Internet browsing speeds have been slow over the past week as old hardware is upgraded to handle the Internet’s growth.
While a precise count is elusive, many technicians are reporting that the total number of world-wide Internet routes is near or already past half a million, usually abbreviated 512K. Older network routers can’t hold any more unless they are tweaked.
The problem is real, and we haven’t seen the full effects, because most of the Internet hasn’t yet experienced the conditions that could cause problems for under provisioned equipment.
Enterprises that rely on the Internet for delivery of service should pay close attention to the latency and reachability of the paths to customers in the coming weeks, in order to identify affected service providers upstream and work around them while they perform appropriate upgrades to their infrastructure.
Tata Communications has been keeping an eye on the issue for the past 3-4 years and invested strategically in our backend architecture, including our main routing cards that can hold 10 million routes. Not 512K. Our investment is based on the route growth rate we’re seeing at 15% per year, more than doubling every 5-6 years.
In terms of impact going forward, as long as the service providers and we, the backbone providers, do our job, it should only affect the companies that haven’t updated their routers.
It really boils down to a bit of neglect as these old routers could have been updated, and now companies will be faced with a challenging task of replacing them.
At the end of the day, while companies are trying to maximize their investment, they should be mindful and it’s a great lesson for service providers to track and plot growth rates to ensure they are managing not only bandwidth capacity, but router resources as well.