What the Internet looks like

What the Internet looks like
What the Internet looks like

An IT security specialist visualized the evolution of the Internet by creating a "network map". See what happened.

Barrett Lyon, an IT security researcher, began work on The Opte Project back in 2003. As part of the project, he decided to create a layout of the entire Internet, displaying the state of key nodes and connections in Europe, Asia, Africa, North and South America.

Initially, the results of The Opte Project were presented as a still image, but the author showed the updated version of the project using a video (resolution - 10K). It turned out to be an interesting sight:

“Starting with the first Border Gateway Protocol routing tables in 1997, we will see an astonishing evolution of the network right up to the current time of 2021,” reads the video description.

Each node corresponds to a computer connected to the network, and the lines between them correspond to the routes along which network traffic passes. Backbone infrastructure as a whole is shown in white, other colors indicate regional segments:

  • blue - North America;
  • red - Asia-Pacific region;
  • yellow - Africa;
  • green - Europe.

According to the author of the project, the wider the network and the more connections, the closer it is to the center. The brightness and intensity of the hue convey the level of distribution of the network. Edge networks are often only connected through a couple of providers.

While the project provides a striking visualization of the internet's size and power of influence and spread, Lyon says the video ultimately proves the internet's inability to become truly decentralized, especially in countries or regions that have limited connectivity points.

The IT security specialist proposes to use the obtained data for educational purposes in order to better understand how the global network spreads and what connections exist between its nodes in certain regions of our world.

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