WSJ: Experts Worry That Internet Outgrowing Its Gear

Thursday, 14 Aug 2014 07:58 AM

By Elliot Jager

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Some users around the world experienced slow connectivity, instability, and sluggishness on the Internet Tuesday — a possible sign that the web is outgrowing its gear.

The Internet's routers that stream online data may be overloading as the quantity of routers hits just 512,000 total world-wide, The Wall Street Journal reported.

The Internet depends on the Domain Name System and the global routing table. The first directs packets of information toward their destination. The second tells them how to reach their target. A breakdown in either system results in some Internet addresses being cut off from the Web, according to the Journal.

The possibility that the Internet is outgrowing its routers — with machines straining to hold their data — is now a major topic among network engineers.

The half-million world-wide Internet routers are usually abbreviated as 512K.

Routers from Cisco Systems will need to be modified to take on additional data. Adding routers provides the needed memory, but some web firms have to reconfigure the devices individually.

On Tuesday, this work may have resulted in some websites going offline. Other sites could yet be affected in the coming days.

The most popular routing system called IPv4 is also running out of available addresses. A new version IPv6 which has greater capacity has been slow to catch on.

Even as greater router capacity comes on stream, allowing engineers to operate beyond the 512K mark, the Web's accelerated growth rate means that even 1 million Internet routers may be insufficient, the Journal reported.

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