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The Internet

Bird Flu Pandemic Could Choke the Net 364

PetManimal writes "If a pandemic were to occur, many companies and organizations would ask their staffs to work from home. The impact of millions of additional people using the Internet from home might require individuals and companies to voluntarily restrain themselves from surfing to high-bandwidth sites, such as YouTube. If people didn't comply, the government might step in and limit Net usage. The scenario is not far-fetched: last year at the World Economic Forum in Switzerland, a group of telecom and government officials conducted a pandemic exercise based on a hypothetical breakout of bird flu in central Europe. The results weren't pretty." From the latter article: "'We assumed total absentees of 30% to 60% trying to work from home, which would have overwhelmed the Internet,' said [one] participant. 'We did not assume that the backbone would be gone, but that the edge of the network... would be overwhelmed... The conclusion [of imminent collapse] was not absolute, and the situation was not digitally simulated, but the idea of everyone working from home appears untenable,' [he] said."

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