Internet backbone glitch yesterday affecting Zwift?

I had an Internet glitch yesterday morning, but I think (hope) it was a national backbone issue. All sorts of sites (including my ISP, BT) had outages at the same time. I carried on pedalling alone, and after the main ride I got Internet back and could save the (60 minute) ride, but I wasn’t in ZP or Zwift “results” as I crossed the 60 minute point (with a banner telling me how far and how fast) without Internet. That’s the first issue I’ve had for a long time, I definitely think it was in the network.

Finishing the ride alone!

It all ended OK, but 2/3 the way through my C-G ride today, I started riding alone. I was OK in the Volcano, and sometime between then and the next screenshot I lost Internet.

All’s well at this point

This usually indicates a Wi-fi dropout, which I haven’t had for a long time, and it usually short-lived, but this lasted until beyond the end of my 60 minute ride (the Zwift game runs in the device, so Internet isn’t needed except for login, seeing other riders and saving the ride).

Alone in the desert!

I have learnt that it’s best not to panic, especially on the Apple TV which doesn’t have an easy local way of retrieving a partial file from the device, as for laptops and mobile devices.

Companion seemed to run OK for a while, connected to the game (indicating local Wi-fi was OK) but that disconnected eventually (maybe a coincidence) and it was hard to get it to reconnect (or even start on my iPad, although it would start but not connect on my iPhone).

Then I looked at my DownDetector app, which tells me what problems any well-know public Internet services might be having, including ISPs like BT (mine), and LOTS had a spike in problem notifications (although not Facebook and some others). Maybe this was a geographically local issue, perhaps UK only.

Unfortunately Zwift isn’t one of the services DownDetector monitors, but I think there must have been an Internet backbone problem in the UK affecting a lot of services, including BT, and this is why I lost my Zwift connection.

I eventually restarted my BT modem (remotely by Wi-fi), and although I wasn’t reconnected to Zwift immediately, it came back soon after.

The usual service resumed, with Zwifters Nearby list populated

Also, Companion then connected OK. It seems as if it not only needs to be on the same Wi-fi network to connect, but also that the Zwift game needs to be Internet connected (as it now was).

I had kept kept riding all this time (having photographed the screen a few times, without stopping the ride yet) and I went onto Zwift.com. I saw my warmup there, and also a ride (at 38.1kms) which for some reason had saved (but not on Strava!) even though I hadn’t stopped or saved the ride.

I had also decided, through all this, NOT to try to save the ride since then I might have lost it (no Internet) and also NOT then be prompted when starting Zwift again that I hadn’t saved a previous ride (this happens if for some reason your device closes down before a save of the game).

So seeing a 38.1km partial ride up on Zwift.com, though, and now that I wasn’t riding alone (ie the Internet link was re-established) I decided that rather than just turn off my Apple TV, hoping that I’d be prompted to save the ride properly when logging in next time, I would photograph the screen and attempt to save the ride normally and see what happened (I was a bit over 40kms at that point so would only lose a couple of kms at most as a 38.1km ride was already up there (somehow!)

The ride report just before saving – which worked!

I saved and closed as normal, and then looked at Zwift.com to see what was there – two rides, perhaps, or just the old 38.1kms.

What was there was the full 42kms I had now done. It also had loaded up to Strava.

The full activity has replaced the 38.1kms version which had been there before

So, conclusions?

  1. the Internet has had some kind of backbone blackout at about 11.40am for a lot of services including my ISP, BT. Maybe not for Zwift itself (servers in the US?)
  2. Zwift is now saving partial ride files for the Apple TV up at Zwift.com the way it does locally for laptops and mobile devices ON those devices (and maybe at Zwift.com?)
  3. Zwift.com only uploads to Strava once the ride is complete (presumably flagged by the rider’s final save of the game).
  4. Therefore, this is perhaps the reason that, in the past, if I have had a glitch at save time, and no ride is there on Strava, I’ve always (so far) been able to find it on Zwift.com. I had not realised before, but that file would have been an auto-saved file (every 10 minutes I think for other devices, on the device).
  5. So Apple TV is even better than I thought! Not only is the Apple TV virtually bullet proof itself, but when I MIGHT have a ride saving problem, the ATV isn’t all or nothing (as I had thought, because there is no easily accessible Documents/Zwift/Activities folder on the Apple TV) but in fact there is a partial ride file available (it seems) on Zwift.com, up to the point there is any loss of Internet connection.
  6. So – it’s best to keep the game alive until the Internet comes back, or when you can provoke it to come back. I lost other avatars (riding alone) well BEFORE the 38.1kms point (probably at 20-25kms) but I’m sure when the Internet came back The Apple TV sent its periodic ride file to Zwift.com at that point, not provoked by me.
  7. Patience is key!
  8. Just a bit worrying if leading a ride as beacon. It’s why it’s always good to have a backup buddy beacon riding with you.
  9. As I completed the 60 minute ride while still off the Internet, just as for a normal ride that finishes on a given lap or at a given distance, Zwift doesn’t record you as finishing the event if you aren’t on the Internet at the end, and so ZwiftPower doesn’t have an entry for you either, as it picks that up from Zwift.

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