Here in the United States, we spend most of our time in an always-on world—a place where internet connections are as constant and reliable as the lights or running water. But this sort of always-on internet is very much a first-world luxury, and it appears to be confined to countries that were early users of the net, snatching up super-sized quantities of internet addresses. In much of the world, the internet regularly goes to sleep.
What this means is that for web surfers in Asia and and Africa and South America, their internet connections get switched off at night. Internet cafes shut down, and so do home routers. “One of the strongest correlations we found is the poorer your country is, the more likely your network is to turn off at night,” says John Heidemann, a professor at the University of Southern California.