Internet Disruption Report: September 2019

September… when school is back in session, the leaves begin to change, and stable Internet connectivity apparently remains elusive in many countries. Although the Internet disruptions observed around the world this during last month were not due to the change of seasons or the start of school, their underlying causes were very familiar, including power outages, national exams, severe weather, network issues, and DDoS attacks.

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Internet Disruption Report: August 2019

The August 1994 issue of WIRED Magazine hardly hinted at the coming ubiquity of the Internet, featuring articles on CD-ROM games and reviews of the Apple Newton. Commercial Internet services were very much in their infancy at the time, with the issue containing just a few advertisements for nascent Internet Service Providers, such as the one shown below. Twenty-five years ago, Internet disruptions were more likely to be caused by overloaded modem banks or congestion at one of the few peering points available at the time.

Advertisement for Internet Service Provider "The Little Garden", scanned from the August 1994 issue of WIRED magazine.
The Little Garden was sold in 1996 to Best Internet Communications, which was acquired by Verio in 1999, which then became part of NTT in 2000.

Today, Internet connectivity is significantly more ubiquitous, faster and less expensive (in most places), and generally reliable. With increased Internet availability and usage, however, disruptions become more noticeable, and impact a significantly larger population of users. In August, we observed Internet disruptions around the world due to power outages, national exams, and network issues. Several government-directed disruptions were widely reported as well, but were not easily observable in monitoring tools.

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Internet Disruption Report: July 2019

After a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad month in June, the number and severity of significant Internet disruptions observed in July was markedly lower. The month was book-ended by exam-related outages, while other observed connectivity disruptions were related to a massive power outage, severe weather, government direction, and fiber/cable issues. Several additional unattributed disruptions were also seen over the course of the month.

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Internet Disruption Report: June 2019

Simply put, June was a pretty rough month for the global Internet. In addition to all of the usual small/transient issues, there were quite a few significant disruptions that occurred over the course of the month. This month’s post covers government-mandated Internet shutdowns due to political unrest and national exams, disruptions due to cable damage, power outage-related Internet outages, two large route leaks, and a couple of localized disruptions (for good measure).

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Internet Disruption Report: May 2019

Welcome to the first monthly Internet Disruption Report, covering May 2019. Over the course of the month, we observed Internet disruptions caused by damaged submarine and terrestrial cables, likely issues with satellite connectivity, and problems caused by weather events. In addition, there were also a number of notable disruptions observed during the month with other or unknown root causes.

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Identifying and Visualizing Internet Disruptions

When an Internet disruption occurs, it is presumably obvious to the impacted parties as their favorite Web sites and applications immediately become unreachable, video/voice/text messaging apps fail to connect, and popular streaming media sites become unavailable.  However, how can we as external observers know that this disruption has taken place, and how can we determine its scope?

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