How will we communicate if (when) the Internet is not available?

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Ken C's picture
Ken C
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How will we communicate if (when) the Internet is not available?

I have been thinking about how  much time I spend using the internet for  many purposes including forums, gathering real news, keeping in touch and basically having a  medium other that MSM  to keep up with what is really happening around the world.

It occurs to me that should the internet not work for some reason it would really give me a sense of isolation. Think about the feeling you got when your computer did not work for some reason. Suppose it did not work for a loooooooong period of time.

Aside from the declining resources reason for the internet not to work it is possible that the government may try to institute some form of censorship on blogs, forums and news organizations that offer different information than MSM. I am not trying to start another conspiracy thread here but I am looking for some thoughts on how like minded people (like those of us here) may be able to continue to communcate and/or keep up with world events should the internet become less available.

Anyone else have any of these concerns??

 

Ken

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Re: How will we communicate if (when) the Internet is not ...

Ham Radio?

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Re: How will we communicate if (when) the Internet is not ...

Suppose the internet were unavailable?  Then people would simply do what they did before.  The first message ever sent on a commerical telegraph cable, in 1846 was, "Why don't you write you rascals?"  Clearly people did not feel desperately isolated before the means for instant communication existed, and we probably would not feel that way again in the future.  Information in the form of pamphlets and leaflets fed the social revolution of the 1960's, and attempts by government to suppress publication of incendiary information throughout history have typically been fruitless.

 

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Re: How will we communicate if (when) the Internet is not ...
jrf29 wrote:

Suppose the internet were unavailable?  Then people would simply do what they did before.  The first message ever sent on a commerical telegraph cable, in 1846 was, "Why don't you write you rascals?"  Clearly people did not feel desperately isolated before the means for instant communication existed, and we probably would not feel that way again in the future.  Information in the form of pamphlets and leaflets fed the social revolution of the 1960's, and attempts by government to suppress publication of incendiary information throughout history have typically been fruitless.

 

Except now there is a camera at every street corner.

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Re: How will we communicate if (when) the Internet is not ...

 I was without the internet (and power) for 20 days last fall because of Hurricane Ike, and to be blunt, it sucked. But after about 2 weeks of going without, it actually began to become a somewhat "peaceful" experience. You don't realize that your suffering from "information overload" until your cut-off.

Also, during the "great evacuation" of Hurricane Rita a couple years before, I remember that all the cell phones ceased to work except for text messages. We had "walkie-talkies" (sp ?) that we could use, but the frequencies were so jammed with multiple conversations, that they were difficult to use effectively.

I have thought about Ham Radio, but I thought it might suffer from the same over-load problem of the walkie-talkies. I think I heard it was somewhat of an ordeal to become a HAM radio user as well. Can anyone elaborate on the process?

Thanks

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Re: How will we communicate if (when) the Internet is not ...

 Ham radio and also short wave radio -- to hear what other countries were saying (because I sure wouldn't want to go back to just relying on the nightly news).  And, I guess I would be talking a lot more to my neighbors.  But, I would miss all of you  And that was the first thing I thought of when I saw this question -- how would WE communicate with each other?  I don't know.

becky

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Re: How will we communicate if (when) the Internet is not ...
becky wrote:

 Ham radio and also short wave radio -- to hear what other countries were saying (because I sure wouldn't want to go back to just relying on the nightly news).  And, I guess I would be talking a lot more to my neighbors.  But, I would miss all of you  And that was the first thing I thought of when I saw this question -- how would WE communicate with each other?  I don't know.

becky

 

Becky,

That is exactly what I was getting at.

I am sure the MSM will still be on but I don't care about them.  Our "community" here on this forum spans the world and without the internet we are cut off from each other. I was just wondering what it would be like to be only able to communicate with people in the local area. I was concerned about it because when I try to have a discussion about serious issues (like depression, dollar collapse, unemployment, taxes)  with the "locals" they look at me like I am the troll under the bridge.

 

There are too many people that only care about Lakers basketball, the new Blackberry or IPOD that they don't see or care about what is happening around them. The attitude that it must be getting better because "the talking heads" say so.

 

Ken

 

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Re: How will we communicate if (when) the Internet is not ...

 I see (hopefully!) the Pony Express in our future. This connected the country in 1860.

Here's a link: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pony_Express

Perhaps we should consider a name change: The Martenson Express! (for mail within this community).

 

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Re: How will we communicate if (when) the Internet is not ...

Well they keep leaving us off the maps so who knows when a sailing ship let alone a pony might get here. Sam - Ham radio will only work between here (NZ) and there (US) when the sunspots are favourable so I am told. They are still abnormal too aren't they?

CB radio is great for local groups. Cheap to buy and lots of channels. Very local but.

SHOUT

Don

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Re: How will we communicate if (when) the Internet is not ...
pir8don wrote:

Well they keep leaving us off the maps so who knows when a sailing ship let alone a pony might get here. Sam - Ham radio will only work between here (NZ) and there (US) when the sunspots are favourable so I am told. They are still abnormal too aren't they?

CB radio is great for local groups. Cheap to buy and lots of channels. Very local but.

SHOUT

Don

LOL! Everything is abnormal, Don - or hadn't you noticed? 

If the sunspots won't let us communicate, we'll have to return to the days of pen-to-paper and the days of the Clipper sailing ships!

Problem with CB radio was that there were too many people on any channel you turned to. If it becomes popular again, I'm sure the same problems will return.

CAN YOU HEAR ME NOW?

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Re: How will we communicate if (when) the Internet is not ...

JUST

Yes read that above. We have 40 channels over here. How many do you need? Ooops I suppose thats one channel per million in big cities. Actually the trick is to get weak transcievers 250mw or 500mw. Maybe a foreign concept small is better  Spose everyone has 5watt already - perhaps you don't even have limits 50watt 100 200. Then there is too much traffic.

Don

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Re: How will we communicate if (when) the Internet is not ...
pir8don wrote:

JUST

Yes read that above. We have 40 channels over here. How many do you need? Ooops I suppose thats one channel per million in big cities. Actually the trick is to get weak transcievers 250mw or 500mw. Maybe a foreign concept small is better  Spose everyone has 5watt already - perhaps you don't even have limits 50watt 100 200. Then there is too much traffic.

Don

Don,

I've had mine for years and years so don't know what the limits are anymore. However, mine is 5 watts. Problem in big cities, as you've noted, is that 40-channels just isn't enough to get a quiet channel. Lower wattage is fine if you're intentionally limiting your range. In that case, why not just buy low-power walkie-talkies? Guess it depends on what your needs are. If not too far, two cans and a long string might do it.

On that saucy note, I shall retire. Good night, old chap!

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Re: How will we communicate if (when) the Internet is not ...

If the premise of the internet becoming unavailable is censorship by a radical or revolutionary government, then I can't imagine any reasonable person would want to broadcast information from a shortwave station that can be heard by everybody within range, and also easily located!

Otherwise, in the absence of physical destruction of telephone cables by natural or manmade disaster (such as a nuclear war), then it seems to me unlikely that the internet would become rapidly unavailable as a means of communication.  Long before the first drop of oil was pumped from the ground, the mail was a reliable and affordable way to communicate.  Keeping that in mind, electronic communication is a vast improvement over mail in the sense that it uses far less energy to transmit electronic messages than it does to move a letter.  Even if our available energy were reduced by 95%, electronic communication would remain the most energy-efficient means of transmitting private messages.  Furthermore, the internet is very decentralized.  There is no single entity or machine which must function in order to allow it to operate.  Switching equipment can route a signal many ways to its destination, overcoming busy or damaged equipment on any one line.  "Internet cafes" are available in even the poorest and most war-ravaged countries, where mail does not get delivered, and computers are too expensive for individual purchase, for one reason: they are highly energy efficient compared to other forms of communication, provided that there is an existing cable network.  It seems that in any future of increasingly expensive energy, it would be among the last means of communication to be neglected.

The major threat to its continued existance would be gross neglect of the cable system, microwave transmitters, satellites, and switching stations on which it relies.  But this would appear as a gradual deterioration in the speed and reliability of connections, not as a sudden "loss" of the internet.  It's hard to imagine many situations where, through mere lack of energy, the internet could be "lost" without years of notice in the form of deteriorating service.

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Re: How will we communicate if (when) the Internet is not ...

We as an I-net community will not communicate, however we can take the knowledge we have given to each other and help our local communities survive in the times to come.  When you really get down to it, isn't that what this site/community is for to develop transition communities?  I think so.  The one thing we need to realize is that in developing these communities and they way the political structure is changing around us we may lose this in the process and need as JAG stated "it was peaceful".  In this peace, we can find each other again and move forward as a race.

When crises happens governments ((I will not use the word leaders, I value it too much)) will tighten control to "protect" the people.  Which we know is the furthest from the truth, however if we are self reliant we can keep freedom at a local level.

I advise to print out all the information you deem useful, laminate it and keep in in books for reference.

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Re: How will we communicate if (when) the Internet is not ...

Satellites will still be up there. The technology will still be in our heads. Knowledge is the one thing that no one can ever take from us.

Yes, I agree the Internet will go at some point when TSHTF but we are an enterprising generation. Someone will figure out a way to wire their local community. Then communities will wire to one another and eventually we will figure out a way to bounce a signal off a satellite to connect with Don in NZ.

We will have to start from scratch but I think we will rebuild.

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Re: How will we communicate if (when) the Internet is not ...

DarpaNet which was opened up as the original Internet was designed primarily to maintain communications post nuclear holocaust. One hopes that this isn't the SHTF we're discussing here.

You might be surprised as to whether it's still available after other scenario's of TSHTF.

Contacting NZ if the internet is down should be relatively easy using long wave for communications, no FCC to worry about at that time.

 

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Re: How will we communicate if (when) the Internet is not ...

The MSM will go down before the Internet.  Some of the reasons already mentioned but also because MSM is primarily a marketing tool -- the one or two TV channels devoted to directly buying stuff proves my point.  And there is the on-going trend towards replacing traditional brick and mortar with Internet store fronts -- Amazon posted a profit while Linen n Things and Circuit City went under.  It will probably be harder to get around in the future especially long distances so I expect the Internet to be even more important -- if possible -- in the future.

I'd worry more about an increase in Internet taxation than censorship in the near term.

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Re: How will we communicate if (when) the Internet is not ...

redpoe - very astute observations. I must say I agree with you. In the states you can currently get out of sales taxes by purchasing something online from a different state than you reside. Paypal though has started to report your accounts to the IRS if your transactions exceeed $20,000 per year, if I remember the amount correctly, 20 or 25K. I think they will try and reign in revenue any way they can. Currently they don't have any control over it, but if big conglomerates such as Paypal or Ebay get in the Government pocket, things could change. I know Paypal, has currently been fighting reporting to the IRS. The IRS originally wanted 10K limit, but Paypal fought it higher.

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Re: How will we communicate if (when) the Internet is not ...

Bumping this thread to see if there has been further thought about communication if the internet is cut off or limited in some way. While I agree that it is likely to be taxed out of the average person's reach rather than censored, the effect is the same - our means of getting information is limited to what they feed us through MSM. 

Is email subject to the same problems? Can it be as readily controlled? I realize if the internet is completely gone, of course emails cannot get through. But I'm wondering about limitations they might sneak in, such as, sites like this where many people communicate, are "down due to technical difficulties" for extended periods, but the internet itself is still operable (because, after all *they* still need it.) What means would we have in a case like that?

-s

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Re: How will we communicate if (when) the Internet is not ...
Saffron wrote:

Bumping this thread to see if there has been further thought about communication if the internet is cut off or limited in some way.

Yes, I have thought about this since the thread was first started but have not yet responded. I believe it is instructive to look at the current state of the internet, its history and our current technology to get some idea of what may happen.

First the original ARPANET was established in 1969 developed as a research project funded by the Department of Defense. A key concept was packet switching, so that a message was deconstructed into small packets that were sent to the destination by whichever path was instantaneously most efficient, giving the net its reliability when parts were unavailable.

Nowadays the Internet that people refer to probably means the http client-server system that was developed by Tim Berners-Lee in 1990 and is basically known as the World Wide Web (WWW). The first graphical browser (Mosaic) was launched in 1993 and its ease of use has made such browsers (IE, Mozilla, Firefox, Chrome etc.) the preferred interface. To access the internet an IP address is needed which generally means having an account with an ISP (internet service provider).

While the internet is unlikely to disappear I think it is more likely for individuals to be blacklisted (similar to the no fly list) and these lists to be distributed to ISPs, so that these individuals would not be able to access the net. There would of course be no recourse or even knowledge that or why you were on the list. Simply no ISP would provide you with service. These individuals would still be able to use libraries and other free outlets, so long as they existed i.e. were legal.

So how could these "dissenters" communicate besides telephone and snail mail? Before the WWW was invented computers communicated using lower level protocols. In 1979 when I first used the net they would telephone their geographic neighbours between midnight and 6 am, when phone time was cheap. Email would propagate across N. America in a day or two as would newsgroups (essentially special interest groups) that still exist today. Today most users have a wireless router in their home, which may or not be password protected, but which is visible to their neighbours.  These users could all be tied together with or without any internet connection by going back to a semblance of the older net. All that is necessary is that a programmer write some kind of P2P (peer to peer) programme that runs on these machines. The progamme would include password access through your neighbours router and would dedicate a few 10's of gigabytes, out of the several hundred typically available on PCs these days, for storage both temporary until transmitted and permanent for the user. An entire city would be connected in this way while adjacent cities would have to rely upon telephone, pony express transfer of gigabyte datasticks in dead of night or whatever was the preferred method of linking the separate city P2P networks.

I trust this answers your question and is not too much detail. Note that a key feature of my solution to communication among "dissenters" is that the power lies with the people. If we all support such communication, if and when it comes, then the people win.

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