A Hole in the Internet

February 1, 2011 Jim Cowie
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Even before their communications blackout, Egypt really was a small part of the Internet in absolute terms, just a few thousand routable networks out of nearly 400,000 making up the global IPv4 address space.

To illustrate the point, we put together these images, which use a Hilbert curve representation of the Internet. The world’s routed networks are in translucent grey, the unrouted networks are in black, and Egypt’s networks are in orange. Look closely and you can see Egypt’s Internet presence embedded in Africa and Europe’s address space.

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What’s left, after Egypt’s service providers were removed from the Internet map?

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Would you guess, looking at the small holes in this plot, that they represented the voices of 80,000,000 people?

We also put together a short video, again using a Hilbert curve visualization for Egypt’s Internet address space. It illustrates the minute-by-minute departure of Egypt’s service providers from the global routing table on Friday. With each white flash, a new network has been withdrawn from the routing table, leaving a new set of Egyptian customers without Internet. The country fades nearly to black in less than 30 minutes.

 


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About the Author

Jim Cowie

Jim Cowie is the Chief Scientist at Dyn. Previously, Jim was the founder and CTO of Renesys, the Internet Intelligence Authority, which Dyn acquired in 2014.

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