Washington, DC


Photo by Erin

Last night we received a number of reports about Comcast/Xfinity outages (service appears to be restored for many though some are still experiencing slowness as of this morning.) Doesn’t seem related bu thanks to Nat for sending this interesting tidbit: “I got an email from my apartment about RCN possibly experiencing “sun outages” between Feb 27 and March 8. I wonder if that’s what’s happening to Comcast?”

From RCN:

“What are Sun Outages?

Twice a year, you may experience some degree of television interference due to “sun outages.” Such outages are caused by a phenomenon called a “solar satellite interference.” These brief outages occur when the sun is in a direct line behind a satellite transmitting cable signals. When the sun is aligned with a satellite, solar radiation, an energy the sun is emitting, interferes with the satellite’s signal and thus causes a brief signal outage.
When do sun outages happen and how long they last?

Sun outages occur every year, in Fall and Spring, and last approximately about a week each time. This Spring, sun outages are expected between February 27th and March 8th 2021. The exact time and duration will vary from channel to channel. This is due to channels being received off different satellites in the arc. Each satellite is affected at a different time as the sun moves across the satellite arc. The approximate times for signal loss will be between 10:30am and 5:30pm and will last for approximately five to fifteen minutes depending on the size of the dish.
What kind of outage/interference can I expect?

During the sun outage, you may experience a pixelated picture, picture freezes, or audio distortions for a brief period of time.
How can I tell if it’s caused by a sun outage or something’s wrong with my cable?

The sun outage happens only during the day between 10:30am and 5:30pm (no sun, no interference) and is brief, lasting for a few minutes–from 5 minutes, up to 15 minutes.”

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