A recent online poll has asked online users to voice their opinion on PSN Maintenance. Given that the PlayStation Network is a paid subscription service, it would be only logical for people to be outraged when it crashes. The poll asked whether Sony needs to improve its PSN or not.
The majority of respondents (81%) agreed, while just 19% though the crashes happen too rarely to be an actual problem. But that got us thinking: what are the actual problems behind PSN down time and what happens during PSN Maintenance?
PSN Maintenance: What Services Are Affected?
Each maintenance cycle is different form the others. That being said, each PSN maintenance cycle may target one or more PSN services. But maintenance does not always come scheduled. Although it’s not called maintenance, PSN downtime can also be a sign of an attack. After something has been attacked, it most probably will be in need of repairs, aka maintenance.
While the first kind of PSN maintenance is generally scheduled and announced prior to its inception, the latter kind isn’t. And the worst part is that this is more and more the case. When hackers or evil masterminds attack the PSN network, gamers and casual users are generally at a loss. Everything stops working. This includes:
- Account management. If you wanted to go in and change your profile picture or password, now is not a good time.
- Gaming and social. If the network suffers an attack, you will be kicked out of your Call of Duty killing spree. Keep calm and don’t smash anything.
- PlayStation Now. The Now service will also be down. No more friends watching you in your moments of glory.
- PlayStation Video. Videos are out of the question. Might as well pick up a coloring book and a box of crayons.
- PlayStation Store. Are you downloading a 10,000 GB game right now? That’s too bad! Have a little downtime.
- PlayStation Music. “No lights, no music, just anger” go the lyrics to a song you won’t be able to play with the PSN down for maintenance.
Now, if we’re fortunate enough and the downtime is just caused by a PSN scheduled maintenance today, then some if not all of the services above will work. Sony even introduced a new feature back last year by which it allowed players who were caught off-guard (i.e. in-game) by the maintenance to keep playing. This, needless to say, was met with huge acclaim from all the gamers who had ever been affected by downtime.
However, when the maintenance isn’t scheduled (e.g. prompted by an attack), everything will slowly shut down and it won’t come back online before Sony goes in and performs open-heart surgery on its PSN undergoing maintenance. Let’s see what the exact types of problems are which can occur during PSN under maintenance:
PSN Maintenance: What Causes Downtime?
There are a lot of causes for PSN maintenance downtime. And we’re not just talking about maniacs that want to see the world of online gaming burn. Many of these problems more often than not have to do with hazard. So let’s see a detailed list of all of them:
- Attacks by hackers. Aka DoS (denial of service) or DDoS (disturbed denial of service) attacks. They’re the obvious first spot on this list. PSN maintenance cannot adequately guard against hackers and usually the PSN scheduled maintenance is scheduled on account of a hacker’s attack rather than to prevent them.
- Hardware problems. These types of PSN maintenance outages are generally short-lived as the piece of hardware can be simply replaced. Although giant networks such as Sony’s have the best of the best in parts, it’s still very possible that some just stop working from time to time. Keep in mind, however, that besides PSN maintenance, hardware problems are the first reason for network outages (in general).
- Power problems. Remember that all networks have their servers based in a physical location. This location is not impervious to power outages, weather problems, or other types of disasters (for the gaming world, of course). Big networks most definitely have backup generators that kick in if there are any problems, but even these generators aren’t safe from harm.
- Network problems. When a gazillion of connections are made within a network, it’s extremely easy for something to fail. A simple maintenance of the network can result in a chain reaction that leads to a complete shutdown. Internet protocols are tricky things to deal with. That’s why major networks usually hire security software companies (such as Kaspersky, Norton, or Bitdefender) to guard their connection.
- Human error. While humans don’t really do much except maintenance and upgrades on networks, it’s really easy for someone to mess up. Haven’t you ever done that? If not, then you’re really lucky. To be human is to make mistakes. Think about that the next time you rage about how much you hate PSN maintenance.
So, is PSN under maintenance? If yes then take this chance to give your body time to relax. Go for some exercise and take a break. The problem will probably be fixed by the time you get back. If it isn’t, then there’s always the PSN Maintenance status page (here) to tell you if the problem is with your connection.