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How's the Weather?

Net "weather," or lag, changes moment by moment. Unlike the real thing, there is no international weather service or Doppler radar to give a fix on what Internet weather looks like.

However, one resource provides one of the better ways of visualizing Internet traffic. Dubbed the Internet Weather Report, and built by Matrix Information & Directory Services of Austin, Texas, the Weather Report works by checking the response time of some 3,500 computers linked to the Net, and measuring how quickly they respond. The results can be found in the links below.

In reading the report, you should see a number of circles of varying size and color near major cities. Large circles indicate more lag, while smaller circles indicate a brisk response.

The color indicates the number of domains – another term for Net-connected servers designated by name. CBS.com, for example, is our domain name. Red indicates a small number of domains; blue a large number of domains. In areas where there are a small number of domains, there can be a great deal of lag as the few machines struggle to keep up. Thus, large red circles are a commonplace sight.

While the Internet Weather Report supplies a superb overview, it only represents a sample of the Internet. Consequently, your local lag may vary.

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