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RIPE NCC Publishes Analysis of Mediterranean Cable Outages

11 April 2008 - On the morning of 30 January 2008, two submarine cables in the Mediterranean Sea were damaged near Alexandria, Egypt. The media reported significant disruptions of Internet and phone traffic in the Middle East and South Asia. About two days later, a third cable was cut, this time in the Persian Gulf, 56 kilometers off the coast of Dubai. In the days that followed more news on other cable outages came in.

The RIPE NCC Science Group has produced a report that examines the impact these events had on Internet connectivity, drawing on data collected by RIPE NCC Information Services. The analysis shows how some networks in the area became unreachable as a result of the cable failures, while others were able to remain visible thanks to multiple upstream connections and working BGP configurations to support them.

The analysis also identifies problems in exterior routing (BGP) both in the initial stages and in later mitigation attempts. It is instructive to see how the events affected even seemingly distant things such as the quality of DNS root name service in Amsterdam. The report concludes with four case studies intended as food-for-thought for engineers and network planners.

The RIPE NCC's suite of Information Services, including the Routing Information Service (RIS), Test Traffic Measurements (TTM) and DNS Monitoring Service (DNSMON), provide a unique view of the events in the Mediterranean and of Internet routing more generally.

By combining data gathered using a variety of tools and methods, RIPE NCC's Information Services suite provides a deeper insight into the workings of the Internet. The RIPE NCC is a neutral and impartial organisation, and commercial interests therefore do not influence the data collected.

The RIPE NCC Information Services suite, which also includes Hostcount, is available to anyone, and most of the services are offered free of charge.