Tubes Reflection #3

In the last two chapters of the book Tubes: A Journey to the Center of the Internet, Bloom talks about where information is stored and gives insight into how much coverage the internet provides around the globe. As I mentioned in an earlier post, his reference to the internet as tubes, had to do with the packages of materials sent globally to build things. However, the terms tubes now refers to the sea cables that litter the ocean floor that physically cities to the internet through fiberoptic technology. He goes on to explain that these tubes are not very thick at all as most of us may imagine. Instead, they are at least for fibers thick to at most 16. The sending and receiving of information from one continent to another is relatively simple. His description of these cables or tubes in analogy terms are like two funnels joined together by their thin ends. Information goes in one end and come out the other wide end in a linear fashion.

Book Cover Image

The concept that is the most far reaching about this long tube like system, deals with a company called Tata or Tico Communications a company based out of India that is the south east Asian equivalent to AT&T. This company has built some of the longest and most connective networks of cable that have brought the internet to all around the golbe especially in places like Kenya. To further complicate the situation, this company had to figure out ways to overcome natural disasters such as earthquakes to keep this cable system of the internet going. This was definitely the case when in the early two thousands, there was an earthquake in Tiwon that shut down 98 percent of the connection to places like China and other effected countries. Due to the nature of these cables, such issues in regards to the ibternet are noticable and ones that can be fixed within a certain amount of time. Such in depth physical connectivity gives rise to the question of where does our internet keep its data? Most people like me would think that their data is stored on a hard drive or a cloud service, but it turns out that our data on the internet from messages to Google searches is stored in data storage facilities that are physical buildings that house super computers for such storage capabilities. Who knew that data that is sent, received, searched, and erased can be actually be stored in a physical place high in a mountain range or in a small town like Dala for example like he describes. Such insights have brought forth to me a deeper awareness as to where my information goes and how it’s not so much of a mystery anymore. In all, this entire book has opened my eyes to a new and more concrete way of seeing what the internet is from its physically inception to where my data is stored in the forms of traces.

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