‘Crecimiento’ in Latin America

Two weeks ago, I had the great pleasure of visiting Medellin, Colombia to present at the Latin American and Caribbean Network Operators Group (LACNOG) portion of LACNIC 19. Medellin is a vibrant place, recently recognized as the world’s most innovative city by the Urban Land Institute due to the city’s investments in public infrastructure and civic spaces. LACNIC19

Perhaps equally innovative is Colombia’s Internexa, which in recent years has been building the region’s first international terrestrial telecommunications network. Meanwhile, another remarkable regional story is the exponential growth of the domestic Internet in Brazil — especially when contrasted with the stagnation in Mexico. While government initiatives in Brazil, the region’s largest economy, were able to foster much of its recent growth, the current regulatory overhaul in Mexico hopes to achieve something similar in the region’s second largest economy.
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Cuba-Jamaica Link Activated

In the last week, we have observed a second non-satellite connection established for Cuban state telecom, ETECSA. This time a different segment of the ALBA-1 submarine cable is being used to connect Cuba to the neighboring island nation of Jamaica. At 15:04 UTC on 13 May 2013, we observed ETECSA beginning to receive international Internet service through Cable & Wireless Jamaica.

In January, we reported the news that the ALBA-1 submarine cable connecting Cuba to Venezuela had started carrying Internet traffic two years after its construction, answering the question of what happened to the mystery cable to Cuba. alba_cable.png

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Syrian Internet.. Fragility?

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Update (15:26 UTC, 15 May): Routes to Syrian networks have been restored, at 18:26 Damascus time. Outage duration: 8h25m

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Update (14:20 UTC, 15 May): Plot of latency measurements to Syrian hosts from various locations, indicating that replies stopped returning shortly after 7am UTC, aligned with the withdrawal of routes to Syrian networks. (Click image for details)

Update (07:30 UTC, 15 May): Syrian Internet down again since 07:01 UTC (10:00 Damascus time), Wednesday, 15 May 2013. Syrian news agency reports that they’re working to fix. Potentially related to forthcoming UN decision today?

Update: Syrian Internet has returned. Outage lasted 19.5 hours, from 18:45 UTC May 7th to 14:13 UTC May 8th.

As we write, the Syrian people are still disconnected from the global Internet at the most fundamental level, nearly all of their paths withdrawn from the global routing table. Since 18:45 UTC on May 7th, Renesys hasn’t seen a flicker of activity. We haven’t been able to successfully send a ping or a traceroute to any host inside Syria. Government websites, universities, domain name servers, core infrastructure routers, banks, businesses, DSL customers, smartphones: all silent.

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As I look back at what we’ve written about Internet outage over the years, I see a sort of evolution in our perspective. We’ve covered Internet failures due to war, politics, censorship, central planning, earthquakes, hurricanes, cable cuts, business disputes, terrorism, undersea mud volcanoes, and (perhaps) cyberwarfare.

In the early days, we reported each outage breathlessly, shocked that the Internet could fail in such spectacular ways. If you look around the web this morning, you’ll see a lot of that same shock-and-awe reporting from companies who are just discovering the fragilities visible in Internet data.

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Gulf States Turn to Iran, Russia for Internet

Sometimes, it takes a real disaster to create something genuinely new. March 2013 was a month of disasters in the Middle Eastern, South Asian, and East African Internet, with major submarine cable cuts affecting SMW3, SMW4, IMEWE, EIG, SEACOM, and TE-North.

One of the “genuinely new” Internet traffic paths that emerged in response is a counterintuitive terrestrial route, linking the ancient Indian Ocean trade empire of Oman with the Internet markets of Western Europe, by way of Iran, Azerbaijan, and the Russian Caucasus. As we’ll see, its effects are now being felt across the region, from Pakistan, to Gulf states like Bahrain and Oman, to Kenya.

epeg-homepage.png The EPEG (Europe-Persia Express Gateway) consortium was actually born in June 2011, as an alternative to the congested, politically uncertain Suez transit corridor. EPEG links together existing fiber routes from the Iranian, Azeri, and Russian incumbents, connected to Cable and Wireless’s network to approximate a Great Circle route to Frankfurt. With the aid of one final submarine hop across the Strait of Hormuz to Muscat, EPEG promised to deliver a major new low-latency, high-capacity terrestrial route to carry the Gulf states’ traffic to Europe.

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Intrigue Surrounds SMW4 Cut

It has been a rough few weeks for the global Internet, given numerous submarine cable failures and the largest DDOS attack ever reported. While we’re hard-pressed to find evidence of the purported global Internet slowdown due to the DDOS attack, the dramatic impacts of yesterday’s SMW4 submarine cable cut were profound. Recent reports that the cable break was the result of sabotage make the incident even more intriguing. In this blog, we detail what happened to some of the providers in four countries along the route of the cable: Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Pakistan and India.

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Cyber Escalation in Korea?

On Friday, we published a blog confirming a disruption in Internet connectivity affecting the Internet of North Korea.

This morning, South Korean authorities reported that they have been the victims of a cyber attack which impacted TV News organizations as well as banking institutions.

Renesys can confirm that at least some of today’s incidents escalated to the point of global visibility, as both South and North Koreans networks experienced actual disconnections. We note similarly timed outages affecting South Korea’s largest natural gas company.

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North Korea Suffers Outage

Earlier this morning,
North Korea accused the United States of conducting a cyber attack that disrupted their Internet connectivity. While the details remain unknown, we can confirm that, in the last two days, North Korea’s sole Internet provider has had ongoing problems staying connected to the global Internet. We’ll summarize some of our evidence in this blog entry.
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Faraway Fallout from Black Sea Cut

We’ll take a more in-depth look in this blog, noting shifts in traffic as far away as Oman, more than 3,000 kilometers distant!

Last month, Wired.com‘s fascinating geological sciences blog, Eruptions, cast doubt on the purported cause of the December 23, 2012 failure of the Georgia-Russia submarine cable. That is, the author of the Eruptions blog post thought it unlikely to have been due to an undersea volcanic eruption. Without weighing in on the likelihood of active volcanoes in the Black Sea, we tweeted about some of the Internet impacts of this incident, although in 140 characters, we could only scratch the surface. blacksea_cables.png

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Bangladesh Connects via India

The Internet of Bangladesh has been connected to the world by a single submarine cable, Sea-Me-We 4 (SMW4), since this 18,800 kilometer-long optical-fiber system made its landing at Cox’s Bazar in 2006. However, in the nearly seven years since SMW4′s activation, national Internet outages have plagued Bangladesh with some regularity. When their portion of this system is sabotaged, suffers a failure or is down for maintenance, virtually all Internet bandwidth for the 7th most populous country in the world disappears, forcing local providers to fall back to slow and expensive satellite services or to simply wait for restoration.However, recent national outages due to planned SMW4 maintenance have revealed that some Bangladeshi providers have now activated a long-awaited second connection to the Internet via a terrestrial link to India. We’ll examine this new development here and highlight those providers who can now offer fault-tolerant Internet service for the first time in Bangladesh. India-Bangladesh.jpg

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Cuban Fiber: Completo?

For more latest information, please follow us on Twitter: @Renesys

Cuban Internet connectivity continues to evolve by the hour, with a new, faster mode of operation in evidence as of this morning. Our measurements from around the world suggest that Cuban technicians may have completed the work they began a week ago, creating the first bidirectional Internet paths that are free of satellite connectivity.

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