Thursday, 21 November 2013

Internet reliability

Does anyone actually live somewhere that the internet uptime and reliability is five nines? Have you ever worked in a place that blocked Facebook or IM or external email? Do you have the mobile bandwidth to watch a movie per day, or leave your music streaming constantly off WiFi? This is what I mean when I say that the internet is not reliable. It's always there, but if the electricity went out as often as, say, I can't get a website to load, we would consider it third-world standard. If I had to turn my home water supply off and on as often as my router, I'd be looking to move house. It's absurd to talk about the internet as a safe, stable, reliable platform, but that's the way we are using it. Yet every single week something goes wrong somewhere and renders it inoperable in some way.

Yes, it's more complicated than water or power or radio or TV, and yes, it involves a lot more different entities doing their jobs. It's frustrating when the network goes down, but my answer is not "fix my internet or else", it's to stop and rethink how the internet works. If your app depends on 100% internet uptime, it's going to fail for everyone at some time, and for some people most of the time. That looks bad for you. Make sure you don't assume 100% internet uptime when you write software.

Mokalus of Borg

PS - I guess it's a good thing the internet is mostly optional.
PPS - And for essential tasks, they're often not urgent.

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