BREAKING: Internet broken, North America-Asia cables damaged

BREAKING: Internet broken, North America-Asia cables damaged

Summary: Interoute, the internet networks company, reports that three of the four internet sub-cables that run from Asia to North America have been damaged, according a post just published to the Times Online's Tech Central blog.The cables carry more than 75 percent of traffic between the Middle East, Europe and America.

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CableInteroute, the internet networks company, reports that three of the four internet sub-cables that run from Asia to North America have been damaged, according a post just published to the Times Online's Tech Central blog.

The cables carry more than 75 percent of traffic between the Middle East, Europe and America. Clearly, if you're reading this, it hasn't reached you yet -- but the AP is reporting mass outages in Egypt as of an hour ago.

According to Interoute via the post:

hearing that offices have lost their entire private network connectivity. As a result, users are unable to do their daily job over the internet and are turning to their mobile phones to communicate across the globe. This is having a knock on effect on the domestic voice networks, which are getting a surge of calls needing to be routed internationally. These calls need to be routed onto international gateways that pass voice traffic in longer directions around the world to avoid the cable breaks – causing more quality issues and risk more call failures, in turn causing more calls to be placed and increasing the pressure on local voice networks.

So expect to see a slowdown on mobile phone networks in those areas as a result of companies' attempts to continue conducting business, the post reports. It also means there may be financial havoc coming as well, since trading could be compromised.

The Times Online adds that it's a bit unusual to have this situation:

Major sub-sea cables break once a year. So companies have developed a fall-back plan. If one sub-sea cable is out, traffic is re-routed onto a second cable. In theory, a dual break, where both cables go out at once, is incredibly rare. Prior to January this year, it had not happened before.

The Bloomberg wire also has a story about the situation. Earlier this year, cable problems were reported between Africa and the Middle East.

UPDATED 5PM: The cause hasn't yet been determined, but Interoute's director of wholesale products, Jonathan Wright, said in a telephone interview with Bloomberg that it sometimes happens because of a ship's anchor.

ALSO: Site Fibresystems.org has stats on the effect of nearby countries:

  • Saudi Arabia: 55% out of service
  • Djibouti: 71% out of service
  • Egypt: 52% out of service
  • United Arab Emirates: 68% out of service
  • India: 82% out of service
  • Lebanon: 16% out of service
  • Malaysia: 42% out of service
  • Maldives: 100% out of service
  • Pakistan: 51% out of service
  • Qatar: 73% out of service
  • Syria: 36% out of service
  • Taiwan: 39% out of service
  • Yemen: 38% out of service
  • Zambia: 62% out of service

The site also noted that "most of the B to B traffic between Europe and Asia is rerouted through the USA" and that "traffic from Europe to Algeria and Tunisia is not affected, but traffic from Europe to the Near East and Asia is interrupted to a greater or lesser extent," as evidenced by the list above.

The site reports that the cut is located in the Mediterranean between Sicily and Tunisia, on sections linking Sicily to Egypt.

Is this affecting anyone's global network out there? Tell us in TalkBack.

Topics: Browser, Hardware, Mobility, Networking, Telcos

Andrew Nusca

About Andrew Nusca

Andrew Nusca is a former writer-editor for ZDNet and contributor to CNET. During his tenure, he was the editor of SmartPlanet, ZDNet's sister site about innovation.

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Talkback

62 comments
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  • Interesting question

    "Is this affecting anyone?s global network out there?"

    If it was affecting us, how would anyone be able to tell you?
    ThePrairiePrankster
    • Well...

      If you work at a company that has, say, a Dubai office, and you can't reach them, then perhaps there's a problem, no?
      andrew.nusca
      • There you go!

        Point well taken :-)
        ThePrairiePrankster
  • Tell me AGAIN why "cloud computing" should be the future (nt).

    sigh . . .
    CobraA1
    • BINGO .......

      NT ....
      Linux_4u!
      • Yahtzee!

        ]:)
        MGP2
        • CHECK...&, er... MATE!!! n/t

          ;\
          btljooz
    • hahah you got it man

      all this cloud none sense lost its meaning in a 10th of a second ....
      Quebec-french
      • Heh, it's "gone up in smoke" ...! (NT)

        .
        Zogg
    • It's raining on their parade!

      ////////////////
      ////////////////
      ////////////////
      ////////////////
      ////////////////
      osreinstall
    • Actually clouds handle this really well

      In this situation you're much better off with a cloud. That way you have multiple local copies of both your data and local instances of your services on each continent. Smart cloud platforms will automatically move your data and services to these locations based on the origins of client requests, traffic, and geographical and geopolitical policies. This is how they account for natural disasters, power outages, cable severing, war, etc. and how each client request location gets the soa policy response time and gets "relatively local" access to multiple data centers in case 2 or 3 go offline. For instance Vancover, Edmonton, Toronto, Seattle, San Francisco, Chicago, Dallas, Atlanta, Boston, Chihuahua, Monterrey, Mexico City, Bogata, Sao Paulo, Santiago, Buenos Aries, London, Dublin, Reykjavik, Berlin, Oslo, Madrid, Paris, Rome, Casablanca, Cairo, Lagos, Nairobi, Johannesberg, Cape Town, Jerusalem, Riyadh, Baghdad, Istanbul, St Petersburg, Moscow, Karachi, Mumbai, Delhi, Bangkok, Kuala Lumpur, Manilla, Perth, Sydney, Auckland, Christchurch, Tokyo, Kyoto, Seoul, Beijing, and Shanghai.
      Johnny Vegas
      • Better off than keeping your data local? How does that work?

        [i]In this situation you're much better off with a cloud. That way you have multiple local copies of both your data and local instances of your services on each continent.[/i]

        It doesn't matter [b]at all[/b] if the Internet goes down when your data is 100% local. So how can a cloud possibly beat that?

        And I take it were talking about non-secure data too, since it would horrify me to think that my private data was being mirrored on Internet-enabled machines all over the world...
        Zogg
        • Locals fine if you only want access from on premises

          But if you fly to India or Asia or really anywhere and you want to access it from the road you're sol if internet access back to your data center is down. All data is secured and encrypted when being mirrored and when being transfered to the clients.
          Johnny Vegas
          • "secure" is a relative term.

            All it would take is for just [i]one[/i] of the data-centers to be compromised somehow, via [i]any[/i] means.

            And as for encryption, you need only look at the never-ending trouble people have securing wireless networks:

            http://www.engadget.com/2008/10/13/elcomsoft-uses-nvidia-gpus-to-crack-wpa2/

            The bottom line is that nothing on the Internet can ever be [b]truly[/b] secure. So no thanks.
            Zogg
          • Encrypted flash drive

            I have it with me and I don't worry about a network outage. If it's lost or stolen, the data is going to be safe from all but the most determined hackers.

            It generally doesn't take more than a minute to sync changes to my desktops so I have backups in home and work locations as well.
            sullivanjc
      • This is the stupidest thing I ever read

        "...multiple copies of your data..." around the globe?

        So let me get this straight. I should be paying someone to provide cloud services for me, resulting in copies of my data all over the place?

        I am assuming you mean copies **ahead of time** rather than on the fly because the Maldives has a 100% outage and no one there will be getting any cloud services.

        Yeah... that cloud scenario sounds pretty good compared to the old fashioned notion of keeping your data encrypted on a laptop and periodically backing up to a server.
        croberts
    • Wireless, Satellites...

      We don't need no stinking cables.
      bbneo
      • Half-second lag...

        ...in satellite conversations...
        fairportfan
  • RE: BREAKING: Internet broken, North America-Asia cables damaged

    Same problem,I can not acceess any of our servers in Egypt from Dubai. I smell something strange specially same problem happend almost a year ago. 3 out of 4 is realy strang
    . What is Interout explaination?
    satdevil
  • Again !

    Hmm me thinks its the NSA as the military are probably up to something in the middle east so disrupting comms in the area.
    Oh by the way HAHAHA to all you outsourcers look this is what can happen.
    Alan Smithie