New video released showing when the internet ‘goes to sleep’

20 Oct 2014

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A new video collating millions of the internet’s IP addresses has shown that for the vast majority of the world, the internet does indeed sleep, but not so much in North America and Western Europe.

To analyse over 4bn unique IP addresses, the researchers at the USC Viterbi School of Engineering's Information Sciences Institute in California brought in, worrying to some no-doubt, the help of the Department of Homeland Security.

By pinging over 3.7m IP address blocks, representing approximately just over 1bn IP addresses, the team led by John Heidemann were able to create a reasonably accurate picture of how the internet operates as the Earth goes through its day and night cycle.

The team measured the number of IP addresses across these blocks every 11 minutes across a two month period to see whether they were on or off.

Perhaps most interestingly is the fact that in North America and Western Europe, the public’s access to always-on broadband makes it look like the internet never sleeps, however this is far from the case.

Across Asia, South America and Eastern Europe, the number of internet connections fluctuate significantly depending on what time of day it is.

While this might not seem surprising, the data obtained from the report show the current spread of broadband worldwide and according to the research team, will allow researchers to better track internet outages worldwide so as not to confuse it with a period of sleep.

Man asleep at computer image via Shutterstock

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Colm Gorey is a journalist with Siliconrepublic.com

editorial@siliconrepublic.com