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RealTime IT News

Net Bends But Doesn't Break As Starr Report Arrives

The combination of a 445-page report from Kenneth Starrr and a train derailment on the East Coast placed a heavy load on Internet data pipes Friday afternoon, but "the effect on overall Internet performance was not that bad," according Gene Shklar, VP Makreting for Keynote Systems, Inc. who spent the day monitoring net traffic.

Keynote found very high failure rates at sites that published the Starr report, resulting in time-out errors for thousands of browsers. The failure rate at CNN.COM was 32 percent between 4 and 5 pm EDT; the normal failure rate is 2 percent. MSNBC had a failure rate of 47 percent, compared to a normal 2.5 percent, Shklar said.

However, the site run by the House of Representatives was failing 81 percent of the time during the hour right after release of the report. Shklar noted this indicates that, unlike CNN and MBNBC's sites, "the House of Represnetatives site just wasn't built to handle the traffic."

Heavy traffic to http://www.house.gov started this morning around 8:30 am EDT. Shklar speculated that traffic to the site surged just after the morning news shows disclosed that the report would be made available later in the day.

Adding to the potential for delays was a train derailment on the East Coast that cut hundreds of DS3 circuits.

The filing of the Starr report is likely to be the largest single-site event on the Net since the publication of photos from Mars at NASA's Web site on July 4, 1997.

The House voted 363 to 63 in favor of publishing the Starr report this morning. Several hours later, three U.S. Government Web sites made the report available.

In addition, many news sites also promised to provide the report within minutes of when the government published it. To help reduce delays at their own sites, by early Thursday morning the sites began to publicize the precise URL's where the report would be made available at their sites, reducing the number of pages that needed to be clicked before displaying the report.

Among the sites where the report should be available are:

Other sites, such as ABCnews.com told visitors the report would be published at the site but did not divulge a specific URL.