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 […]
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 in September 2007.During those protests, as the government began cracking down on anti-government demonstrations, protestors began […]
|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.|
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.
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.
|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.|
|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.|
Recent developments captured in a new blog here. (January 22, 2013)
|In February 2011, the first submarine cable connecting the island nation of Cuba to the global internet (by way of Venezuela) landed on Siboney beach, Santiago de Cuba. In the two years since, the fate of the cable has been a mystery for Cuba observers. In the past week, our global monitoring system has picked up indications that this cable has finally been activated, although in a rather curious way, as we explain below.|
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.
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.