Internet Disruption Report: April 2020

From the “better late than never department”…

With nearly the whole world under one form or another of stay-at-home orders in April, anyone who could turned to the Internet to work, learn, relax, or maintain social connections. The increased traffic raised concerns about whether the Internet would catastrophically fail, but the good news is that the Internet did not catastrophically fail, in large part due to its network-of-networks architecture. That architecture meant that the disruptions that did occur were, for the most part, limited in time and scope.

In April, the notable Internet disruptions reviewed below were caused by cable/fiber issues and network problems, as well as one where the cause was unknown.

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Internet Disruption Report: March 2020

Although Internet disruptions have always been problematic for affected users, March 2020 was arguably the month where they became of ever greater global concern as so many shifted to working and learning from home due to COVID-19 driven lockdowns and shelter-in-place orders. The Internet has become a lifeline, supporting communication with loved ones, enabling online education, and facilitating days full of videoconferencing in place of in-person meetings.

While this blog has never claimed to be exhaustive in its coverage of Internet disruptions, it has endeavored to catalog the various causes of those disruptions, and most months see quite a few documented causes. Interestingly, March only saw documented disruptions due to power outages and cable/fiber issues, with a couple of additional due to possible network issues. (There were, of course, a number of other observed disruptions, but root causes were unable to be identified or confirmed through research or social media outreach.)

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Internet Disruption Report: February 2020

A year ago, in my “Last Month in Internet Intelligence: February 2019” post for Oracle’s Internet Intelligence blog, I noted that “February was a surprisingly quiet month for Internet disruptions.” Interestingly, that appeared to hold true a year later, with fewer major disruptions observed than in prior months. In addition, the disruptions covered this month had a more limited set of causes — a DDoS attack, network maintenance, and cable/fiber issues — no power outages in Venezuela or wide-scale Internet shutdowns in the Middle East as have been seen in prior months.

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Internet Disruption Report: December 2019

Internet-related media coverage in December tends to be e-commerce related, with discussions about how retail sites performed (or failed to) on Black Friday and Cyber Monday, followed by complaints about problems downloading software updates or games, and registering new connected devices after the holiday presents are unwrapped. However, when Internet disruptions occur, that coverage shifts to highlight the problems caused by the disruptions.

This final Internet Disruption Report post for 2019 is a long one, covering disruptions caused by a DDoS attack, power outages, cable/fiber/network issues, and government direction. Some countries make multiple appearances in this month’s report, and some have been featured in multiple reports throughout the year. In addition to observed disruptions, we also review Russia’s reported Internet disconnection test, as well as a few additional related observations.

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