The recent violence in Iraq and the government’s actions to block social media and other Internet services have put a spotlight on the Iraqi Internet. However, an overlooked but important dynamic in understanding the current Iraqi Internet is the central role Kurdish ISPs play in connecting the entire country to the global Internet. In the […]
Update (10:00ET, 14-Jun-2014): See below for a copy of Friday’s Iraqi MoC order to disconnect social media. Iraq is descending into further violence, as militant group ISIL takes control of Mosul and beyond. Renesys has observed two large Internet outages this week (here and here) that our sources confirmed to be government-directed outages. These interruptions […]
Earlier this month, the International Cable Protection Committee, a submarine cable advisory group, held their annual plenary in Dubai. One question that they could have considered is: Why do so many submarine cables get cut in the February/March timeframe? In this blog, we’ll look back at the last three years and the submarine cable industry’s […]
In an attempt to impose sanctions on its own ISPs over their failure to follow its pricing guidelines, the Iraqi Ministry of Communications last week resorted to an unorthodox regulatory tactic: shutting down the Internet at the GBI cable landing in Al Faw (Basra), and across the border with Jordan. Media reports suggest that the […]
Update #2 (11:40 AM ET, 11 Oct 2013) Aleppo returns Update (12:38 PM ET, 10 Oct 2013) Aleppo down In late August, we reported the Internet blackout in war-torn Aleppo, Syria. The outage occurred as Syrian state telecom, STE, lost its connection to Turk Telecom in neighboring Turkey. (It should be noted that STE’s connection […]
As Iranian President Hasan Rouhani addressed the United Nations for the first time this week, people all over the world took to the Internet to hear and discuss his message, many for the first time. They saw a statesman exercising what Ayatollah Khamenei has called “heroic flexibility” — the will to consider all possibilities for […]
Update: Internet access in Aleppo, Syria down again as Turk Telekom service to STE disrupted at 17:48:42 UTC yesterday, Aug 29 as confirmed by sources to the Washington Post. With the recent high-profile cyber attack against the New York Times , purportedly by the Syrian Electronic Army, and the subsequent hacking of Syrian DNS servers, […]
We’ve been asked all day to comment on the potential for Internet shutdowns in Turkey. At this point, Renesys observes no significant changes in Turkey’s Internet routing, no significant outages affecting the routing of Turkey’s networks, no reduction in the number of inbound active measurements to Turkish hosts within the country from our infrastructure […]
Update (15:26 UTC, 15 May): Routes to Syrian networks have been restored, at 18:26 Damascus time. Outage duration: 8h25m
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.
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.
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.
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.