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Some internet outages predicted for the coming month as ‘768k Day’ approaches

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An internet milestone known as “768k Day” is getting closer and some network administrators are shaking in their boots fearing downtime caused by outdated network equipment.

The fear is justified, and many companies have taken precautions to update old routers, but some cascading failures are still predicted.

What is 768k Day?

The term 768k Day comes from the original mother of all internet outages known as 512k Day.

512k Day happened on August 12, 2014, when hundreds of ISPs from all over the world went down, causing billions of dollars in damages due to lost trade and fees, from a lack of internet connectivity or packet loss.

The original 512k Day took place because routers ran out of memory for storing the global BGP routing table, a file that holds the IPv4 addresses of all known internet-connected networks.

At the time, a large chunk of the internet was being routed through devices that were allocating TCAM (ternary content-addressable memory) large enough to store no more than 512,000 internet routes.

But when on August 12, 2014, Verizon added 15,000 new BGP routes, this caused the global BGP routing table to suddenly go over the 512,000 lines without warning. On older routers, this manifested by the global routing table file overflowing from its allocated memory, crashing the devices every time they attempted to read or work with the file. Companies like Microsoft, eBay, LastPass, BT, LiquidWeb, Comcast, AT&T, Sprint, and Verizon, were all impacted.

Many legacy routers received emergency firmware patches that allowed network admins to set a higher threshold for the size of the memory allocated to handle the global BGP routing table.

Most network administrators followed documentation provided at the time and set the new upper limit at 768,000 — aka 768k.

Global BGP routing table reaching 768,000 limit on older routers

CIDR Report, a website that keeps track of the global BGP routing table, puts the size of this file at 773,480 entries; however, their version of the table isn’t official and contains some duplicates.

A Twitter bot named BGP4-Table, which has also been tracking the size of the global BGP routing table in anticipation of 768K Day, puts the actual size of the file at 767,392, just a hair away from overflowing.

768 Day expected within a month

ZDNet spoke today with Aaron A. Glenn, a networking engineer with AAGICo Berlin, and Jim Troutman, Director at the Northern New England Neutral Internet Exchange (NNENIX).

Both estimate 768K Day happening within the next month.

But unlike many network admins, they don’t expect the event to cause internet-wide outages like in 2014. However, both Glenn and Troutman expect some companies and smaller, local ISPs to be affected.

“I would be mildly surprised if there was any interruption or outage at any real scale,” Glenn told ZDNet. “Ten years ago there was a much wider IP transit market. Now there are a handful of large players that have mostly suitable gear.”

“I don’t expect it to cause ‘massive disruption’ for the internet,” Troutman said, echoing his colleague’s thoughts. “The internet has a lot more resilience and redundancy than most people think.”

“There will certainly be some network operators and corporate end-user organizations who will be caught unaware and will experience problems,” he added.

Some network admins have prepared

The good news is that network admins have known about 768k Day for a long time, and many have already prepared, either by replacing old routers with new gear or by making firmware tweaks to allow devices to handle global BGP routing tables that exceed even 768,000 routes.

“Yes, TCAM memory settings can be adjusted to help mitigate, and even go beyond 768k routes on some platforms, which will work if you don’t run IPv6. These setting changes require a reboot to take effect,” Troutman said.

“The 768k IPv4 route limit is only a problem if you are taking ALL routes. If you discard or don’t accept /24 routes, that eliminates half the total BGP table size.

“The organizations that are running older equipment should know this already, and have the configurations in place to limit installed prefixes. It is not difficult,” Troutman added.

“I have a telco ILEC client that is still running their network quite nicely on old Cisco 6509 SUP-720 gear, and I am familiar with others, too,” he said.

The trick, according to Troutman, is to have ISPs and other network operators using older gear point all their outbound traffic for /24 routes to upstream transit providers, which are most likely running modern gear and will pick it up for their clients.

“If you are affected by 768k you know and have known and done everything you can already,” Glenn said, describing industry efforts to prepare for 768k Day.

Right now, it’s impossible to know how many routers and networks will be impacted on 768k Day, as there’s no Shodan search query that can give us the number and location of vulnerable routers.

But as Glenn told ZDNet, “the Cisco 6500/7600 product line was extremely popular for an exceptionally long time in many, many places,” so don’t be surprised if some networks go offline because they forgot about 768k Day and didn’t prepare.

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Biden EV plan “the largest mobilization of public investment” since WW2

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The US government plans to replace its fleet of vehicles with electric alternatives, part of a huge public investment in equipment that President Biden says will be the largest since World War II. The goal was announced today, as Biden discussed the Buy American Executive Order and strategies to strengthen American manufacturing and create jobs in the US.

“The federal government also owns an enormous fleet of vehicles,” Biden said during the press conference, “which we’re going to replace with clean electric vehicles made right here in America, creating millions of jobs, a million autoworker jobs, and clean energy, and vehicles that are net-zero emissions. And together this will be the largest mobilization of public investment in procurement, infrastructure, and R&D since World War II.”

Certainly, there’s no shortage of vehicles being used across the government’s various departments. Each year, those departments are required to submit records on owned, leased, and commercially leased vehicles in their fleets. For 2019, civilian agencies owned more than 158,000 vehicles, while military agencies owned more than 62,000 vehicles.

The biggest fleet, however, is used by the US Postal Service. In the 2019 figures, it reported owning more than 224,000 vehicles. Tallied across all the agencies, there’s more than 445,000 owned vehicles on the books, and more than 200,000 leased in some form, with total costs of around $4.4 billion.

Typically, domestic vehicles already far outweigh the use of foreign passenger vehicles and trucks in use by the US government. Indeed, of the roughly 645,000 strong fleet in 2019, only around 6-percent were foreign-made. However, should even a small percentage be replaced with electrified vehicles, that could represent a huge shift in emissions.

The current reporting does not break down the vehicles by drivetrain type – beyond a separate category for low-speed electric vehicles (LSEV) – so it’s unclear how many might already be battery-electric or hybrids.

Still, it’s only in recent years that there have been viable options for replacing mainstream vehicles with zero-emission alternatives, and even then some categories are still awaiting production EVs. Ford and Chevrolet are both preparing electric pickup trucks, as is Tesla, and several American automakers are working on electric SUVs and sedans.

Startups like Rivian and Canoo are developing both passenger cars and SUVs and electric delivery vehicles, while Ford has an e-Transit in the pipeline, an all-electric version of its best-selling van. Earlier this month, GM announced a new brand, BrightDrop, to focus on electric logistics.

“The dollars the federal government spends on goods and services are a powerful tool to support American workers and manufacturers,” the White House said today. “Contracting alone accounts for nearly $600 billion in federal spending. Federal law requires government agencies to give preferences to American firms, however, these preferences have not always been implemented consistently or effectively.”

Full details of today’s executive order are yet to be published in the Federal Register by the government.

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Arcimoto is planning a tilting electric three-wheeler and it sounds epic

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Get ready for the electric vehicle market to lean over, with Arcimoto announcing it’s acquired a tilting trike specialist to use the tech in future EV three-wheelers. Based in Oregon, Arcimoto currently offers all-electric vehicles for public and business use, with its FUV – or “Fun Utility Vehicle” – available to preorder from around $18k.

Today’s deal sees Arcimoto snap up Tilting Motor Works, which offers a leaning kit for motorcycles. Its TRiO system can adapt existing bikes, promising to keep their natural lean but adding stability with a second front wheel. It’s currently offered for Harley-Davidson, Honda, and Indian models, priced at $14k plus installation.

Now, TRiO will be used for future Arcimoto trikes. The system will allow the EVs to lean into corners for more engaging driving dynamics, as well as lock upright when at a stop. The extra front wheel aids in traction too, Tilting Motor Works says, as well as improving braking; the company will continue to offer its kits for traditional motorcycles as well.

Arcimoto’s current FUV supports two occupants, sitting one behind the other. It has a 75 mph top speed from dual electric motors, and a range of 102 miles of urban driving; the doors are detachable, and rather than a steering wheel inside there are handlebars with heated grips. Currently, the company is taking preorders in Florida and on the west coast of the US.

It’s not the only vehicle Arcimoto has in mind, however. Late in 2020, the company showed off its latest prototype, a three-wheeler it called the ROADSTER. Roofless, and with a chopped-down windshield, it promises a more traditional take on the electric trike segment.

Electric drive and three wheels is arguably where some of the most interesting experiments are taking place in mobility right now. Last month, for example, we took the ElectraMeccanica Solo EV out for a spin, a single-seat electric trike that aims to reboot commuting. Based on the fact that almost 90-percent of Americans typically drive alone, it trades cabin space and seating for much cheaper running costs.

What it doesn’t do, however, is tilt. For an example of that, you have to look to something like Toyota’s i-ROAD, a distinctive electric three-wheeler that could lean into corners according to how aggressively you steered. Offered in select locations in Japan, and part of Toyota’s aggressive electrification push for the next few years, the i-ROAD was never officially offered in the US.

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Lotus teases sports car future as Elise, Exige and Evora face the axe

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Lotus is preparing a huge shake-up, with the iconic British sports car company confirming it’s axing three of its most memorable models to pave way for an all-new line-up. 2021 will be the end of the line for the Evora, Exige, and Elise, Lotus said today, dropping a new teaser about just what is intended to take their place.

We’ve already seen one element of that plan, in the shape of the beastly Evija hypercar. Announced in mid-2019, it promised to tap electrification for its potency, something Lotus demonstrated in action at its public debut in October last year.

Not everyone will be able to afford – or even find a spot on the waiting list for – a $2m+ EV behemoth. For that audience, Lotus has confirmed a new series sports car range, with the Lotus Type 131 expected to go into prototype production later this year.

It’ll be built at the automaker’s Hethel, Norfolk facility in the UK, which will undergo a $127m+ investment and see around 250 more engineers and manufacturing recruits added to the payroll. Helping foot the bill are shareholders Geely and Etika, which took ownership of Lotus in September 2017.

You can’t accuse Lotus of not making the most of its outgoing range. The first-generation Elise made its debut all the way back in 1995, a new model for Lotus but epitomizing its ethos of reducing weight in the name of increasing engagement. Though never the most powerful sport car, it nonetheless carved out a lingering reputation across several generations for its purity behind the wheel.

The Exige, meanwhile, arrived in 2000. A coupe to the Elise’s convertible, it built on the platform with race-focused technology to maximize performance. Come 2008, the Evora gave Lotus an entrant for the super-sports sector, tempering some of the automaker’s notorious focus on paring back creature comforts with a more luxurious, GT-minded approach.

The Type 131 range – part of what Lotus is calling its Vision80 strategy – will include at least three new models, replacing the Elise, Exige, and Evora. “Our renowned team of engineers, designers and technicians who are working on the new cars are acutely aware of the legacy from the Elise, Exige and Evora,” Matt Windle, executive director of engineering at the automaker, says. “Indeed, many were around when Elise was being developed.”

Earlier in 2020, rumors suggested Lotus could reboot the classic Esprit name for a new model. The new Esprit, it was hinted, could use a hybrid V6 powertrain, combining gas and electric power, though unlike James Bond’s car it would be unlikely to turn into a submarine.

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