What’s like running water, only delivered directly to your hands? Is it your hand perspiration following an early morning coffee binge? No you dummy, it’s the internet! On your smartphone! But just like running water, the internet relies on complicated infrastructure. The fact of the matter is that the internet is a network of networks: privately and publicly owned machinery that speak the same language even when their owners do not.
This interconnection can seem magical, universal, global and instant. But it does so only until the moment something goes wrong, or the laws of physics – or computing – pose limits. Even in the best of conditions, when no one cuts one of those crazy long undersea fiberoptic cables, geographical distance, bad software and high level peering agreements can affect how fast different parts of the Internet can talk to each other.
This is where the The RIPE Atlas project comes in to help figure out where the bottlenecks are – to the benefit of everyone! It’s free to participate, and you get the gadget pictured above in the mail!