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March 23, 2020

New Global Internet Outages Map: “Concerning” Rise in ISP Outages

"We have seen a concerning upward trajectory since the beginning of this month"

By CBR Staff Writer

As internet traffic reaches all-time highs, with internet providers like Vodafone reporting a whopping 50 percent rise in traffic, a handy map has been created and made freely available to help consumers and businesses track outages. The Global Internet Outages Map is updated every few minutes and helps the public and industry track outages that occur in ISPs, public clouds and edge service provider networks.

US internet and cloud intelligence firm ThousandEyes, creator of the map, noted that while cloud network providers look highly resilient thus far, it has tracked an alarming rise in Internet Service Providers (ISP) outages, particularly in the US, including at Cogent Communications (AS 174) and Hurricane Electric (AS 6939) since the COVID-19 outbreak drove staff and school children home; resulting in a surge in network loads.

“Looking at ISP outages within the last six weeks, we can see that the number of outages increased globally”, ThousandEyes’ Angelique Medina wrote March 23.

She added: “Sporadic increases are not atypical under normal Internet conditions, as the number of daily and weekly outages can change for a variety of (mostly unpredictable) reasons. However, we have seen a concerning upward trajectory since the beginning of this month coinciding with the broader spread of COVID-19.”

Looking more resilient are the major cloud providers.

ThousandEyes noted: “As with ISPs, cloud network outages are generally unpredictable, and, when large-scale in nature, it’s often due to a routing or infrastructure state change, rather than traffic congestion…

“Major public cloud providers… have built massive global networks that are incredibly well-equipped to handle traffic surges. So, unsurprisingly, we have seen almost no COVID-19 related impacts within their networks.”

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Read this: The Cloud Providers Ranked by Network Performance

Explaining the launch of the Global Internet Outages map, Mohit Lad, co-founder and CEO of ThousandEyes said: “Over the past couple of weeks, we’ve been inundated with requests from businesses, industry analysts and other various parties wanting to get a better understanding of global Internet health during these trying times.

“The Global Internet Outages Map to give businesses and consumers alike a reliable source based on actual internet telemetry instead of public rumor to help them understand what’s happening on the Internet at any point in time.”

In Europe, major bandwidth users like YouTube, Netflix and others have throttled bit rates at the request of EU policy makers in a bid to ensure resilience.

The European Commission has given ISP’s free reign to take traffic management measures in a bid to deal with the surge in use, saying: “Operators are authorised to apply exceptional traffic management measures to prevent impending network congestion and to mitigate the effects of exceptional or temporary network congestion, always under the condition that equivalent categories of traffic are treated equally.”

As with many such offerings, there’s a degree of self-interest here that it would be remiss of us not to note: ThousandEyes is also pushing – in tandem with the map – the firm’s “Internet Insights” product which allows business to dive deeper into the statistics that the map is outlining. (ThousandEyes, founded in 2010,  provides enterprise network intelligence. It has raised $110 million in venture capital, including $50 million in a Series D funding round in February 2019, backed by Google).

See Also: Is the Internet Going to “Break” Under the Pressure of Traffic Surges?

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