Mediterranean Cable Break

January 30, 2008 Earl Zmijewski

Early this morning local time, two cable systems north of Alexandria, Egypt were severed, greatly impacting both Internet and voice traffic to the region. The broken cables are operated by Flag Telecom and SEA-ME-WEA 4, and if past undersea cable cuts are any measure, repair time will be measured in weeks, not days. This is a preliminary report on the countries most impacted by this failure, as seen from the perspective of Internet routing.

Most Impacted Countries

As you can see from the above map, there are several cable systems that connect Europe, the Middle East and Asia, via the Suez Canal. The countries highlighted in red are those whose Internet connectivity is being disrupted the most by this event. At Renesys, we geo-locate all routed networks and observe their reachability from over 250 locations around the globe. In the case of disasters like this, we will suddenly see a large percentage and/or a large number of country-specific networks disappear from the Internet. As the following charts show, Egypt and Pakistan lost the highest percentage of their networks, while India lost the least. However, India had the third highest total number of networks disappear. Looking at the cable map, it is not surprising that the Indian subcontinent was impacted by events off the coast of Egypt. There are essentially two ways to get to this part of the world: via the Suez Canal or via Southeast Asia.

The next graph show the outages over time for the four countries who lost the most number of networks, namely, Egypt, Pakistan, Kuwait and India. You can observe a sharp loss of connectivity for these countries at 04:30 UTC, followed by another event at 08:00 UTC.

Most Impacted Countries by Total Number of Networks

Our final graph shows the total number of networks lost for the region, excluding the Indian subcontinent, in order to more clearly illustrate the timing of these events. Notice that there are two long term events starting at 04:30 UTC and 08:00 UTC, presumably the two cable breaks. Then there are shorter lived events at around 06:00 UTC and 13:00 UTC, which may reflect measures taken in an attempt to route around the problem.

Total Number of Outaged Regional Networks

Stay tuned to this blog for more information as we continue our analysis.

The post Mediterranean Cable Break appeared first on Dyn Research.


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.

More Content by Earl Zmijewski
Previous Article
Mediterranean Cable Break – Part II
Mediterranean Cable Break – Part II

After looking at the countries most impacted by the cable cut in our first...

Next Article
15th Century Routing
15th Century Routing

Which way is up? Since I sometimes find myself hopelessly lost, I tend to...