Hurricane Sandy: Global Impacts

In our recent posts about Hurricane Sandy, we analyzed the impacts of the super storm on Internet connectivity in the northeastern US.
However, in addition to knocking out power and Internet connectivity in a significant part of the New York metropolitan area, Sandy also had a surprising impact on the world’s Internet traffic, traffic that neither originated from nor was destined to areas affected by the storm.

From locations around the globe as varied as Chile, Sweden and India,
some Internet traffic was forced onto alternate paths to avoid failures at critical transit points in the NYC area.
We’ll take a look at some examples in what follows.

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Hurricane Sandy: Outage Animation

Renesys continues to analyze the impacts on Internet connectivity from Hurricane Sandy. Here’s another quick view of the impact on the routing table as Sandy came ashore Monday night. Each square represents the fate of a set of networks geolocated within a common tenth-degree square of the Earth’s surface — at these latitudes, that’s about […]

Hurricane Sandy: Initial Impact

Yesterday, Hurricane Sandy came ashore pummeling the east coast of the United States with high winds and torrential rains. The super storm caused major power and Internet outages in a region that is home to more than 60 million people. Unsurprisingly, the impacts on Internet connectivity have been severe. For instance, several major data centers in Manhattan lost power or were flooded.

Besides all the local impacts to the United States, New York City also happens to be a major hub of international telecommunications. As a result of outages there, we’ve observed Internet traffic shift away from the city as carriers scramble for alternative paths.

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Blast in Turkey Impacts Iran, Iraq

Last night, a pipeline carrying Iranian natural gas to Turkey was damaged by an explosion, halting gas flow, and perhaps surprisingly to some, disrupting Internet connectivity to northern Iran and Iraq. The Turkish government has accused the Kurdistan Workers party (PKK) militant group, who have claimed responsibility for pipeline explosions in the past, of perpetrating the attack.

Internet communications lines are often installed along existing physical routes, such as highways, power lines, rail lines or oil and gas pipelines. Since someone has gone to the trouble of establishing a right of way and clearing a path over hundreds of kilometers, the telecommunications folks often take the opportunity to lay fiber optic cable along the route, if at all possible.

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PCCW Keeps Syria Connected

As the conflict in Syria continues unabated, we have observed an increase in the number of significant Internet outages in this war-torn country in the past six weeks. We first commented on the situation last year and again last month.

On Saturday, August 18th, the Syrian incumbent and sole domestic provider, Syria Telecommunications Establishment (STE, AS 29386), withdrew all 61 of its networks from the global routing table for roughly 17 minutes, starting at 07:59:00 UTC. Then again, on Sunday, August 19th, 20 of these networks were down several times between 04:00 UTC and 07:51:30 UTC. Sky News reporter, Tim Marshall, sent the tweet on the right from Syria at August 18th, 10:33 PST (or August 19th, 05:33 UTC).

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Orange Jordan Goes Black

At 10:28 UTC today, Jordanian incumbent, Orange Jordan (AS 8697), suffered a wide-spread Internet outage, lasting 2 hours and 16 minutes. Orange dropped service to 241 of the 244 networks it typically routes, temporarily erasing nearly 60% of Jordanian cyberspace.

The impact of the outage extended beyond the incumbent’s borders to Orange Jordan’s sole customer in Iraq, EarthLink (AS 50710). This provider lost service to 11 of its networks or 6% of its total, namely, those transiting Orange to reach the global Internet.

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Syria Briefly Disconnects

For about 40 minutes today, all networks routed through the Syrian incumbent, Syrian Telecommunications Establishment (AS29256 and AS29386), were withdrawn from the global routing table, effectively cutting off most of Syria from the Internet.

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Cyprus Rescues Lebanon

It has been a tough week for Internet connectivity in Lebanon. After two national Internet blackouts on the IMEWE cable, Lebanese traffic was moved onto the CADMOS submarine cable to reach international carriers via Cyprus. With this backup in place, and with substantial additional capacity brought online to reduce congestion, just over 70% of the country’s networks (prefixes) were brought back online.

In an example of engineering under pressure, Lebanese Telecoms Minister Nicholas Sehnaoui personally flew to Cyprus and met with the Cyprus Telecommunications Authority. The teams (pictured right) then collaborated to find a viable solution.

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Lebanon Loses Lone Link

Prior to the recent activation of Internet service to Lebanon via the IMEWE submarine cable, Internet service in Lebanon was labeled the “world’s slowest” due to its dependence on a combination of antiquated submarine cables built in the mid-1990′s and high-latency satellite service. However, as high-speed Internet service via IMEWE expanded in recent months, today’s outage reveals Lebanon’s new dependence on this lone modern connection to the outside world.

For almost three hours today, Lebanon experienced a near complete nationwide Internet outage. Between 16:13 and 18:59 UTC, we observed as many as 842 of the approximately 900 routed prefixes in Lebanon withdrawn from the global routing table, as illustrated in the graphic on the right. During this period of time, we saw almost every routed prefix downstream of incumbent Liban (AS42020) withdrawn. At 17:45 UTC, we saw these networks restored only to be withdrawn once again minutes later.

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SMW4 Cut Shakes Up South Asia

Bangladesh could learn a lesson from Pakistan about building a diverse and more survivable connection to the Internet. The two countries had very different experiences as a result of a recent submarine cable cut. Where Pakistan’s PTCL and Transworld have spent years building diversity into their International connectivity strategy, in Bangladesh the story is very different.

At 08:41:51 UTC on Wednesday, 6 June 2012, the Sea-Me-We-4 submarine cable suffered a break 60 kilometers from the coast of Singapore, its eastern terminus. While the cause of the failure has not been publicly released, the resulting impact on South Asian Internet transit has been fascinating to follow.

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In the past week, it has been widely reported in the news that this incident has served to cripple the Internet for the 158 million people in Bangladesh. However as seen in our Market Intelligence product and our various data sources, the impact of this outage has been much more widespread than publicly reported, as providers in the region scramble to find alternatives. We’ll consider some of the resulting changes in this blog.

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