Thursday, January 26, 2017

Blog #2: Networking Through the Fibers

Blum elaborates on page 79 about one of PAIX's brand new routers. A box being the size of a shower stall, and the router inside of it being just as enormous, it could move quite the volume of data. He explains the transfer of data similar to a traffic roundabout. 160 highways meet at this singular point where they enter this 'roundabout' and the data find their way to their exiting point. He mentions the machine was one of hundreds that are all connected to one another.; the needs of just one network rather than being at the center of many. One statement by Blum made me think: "To find the scale of information as we experience it each day--to find, say, a single email--would be more akin to counting the molecules of water." My chemistry doesn't have to be very good for me to properly understand that there are trillions of water molecules in a mere glass of water. At first Blum's metaphor struck me. How could there be that much? But I then pondered the thought that, there are billions of people around the world, and of the ones with access to the Internet, they could be transmitting a vast array of data. One person alone could send multiple emails, send a few messages of Facebook, search something on Google. Things I myself do quite often on a daily basis. I considered that I usually do much more than send an email or two and message someone. I'm someone that admittedly has a slight addiction to technology and the Internet. If I'm bored, I'll browse Facebook for an hour or scroll through 9GAG until I encounter content I've already seen. I'll regularly check my school email and personal email to check for teachers' info on upcoming assignments or to check if something I ordered on eBay has been shipped. Keeping Blum's clever metaphor in mind, it's as if my use of the Internet contributes to some thousands of molecules in this glass of water containing all of the data being transferred on the Internet. As Blum was describing Fiber Vault 1 at Equinix's headquarters on page 103, he mentions,"There were all the other buildings like it on the campus, each with its own multiple fiber vaults. This was the place, but so was that. And that. And that. The Internet was here, there, and everywhere." These separate buildings in different locations with pretty much the same outlook, were all contributors to the Internet. Whether it's Ashburn or San Francisco, all of these buildings were connected and shared the same image of data processing and transferring. On page 118, Blum talks about "peering", or the agreement to interconnect two networks. Peering implies equality of size and status between the two networks. It allows information to flow freely throughout the Internet and for websites like YouTube to be free, otherwise our online videos would clog up the Internet's pipes. The Internet would be more brittle and expensive, therefore the network engineers known as "the peering community" are very important.

Discussion Questions:
1. What are your thoughts on the characteristics and security of the Equinix building as Blum explains it?
2. Do you think Blum chose the most efficient and understandable analogy when he was referring to Equinix's router as functioning similar to a massive roundabout?

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ITR Presentation - World Wide Web