ISP Outages and Uptime: the hidden truth about your internet service

How much of your internet service are you actually using day to day?

When we think about the amount of internet service we’re using day to day we realize it’s actually very litte. Most of us aren’t using our internet service when we’re sleeping, out grocery shopping or at the gym.

What’s worth pointing out is that even when you are using your internet, it’s likely you’re only using a fraction of the service available to you. Yes, sendng and receiving email requires an internet connection but you don’t need much bandwidth for email. Similarly browsing the web or using your favorite app does require an internet connection but the amount of throughput or bandwidth needed for you to have a decent experience using most applications is quite low.

You would think that movie night would be the ultimate test of your internet connection and you wouldn’t be wrong but even streaming your favorite Netflix show is deceptive in it’s ability to test the quality of your connection. This is because while streaming video does require a good amount of bandwidth to start, the amount of bandwidth needed decreases dramatically after the first 5-10 minutes of streaming because the majority of the video is downloaded then.

Your internet service needs to be strong during that initial 5-10 minute viewing window but beyond that initial burst, you could lose your internet connection entirely for minutes at a time and you’d be unlikely to notice.

Internet Service Uptime: How often is your internet service provider experiencing outages or service degradation?

Here are latency measurements to several popular online destinations over the course of a 14-day period. Notice the large latency spikes and timeouts to

Latency spikes to over a 14-day period

These silent outages are endemic across ISPs.

If you knew the actual quality of service you were getting, what would you do about it?


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