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How Dependable is Internet?
by Bruce Gingery

(Note: As our lives come to depend more and more on Internet, we need to take stock of of the fact as to how dependable is this new medium? Not only that we must insist from our ISPs that they leave no stone unturned to make it so.-- Raj Mehta)

In a world electronic economy, reachability is an (perhaps false) indicator of reliability. Whenever a website is unreachable, to the world, it no longer exists. When properly addressed E-Mail is undeliverable, the business or person who is the addressee no longer exists - perhaps has gone out of business.

While this may not seem fair, it is a reality for the new century.

E-Mail

E-mail which is undeliverable for four hours will generally at least cause a notification to the sender that it could not be delivered. While not all services provide such notifications, if you are the one who is not getting the E-Mail, you may assume that your correspondants have been notified. If the message was flagged as extra-important (high priority), that notification time may be reduced to 15 minutes or an hour.

The Web

When your web visitors and clients can reach other websites, but not yours, no matter where or why that outage exists, your perceived reliability has decreased. Unfortunately, some web browsers make little distinction between not being able to find the address of a website (DNS lookup), and not being able to contact the site for which the address has been successfully looked up.

Having an attractive low-impact (small files added together to make the display) webpage can help with a slow network. From a marketing standpoint, whether your message is social, business, or even governmental, once the person knows they can get a page from you, they can be more tolerant of varied net speeds, and wait with just a bit more patience for additional items, but if they decide you don't exist, patience may be fleeting.

Do you know?

Because the underlying technology is not perfect in any part of the world, despite perceptions, here are some questions you must ask yourself:
  • Do you know who tried to E-Mail you, and it never arrived?
  • Do you know where it was from?
  • Do you know how important it would have been?
  • Do you know why?
  • Do you know who who unsuccessfully tried to reach your website?
  • Do you know where they were from?
  • Do you know how reachable that website is?
  • Do you know how important that web access would have been?

 



Copyright © 1999 Dr. Raj Mehta. All rights reserved.