How the internet is slowing down

Computers, Internet

Do you suffer from a slow internet connection? Well, it may get worse before it gets better.


The BBC is reporting that networking giant Cisco says that web browsing speeds could slow over the next week or so as old hardware is upgraded to handle the growth of the internet.

It says that the reason for this is that some older equipment has hit an upper memory limit in the number of routes it can use to send data around the world.

Cisco’s Omar Santos wrote in a blogpost that the problem has emerged as the number of connections between the different networks that make up the internet has continued to grow.

“Since the early 1990s, we’ve watched as the number of entries on the internet routing table has steadily grown,” he said.

“In 2008 the table reached 256,000 routes, triggering action by network administrators to ensure the continued growth of the internet. Today we know that another significant milestone has been reached, as we officially passed the 512,000 or 512k route mark.

“Our industry has known this milestone was approaching for some time. In fact it was as recently as May 2014 that we provided our customers with a reminder of the milestone, the implications for some Cisco products, and advice on appropriate workarounds.”

The so-called “512k bug” bit this week, according to several reports.

The BBC quoted hosting firm LiquidWeb as blaming the 512K bug for service disruption that hit it on Tuesday and said it was also thought to be instrumental in causing problems for eBay, Comcast and Time-Warner.

But The Guardian quoted James Blessing, chairman of the UK’s Internet Service Providers Association, as saying it was nothing but a “glitch”.

“In the grand scheme of things, it’s tiny. It’s a glitch, glitches happen,” he said.

“If someone at an ISP hasn’t noticed it by now, it’s too late as the default table is over 512,000, so nothing that had this problem is now connected to the internet and working,” he said.

“We’ve had the glitch and nothing further will happen now concerning the 512,000 bug.”

Let’s hope that if this actually is a major problem, and not just a glitch, it’s sorted soon – the cats of the internet are relying on us.

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