Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Internet Outage Affects India, Pakistan, Middle East

Internet services have been disrupted in parts of the Middle East after damage to an undersea cable in the Mediterranean. There was disruption to 70% of the nationwide network in Egypt, a government official told Reuters. There was also disruption in the United Arab Emirates (UAE), Kuwait and Saudi Arabia, reported the Associated Press. India also suffered up to 60% disruption, a national industry body told Reuters news agency.

Blogger Masud Reza from Pakistan is reporting that Pakistan is also affected by this outage. Mesud said as follows in his post:
"At approx. 11:30am today, the SMW4 Segment 4 Sumbarine Cable went down due to a fiber cut between Marseille and Palermo due to which the Internet connectivity in Pakistan is severely affected.
At this moment, TWA1 customers are suffering the most. PTCL has switched it's Internet traffic from SMW4 to SMW3.
Let's hope that this fault is repaired soon since degraded Internet service cripples internet for business.
Update: A ship has left Italy for repairing the fault. However, timelines indicated by SMW4 are anywhere from twelve to fourteen days!!"

This latest disruption reminds me of June 2005 outage of ALL Internet access in Pakistan due to damage to the lone undersea fiber optic cable in the Arabian Sea connecting Pakistan with the rest of the world. This cable is owned by a 92-nation international consortium and operated by SingTel, the Singapore telecommunications company. There were satellite link but these links have very limited bandwidth. Even though the number of Internet users in Pakistan is relatively small at about 15-20 million, the impact on business was disproportionate. Traders on KSE reported as much as 80% drop in trading volume from this outage. All call center activities and other BPO vendors were severely affected.

In February 2006, there was another brief disruption when Pakistan’s first undersea fiber optic cable, SMW3, was damaged causing interruption in the country’s Internet and voice traffic. However, there was no breakdown in any part of the country, as the recently-commissioned submarine cable, SMW4, was fully operational. Since then, yet another submarine cable TWA1 has also been added. While the two additional cables have made Pakistan less vulnerable, the growing use and bandwidth requirements in Pakistan will continue to strain these cables, unless additional capacity is added on a regular basis.

1 comment:

Riaz Haq said...

Pakistan gets new undersea 40Tb/sec Internet cable -- doubling Pakistan's existing Internet bandwidth ... …

Pakistan is now connected with a new submarine cable system with design capacity of at least 40 Terabits per second across 5 fiber pairs as AAE-1 (also called Asia-Africa-Europe-1) announced the commencement of its operations just moments ago.

AAE-1 is worlds largest submarine cable spanning over 25,000 KMs and is one of the first cable system to connect Hong Kong, Singapore, Middle East with Africa and Europe.

AAE-1 consortium, that coordinated efforts to complete the project in 10 years, include China Unicom, CIL (HyalRoute), Djibouti Telecom, Etisalat, GT5L, Mobily, Omantel, Ooredoo, OTEG, PCCW, PTCL, Reliance Jio, Retelit, Telecom Egypt, TeleYemen, TOT, Viettel, VNPT and VTC.

In Pakistan, the cable will be operated and managed by PTCL.

AAE-1 will immediately increase Pakistan’s international bandwidth pipe multiple-folds and will make country’s international connection more redundant.

New submarine cable will also help Pakistan meet its bandwidth needs as the internet usage in the country is on the rise.

Pakistan’s current international links and bandwidth capacity include:

TW1 with design capacity of 1.28Tbps
Sea-Me-We-3 with 480 Gbps with two fibre pairs
Sea-Me-We-4 with design capacity of 1.28Tbps
I-ME-WE with Design Capacity of 3.86Tbps
AAE-1 with design capacity of 40Tbps
Sea-Me-We-5 with design capacity of 24Tbps
Following international links with landing points in Pakistan are under construction:

Silk Route Gateway-1 with design capacity of 20Tbps
Pakistan-China Fiber Optic Back-Haul