Wouldn’t you think that the continued use and proliferation of the Internet would mean less outages? Numerous technology improvements and wider Internet availability should lead to better reliability. But, in fact, the opposite has been true.This should actually come as no surprise, taking into consideration the aging Internet infrastructure across the United States. A substantial portion of that infrastructure is between 20-30 years old and continues to age. Many older systems are no longer viable to meet the demands of new technology.
Network Internet Outages Can Happen to Anyone
If you think a network outage can’t happen to you, you’re dead wrong. Some of the most significant Internet outages in 2021, and those receiving the most publicity, were from mega-companies in the global Internet food chain. If you weren’t affected directly, you were still impacted because of who did suffer an outage.
A single hour of downtime with this leading Content Delivery Network (CDN) on June 8, 2021, rendered several major websites completely unreachable, including Amazon, eBay, Reddit, Spotify, Twitch, The Guardian, The New York Times, and even the UK government’s web portals. In the process of deploying new software into their network, a latent bug was introduced, which was later triggered by a configuration change.
A similar issue with a software configuration update at Akamai on July 22, 2021, impacted numerous sites for about an hour. This is significant because Akamai affects about 85% of world Internet users. As a result, UPS, FedEx, Airbnb, and the PlayStation Online Network were inaccessible, among others.
Same story at Cloudflare, which handles approximately 18% of all web traffic, on July 17, 2020. This network Internet outage affected 50% of its traffic and major websites were inaccessible for about a half hour. Customers impacted include AWS, Shopify, and Discord.
Internet social media mogul Facebook went down for about six hours on October 4, 2021, along with associated services Instagram and WhatsApp. A configuration change disconnected data centers from the Internet, severing all the connections in their main network.
How About Right Now?
What about current Internet outages happening right now that could affect your business? You can visit https://www.thousandeyes.com/outages/ to see a comprehensive global view of outages over the past 24 hours.
Another site that tracks major Internet outages is https://downdetector.com/.
What was lost during these and other Internet outages? It depends on how you use the Internet, but basically, money wasn’t earned or transferred, orders weren’t placed, data wasn’t sent, messages were lost, and confidence in our overall Internet experience waned just a bit more. Here’s how it looks when just one minute of downtime occurs.
What Do Internet Outages Cost?
Why should you care about the cost of Internet outages at major carriers and global companies? Because these outage costs are passed on to you! Every dollar lost is recouped by passing down the costs to companies and consumers through usage and other fees. Just how much money are we talking about? Only a few billion dollars.
- The US government had an estimated cost of $5.45 billion in 2021: Up 36% from 2020
- 30,179 hours of government Internet disruptions
- Internet blackouts: 16,574 hours
- Internet throttling: 840 hours
- Social media blocks: 12,766 hours
- 50 major internet outages took place in 21 countries
- 486.2 million people affected by deliberate Internet outages in 2021, up 80% year-on-year
- Twitter: the most blocked social media platform, suffering 12,370 hours of deliberate disruption – over 60% more than Facebook.
Common Causes of Internet Outages
What are the most common reasons for an outage?
- ISP Outages - Your ISP can go down for any number of reasons, including fiber line cuts due to area construction, weather impacts, or component failures.
- Technology/Device Failure - Any piece of equipment can fail, from overheating, constant use, software failure or errors, or a power failure.
- Human Error - This is always the highest risk of any problem, and human interactions can be hurried, slow, or even deliberate.
- Natural Disasters - Who can predict when flooding, earthquakes, wildfires, blizzards, or other disasters will cut cables, cut power, or wreck vital infrastructure?
- Cyber Attacks - Of course, malicious actors are always at work seeking ways to penetrate, subvert, steal, and disrupt Internet connectivity and security.
Diversity and Redundancy Are the Keys to Reduced Downtime
Is your company simply at the mercy of big Internet companies and their varied problems? You are if you depend on a single Internet connection. If that single connection goes down for any reason, so do your operations. And with the wide variety of possible outage causes, implementing a strategy for diversity and redundancy just makes good business sense.
Redundancy is having a backup plan that involves a backup Internet provider. Diversity involves incorporating separate connections for how your business interacts with the Internet. This includes a separate provider, method, routing and entry points, and connections with your hardware. When one connection point goes down for any reason, the secondary or backup connection automatically carries the load. This minimizes your possible downtime and related losses.
MHO Dedicated fixed wireless is a fast, secure, and reliable route to the Internet to keep your business vitally connected, either as a backup to fiber or as your primary networking solution. Learn more about Fixed Wireless and if it is available in your area.