Map of the internet could make it stronger
Internet cartographers have tried for years to chart its extent in the physical world, in order to manage traffic and assess weaknesses. Such vulnerability was shown on 27 March, when three scuba divers were arrested for trying to cut an undersea cable off the coast of Egypt, where several critical cables come together in one of the internet's "choke points". And last year, superstorm Sandy's impact on internet connectivity in New York rippled all the way to Chile, Sweden and India.
Barford and Roughan head up two separate projects that are attempting to change that. Instead of relying on sniffers, they are scouring ISP databases to find published information about local networks, and piecing these together into a global map. Roughan's Internet Topology Zoo is a growing collection of maps of individual networks. Barford's Internet Atlas expands on this, adding crucial buildings and links between networks to flesh out the map. So far the Internet Atlas, perhaps the most comprehensive map of the physical internet, maps 10,000 such structures and 13,000 connections. Barford presented the work at the University of Cambridge on 28 March.