Report: Global Internet disruptions spiked in March

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Internet and Cloud Intelligence company ThousandEyes has revealed the findings of its inaugural 2020 Internet Performance Report, a first-of-its-kind study of the availability and performance of Internet-related networks, including those of Internet Service Providers (ISPs), public cloud, content delivery network (CDN) and domain name system (DNS) providers.

Measuring performance over time, the report examines the impacts of changing Internet usage as  result of Covid-19 and how those impacts varied across different regions and providers.

Key findings from the 2020 Internet Performance Report: Covid-19 Impact Edition, include:

  • Global Internet disruptions saw an unprecedented rise, increasing 63 per cent in March over January, and remained elevated through the first half of 2020 compared to pre-pandemic levels. In June, 44 per cent more disruptions were recorded compared to January.
  • Internet Service Providers (ISPs) in North America and APAC experienced the largest spikes in March – at 65 per cent (North America) and 99 per cent (APAC) respectively versus January, and have since returned to levels typical of those regions. In EMEA, however, outages continue to increase month over month with 45 per cent more disruptions in June versus January.
  • ISPs were hit the hardest, while cloud provider networks demonstrated greater overall stability. Between January and July, cloud providers experienced ~400 outages globally versus more than ~4500 in ISP networks. Relative to total outages, more than 80 per cent occurred within ISP networks and less than 10 per cent within cloud provider networks.
  • Though the total number of outages increased across all regions, impact on Internet users varied. Following pre-pandemic patterns, a larger proportion of disruptions in EMEA tend to occur during peak business hours as compared to North America, where a majority of large outages typically take place outside of traditional business hours and therefore may not have a meaningful impact on Internet users.
  • Overall, the Internet held up. Despite unprecedented conditions and an increase in network disruptions, Internet-related infrastructures have held up well, suggesting overall healthy capacity, scalability, and operator agility needed to adjust to unforeseen demands. Negative performance indicators, such as traffic delay, loss, and jitter generally remained within tolerable ranges, showing no evidence of systemic network duress.
  • Increased network disruptions due to operator adjustments. Many of the network disruptions observed post-February appeared to be related to network operators making more changes to their networks to compensate for changing traffic conditions.

“The Internet is inherently unpredictable and outages are inevitable even under normal conditions,” advised Angelique Medina, research author and 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 who seem to have been more vulnerable to disruptions than cloud providers. With the Internet Performance Report, businesses can benchmark Internet performance pre and post Covid-19 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.”

Based on a number of vantage points around the globe that perform billions of measurements each day to detect when traffic flows are disrupted and measure performance, ThousandEyes leverages this Internet intelligence to monitor and detect how Internet, cloud and other third-party dependencies impact end-user digital experiences.

Based on measurements collected between January and July 2020, the Internet Performance Report uncovers important insights into the resilience and behaviour of the global Internet, helping organisations apply a data-driven lens to their IT and business planning.

“Initially, we saw both businesses and service providers scramble to adjust, overnight, to work-from-home environments,” commented Paul Bevan, Research Director, IT Infrastructure, Bloor Research. “However now, we see a definite shift towards accommodating a more permanent scenario of serving a remote workforce. This is creating a realignment of network infrastructure that will look very different from pre-March network platforms. The findings from ThousandEyes’ research will be critical in helping organisations understand the inter-dependencies that are at play between internal and external networks, and how to strengthen IT infrastructures now that the Internet has become a core component to manage.”

 


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