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Thread: Replacing the Internet?

  1. #1
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    Replacing the Internet?

    The Internet was created by what is now DARPA to serve as a national means of reliable computer communication in case of a global nuclear war. I submit that it seems to have already developed beyond the point where it can usefully carry out that capacity.

    Could a more secure system be put in place? And if so, what would be required?
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    I wondered, a while back, if a sort of amateur internet could be made using CB radios.

    Why has it become unable to carry out that capacity? I would have though it still could...
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    Quote Originally Posted by Noclevername View Post
    The Internet was created by what is now DARPA to serve as a national means of reliable computer communication in case of a global nuclear war. I submit that it seems to have already developed beyond the point where it can usefully carry out that capacity.

    Could a more secure system be put in place? And if so, what would be required?
    Just a note, but when the March 11 earthquake happened, I wasn't able to communicate with my family by telephone (or mobile), because the lines were all tied up. But we were able to send email. So I don't think the Internet per se has lost that capability. It may be more that the tools that we average people use to communicate are quite vulnerable. Maybe you could overload it, I suppose.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jens View Post
    Just a note, but when the March 11 earthquake happened, I wasn't able to communicate with my family by telephone (or mobile), because the lines were all tied up. But we were able to send email. So I don't think the Internet per se has lost that capability. It may be more that the tools that we average people use to communicate are quite vulnerable. Maybe you could overload it, I suppose.
    I would bet that if the millitary still use the same structure as citizens, that they have the capability to make their messages a priority, or even make their messages the only transactions. I think there is more than one internet network....anyway....there is Japnet for one.
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    Well, how is the internet protected from such a circumstance? Are servers EMP shielded for instance? (You can tell I'm not technically minded)
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    Quote Originally Posted by Noclevername View Post
    Well, how is the internet protected from such a circumstance? Are servers EMP shielded for instance? (You can tell I'm not technically minded)
    Wouldn't matter if the infrastructure supporting the servers wasn't hardened.
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    The shear number of interconnections that make up the internet give it a certain robustness.

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    It isn't resistant based on segments never going down, it's resistant by being decentralized and capable of having vast segments destroyed while disconnected ends can still function as smaller local area networks. Sort of like how you can get disconnected from the internet but still share files and such between computers on your wifi. Major centralized services most of us rely on can go down IF they aren't properly distributed, but on a fundamental level you can't destroy the internet without destroying all devices capable of IP communications. Worst case is fragmenting it for a while.

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    So it could be only mostly dead.
    "I'm planning to live forever. So far, that's working perfectly." Steven Wright
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    It would take a miracle to fix it.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Noclevername View Post
    So it could be only mostly dead.
    It'd be all alive, just not as massive

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    someone could start wastelandbook.com

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    Quote Originally Posted by Frog march View Post
    I would bet that if the millitary still use the same structure as citizens, that they have the capability to make their messages a priority, or even make their messages the only transactions. I think there is more than one internet network....anyway....there is Japnet for one.
    Nah, they wouldn't use dedicated lines and high speed routing.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Frog march View Post
    someone could start wastelandbook.com

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    What a lot of people find hard to believe and shocking is that electrical equipment subjected to an nuclear EM pulse while powered on are *permanently* ruined. And not just the transistors or car alternators and such. The bulk wiring won't conduct electricity anymore due to all the atoms aligning. Let that be repeated. That's ALL unprotected wiring everywhere that was under power when exposed to the EM pulse. You would have to pull the wiring out and resmelt the copper to use it for electrical work again. Cars, houses, powerlines. Dead forever until replaced.
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    BigDon, that's not true at all. Metals aren't conductive because "their atoms aren't aligned", it's because their outer electrons aren't tightly bound to the nucleus, and can move from atom to atom.
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    Indeed a nonsense. Copper will not become any less conductive when exposed to EMP... or a lightning strike.
    What can happen is that excessive currents and voltages due to EMP or lightning strike alter the geometry of wires... either melting down and evaporating thin sections of wires and so stopping them from carrying currents, or else discharging through insulators, welding conductive metals together and thus creating short circuits.

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    But the important issue is not the microphysics of conduction, it is whether or not nuclear war should be expected to render modern electrical technology permanently useless. If so, I hardly think the internet will be much use. Even your iphone won't be of any use if the cell towers are fried, and if your computer at home isn't getting power because there is no power grid, good luck posting to twitter. I get that the situation would be better than if all communications were routed through a few hubs in major cities that could be targets of attack, but global nuclear war doesn't mean a few targeted cities, it means widespread destruction of technological infrastructure. The common expression is being "nuked back to the stone age," and I don't think anything is changed by the internet on that score! Do we really have young people that are now so cavalier about nuclear war that they think they'll still be using snapchat?
    Last edited by Ken G; Yesterday at 01:51 PM.

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    So as I asked in the OP, what COULD be put into place that would operate after such a scenario?
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    It seems like the key issue might be electrical power production and or storage rather than communications equipment.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Darrell View Post
    It seems like the key issue might be electrical power production and or storage rather than communications equipment.
    I think the key issue will be food and shelter, if we are really talking about an all-out, global nuclear war.

    I think DARPA was working on post-war communications systems when US military and civilian policy was of the mindset of "winning" a nuclear war. To be blunt, I think such a mindset is absurd. As the International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War said in their landmark work "The medical consequences of nuclear war", the only conceivable treatment is prevention.

    Here, for example, is an opinion piece from Newsweek magazine from 2015.

    A report released in 2013 by the Nobel Laureate International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War and its U.S. affiliate Physicians for Social Responsibility demonstrated that a limited nuclear war involving just 100 Hiroshima-sized bombs—less than 0.5 percent of the world’s nuclear arsenal—would be devastating. More than 20 million people would be dead in a week from the explosions, firestorms and immediate radiation effects. But the global consequences would be far worse. The climatic disruption and resulting decline in global food production would put two billion people at risk worldwide.
    Last edited by Swift; Yesterday at 05:12 PM. Reason: added last paragraph and reference
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  22. #22
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    So let me reword the question;

    How could you design a decentralized communication network that could survive EMPs and power grid failures?
    "I'm planning to live forever. So far, that's working perfectly." Steven Wright
    "It is the duty of the writers to seduce me into suspending my disbelief!" Paul Beardsley

  23. #23
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    I think the point is, you can't design something that is invulnerable.

    But a decentralized grid is a very good solution, because it will keep operating afterward.

    It's not meant to withstand an exploding star, it's meant to withstand anything that can be feasibly thrown at it.

    For starters, you can't target vulnerable components and knock the whole thing out.
    You'd have to basically take each piece down individually, which would be a Herculean task for an enemy.
    Even if 90% of the country is knocked out (again, Herculean task), the military would still be able to communicate effectively enough to keep operating. (up to and including appropriating private equipment for their purposes).

    BTW, as for power - most server systems have uninterruptible power supplies, so it can operate independently from the power grid for a reasonable time. 'reasonable' being long enough to coordinate a counter attack, stop the assault, put secondary communications in place, and begin repairs.
    Last edited by DaveC426913; Today at 01:34 AM.

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