Internet outages ‘rise 63%’ as pandemic spreads

Internet outages ‘rise 63%’ as pandemic spreads

Angelique Medina.jpg

Disruptions to the internet have seen an unprecedented rise because of the Covid-19 pandemic, according to a new survey by ThousandEyes, a research company owned by Cisco.

Its first Internet Performance Report shows that disruptions were up by 63% in March 2020 over January, and remained elevated through the first half of 2020 compared to pre-pandemic levels. In June, 44% more disruptions were recorded compared to January.

“The internet is inherently unpredictable and outages are inevitable even under normal conditions,” said report author Angelique Medina (pictured), director of product marketing at ThousandEyes.

“However, with the overnight transition to a remote workforce, remote schooling and remote entertainment that many countries experienced in March, we saw outages spike to unprecedented levels – especially among internet service providers (ISPs) who seem to have been more vulnerable to disruptions than cloud providers.”

ISPs in North America and the Asia-Pacific region experienced the largest spikes in March, she said, at 65% in North America and 99% in the Asia-Pacific respectively, compared with January.

In those two regions outages have since returned to levels typical of those regions.

But not in Europe, the Middle East and Africa, where outages continue to increase month over month, said ThousandEyes, with 45% more disruptions in June versus January.

Cloud provider networks demonstrated greater overall stability, says the report. Between January and July, cloud providers experienced about 400 outages globally versus more than about 4500 in ISP networks. Relative to total outages, more than 80% occurred within ISP networks and less than 10% within cloud provider networks.

The report means “businesses can benchmark internet performance pre and post Covid-19”, said Medina, “and plan for a more resilient IT environment as they continue to build out infrastructures that can manage the external dependencies on cloud and internet networks that employee and consumer experiences now rely on.”

Cisco bought ThousandEyes at the end of May 2020. At the time Todd Nightingale, senior VP and general manager of Cisco’s enterprise networking and cloud business, said: “The ThousandEyes acquisition will enable deeper and broader visibility to pinpoint deficiencies and improve the network and application performance across all networks your business relies on by enabling end-to-end visibility when accessing cloud applications.”