The Best Real-Time Maps to Check for Internet Outages (2024)

An internet outage is when you have full or partial loss of internet services either in your home or your entire area. The problem with this happening nowadays is that we rely so heavily on the internet to send messages to friends and family, do our jobs, etc. When our ability to stay connected is disrupted, we can’t do any of these things, which can be extremely frustrating and stressful. On the positive side of things, real-time outage maps can help us stay updated on what’s going on, which might take a little bit of the stress away.

What Causes Internet Outages?

For every internet outage, there will be a cause. Finding this cause will lead to the solution and, therefore, can help us either fix the problem ourselves or wait for our ISP to fix it. Below are some of the common causes of internet outages:

Power Outage in Your Area

You can’t have an internet connection without power. If there is a power outage in your home or a power outage that affects your internet provider’s upstream connections, you will not be able to get an internet connection. If there is a power outage in your home, you can try to find out what is causing it and turn the power back on again, which will also bring your connection back.

Equipment Failure

It’s essential for the equipment that provides you with an internet connection to be updated and working correctly. This can include your router, modem, computer, cables, and anything else.

You should do software updates regularly if there are any, and hardware updates if you think that the hardware you’re using is outdated. This will ensure that whatever you’re using can handle the connection you’re trying to get and shouldn’t run into issues due to poor performance.

In addition to the software and hardware being up to date, you need to ensure that all of your equipment is compatible. If you’re using cables or devices that can’t communicate properly, it can cause you to have slow internet or no internet connection.

Lastly, you need to ensure that there are no damages to any equipment (especially the cables). If any cables within your home or those connecting you to your ISP are damaged, you will likely be unable to get a connection.

Network Congestion

With more and more people using the internet daily, you’ve likely experienced (or will experience) network congestion. When more people are using the internet at the same time, the lines become “congested” with traffic, making connections very slow or causing the internet to stop working altogether. ISPs should have a solution to this - increasing capacity - but it can take time. They may have systems to prevent congestion from stopping everyone’s internet altogether and slowing everyone’s connection down during peak hours.

Extreme Weather

Extreme weather can affect internet connections, but it affects some types of internet more than others. Storms, hurricanes, heavy snowfall, etc., can cause damage to equipment like cables and prevent satellite dishes from making a solid connection with satellites. This then causes internet outages which can either be fixed by waiting for the bad weather to pass or when the damaged equipment is fixed.

Human Error

Yup, we’re only human, meaning we make mistakes - even as professionals. Sometimes, there may be an issue with the way that the internet has been installed in your home or somewhere along the way to your home, causing an internet outage. Of course, technicians need to have the skills to avoid these errors and avoid damaging the equipment when installing it, but mistakes are not unheard of.

Cyberattack

Cyberattacks can be rare, but they can cause major internet outages when they do happen. Most cybercriminals target big internet service providers because they can make the most significant impact and might get a chance to get money out of the attack. If this happens, your ISP might notify you of the attack to help you understand what’s happening.

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Best Real-Time Maps for Internet Outages

The quickest way to determine whether or not there’s an internet outage is to check if there are announcements on your ISP’s website or social media pages. However, if there is no update, a number of websites offer information about which areas are having problems with their internet connection.

Thousand Eyes

Thousand Eyes, by Cisco, is a visualization of global internet health over the last 24 hours. It’s a good way to get an “at-a-glance” visualization of internet health worldwide, which might also help you figure out if there is something wrong in your area.

The positive side to using this site is that it gives an excellent quick overview of what’s going on and can give you insight into the different application servers and networks that might be having problems, therefore causing your internet outage. You can also zoom into the map to see a more accurate representation of outages in specific areas.

The downside is that you can’t get a lot of detail into what might be happening to cause the outage or what ISPs or other companies are doing to resolve the issue.

Solarwinds Pingdom

Pingdom is also great for showing live outages worldwide and focuses on outages within the last hour.

The great thing about Pingdom is that it gives you details about the most common error messages people are getting, which can help you potentially match those error messages with the ones you’re seeing. It also gives you information about the browsers that people are using and even the devices used.

The downside to Pingdom is that you can’t zoom into the map, meaning most of the information is still quite general.

Down Detector

Down detector shows internet outages of different ISPs, companies, and applications and the trend of their respective outages within the last 24 hours.

The great thing about this option is that it gives you the ability to search for outages for specific services, insight into when the outages started, and shows you where the most reported problems are coming from (e.g., the website, application, etc.). It also gives you a heat map to help you identify localized issues and determine whether or not others in your area specifically are reporting a problem. The company has even created a mobile app to help you stay up to date with outages and issues with all the different companies you want to follow.

The downside of Down Detector is that it relies on reports to give you information. So, if you start experiencing an issue that hasn’t been reported yet, you might think that the issue is not area-based.

Call Your Internet Service Provider

If any of the outage maps you’ve tried didn’t help you identify any outages, or if you simply couldn’t figure out what was being shown on the maps, you can always reach out to your ISP’s customer service team. They will be able to clarify what’s going on and will likely also be able to give you more detail about the situation and what they’re doing to fix the problem.

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Conclusion

That’s everything you need to know about using area maps to identify internet outages. While you might be experiencing an issue with your internet connection due to something like outdated or damaged equipment, outage maps are a great way to skip all the troubleshooting and ensure that something is going on in your area. They can help you determine if it’s your internet connection specifically or if there’s a problem with the service you’re trying to use. If there is an outage in your area, these maps can help you to work around the outage and may even help you to put plans in place to prevent outages or avoid the effects of them in the future.

FAQ

How do I test intermittent network connection?

To test intermittent network connection, you can go through several troubleshooting processes, but this will take a lot of time and effort. One of the easier things you can do is utilize network monitoring software, which will give you insight into the problems you’re experiencing and what might be causing them.

What test should you use for connectivity problems?

One of the tests that you can use if you’re experiencing connectivity problems is an internet speed test. Some of the options you have will give you a lot of information about how your internet is operating, the latency you have, etc., which can help you identify problems with your connection.

What are the five network diagnostic utilities?

Five network diagnostic utilities include ping, tracert, ipconfig, netstat, and nsloookup.

What router is best to avoid an internet outage?

Different routers will be suitable for different connections. If you keep getting internet outages due to your router, it’s a good idea to check with your ISP on what router they recommend for the connection. If you’re still getting outages, there are a lot of top-of-the-range routers that might help you to avoid the problem (such as gaming routers).

What do the lights mean on a router during an internet outage?

Most routers have a light on them that is dedicated to an internet connection. When you have an internet connection, this light will be solid. If there is an internet outage, this light might change to a different color (e.g., red) or flash or turn off completely.

The Best Real-Time Maps to Check for Internet Outages (2024)
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