Hurricane Sandy Proves Internet Resilience

The internet is very resilient in America, according to researchers in an article on

Scientists at the Information Sciences Institute (ISI) at the USC Viterbi School of Engineering regularly study Internet “uptime” in America by pinging servers.  They say that on average 99.7% of the internet is up at any given time, and .3% is down for various reasons.  During landfall of “Superstorm Sandy”, aimed at New York City, which is a major hub of the internet backbone in the U.S., 99.57% of the U.S. internet remained fully operational.

That is pretty shocking, especially considering 8.5 million Americans (greater than 2% of the country) lost power (according to this Huffington Post article).

I think the main takeaway from an IT perspective is that the backbone of the U.S. internet is well built.  There were not dramatic internet outages from the powerful storm that devastated thousands of lives.

However, there is some cause for alarm that there were outages at all, which shows that the system is not perfect.

“On a national scale, the amount of outage is small, showing how robust the Internet is. However, this significant increase in outages shows the large impact Sandy had on our national infrastructure,” said John Heidemann, who led the team that tracked an analyzed the data. Heidemann is a research professor of computer science and project leader in the Computer Networks Division of ISI.

So, while I believe the article shows the strength of the internet, you could also argues it shows its flaws.  I do remember getting several “server not found” errors in the days after Sandy, but I viewed them as expected problems after such a powerful storm.

I guess I’m just a “glass half full” kind of guy.

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