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Blockage is a temporary measure

The U.S. military has a number of bases in Japan where soldiers are housed and many live for years at a time. According to the military, it has decided to block the use of certain websites from its network in an effort to help Japan recover from the major earthquake and resulting tsunami that hit recently.

The military reports that the sites are not blocked because of anything to do with the content that they show, but solely to increase the amount of bandwidth that is available for military needs. The electrical grid has been overwhelmed in some areas of Japan and connectivity for internet access is not available in some areas.

The U.S. Pacific Command has requested the blocking of 13 high-bandwidth sites that are commonly used on military network computers. These websites include YouTube, Googlevideo, Amazon, Espn.go.com, eBay, Doubleclick, Eyewonder, Pandora, Streamtheworld, MTV.com, iFilm, MySpace, and MetaCafe. Interestingly Facebook isn’t among the listed sites though it is much more popular than MySpace and would presumably consume more bandwidth.

Facebook is a very common way for deployed military personnel to stay in contact with their loved ones so perhaps it was left alone to allow continued contact.

Strategic Military Command spokesman Rodney Ellison said, "This is a response to a time of extreme demand for networks. This blockage will be of a temporary nature and may increase or decrease in the size and scope as necessary. We are doing this to facilitate the recovery efforts under way in Japan. We are trying to make sure we are giving them as many avenues and as much support as we can."



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By DanNeely on 3/16/2011 11:40:11 AM , Rating: 2
Enterprise grade routers have support for QoS settings. Instead of a complete block the same results could be achieved much less disruptively by setting significantly higher priorities for .mil/.gov sites, and constraining recreational bandwidth hogs to a low priority where they got whatever was left after high/normal priority sites took what they needed.




By alifbaa on 3/16/2011 11:57:19 AM , Rating: 3
You are forgetting though that QOS would be effective and easy to implement.

As a member of the military, let me assure you that when comm is involved those two factors immediately remove anything from consideration.

Their first reaction is always to restrict communications. It truly doesn't matter if better options are available or if alternative websites (such as Facebook or Twitter) are left open while others are closed.

I wouldn't be surprised if this whole exercise were unnecessary in the first place. I'd be shocked if unaffected areas like Okinawa aren't made subject to the blockage just to show "action."


By MozeeToby on 3/16/2011 12:21:14 PM , Rating: 2
It looks like at least half of the major fiber lines coming in and out of Japan were damaged in the quake. This isn't a local effect, it's significantly reducing Internet quality for the entire country. It's only a token gesture, since there's only about 20,000 service men and women in the country, but if everyone in Japan followed suit communication might be just that little bit easier.


By MrTeal on 3/16/2011 12:34:54 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
I wouldn't be surprised if this whole exercise were unnecessary in the first place. I'd be shocked if unaffected areas like Okinawa aren't made subject to the blockage just to show "action."


Is Okinawa tied into just Japan, or into Taiwan as well? If the entire island is routed through Japan then it's just as susceptible to disruptions as the rest of the country.


By Arsynic on 3/16/2011 12:36:05 PM , Rating: 2
You can't set QOS on certain websites, only on certain types of traffic.


By Zok on 3/16/2011 3:36:18 PM , Rating: 2
Sure you can - just not on your typical layer 3 router. 4-7 load balancers, WAN optimization appliances, etc. can do it though.


By AlphaVirus on 3/16/2011 12:36:01 PM , Rating: 3
On a normal day sure, but when you have a crisis of this magnitude then drastic measures should be taken to make sure certain avenues of communication can have higher quality.

I understand what you are saying and I'm not saying it's a horrible idea, but looking at the scenario I would say the military is doing the right thing.


"When an individual makes a copy of a song for himself, I suppose we can say he stole a song." -- Sony BMG attorney Jennifer Pariser











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