ISPs Learn from Katrina, Survive Gustav

September 25, 2014 Earl Zmijewski

As the world waited for Gustav to hit the US, at Renesys we wondered how the Internet would fare this time around. Would we see the large scale, long term outages we observed during Katrina? Or would the critical communications infrastructure of the region stand fast? As of 19:00 UTC on date of Gustav’s landfall, the score so far is Internet 1, Gustav 0. Connectivity in the region is very good and outages are sporadic. Either we got lucky or we’ve learned some valuable lessons.

Let’s start by looking at Louisiana, which is taking the brunt of the storm as of this writing. 42 network prefixes are currently out, about half of those in Orleans and Jefferson parishes (counties). The following map shows the parishes impacted in yellow.

Compare this map to that of the storm track, courtesy of CNN.

At present, Charter Communications (AS 20115) is taking it the hardest with 9 network prefixes (mainly /20s and /21s) that geo-locate to Louisiana currently out. Service Provider Corporation (AS 22218) is next with 7 prefixes out (all /24s), followed by the State Library of Louisiana with 5 (again all /24s). This is much better than we would have expected and shows that the power grid (or its backup) is surviving the storm.

We watched the storm roll ashore via the network outages by state. As the following graph shows, outages are slowly increasing over time, but do not compare to what we observed during Katrina. (For the Gustav outages, all times are in UTC; for Katrina, which took place in 2005, all times are local.)

States Impacted by Gustav
States Impacted by Katrina

Finally, we provide you a current Google Earth view into Renesys outage data for New Orleans, the site of so much Katrina destruction. The satellite imagery shows Gustav hitting Louisiana and a newer storm (Hanna) on the way, expected to impact the Eastern US. But for now, the Internet infrastructure seems to be holding up amazingly well. We will see what tomorrow brings.

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About the Author

Earl leads a peerless team of data scientists who are committed to analyzing Dyn’s vast Internet Performance data resources and applying their expertise to continually improve upon Dyn’s products and services.

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