Monday, August 22, 2011

What to Do When the Internet Goes Dark 2/2/2011

What to Do When the Internet Goes Dark

Notes by: Theresa Payton, Fortalice, LLC.

Taken from: WBTV Segment with Kristin Miranda, Protecting Your Cyberturf, Feb. 2, 2011

Many of us cannot live without internet access. We send texts and emails using our phone. We keep in touch via Facebook and Twitter and we even keep up with news headlines. So what would you do if suddenly you had no internet access? What if you were overseas and suddenly cut off from friends and family?

That’s right, for all of us following what is happening in Egypt, we know they lost access. But what if the United States lost access or what if you or a loved one were in Egypt – or someplace else – and the internet went dark? It’s a real possibility.

Have you ever needed to communicate and had no internet access? What was that like? What did you do? Does you know a friend or family member in a similar situation? How did they resolve it? Would you be comfortable resorting to the “old school” ways of connecting?


  1. Phone service / dial up – good old fashioned phone modems still work even when cell and internet do not, assuming you have a dial tone
  2. Fax machines with dial up access
  3. Citizens Band and Ham Radio can be used to get messages out; the signals for Ham Radio can even modified to use for limited text chat and email; you need to get a license from the FCC for Ham Radio.
  4. Family Radio Service or General Mobile Radio Service are available for short distance communications. A lot like walkie talkies but with great range and greater clarity.
  5. Even without internet, devices with Bluetooth or ability to connect to a wireless network can find and talk to each other locally
  6. Call to Tweet: In the case of Egypt, they set up international phone numbers where a person can call and leave a voice mail that will be tweeted. It is assumed they may do the same if similar situations arise.


  1. Keep a printed copy of your contact list handy. Most internet email services offer an export function so you can download them and print them.
  2. Consider what alternative technologies work best for you and your family.
  3. Discuss and have a disaster recovery plan that includes the possibility that cell phone service and internet are not available.


Wired Magazine has built a “how to” page that will constantly be updated. It lists various tips and instructions on how to stay connected in an emergency.

Check out Akamai’s site if you would like to see a worldwide internet traffic report:

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