No turning back: Russia activates Crimean cable

The Crimean peninsula depends critically on the Ukrainian mainland for infrastructure services: power, water, and Internet. That has begun to change in the last few days, as Crimean ISPs began receiving their first Internet services over the newly constructed Kerch Strait Cable, linking Crimea with the Russian mainland. The message: there is no turning back […]

Kurdish ISPs enable growth of Iraqi Internet

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 […]

Beware the Ides of March: Subsea Cable Cut Trend Continues

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 […]

Submarine Cables Add Resilience But Paths Still Matter

Last month, I had the honor of opening the second day of the Submarine Networks World 2013 conference at the Marina Bay Sands in Singapore. Using a handful of recent examples, I demonstrated that, while new submarine cables certainly contribute to physical diversity and hence increased Internet resiliency, cables alone do not necessarily reduce traffic […]

Myanmar Internet Disruptions

Before Egypt became the country known for shutting off its international Internet during anti-government protests in January 2011, it was Myanmar that was known for infamously shutting down its Internet connections for two weeks following anti-government protests which turned violent┬áin September 2007.During those protests, as the government began cracking down on anti-government demonstrations, protestors began […]

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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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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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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