Internet outages have hit record highs during the coronavirus lockdown, as network operators make changes to meet the demand of more people now working at home.
According to US network intelligence firm ThousandEyes, network outages across the globe were seen to rise across March, reaching previously unseen levels.
While internet infrastructure in both the UK and internationally performed better at the start of April, the last week has seen another spike in reported issues.
The findings come days after Virgin Media users in the UK experienced extensive outages, which the firm attributed to a network technical fault rather than increased usage.
‘The performance of Internet infrastructure in the UK has been varied over the course of lockdown, but generally speaking, it has held up well, said ThousandEyes product marketing director Angelique Medina.
‘When compared globally, UK outages have remained low overall. About a third of all outages in the first quarter this year occurred in Europe, the Middle East and Africa.
‘The duration and scope of many of the outages that did take place suggest that they were the result of network operators making changes to optimise performance as traffic levels increased.’
Nevertheless, Ms Medina added, ‘we have seen a clear spike in outages among collaboration app network providers, which includes video conferencing services.
‘In the UK, we saw those outages spike in mid March, but when a second global elevation occurred in early April, the UK was minimally affected.’
In addition, the experts found a similar increase in outages of cloud services in March, which improved in early April before increasing again in the last couple of weeks.
‘We have seen a clear spike in outages among collaboration app network providers, which includes video conferencing services,’ said ThousandEyes product marketing director Angelique Medina. ‘In the UK, we saw those outages spike in mid March, but when a second global elevation occurred in early April, the UK was minimally affected’
Earlier this week, broadband outages and drop-outs struck Virgin Media customers across the UK, Ireland and the Netherlands beginning at around 17:15 on April 27 and persisting for many customers until the next day.
Addressing the problems on April 27, a Virgin Media spokesperson tweeted that: ‘the issue [was] causing broadband connectivity to drop before returning again.’
Initially, the intermittent outages lasted for a quarter of an hour each time.
However, the outages progressively decreased in length — eventually lasting only a few minutes
The fault, Virgin Media added, was ‘not being caused by increased usage or a lack of capacity — it is a network technical fault.’
According to ThousandEyes, the outages occurred ‘within the UPC Broadband network, which was acquired by Virgin Media in 2015 and is operated under its brand.’
CORONAVIRUS LOCKDOWN HAS ALMOST DOUBLED UK INTERNET USAGE
Data from Openreach, the UK’s largest which owns and operates most of the UK’s phone broadband lines, reveals daytime data consumption has almost doubled in March.
On March 9, one week before Boris Johnson gave his first daily coronavirus press conference urging people to work from home wherever possible, the total amount of data used between 9am and 5pm was 27 petabytes.
On Monday March 30, this figure reached 51Pb, almost double the previous figure. One petabyte is the same as one million gigabytes.
The peak time during the day continues to be between 2pm and 5pm, while the evening peak is between 8pm and 11pm.
Read More:Internet Shut Down Around The Globe