazingly fast, but they always have a limit, because nothing can ever travel faster than the speed of light.

This means that if you are in the UK and want to go to a website that stores their data in the US, it will take you a few extra milliseconds to get here, even if the fiber optic cable goes straight (and in practice, it never does).

Over time, this delay will slow things down, making it impossible to stream videos or music or even pay for a product online.

The solution to this problem is to create a local store of the data you want, so that you can access it without having to wait for it to travel from home.

Of course, that’s easier said than done, because the “you” in this case is every surfer in the world. This means having local stores, or “edge servers,” all over the world.

You might think this sounds incredibly difficult and complicated, and you would be right. But that’s how the modern web works, using a service …

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This notice was published: 2021-06-08 13:22:00

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