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The dashboard view changes depending on level of reports and if the reports are enterprise level.
You may skip from the Community level details to the Extended or Enterprise details further in this post.
Our free Community level reports are intended to show information in way that is more useful for non technical members while providing enough information to troubleshoot and solve most Internet connection problems.
This level of reports does not use email notifications partly to encourage members to get to know the service but also to prevent large amounts of emails being sent out to accounts which have been left unused.
We are always more than happy to answer questions in our forums if you need help with using the site or to better understand some of what the results may mean.
It is good practice to search the forums before asking as your question may have been asked by others and answered by our support team.
The main difference between our Community level and Extended reports are additional options such as flexible notifications, automated speed testing, automated security scans, access to RAS (remote access service), ongoing historical data and some other functions.
Orange buttons become accessible when reports are upgraded to Exntended.
Community level reports
Heartbeat/Status / Pings
If the agent is able to communicate with the OutagesIO network, it will continue to update this graph. If the agent is unable to reach OutagesIO, an 'Inactive' status will be shown.
It is important to understand that Inactive and Disconnected statuses do not imply IP outages and only that the agent has not reported in.
Also important to note... do NOT re-install your agent software when you see these statuses, it simply means that your agent is not able to reach the OutagesIO network. If you saw it communicating before, it means the software is installed correctly.
If the agent cannot reach OutagesIO, it means one of several things including that the agent/network is unable to reach the Internet or the agent is only unable to reach the OutagesIO network but is able to reach other sites.
And of course, it is possible that there is in fact an outage in progress and if the agent is left to run, it will report the outage once it is able to reach OutagesIO again.
If there is an IP outage in progress, restarting the PC, the agent service or hardware agent will cause the outage details to be lost.
Non IP related problems such as signal levels cannot be seen by the agent. The agent can only confirm IP outages, it cannot know when the modem or wireless radio is suffering signal loss. By understanding what is being seen, these problems can eventually become clearer.
Please see the following posts;
Howto: Inactive / Excessive outages and notifications
Howto: Internet outages, alerts and agent statuses
to better understand what inactive status can mean.
If using a hardware agent, never use the reset button. The agent is fully automated and will always re-connect on its own so long as it can get a DHCP IP and Internet access.
The heartbeat is often used as a quick visual guide by installers in the field or IT admins installing on remote PCs and other devices.
Along with other tests, pings are used to establish a pattern and averages. Pings are not based on any nearby point and only to generate averages so that the algorithm can do its job. Older information can be found in the historical menu.
That said, if there is a sudden change in pings, this information can be considered useful to know there could be a potential problem.
The pings graph shows the last four hours while Extended reports, historical provides much longer ranges.
Breakdown of my Internet problems / When my Internet was down
This is a quick representation of how this Internet connection is behaving.
This section can be shared on Facebook or Twitter. To share on other sites, an image download of the same view is provided which you can then upload to any other site or email etc.
Breakdown of my Internet problems
This graph shows where most of the problems are in terms of being local, with the provider or beyond.
When my Internet was down
This area shows ongoing updates of confirmed Internet outages, when they happened and where the algorithm thinks the problem was, on your own network, with your provider or beyond.
The recent events section is a quick representation of events and communications.
Important: The most important part of this is under Agent communications.
If there is no message under 'Agent communications' named 'Agent sending updated hops', it means the agent is not able to communicate properly with OutagesIO and therefore, unable to log and confirm outages.
Typically, this is because ICMP is blocked either on the PC the agent is running on, the firewall and possibly even the Internet provider. This must be solved.
My outages in a visual representation (mouse over for details)
While the above provides basic information about outages, mousing over each event in this section reveals more details about the event.
Each entry shows date, time, duration, hop count, hop down, who owns it and more. To help understand how the Internet works, we have written an article that tries to explain it in non technical terms and can be found here.
The nature of TCP/IP and Internet connectivity
The information provided is key to understanding where most of the problems are originating from and how to deal with them by having hard facts.
If an agent owner does not have the technical ability to understand these results, someone who is more technically inclined should be able to provide assistance and explain what they are seeing. Members are also welcome to post in these forums and we'll try to help when ever possible.
When are most of my outages at (mouse over for details)
This graph shows when most of the problems are occurring with this Internet service.
Over time and as outages are logged, added into this agents reports, a trend will begin to emerge in the graph.
Each bar represents a 30 minute time frame and each bar contains up to three time ranges between seconds, minutes and hours.
By looking at the bars, one can see when most of the problems are occurring, how long they generally are.
In the above example, the most common time of outages for this connection is about 5:30pm and most of the outages are seconds long or under one minute. The graph shows that there are other times when this connection suffers the most problems such as around 7am and around 1am.
Right hand column
The right hand column contains basic information about the agent along with useful network details.
If you enable DDNS / Dynamic DNS, a link will be shown for your convenience. Simply click on this link to reach the device by name without having to remember the IP. Keep in mind that your agent must be active in order for DDNS to function.
When asking for help with an agent, always share the agent ID so that support can look at its reports.
Extended level reports
If alerts are enabled, they will be shown at the top of the page. Alerts are a way to keep track of events and what was done about the situation.
When an alert is displayed, it must be acknowledge by someone. To close it, a note must be left explaining what the situation was and what was done about it.
Mainly used by IT personnel to keep track of problems with history but can be used by any member with Extended reports.
Heartbeat/Status / Pings and
Breakdown of my Internet problems / When my Internet was down
Same as Community.
Recent events / Map
The Recent events section is the same as Community.
In Extended reports, the neighborhood map is shown.
The neighborhood map shows if other agents in the area are experiencing similar Internet problems.
For example, if others in your area are using OutagesIO and those experience a correlated problem, the map will show that your location is not the only one being affected. No addresses are shown.
The conditions would be something like this;
1 - Inactive statuses only
2 - Event must be with the same Internet provider
3 - Geo location of other agents must be within 0.5 miles. For example, if you motivate one or more neighbors to monitor their Internet, you would see their Inactive/Disconnected status in your map.
4 - Agent owner must be viewing the map, probably from another location or using a mobile.
(1) Agents go into Inactive status when they cannot reach the Internet beyond its own location and for up to 20 seconds. If the agent remains in Inactive status for up to 30 minutes, it then goes into Disconnected status.
Inactive agent does not automatically mean Internet outage., it means the agent has lost Internet access and likely everything else at this location as well. Inactive would be anything from a bad cable, a power loss to bad modem signals if you are on wireless or cable services for example.
However, if there was in fact an outage, the agent will send its report as soon as it can reach the Internet again.
Please see the following post to better understand statuses and reasons behind them.
Notifications menu (emails, alerts, SMS)
(2) Agents experiencing similar problems must be with the same provider. Of course, if there are enough neighbors monitoring different providers, this will also tell you over time which provider is actually the more reliable in the area.
(3) Currently, agents have to be within 0.5 miles of each other. This distance was decided upon because most people may not care what happens in nearby neighborhoods, they mainly want to know about their own.
(4) If the agent goes into Inactive status, it probably means that location no longer has Internet access and if the owner is monitoring from that location, would lose access to their dashboard. We suggest having a browser bookmark on a nearby mobile phone/device with saved login credentials in order to quickly view the dashboard from a different Internet connection when problems occur.
Only if these conditions are satisfied will neighboring agents that are experiencing a similar problem will show on the map.
The outages graph shows the last 50 outages the connection has experienced along with detailed information about each. When mousing over each bar, accumulated details for that particular outage will be displayed.
Longer term, historical details can be found in the historical menu when reports are in Extended.
Outages avg time
As outages build up so does the averages graph. This graph shows when most of the outages are occurring so that over time, trends are built up showing when problems are happening.
Longer term, historical details can be found in the historical menu when reports are in Extended.
Speed test graph (Enabled in Extended reports)
Bandwidth testing is an interesting topic which is often misunderstood because it is not solely about bandwidth. A location can have a high bandwidth service yet users may find themselves barely able to reach resources on the Internet.
Here is an article that tries to explain commercial speed testing services.
Are Internet speed tests for real?
If speed testing is enabled, the agent algorithm will trigger speed testing based on a variety of fluctuations, trying to test at the best possible moment. This will help to better visualize how speeds (bandwidth) and in fact, throughput are doing on the connection in a way that a human being trying to test at the right moment could not do.
The test should not be considered 100% accurate because by the time a speed test is started and ends, things could have changed drastically.
The OutagesIO solution tries to show ongoing averages (baseline) and when speeds become lower. The result is a graph which gives a visual representation of how speeds are doing and which tests were conducted. Mousing over the graph will display dates/times and types of tests. Different tests are shown in different colors to help visualize the overall report to more easily compare with outages and pings reports.
Colors and meanings
Various colors help to visualize which tests are baseline and which are triggered based on certain events.
Green: Baseline test. The agent software is running a speed test on a regular basis in order to establish a baseline or average.
Blue: Latency trigger. This test is triggered when the latency of the connection begins to fluctuate outside of the measured averages.
Orange: Slowdown trigger. This test is triggered when short burst speed tests are run and the results show slower than usual speeds.
Black: Outage trigger. This test is run moments after an outage ends to determine if speed is back to normal or if it remained slower than the calculated average before the outage.
Note: Black speed test bars can be related either to outages or Disconnected status in some cases. The agent algorithm triggers the test.
IMPORTANT: Speed testing uses data
Speed testing should always be considered experimental and the algorithm and methods used continue to be in development.
Speed vs throughput: Internet 'speed' is technically bandwidth. Bandwidth is the max amount of data the connection will allow based on the purchased plan.
Throughput is the amount of data this connection can actually move at any given time. Bandwidth and throughput are very different things.
Monthly data plan vs Unlimited plans: Speed testing uses data. If the data plan is large or unlimited, this may not be an issue but if it is a capped data plan, speed testing should be conducted conservatively. OutagesIO understands capped plans and tries to optimize this test to make it useful without wasting data.
Please see this page for more on the current (2021) speed testing settings and options.
Configure menu - Speed test
This section offers overall statistics about the performance of this Internet service and where most of the problems might be.
Note that it shows only the last 50 events to speed up page load times. Longer term, historical details can be found in the historical menu when reports are in Extended.
You will notice the same 'Affected networks' graph that is shown in the shareable section is also shown here. This is to maintain continuity.
MOD means 'most often down'.
% Affected networks: Percentage of Internet problems with LAN, ISP or beyond.
Top MOD hops: Top most problematic hops showing where, LAN, ISP or beyond.
Top MOD orgs: Organizations experiencing the most problems relating to this connection.
It is important to note that all references to 'Beyond ISP' are informational only. The most important information is how the ISP is performing. Anything beyond ISP is not only informational but is a test point that OutagesIO is using to monitor the performance of the service. In some cases, some of these could have affected services but the main point is to monitor the Internet service provider. Older information can be found in the historical menu.
MOD, meaning 'Most Often Down' and in this case related to the hop and organization. A hop is a networking piece of hardware such as a router or modem, then the providers switches, all of which packets must travel across in order to reach Internet sites or services. Each device that data travels across is called a hop.
If any one of these hops prevents data from getting to the next device, the local connection could suffer slow, sluggish or even unreachable services until that device is fixed. In most cases, the cause of such a loss can be attributed to a bad cable, hardware malfunctioning or improperly configured interface/device or of course human error such as a cable being disconnected.
In today's real time world, such problems can affect VoIP phone calls, live video and other services not to mention constantly getting disconnected from servers and other devices.
The Network stats shows the last 50 outages broken down by Lan, ISP (Internet provider) and Beyond. The top 5 hops will show where most of the hop problems have been and the top 5 orgs will show with which organizations if the problems are beyond the local network.
The right hand column
This column shows links when certain features are enabled, gives information about the agent and both LAN and WAN network details.
Starting on the right hand side of the page
Links & Remote devices
This section gives quick access to anything that is remotely connected.
Camera. If you have connected and enabled a camera on your hardware device, you will see the link to access it here. Keep in mind that you will have to add a port forward on your firewall if you would like remote access to the camera.
Demo. In the demo, the camera link view leads to a blank page since we cannot make the camera live at this time. A port forward rule would be set in the local router to reach a camera on the LAN. A camera can be connected to our hardware agent.
DDNS. If you have DDNS enabled, you will see the link to access it here.
Demo: Example image showing a router being reached without having to remember a changing IP. Rather than an IP, you would use 999.dnspoints.com of use a custom name rather than the agent ID. Allowing only a specific IP would be cautioned. DDNS is available in all reports.
RAS. If you have a RAS enabled hardware device, your default profile link will show here.
Environment sensor (seen in our demo). If you have an environment sensor enabled hardware device, the details will be shown here.
For more information on sensors, please see the following links.
Environment sensor enabled hardware agent
Monitor Internet connectivity and environmental conditions
At a glance
This section contains information about the agent, nickname if set, agent details/version, network and other information usually used by support.
Enterprise level reports
The enterprise level reports are always Extended and other functionality is also made available to handle large numbers of agents. If your company maintains 10 or more agents, you automatically qualify for Enterprise leve which is a free upgrade.