Robust Internet Architecture

The ‘choking’ of input procedure has been simulated in the network and no signs of instability under overload noted. It was found that most of the advantage of store-and-forward transmission can be provided in a system having relatively little memory capacity. The network ‘guarantees’ very rapid delivery of all traffic that it has accepted from a user…

Paul Baran, On Distributed Communications, Volume I, 1964.

The Internet is the most robust communications network ever designed, able to adapt itself almost instantaneously to damage or outages to individual sections.

The Internet has no irreplaceable central control, administration, or authority. It can’t be bought, hijacked, or monopolized. The loss of individual computers, networks, or service providers does not affect its overall reliability. The Internet perfectly realizes its original intent — it is actively robust, and cannot be completely deactivated without bringing down every single connection.

The Internet is robust over time, too. Many people alive today were born before the Internet was invented. If we mark its birth from 1969, we can safely assume that it is now effectively immortal, and will continue to exist in some form for the rest of human history.

Additional information about the robustness of the Internet can be found in the TCP/IP, packet switching and routing sections.