North American Network Operators Group

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Internet assessment - Sept 11 2001

  • From: Sean Donelan
  • Date: Tue Sep 11 15:36:57 2001

Of course, the families of those who were killed and continuing rescue
efforts come first.  I've had a cold for a few days, and slept in this
morning, so I'm a bit behind.

Internet traffic patterns show a 10% decrease in network traffic around
the time of the event.  The World Trade Center in New York is a relatively
minor Internet hub, and several providers had reduced the amount of
equipment years ago after the WTC bombing.  The Pentagon isn't a hub, except
for traffic to/from the Pentagon.  More likely was damage to surrounding
buildings, impact to the electric grid, and debris in air affected some
neighby buildings.

Perhaps surprising, I can still reach most military web sites.  I don't
think they've closed the "Drawbridge" on MILNET.

Users with "always-on" Internet connections such as T1, DSL, cable
modems haven't reported any access problems.  Dial-up users are
experiencing telephone congestions (and possible Network Management
Controls) in New York City and Washington DC.

There was a 30 minute drop in Internet traffic, likely due to reduced
capacity while traffic was re-routed.  Then overall traffic levels
increased by about 10% for approximately 1 hour.  Now Internet traffic
volumes have returned to near pre-event levels, but providers report
dramatic changes in usage.  Major news sites are seeing severe congestion,
and most have dropped all graphics and other bandwidth consuming data.

E-mail, DNS, and other "core" Internet operations appear unaffected.

Across the country Internet data centers and colocation facilities
have been closed except for emergency visits. Most ISPs have
suspended regularly scheduled maintaince activities, and "frozen"
their networks. New York City is restricting most access the island
of Manhattan, and most ISPs don't have the credentials to pass.

As far as I know, federal officials have not made any special requests
to ISPs to do anything differently.  The Internet has become a regular
part of many Emergency Operations Centers, including some "secured"
websites used by FEMA and the state EOCs.  So ISPs should not try to
"clear" the lines, because you don't really know who is using your lines.
If an EOC needs to reach you, they have their ways.