Pingin' in the Rain

Observing how weather affects residential Internet connections

The goal of this work is to investigate the resilience of residential Internet connections before, during, and after routine and severe weather events. When the National Weather Service issues a weather alert for a county in the United States, we find IP addresses belonging to residential Internet connections in that county. We ping each host once every eleven minutes from ten different PlanetLab hosts, beginning up to six hours before the alert takes effect and ending six hours after it expires.


Pingin' in the Rain
Aaron Schulman and Neil Spring
IMC 2011 (Internet Measurement Conference) - Short paper


Aaron Schulman
Ramakrishna Padmanabhan
Youndo Lee
Neil Spring

Severe Events

Hurricane Sandy (2012)
This animation shows the effect of Hurricane Sandy on the 70,000 hosts we pinged on the US eastern seaboard. A green or red dot indicates the responsiveness of each host. Green means the host is responding to our pings (up) and red means the host is not (down). When a host transitions from up to down a larger dot appears over the host to draw your eye to the locations where hosts are going down. For each state, the table on the right lists the percentage of hosts that are up (%UP) and the number of hosts (#HOSTS) we were pinging.

Hurricane Irene (2011)
This animation shows the effect of Hurricane Irene on the 80,000 residential hosts we pinged in the US. The transparent circles indicate the responsiveness of the hosts. The UP and DOWN states are the same as the Sandy animation. In this animation the HOSED state indicates the host is only responding to some of our pings. The diamonds indicate weather observations at various airports across the US. The video ends abruptly when we lost power at the University of Maryland.

If you would like the data that we collected for this work please contact