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Internet outages have seen major increase during pandemic

(Image credit: Image source: Shutterstock/Toria)

Internet networks across the globe have seen a rise in disruption over the past few months as the global pandemic causes companies to re-evaluate their working practices.

New data from ThousandEyes found that global Internet disruptions saw an unprecedented rise in the first few months of 2020. 

It found that outages increased 63% in March compared to the pre-pandemic period, and remained elevated through the first half of 2020 with June seeing 44% more disruptions than January. 

Internet Service Providers (ISPs) in North America and APAC experienced the largest spikes in March - at 65% (North America) and 99% (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% more disruptions in June versus January. 

ISPs themselves were hit the hardest by the outages, the report found, with more than 4500 incidents recorded between January and July. Cloud provider networks, which saw huge demands put upon them due to the growth of remote working, demonstrated greater overall stability, experiencing only around 400 outages globally.

Despite these issues, the global Internet network did manage to hold up and keep most users online. ThousandEyes says that this durability suggests an overall healthy capacity, scalability, and operator agility needed to adjust to unforeseen demands.

“The Internet is inherently unpredictable and outages are inevitable even under normal conditions. 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,” said Angelique Medina, research author and director of product marketing at ThousandEyes. 

“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.” 

Mike Moore is Deputy Editor at TechRadar Pro, and has worked as a B2B and B2C tech journalist for nearly a decade, including at one of the UK's leading national newspapers and ITProPortal.