Global internet disruptions spiked 63% in March; in June, 44% more disruptions were recorded compared to January
Rapid adoption of cloud services, widespread use of SaaS applications, and reliance on the Internet has created business continuity risks for enterprises, according to ThousandEyes’ 2020 Internet Performance Report. Measuring performance over time, the report examines the impacts of changing Internet usage due to COVID-19 and how those impacts varied across different regions and providers. Based on measurements collected between January and July 2020, the study uncovers important insights into the resilience and behavior of the global Internet, helping organizations apply a data-driven lens to their IT and business planning.
“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.”
Key findings from the study include:
- Global Internet disruptions saw an unprecedented rise, increasing 63% in March over January, and remained elevated through the first half of 2020 compared to pre-pandemic levels. In June, 44% more disruptions were recorded compared to January.
- 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 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% occurred within ISP networks and less than 10% 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.
“Initially, we saw both businesses and service providers scramble to adjust, overnight, to work-from-home environments. However now, we see a definite shift towards accommodating a more permanent scenario of serving a remote workforce,” said Paul Bevan, research director, IT Infrastructure, Bloor Research. “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 organizations 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.”