Can the Internet Break From Overuse?

The coronavirus pandemic kept adults and kids at home and on their computers and smartphones for work, school, or recreation, making unprecedented demands on the Internet. In fact, Netflix and YouTube all reduced their streaming quality to prevent Internet overload. That has people asking: Could the Internet suddenly just stop working? You can rest easy. Outright Internet failure is possible but unlikely, say experts who observe technology and Internet usage around the world. Cyberattacks or the physical cutting of cables under the sea that carry enormous amounts of Internet traffic are more likely to disrupt the Internet than too much activity. Of course, nothing is invulnerable to overload, but the Internet has an enormous amount of redundancy and backup in its systems. That means that although one app or network can go down, it’s unlikely the entire system will collapse. The real concern isn’t the Internet infrastructure, but rather the increased number of end users all sharing the same WiFi system. Internet speed slowdowns are more likely to happen, but even that is only remotely possible. For now, the bottom line is that everything is working as designed.