Friday, April 29, 2011

Royal couple put the Net to the test

When I read predictions that the royal wedding of Prince William and his bride had the potential to bring the internet to its knees, I laughed.

Ever now and then you read similar predictions that certain events, bound to create large volumes of traffic, will cripple the Net and inevitably they turn out to be false-alarms.

Well, as I type this now (8:20pm on Friday April 29th, 2011), I find that the BBC website in the UK is no longer answering to browser requests in a sane fashion. Instead of the pages I expected to find, all I get is a blank white page -- not even an error message.

For a moment, I thought that the forecasters of a Net-meltdown may have been right this time. However, I see that other UK-based websites seem to still be a live and well so perhaps it's only the Beeb's site that is crumbling under the strain of millions of people trying to catch up on the nuptials via the Net.

One of the other most hammered sites during the ceremony will no doubt be YouTube, who have organised a live feed to be streamed from its servers. Right now (with just 38 minutes to go), YouTube's systems are still working and responsive. I wonder what will happen in just over half an hour's time?

I'm picking that everything will work just fine and that once again, predictions of the internet's inevitable failure will have been grossly overstated.

That of course, will be a good thing, since we are increasingly turning to the Net as our first-port of call whenever breaking news occurs, or whenever disaster requires us to rapidly access important information.

While I'm not someone who's going to stay up into the wee small hours watching the royal couple get hitched, it would appear that tens or hundreds of millions of other folk all over the world will do just that. If the Net can survive this onslaught of traffic then I think it'll have no problem handling lesser challenges to its capacity or resilience.

Most folk will see the royal wedding as just a couple of lucky people getting married. I see it as a great chance to make sure the Net is working under heavy load in a way that would be hard to duplicate any other way.

Kind of nice of the Royals to help out in this way, don't you think?

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