Research Matters

Research Matters

Resilient Internet

James Sterbenz is leading a $1.5 million effort to design a future Internet to be much more resilient than it is today.

Episode #114

2 minutes (2.5 MB) | Download mp3


An investigation points the way to an Internet more resilient to attacks and disasters. From the University of Kansas, this is Research Matters. I’m Brendan Lynch.

It’s startling to ponder the numerous ways our society relies almost completely upon on the Internet to conduct the business of everyday life. Commerce, communication and even national security all require a functioning World Wide Web.

Sterbenz: “We really depend on the Internet for absolutely everything we do “Governments depend on it to deliver services, and the military depends on it, and business depend on it for commerce and the stock market. We depend on it as individuals to get information, and to do banking, and to buy things — so much so that when the Internet is down, things tend to cease. You go into a store, and the point-of-sales terminals don’t work, and they can’t even sell you anything.” 

James Sterbenz, associate professor of electrical engineering and computer science at KU, is leading a $1.5 million effort funded by the National Science Foundation and Battelle to design a future Internet to be much more resilient than it is today.

Sterbenz: There are a lot of weak points. An example of that is that there was a train that burned in a tunnel under Baltimore a few years ago. It melted all the fiber running through the conduit. And because that was a convenient place way to get through the city, many service providers ran their fiber through. So people did lose service because of that because it was a weak point.

Sterbenz leads a team of researchers that are analyzing the complex networks of computers and fiber that constitute the Internet and World Wide Web.

Sterbenz: You want at least two paths between two users, so if one is taken out, you have another one. The other thing we want is geographic diversity. So you’d like to be able to set up multiple paths between two users such that no point is closer than, for example 100 miles, so if there’s some area-based challenge, you’re still able to communicate.

For more on Internet resilience, log on to Research Matters dot KU dot EDU. For the University of Kansas, I’m Brendan Lynch.

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Research points the way to an Internet more resilient to attacks and disasters

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