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?
As the founding editor of Akamai’s State of the Internet/Connectivity Report, one of the topics that I regularly covered, both in the report and on social media, was Internet disruptions. More specifically, we showed how these disruptions were visible through changes in traffic to the Akamai platform from the impacted country.
About a year after I joined Oracle’s Internet Intelligence team, we launched the Internet Intelligence Map – a publicly available resource that used insights from traceroutes, BGP, and DNS traffic to detect and highlight Internet disruptions at both a country and network (ASN) level. Based on that data, I published monthly “Last Month In Internet Intelligence” blog posts that covered many of these disruptions, including information about the root causes. For disruptions related to a well-publicized event (like a power outage or severe weather), this information is easy to find. However, in other cases, significant research is necessary to figure out what happened. (And the root causes of many disruptions remain unattributed, in part because network operators often do not publicly share outage information.)
I left Oracle in March 2019, but continue to have a strong interest in Internet disruptions and why they occur. A need remains for regularly aggregated coverage of Internet disruptions taking place in countries around the world, and this blog is intended to address that need.