'Black Holes' Sap Net's Traffic

A more mysterious answer to why that one site won't load...
By Nick McMaster,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 9, 2008 5:30 PM CDT
This composite photo provided by NASA shows A powerful jet from a supermassive black hole is blasting a nearby galaxy in the system known as 3C321, according to new results from NASA.    (AP Photo/NASA)
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(Newser) – Ever wonder why that one website just won’t load? New research suggests that the obvious explanations, such as errors with either your computer or the site's Internet connection, are not always sufficient to explain blockages in net traffic, DailyTech reports. In fact, “Internet black holes”—service disruptions that occur when a viable path exists between the two computers—may be the culprit.

"There's an assumption that if you have a working Internet connection then you have access to the entire Internet.  We found that's not the case," said Ethan Katz from the University of Washington. Katz and colleagues designed a system, called “Hubble,” that searches for black holes. Ultimately they hope to have a map of the net’s trouble spots available for network administrators to use in troubleshooting their sites.