How Does Network Maintenance Affect Cable Internet Access?
While it’s good to get a heads up about scheduled network maintenance from your internet service provider (ISP), it often doesn’t make an internet outage any less disruptive.
Let’s take a closer look at why network maintenance affects cable internet access and outages, and how you can stay online when your cable connection is down for network maintenance.
How hardware maintenance can affect cable internet access
Every cable network includes physical touchpoints like head ends, cable hubs, exchange nodes, and coaxial cables that physically connect the entire cable network. When your ISP repairs or replaces equipment at one of these touchpoints, it may temporarily disconnect all downstream sections of the network – which usually results in loss of service during network maintenance.
An internet outage due to hardware maintenance might affect every subscriber, or it might just affect a few. The scale of an internet outage often depends on which touchpoint the ISP is working on at the time:
The cable headend is the master facility, which affects the entire network. If network maintenance brings down the whole network, it’s probably taking place at the headend.
Cable hubs are smaller facilities that distribute information from the headend to subscribers in a particular region. Regional outages can be traced back to hubs.
Exchange nodes are local facilities that process requests to and from no more than a few thousand subscribers. Node maintenance causes local outages.
Coaxial cables connect all of the network’s other physical touchpoints, so cable maintenance that takes the network offline can cause big and small outages.
How software maintenance causes outages
Cable networks also depend on software protocols that determine how the network sends and receives requests for online data (like a request to load a website) across the physical network.
When your ISP updates network software, it may temporarily disconnect downstream sections of the grid. A software update can also introduce bugs that keep your connection offline after the maintenance is done. In 2017, for example, a reconfiguration error at an upstream system provider took Comcast, Spectrum, Verizon, Cox, and RCN subscribers offline for over an hour.
Stay online with a fixed wireless internet failover
An internet failover is an extra internet connection that kicks in when your primary connection is down, which gives you uninterrupted internet access during network maintenance. A failover router senses when your cable is offline and immediately switches service from your primary ISP to a backup ISP. The backup is often a reliable wireless connection, like fixed wireless internet.
Fixed wireless internet is a 5G or 4G LTE connection installed on a Wi-Fi router. It exchanges internet data with cell towers over the same radio frequency bands as cell phones, although fixed wireless internet is much stronger than a cell phone or mobile hotspot connection.
Fixed wireless internet is a great option for people looking for a reliable wireless failover, as well as those looking for a primary internet option in areas without cable internet access.