The Policy Potential of Measurements of Internet Outages

8 Pages Posted: 16 Mar 2018 Last revised: 24 Aug 2018

See all articles by John Heidemann

John Heidemann

USC/Information Sciences Institute

Yuri Pradkin

University of Southern California/Information Sciences Institute

Guillermo Baltra


Date Written: March 16, 2018


Today it is possible to evaluate the reliability of the Internet. Prior approaches to measure network reliability required telecommunications providers reporting the status of their own networks, resulting in limits on the precision, timeliness, and availability of the results. Recent work in Internet measurement has shown that network outages can be observed with active measurements from a few sites, and from passive measurements of network telescopes (large, unused address space) or large network services such as content-delivery networks. We suggest that these kinds of *third-party* observations of network outages can provide data that is precise and timely. We discuss early results of Trinocular, an outage detection system using active probing developed at the University of Southern California. Trinocular has been operating continuously since November 2013, and we provide (at no charge) data covering about 4 million network blocks from around the world. This paper describes some results of Trinocular showing outages in a large U.S. Internet Service Provider, and those resulting from the 2017 Hurricane Irma in Florida. Our data shows the impact of the Broadband America policy for always-on networks, and we discuss how it might be used to address future policy questions and assist in disaster planning and recovery.

Keywords: internet, policy, reliability

Suggested Citation

Heidemann, John and Pradkin, Yuri and Baltra, Guillermo, The Policy Potential of Measurements of Internet Outages (March 16, 2018). TPRC 46: The 46th Research Conference on Communication, Information and Internet Policy 2018. Available at SSRN:

John Heidemann (Contact Author)

USC/Information Sciences Institute ( email )

4676 Admiralty Way
Suite 1001
Marina del Rey, CA 90292
United States
3108221511 (Phone)

Yuri Pradkin

University of Southern California/Information Sciences Institute ( email )

No Address Available

Guillermo Baltra

Independent ( email )

No Address Available

Register to save articles to
your library


Paper statistics

Abstract Views
PlumX Metrics