Official Thread: Activity One – Routing in Action!
When you make a request to another computer on the Internet, that request passes through a number of other computers on its way to the host. We can see this in action. How did you go with this activity? Were you surprised by the routes taken to reach different websites? And did you manage to find a website that wasn’t hosted in either the US or Australia? What might this exercise tell us about how we communicate on the Web, and how the Web works?
Like the other participants, I found many web sites that were hosted in the USA, UK and Australia. I noticed that the routes were always going through the United States in some way or another – I’m sure this has something to do with the origins of the Internet – the Americans don’t require a DNS in their URLs – it’s rare to see .us in an address.
I also found that Qantas did 18 hops in 27.6 seconds, ending up in Western Europe – France, Switzerland? I did a Proxy search for the Eiffel Tower in France, and it took 25 hops in 10.1 seconds, ending in France. Quelle surprise!
Interesting to note Nicole Climie’s instances of two Chinese URLs that came up as invalid for her. Likewise, I experienced this with a North Korean chewing gum web site ( http://www.naenara.com.kp/en/ ) and Julian Assange’s Wikileaks site ( http://wikileaks.org/ ). These sites either do not want to be detected, or the governments of these countries do not readily share information with its people or the world. – that’s my assumption.
As for the routing, the web was initially designed to survive in the case of a war or nuclear holocaust – if one area or city of the world has been damaged, the information is re-routed via other means, to ensure that it gets to its intended destination.