Sandy Bends, But Doesn’t Break the Internet

October 31st, 2012 by · Leave a Comment

Yesterday it was about what broke, today let it be about what didn't. When Sandy tore through the MidAtlantic as the largest such storm on record, it could have been much, much worse for fiber, copper, wireless, cloud, and content. 

With all the power outages, the only data centers we seem to have lost were the ones whose basements were filled by the storm surge in lower Manhattan and thus lost their backup generators. Of course, there were some hiccups elsewhere and we could still lose more if the diesel doesn't get delivered soon enough or the power feeds don't come back up. But by and large it's amazing just how much worked the way it was supposed to.

Backbone networks appeared to be largely unaffected. Diverse routing kicked in where needed, and carriers largely prepared this one away. Of course, everyone has a PoP or two in NYC under water are under water.  But hey, storm surges destroy everything.  Except, apparently, landing stations.  The various transatlantic cables that land on Long Island and the New Jersey coast seem to have weathered the storm without much fuss, at least that we know of yet.

On the wireless side, the media will focus on the fact that 1/4 of all towers across 10 states were knocked offline.  But hey, it was a hurricane and 3/4 of all towers stayed up despite the winds, and there is more coverage than there is non-coverage.

Cable networks did fine, so long as customers had the power to use them, and landlines have held up pretty well too. 911 service has been stretched of course, but it also has largely done what it is supposed to do.  The big problem really is the power infrastructure, which really got nailed.

So congrats to all the network engineers and field technicians and risk management guys and the rest out there in telecom and internet infrastructure.  Given the size of the storm and the overall devastation it caused, it's actually quite impressive how well the region's telecommunications infrastructure has held up.    Hopefully my house did as well.

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Categories: Cable · Fiber Networks · Wireless

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