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Maximum survival time without Internet?

Displaying poll results.
1 hour
  6% 9 votes
4 hours
  6% 9 votes
8 hours
  7% 10 votes
1 day
  7% 11 votes
2 days
  10% 14 votes
2 weeks
  26% 37 votes
what is this "Internet" of which you speak?
  15% 21 votes
Other (please specify in comments)
  20% 29 votes
140 total votes.
[ Voting Booth | Other Polls | Back Home ]
  • Don't complain about lack of options. You've got to pick a few when you do multiple choice. Those are the breaks.
  • Feel free to suggest poll ideas if you're feeling creative. I'd strongly suggest reading the past polls first.
  • This whole thing is wildly inaccurate. Rounding errors, ballot stuffers, dynamic IPs, firewalls. If you're using these numbers to do anything important, you're insane.
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  • (Score: 3, Insightful) by mhajicek on Friday May 03, @06:13AM (5 children)

    by mhajicek (51) on Friday May 03, @06:13AM (#1355684)

    "It depends."

    Are we talking about maintaining my normal business and lifestyle, or how long I could go during an apocalypse?

    Since I run a business, I'm always online or have my phone on, unless I'm sleeping. If I were retired, I'd probably go multiple weeks without it on occasion.

    The spacelike surfaces of time foliations can have a cusp at the surface of discontinuity. - P. Hajicek
    • (Score: 5, Interesting) by mhajicek on Friday May 03, @06:56PM (1 child)

      by mhajicek (51) on Friday May 03, @06:56PM (#1355791)

      One thing just occurred to me. I'm running an older version of my CADCAM software, which still uses a hardware dongle for licensing. More recent versions of all brands of professional level CADCAM are either cloud based or software activated, afaik, requiring at least occasional Internet connection to continue functioning. So I would be able to continue running my shop during a prolonged internet outage, while many others would not.

      The spacelike surfaces of time foliations can have a cusp at the surface of discontinuity. - P. Hajicek
      • (Score: 3, Interesting) by Anonymous Coward on Saturday May 11, @01:43AM

        by Anonymous Coward on Saturday May 11, @01:43AM (#1356511)

        I have my old Eagle 4 and 6, perpetual license, offline, for that reason. I stopped at WIN7, with the GRC patch that destroyed the upgrade backdoor (Never 10). I still leave it offline to the public net, although I still use it on my own intranet. I have several systems ( laptops, actually ) that are all cloned, so if one has an issue, I can clone the system back from a known good system. Clonezilla. DAZ 2.2.2, xp_activate32, because the OS activation servers have been offline for years, and I often swap parts around while troubleshooting aging hardware, which occasionally will deactivate my system. I have bent as far as I can to accommodate finicky terms. I consider the newer commercial stuff far too fragile to consider seriously for anything critical, however I will use the latest inexpensive throwaway Androids to communicate with businesses on the web.

        It's a time-to-live thing for me. I will acquire and keep tools that are multigenerational, just as I still use tools I inherited. However most businesses are not designed to last more than a couple of years. They have to use cheap stuff that doesn't last to do unimportant things like communicating with customers. Some businesses already won't talk to my three year old browser on my phone. I won't even try talking to business with my Win95 k-meleon. The ONLY site that works with everything I have is!

        However not all businessmen are so nearsighted...some even still run COBOL systems for the really important things like accounting and contract work. It's just the throwaway things like customers that have to put up with finicky business storefronts.

        I still use the old html4 because it is much simpler, it's rendering instructions make bar chart presentation easy, and I can support form instructions, radio buttons, tick boxes, and download instruction that may take megabytes of support libraries to implement...I just use a few kilobytes of assembler or compiled C. I only implement what I need, as all I am doing is using a web browser as an HMI. So in case some rightsholder delicenses me, I can swap it out to something more fungible.

    • (Score: 3, Interesting) by Unixnut on Saturday May 04, @11:30AM

      by Unixnut (5779) on Saturday May 04, @11:30AM (#1355869)

      I was going to come here and say something similar.

      I myself can go for a long time without internet access as everything I need for day to day activity is stored locally on my server and I don't use social media or "cloud" anything. Once the internet went down for a few hours and I did not even notice. I was only alerted after the issue was resolved when I got an e-mail from my ISP apologising for the days outage.

      If however I need to function/interact with society, that is a different situation. Almost everything is done online now, from banking to dealing with the local authorities. Likewise my work does require internet access if I want to earn money to live.

      I myself could cope without the internet just fine (but of course I prefer having it). Worst case scenario would be a return to the sneakernet days [], just with much larger storage media.

      However the modern world is built on the assumption of internet access. So losing internet access long term would bleed into the real-world and cause me problems (e.g. unable to earn money, pay bills/rent or deal with government).

      I would say it would take about a month before problems occurred, basically until next rent/bills are due.

      For other people (like some members of my family), their entire life is "in the cloud". They interact through social media, listen to music and watch stuff off youtube, all their pictures, documents are on Google, etc... Their devices are basically a thin client to the cloud where their life is.

      If they lose internet they notice instantly, and if it doesn't come back within 15 mins or so they get visibly anxious, frustrated and irritable. I think most people are like that now.

    • (Score: 3, Interesting) by JoeMerchant on Saturday May 04, @02:08PM

      by JoeMerchant (3937) on Saturday May 04, @02:08PM (#1355876)

      Went on a 3 week vacation in the Caribbean in 2018, took lots of cell phone photos but basically had no connectivity the whole time. Didn't miss it.

      No Internet during work time? Maybe 24 hours max before I have to explain to my manager or start driving in to the office. Haven't been in to the office for over a year now, probably less than 10 hours total in office since lockdown started in 2020.

      I do occasional training of staff in India and China. That just doesn't happen at all without Internet.

      🌻🌻 []
    • (Score: 3, Interesting) by All Your Lawn Are Belong To Us on Friday May 10, @01:18AM

      by All Your Lawn Are Belong To Us (6553) on Friday May 10, @01:18AM (#1356392) Journal


      Personally, I have a digital books, video, music, and games library with multiple backups and modes of us that can support my off-work lifestyle very well indeed for a completely indefinite period of time. If the web were destroyed but I had power I'd be just fine... and as long as my car is running I can recharge all my devices that matter to me. I don't let streaming services own me (even though I'm subscribed to some).
      (Aside... I also have a large enough physical library of books and games as well, including my professional reference library.)

      In my working life... well.... my employer would be totally boned because we absolutely depend on the Internet for both data management and to allow those of us in the field to make updates in the field. Without that we would require at least a dozen more computers and probably at least a half dozen more employees to cover all the downtime traveling back to base would necessitate. Although we can sync and get a database update, do work in the field, then resync when convenient if we're beyond signal coverage. But that is measured in hours and a very few visits... maybe a day... before requiring sync-up. And sometimes critical situations demand that we be able to resync ASAP. Genuine downtime emergencies for us have to be measured in hours for us.

      This sig for rent.
  • (Score: 3, Informative) by pkrasimirov on Friday May 03, @08:12AM (3 children)

    by pkrasimirov (3358) Subscriber Badge on Friday May 03, @08:12AM (#1355696)

    I cannot pay for anything or find my way in the city without my phone and internet on it. I cannot work. I cannot be found or communicated with. No internet means being unavailable to other people who depend on me, and all these people will be very worried until I am back online.

    • (Score: 2) by Nuke on Wednesday May 08, @11:49AM (2 children)

      by Nuke (3162) on Wednesday May 08, @11:49AM (#1356193)

      Maybe your life today, not mine. I would not allow myself to be dependent on one thing like that, and I only switch my phone on to make calls anyway.

      • (Score: 2) by Common Joe on Thursday May 09, @07:59PM (1 child)

        Since maps aren't really sold much anymore, how do you travel in other cities without a map app on a cell phone?

        Tangential Info: I have terrible skills finding my way around a city without a map (even the one I live in), but I used to navigate just fine without a cell phone for decades. I just always kept maps with me. And in the places I lived in, you never wanted to wonder into the wrong neighborhoods or you might not come back out again, so knowing where you were was definitely necessary.

        • (Score: 2) by Nuke on Friday May 10, @09:12AM

          by Nuke (3162) on Friday May 10, @09:12AM (#1356424)

          Since maps aren't really sold much anymore

          Plenty on sale in the UK, in particular the excellent "landscape" ones by Ordnance Survey and the spiral bound city street maps by Geographers. Apart from that, my car has a built-in GPS based navigator, and the car is old enough (2006) that it does not report to anyone where I am going.

  • (Score: 1, Informative) by Anonymous Coward on Friday May 03, @09:03AM (1 child)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday May 03, @09:03AM (#1355697)

    The first 25+ years of my life!
    Water, food, shelter, ...books, nature, etc.

    • (Score: 2) by Kell on Wednesday May 08, @10:41PM

      by Kell (292) on Wednesday May 08, @10:41PM (#1356267)

      Yep, came here to say this. I'm old enough that I spent my childhood without internet and I'm not viscerally reliant on it, even if it's useful to me.

      Scientists ask questions. Engineers solve problems.
  • (Score: 4, Insightful) by dx3bydt3 on Friday May 03, @11:27AM

    by dx3bydt3 (82) on Friday May 03, @11:27AM (#1355712)

    I would say I could survive indefinitely without internet, though not necessarily comfortably.
    Like the AC who posted before, the internet wasn't meaningfully a thing for anyone until I was an adult.
    These days I often go camping for ~2 days at a time with no connectivity.
    Every few years we get a hurricane that knocks out power for 4-7 days, where I live that also takes down the cell network after the first hour or so. All survivable.

    Long term survival would depend on whether the internet ceased to be, or I was personally being deprived for whatever reason.
    If it was the latter I'd need to find a new job, or take up subsistence farming. I'd also probably have to transfer my assets to a different "brick and mortar" bank, which would be a hassle, but should be possible just over a phone.
    If it was the former, things would suck for a long time, and I'd have to go back to using paper catalogues to source components/materials for work, assuming the business survived the internet collapse.

    If the question was more intended as millennial/gen z hyperbole for "how long can you go before being uncomfortable without internet?", for me that would be somewhere between 2 and 7 days.
    In that time enough things crop up that I want to look up, or shop for, that I tend to miss it if it isn't available.

  • (Score: 4, Insightful) by Thexalon on Friday May 03, @01:01PM (1 child)

    by Thexalon (636) on Friday May 03, @01:01PM (#1355721)

    For those fellow old farts out there, we managed for a very long time without this newfangled Internet thingy. You can find out more about that era by using the card catalog to find periodicals on microfiche about it at your local public library (if you want to enjoy the true pre-Internet experience).

    You can argue amongst yourselves about whether this monstrosity that Al Gore has wrought is a good thing or not.

    The only thing that stops a bad guy with a compiler is a good guy with a compiler.
  • (Score: 2, Interesting) by Runaway1956 on Friday May 03, @01:28PM (1 child)

    by Runaway1956 (2926) Subscriber Badge on Friday May 03, @01:28PM (#1355724) Journal

    I was thirty something the first time I ever got on the internet. I had to go to the local library to use their computer, to do so. I think that I had turned 40 when dial up access became available where I live. So, yeah, I know that I would get by if the apocalypse destroyed the internet.

    On the other hand, I am online all hours of the day and night. When deprived of the internet by a power outage, I routinely drive out to the highway, so that I can get online to inform the electric coop of the outage. At which time I check email, and look at something or other before returning to the house. Haven't been tested by long power outages - if the outage lasted more than a few hours, I'd probably drive out to get a cell signal, so I can look at stuff. My life certainly doesn't depend on the internet, but I like to keep in touch.

  • (Score: 2) by Freeman on Friday May 03, @01:45PM

    by Freeman (732) on Friday May 03, @01:45PM (#1355730) Journal

    The question is very open ended. It could use a bit of refinement.

    In today's day and age, it's almost impossible to do everything you need to, without the internet. I'm just talking about paying the bills, etc. Also, doing things "the old fashioned way" doesn't mean you're doing things "the smart way".

    "Could I survive without the internet?" Definitely and I probably would have a lot more functional electronics than most people younger than myself. Your always on console won't run any of your games, because you don't have internet? Sucks to be you. Maybe you should have made better purchasing decisions? People do stupid things, if it's convenient for them. Personally, I don't mind a bit of inconvenience, if it means the corporation can't just yoink the stuff back, because "licensing" blah blah blah.

    Joshua 1:9 "Be strong and of a good courage; be not afraid, neither be thou dismayed: for the Lord thy God is with thee"
  • (Score: 2) by srobert on Friday May 03, @03:30PM (1 child)

    by srobert (4803) on Friday May 03, @03:30PM (#1355753)

    First internet experience was around 1994 or 1995. I was 31 or 32.

  • (Score: 3, Interesting) by drussell on Friday May 03, @06:51PM (1 child)

    by drussell (2678) on Friday May 03, @06:51PM (#1355790) Journal

    I've always aimed to have four nines uptime on my servers and their internet connections, so just under 1h per year downtime.

    I managed that for something like 7 years out of 10 back in the early '00s, but haven't been very close since, although there is less critical stuff running on my servers now these days. LOL, I used to have a couple banks of 12v car batteries rigged up to some 24v UPSs in the server room that let me keep on humming along for over 8h without power... haha

    I've probably managed three nines most of the time since, up until Covid. Had a couple issues with upstream connectivity that brought it closer to two nines for a couple years there, and then the past ~500 days or so has been close to three nines, but when I moved the main mail server from Alberta to BC a few months ago, I did not try to migrate with a temporary server...

    I just notified all the customers for weeks beforehand, bundled up the server and the disk drive rack into the car at right about midnight on the Saturday night, changed the IP addresses on the nameserver so it would have time to propagate through the greater internet, then drove it directly out here (~8h drive, but it was blizzarding, took more like 9½) and had it back online with the new IP addresses and mail flowing before 9:30am PST Sunday morning.

    One time back in 1998 or 99, when we moved offices, I didn't want to ruin my main couple servers' uptimes (were at about 600 days at that point, IIRC) so I put a big battery on a UPS on a cart, "suicide plugged" them over to the temporary UPS, took them down the elevator (this was about 2am) and carefully loaded them into the van.... still running... main disks still spinning (ancillary ones dismounted, paused and spun down with a camcontrol stop) and carefully drove over to the other building... I then unloaded them, took them up the elevator to the new server room and plugged them back into their main power cords. (The fact that the DEC ServerWorks drive racks support dual power supplies made life easier. Two of the three servers also had dual supplies, but one of them was a single ATX PSU.) I plugged in the network cables and got them back up (had the same Class-C network already bridged between locations, so it just worked connectivity-wise.)

    Uptime remained in tact, total downtime network-wise was about 30 minutes in total, start to finish.

    At 2am. On a Sunday. Fun times!

    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Friday May 10, @01:43AM

      by Anonymous Coward on Friday May 10, @01:43AM (#1356393)

      I used to be obsessed with high uptimes like that. However, I’m now responsible for maintaining uptimes much higher than 4 nines. Having seen the work it takes to maintain systems with over 9 nines of availability, having to guarantee 100% uptime for customers, and administration of services that are ancient (including one closing in on 75 years with zero downtime), it just does not hold the same force on me anymore. My personal systems get what they get and professionally I never kill myself for those SLAs and SLOs anymore. Now that doesn’t mean I don’t care about uptime, but if they cared then they would find the proper way to motivate me.

  • (Score: 2) by Cyrix6x86 on Friday May 03, @08:47PM

    by Cyrix6x86 (13569) on Friday May 03, @08:47PM (#1355805)

    Two weeks, max.

    There's just so many transactions (bills, investments, notices, appointments/invites) that are all done online. Some of these need manual intervention at some level.

  • (Score: 2) by Gaaark on Friday May 03, @10:08PM

    by Gaaark (41) on Friday May 03, @10:08PM (#1355815) Journal

    I've done without internet for 3 weeks of vacation: longer than that, who knows...

    --- Please remind me if I haven't been civil to you: I'm channeling MDC. ---Gaaark 2.0 ---
  • (Score: 2, Insightful) by Anonymous Coward on Saturday May 04, @06:11AM (1 child)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday May 04, @06:11AM (#1355852)

    there are multiple conflicting answers, depending on what you mean by "survive", and what you mean by "internet".
    literally, I and my family, and most of the people I know could survive indefinitely without any kind of internet.

    1. my job and the institute I work for would be impossible without interconnected computers. in principle it could be transformed into what it was before the internet, but it would be very hard (not sure anyone would pay for it). my bank account would be fine for a couple of years (but I'd need to figure out paying rent without internet).
    2. I have ~200 euros cash in the house. I need electronic transactions to work. I'm pretty certain that if there's no internet, and I go physically to my bank to ask for cash, they would be unable to help in the short term (they wouldn't be able to access their database, would they? and the line would be around ten thousand people). I trust the local government to come up with a short term solution until a workaround is found.
    3. I live with my immediate family, but everyone else is thousands of kilometers away. are the phones out too in this scenario of yours? we don't talk every day, but things would be very unpleasant without communications.
    4. while I trust the local community and government, I'm pretty sure panic and chaos would take over the nearby metropolis fairly quickly, so unless the country itself is able to organize food, water and heating without internet, there would be serious disruptions, possibly life-threatening. I'm guessing your scenario won't break the laws of physics, and radios will still work, so organization on a larger scale would still be possible. as long as the government keeps cool, and provides a temporary system of "IOU" to everyone until banking information can be brought to where it's needed, everyone should be able to survive. well... I expect mortality to go up for the old and the sick at least short term, simply because they're being overlooked in the scramble.

    PS: but Putin already has all this information, why are you asking? no, society will not come apart if the internet is gone. young idiots who won't normally take their eyes out of their phones will, when forced to look up, notice the gray haired who are doing fine, and most will probably be able to follow the instructions that they get from talking to them.
    and a form of the internet will come back fairly quickly, as long as there's electricity to power the necessary things. I can see the neighbour's wifi, so we can join up in the local village if we want to, and someone will figure out how to use a radio to talk to the village next to us etc.

    • (Score: 2) by All Your Lawn Are Belong To Us on Monday May 13, @02:09PM

      by All Your Lawn Are Belong To Us (6553) on Monday May 13, @02:09PM (#1356814) Journal

      Not sure how your bank in particular works, or banks in general. But for healthcare the largest vendor of medical record systems (by market share), Epic, has provisions for local machines to store read-only copies of an entire hospital or region's tables for treatment. And seldom tested (or used) procedures for network outages - at least on the field operation level. But yeah, I've been to a bank experiencing connectivity issues and they were pretty much boned - "I can't do that right now."

      I'd bet a lot of the crowd here remembers the days of using a manual imprinter for credit cards. Fill out the slip, put the card on the platen and the slip of that, pull the handle back and forth - shonk SHONK! Then get the customer to sign it. Oh, and telephone for a Code 50 authorization number if the charge was over $50.00 on the landline. Turn the slips in with your deposit and wait for your share of the money to be deposited. :)

      I've got ham radios and a license..... I can theoretically talk to people 1, 5, 50, 500, or 5000 miles away. The American Radio Relay League's Amateur Radio Emergency Services (ARRL-ARES, what a mouthful!) trademarked "When All Else Fails," because ham radio can still work. But by and large the Simpsons nailed it, those who do for the most part just say "I've got a ham radio!" with it. Unless you've got an actual plan and need, what good will it do but psychological prophylaxis? Still fun, but even now part of the cutting edge of ham radio now requires Internet.

      This sig for rent.
  • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Saturday May 04, @11:10PM (1 child)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday May 04, @11:10PM (#1355919)

    Part of the services we provide is dial-up internet access. For many people out there, you might as well not have internet at all if the maximum you have available is 9.6K over your shitty phone lines. But for many people around here, it is apparently good enough for them otherwise the service wouldn't be as popular as it is.

    • (Score: 2) by DannyB on Wednesday May 08, @02:59PM

      by DannyB (5839) Subscriber Badge on Wednesday May 08, @02:59PM (#1356209) Journal

      A missing option I should have added.

      "I use IP over Avian Carriers you insensitive clod!"

      Plus, using IP over Avian Carriers gives many nines reliable uptime. And it's faster than *ahem* certain internet providers.

      With modern TVs you don't have to worry about braking the yolk on the back of the picture tube.
  • (Score: 4, Funny) by HeadlineEditor on Tuesday May 07, @11:49AM (1 child)

    by HeadlineEditor (43479) Subscriber Badge on Tuesday May 07, @11:49AM (#1356016)

    Coincidentally, my internet connection went down this past Sunday here in rural Outer Hackistan, but I didn't really care right away because I was in the middle of watching a movie on a local media source. But as luck would have it, the one local cell tower was down at the same time, so I couldn't even call the cable company to find out what was going on. I panicked. It was surreal. I had to drive 15 minutes to the next town to get a cell signal, at which point the cable company didn't want to talk to me becuase I couldn't tell them my customer number (which was printed on a paper invoice) or the MAC from my router, which was of course at home. I cursed myself for not bringing my handheld dual-band ham radio just to see if anyone else was having a problem. Every person or car I saw I imagined they were doing the same thing - trying to figure out why they didn't have internet access or cell signal. I wondered if it finally happened and the big EMP had gone off somewhere nearby. Was it the Russians, or the Chinese? How could I get in touch with my family to find out if they were safe? My throat got all constricted and I started to sweat. What was I going to do? Do I risk driving into danger to see my family? What horrors could possibly await outside of my little idyllic country village? I had no way of finding out what was going on in the outside world! I even briefly considered the unthinkable - stopping to speak to another human I saw - but fortunately I resisted.

    I drove home to get my radio, and internet was back on. So I took a nap.

    • (Score: 2) by PiMuNu on Thursday May 09, @12:22PM

      by PiMuNu (3823) on Thursday May 09, @12:22PM (#1356309)

      It is a strange thing, we often have correlation between internet downtime and cellphone downtime where I live. I guess they share some infrastructure.

  • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Thursday May 09, @07:34AM

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday May 09, @07:34AM (#1356291)
    Need to pay the bills (credit card, electricity, etc), I could leave them in arrears I guess.

    That said I've heard rumors that I might be able to use an ATM for this. I've just never bothered trying or confirming this. If it's possible then I guess indefinitely.

    My smartphone is still fairly useful even without Internet. I've got offline maps (HERE), music (player=musicolet), novels, various seasons of stuff to watch (my phone supports SD cards and currently has a 512GB sdcard).
    BTW my phone also works as an IR remote control for various stuff (airconditioners, TVs etc), but you can't add a new device without Internet access.

    Ironically a lot of the stuff I do on my PC requires internet access - games, SN etc.
  • (Score: 2) by Tork on Thursday May 09, @06:50PM

    by Tork (3914) Subscriber Badge on Thursday May 09, @06:50PM (#1356361)
    I'd love to brag to you all about how resilient I am but a few years ago I started a gig off-site at a place that ... eh I can't go into details but let's just leave it at- "My watch and phone stopped buzzing when I got chats or emails". Man did I feel like I was adrift. It was worse than that project that didn't have coffee for a week!

    I wasn't alone there and eventually we got it all sorted out, but it was during that time I realized... if the Borg come, I don't think I'm gonna resist. I mean I'm at least gonna ask what my new specifications would be.
    🏳️‍🌈 Proud Ally 🏳️‍🌈
  • (Score: 2) by Joe Desertrat on Monday May 13, @12:46AM

    by Joe Desertrat (2454) on Monday May 13, @12:46AM (#1356737)

    So I became used to long periods without internet.

    I avoid cloud software at home. At worst I would miss streaming some programs, but I have an awful lot of downloaded content and many personal projects on the back burner to keep me entertained. At work however, we would essentially be shut down. There are only a couple of us that would have any idea how to do anything. I would have some concerns about how I'm going to pay bills, everything I do there is online. I would probably over all be better off shutting down the PC and going fishing.