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Your Internet is working

Washington Post – Thank these Cold War-era pioneers who designed it to handle almost anything – “Coronavirus knocked down — at least for a time — Internet pioneer Vinton Cerf, who offers this reflection on the experience: “I don’t recommend it … It’s very debilitating.” Cerf, 76 and now recovering in his Northern Virginia home, has better news to report about the computer network he and others spent much of their lives creating. Despite some problems, the Internet overall is handling unprecedented surges of demand as it keeps a fractured world connected at a time of global catastrophe. “This basic architecture is 50 years old, and everyone is online,” Cerf noted in a video interview over Google Hangouts, with a mix of triumph and wonder in his voice. “And the thing is not collapsing.”

The Internet, born as a Pentagon project during the chillier years of the Cold War, has taken such a central role in 21st Century civilian society, culture and business that few pause any longer to appreciate its wonders — except perhaps, as in the past few weeks, when it becomes even more central to our lives. Many facets of human life — work, school, banking, shopping, flirting, live music, government services, chats with friends, calls to aging parents — have moved online in this era of social distancing, all without breaking the network. It has groaned here and there, as anyone who has struggled through a glitchy video conference knows, but it has not failed. “Resiliency and redundancy are very much a part of the Internet design,” explained Cerf, whose passion for touting the wonders of computer networking prompted Google in 2005 to name him its “Chief Internet Evangelist,” a title he still holds…”

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