back to article 'Hyperbolic map' of the internet will save it from COLLAPSE

International computer boffins are warning that the internet may "collapse" at some point within the next decade. They propose the use of a new routing method based on hyperbolic geometry, and have devised what they call a "hyperbolic atlas" of the entire net to aid in this plan. Hyperbolic map of the internet. Credit: Nature …


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  1. Anonymous Coward

    I assume this means that ....

    ... any references to the imminent melt down of the internet will be pure hyperbole

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      I love it

      Internet routing based on hyperbole. Traffic routed according to priority:

      1. Normal

      2. The life of everyone in my town depends on it

      3. The life of everyone on earth depends on it

      4. The universe will plunge into a huge blackhole if not delivered.

      Works for me.


  2. DavCrav Silver badge

    Rough translation of the article in Phys Rev E.

    Some parts of the Internet are very highly connected, and some not so much. If you want to get from one badly connected place to another, you probably have to through one of the very connected nodes. This makes the distance function on the network look hyperbolic. (This sounds reasonable.)

    You can make routing easier on the Internet by knowing this, and so only looking for hyperbolic paths (or geodesics) when trying to get from one place of another. All seems pretty fine by me!

  3. F111F

    Negatively Curved Hyperbolic Space Mapping...

    After reading that particular phrase, I've come to the conclusion the only thing left is to start the weekend early...

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Black Helicopters


    If the routing map of the internet becomes anything similar to a sphere, be sure Google will be trying to stay on the center of said sphere, figuratively speaking.

    Or actually, who knows.

    1. Tigra 07 Silver badge
      IT Angle

      Internet watcher

      Who else would volunteer to pile in the billions of pounds this project will inevitably cost?

      Google own a massive amount of servers and i'm sure they would like the title of internet watcher-over-er, who wouldn't?

  5. Syren Baran

    Black holes in the internet??

    So the LHC was a waste of money after all....

    1. Fatman Silver badge

      RE: Black holes in the Internet??

      AFAIAC, the LHC can swallow up all of the spammers, identity thieves and bot herders in the world. The Internet would be a better place if it did!

      I see no reason why certain portions of the global IP address space don't get routed to `/dev/hell`.

  6. Arthur the cat Silver badge


    Is that initial quote in para 2 right? A topographical map does take account of geometric coordinates, a *topological* one doesn't.

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    No surprises abound.

    Networks support almost no-one. Static addressing needs simple architectures. Nevertheless, shockingly and notwithstanding such advances, nobody sees a node system application here.

    This idea has zero chance of being implemented I suspect.

  8. TonyHoyle


    Closes neighbour geographically is an almost meaningless metric, since there are so many ways two routers could be connected, different loads, etc.

    What you need is closest by latency, which the existing least cost routing protocols do extremely well. It only looks chaotic to our eyes because we can't take into account all the variables.

    Routing table size is a problem (there are solutions, and ipv6 helps a bit) but the internet won't 'collapse' just routers will get bigger/faster.. just like everything else.

  9. Geoff Mackenzie

    Collapse of the internet?

    It's just hyperbole.

  10. Herbert Meyer

    who deserves the credit ?

    For hyperbolic geometry ? Nikolai Ivanovich Lobachevsky ! and a song:

    1. Michael 28

      Don't forget...


      Don't think he has the singing voice tho..

  11. Anonymous Coward

    Let me get this straight

    Boffins predict major disaster that can only averted because they have "a cunning plan" - they should sell the movie rights and leave the internet to cope on its own (as it will)

    1. LionelB


      "... and leave the internet to cope on its own (as it will)"

      Scary. I thought us humans had at least some minor involvement.

    2. Adam Williamson 1

      No, really, it won't.

      No, the internet will not 'cope on its own'. It's not some magic sentient self-repairing entity. It's a collection of routing protocols, written by...wait for it...'boffins'. The internet copes because lots of clever boffins wrote lots of clever routing protocols. If it does cope for a lot longer, it'll be because more clever boffins write more clever routing protocols. Said boffins often work at big universities and write papers much like this one for those of us who don't really understand the science to snipe at. Then other boffins go away and implement their ideas and we all get an awesome system on which we can write our clever sarcastic snipe-y comments. Honestly, if I were a boffin I'd wonder why I bother.

  12. Daniel B.

    Oh the irony

    Caída means "fall" in Spanish; and it is usually used to refer to system outages. "Se cayó mi internet" (my internet went down), "se cayó el servidor" (the sever went down), "el sistema está caído" (the system is down) ... it does bring some chuckles to read that acronym.

    About the hyperbolic routing ... all this time I thought that the real problem with the internet was the lack of redundant links, such that a boat slashing an underwater fiber cable will leave a whole continent offline. Whoops!

    1. Jason Bloomberg Silver badge

      Bang on

      Black holes can be the size of a PC to the size of a continent, may affect some services or all. It is resilience and redundancy which matter most and perhaps service centre location when service may be provided from distant regions. There are a whole load of 'weakest links' on the internet where single point failure plunges people into complete darkness.

      The further one gets from the backbone the less believable claims that the internet is a resilient self-repairing entity become.

  13. J 3
    Thumb Up

    Figure 1

    Figure 1 is funny in a creepy M.C. Escheresque way.

  14. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    What bollox

    Internet routing is not based on topographical maps, maybe they should read up on BGP? And who are these nameless "Internet experts"?

    Nearest Neighbour isn't the optimal solution for routing - it's almost always the least optimal unless it gets lucky. Open Shortest Path First is far better. Probably why they use it.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward


      That's why both BGP and OSPF have parameters that indicate the speed of the links. Which is why your point-to-point 128k frame relay circuit only transmits link-state advertisements while the OC-192 links to the next state/country/continent get used.

      Do either OSPFv3 or BGP have fields that represent the link's actual utilization? Or is this why MPLS reservations are required?

    2. prathlev

      @AC 05:27

      Maybe you should read up on Internet routing. Nobody uses OSPF on the "Internet". SPF algorithms can give you best-latency routing, but they scale very badly.

      And maybe you should read the paper. They do try to explain why a "nearest neighbor" routing scheme could be a good idea.

      It has not met any serious criticism on NANOG-ML, on the contrary:

  15. Gannon (J.) Dick

    That's it then.

    We're doomed. When the Hyperbole Entropy currently centered in Washington DC (it's an election year) is unleashed on the Hyperbolic Map it's bound to cause a big mess.

    I don't know whether the explosion or the implosion will get me first, but I'm sure glad I don't have to clean up.

    Mine's the one with the Illuminated Manuscript I'll be transcribing in the pocket ...

  16. Joe K

    Well, yeah...

    ..sounds like a bunch of hyperbole to me.

  17. Christian Berger

    Well but with IPv6

    With IPv6 we will have a lot less route fragmentation.

  18. BramX
    Paris Hilton

    Free article?...

    Looks like a scam to me....

  19. greggo

    not free

    "can be read free here": no, it can't.

    1. max allan

      Sure you're clicking the right link?

      One article isn't free, the other is.

      I know, I just read a bit of it. I wonder how many people get more than a couple of pages down...

      1. greggo

        Now it works, on friday it didn't.

        (the second link)

        My comment is dated 13th presumably because that's when it was approved.

  20. SoupDragon

    Big bang and eventual collapse

    Similarities with the universe?

    This is based on the assumption that it will go on increasing forever, rather like the differing views of our universe, it may reach a point where it stops increasing then starts shrinking again.

    Should we not be looking for the next big thing that will replace the interweb thingy, so this problem goes away?

    mine's the white coat with the large telescope in the pocket...

  21. Loki 1


    I may be drunk but from my poor and unenlightened understanding of how the internet thingy works, this sounds all like a pile of ballocks.

    No, really, do these guys actually have any concept of routing or how the internet works? I'm pretty sure the interwebnetthingy can grow and grow with its current model and survive just nice and dandy.

    1. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge
      Paris Hilton

      No U!

      Thje Internet can "grow and grow"?

      <-- Cargo Cult Science is that way

  22. Timo

    tree falling in the woods

    OK so a couple of guys measure the reachability of internet endpoints from other endpoints. If some obscure site becomes unreachable it ticks their black-hole count but most of the internet doesn't even notice.

    I'd speculate that traffic within a country can be routable and most of the traffic is self-contained within said country. Only when you have to start crossing the boundaries does it get complicated. But then how many people in the US (as an example) would notice if something in Lower East Anywhere (pick a country, any one of them) fell over? Not many.

  23. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    easy fix

    Block facebook

  24. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Just saying, but...

    I've been hearing this one since middle school, well over 10 years ago. That doesn't mean it's not true now, but it's not like they were right back then.

  25. Version 1.0 Silver badge

    "parts of the Internet become intermittently unreachable"

    They say that like it's a bad thing?

  26. Tim Jenkins

    "Google will be trying to stay on the center of said sphere"

    either that or a burning TARDIS.

    I know which I'd prefer.

    (P.S. Any chance of seeing that 'hyperbolic map' being carried through space on the backs of, say, four enormous elephants standing on a turtle?)

  27. proto-robbie

    We just need...

    A big red splodge in the middle.


  28. Pascal Monett Silver badge

    Setting things straight

    First : I have no doubt that there are very intelligent people who are indeed capable of pinpointing an operational issue in the functioning of the Internet. As such, given that these people know what they are talking about, there is bound to be a certain amount of problems that can arise in our daily use of this increasingly-indispensable tool.

    Second : Given the amount of money generated by the Internet in all of its commercial activity and interests, I have no doubt either that this issue will be solved in one way or another without impacting my browser in any way.

    Third : this is already not the first time an Internet meltdown has been forecast and, gosh, it's still there isn't it ?

    Conclusion : this is not an issue for us normal people - alert condition martini dry, thank you for your attention.

  29. pdu

    my considered opinion is....

    it's hyper bollocks. They've come up with a new whine because we still haven' run out of ipv4 addresses and nobody really listens to them any more.

  30. Ihre Papiere Bitte!!
    Paris Hilton

    tossing into a black hole

    I can think of quite a few, very large, sites that I would happily see thrown into a black hole, never to return, if it means the rest of the interwebs will be saved...

    I nominate E-Bay, it's not been useful for a long time. Problem solved, where's my cheque?

    Paris, because, well, just refer to title!

  31. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Up


    I came up with this ages ago, although I was thinking of it for the reasons to avoid using a fixed link to our ISP (as it's unreliable, single point of failure and single point of monitoring/snooping) so our home routers can route via other wireless routers in range (on a separate secure channel)

  32. Tom Paine Silver badge


    My gob's flapping at the number of comments above appearing to demonstrate clue on the theoretical and practical aspects of Internet routing. Where's manfrommars? Where are the people ridiculing engineers and academics and others who may know whereof they speak? *shakes head sadly* El Reg used to be much funnier than it is nowadays.

  33. Catroast


    Why have they singled out Poland??

  34. Trygve Henriksen

    There's an even simpler solution...

    Block YouTube and a few of the 'Free Erotic Chat' sites.

    That'll lower the traffic enough that there's no problem anymore.

    And if that's not enough, take out a few torrent sites and p2p networks.

  35. TeeCee Gold badge

    Hyperbolic routing.

    A new technique, the need for which is driven by hype and bollocks.

  36. Anonymous Coward

    surely all net data

    must pass through the bottlenecks of Maryland or Gloucestershire, can't they just install wider bandwidth DPI systems to improve our latency?

    (reminds me of the plan to install a xxxxx-xxxxx system in xxxxx as far back as the nineteen-nineties, it 'stupidly' had to xxxx at xxxxxxx instead of the more obvious direct route to xxxxxxx)

  37. Neil 38

    Seems VoIP centric to me.

    I guess it depends heavily on the type of traffic, many of the major aggregators here appear to be voice carriers, thus the graph if biased towards VoIP traffic. Pobbily because that's who requested / paid for the analysis?

  38. Keris

    "Death of Internet: Film at 11"

    *yawn* I've heard this story so many times. Oh, but wait, there's a new word: 'hyperbolic'. Oh, that's all right then. Back to sleep.

    1. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge
      Paris Hilton

      People who think "hyperbolic" is a new word...

      ...have no right to yawn and should start learning basic geometry.

      I'm actually looking forward to the times when "the West" becomes the dumping ground for toxic Chinese and Indian industrial waste and moneyless pensioners heat gobs of grey goo over open fires to recuperate the metals while telling jokes from 30-year old sitcoms they used to watch instead of hitting the books.

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