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Tracking Internet Outages in Sandy’s Wake

A new network-monitoring system shows the hurricane’s path by animating downed internet connections.


For the past year, Aaron Schulman, Ramakrishna Padmanabhan, and advisor Neil Spring of the University of Maryland have been looking at the effects of bad weather on residential Internet connectivity, using a system they refer to as Thunderping. Their scheme uses the network utility Ping to try to connect with computers before, during, and after severe weather events. From the connections that drop out during severe weather events such as Hurricane Sandy and last year’s Hurricane Irene, they can judge where Internet connectivity is lost. Schulman joins IEEE Spectrum to walk through an animation that shows minute-by-minute results from Hurricane Sandy.


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