Mediterranean Cable Disruption as Seen in RIPEstat

Mirjam Kühne — Mar 27, 2013 04:30 PM
Contributors: Rene Wilhelm
Filed under: ,
What RIPEstat tells us about the recent cable disruption in the Mediterranean.

As reported by SEACOM, around 7:05 UTC today, an important fibre optic link between Europe, the Middle East and Asia was disrupted for the second time in one week.

We were interested whether we could find evidence of this latest disruption in RIPEstat, the RIPE NCC's comprehensive source for Internet number resource information. On the recently released Country Comparison page, we can clearly see a drop in announcd IPv4 prefixes in some of the countries connected to the affected cable.

In Figure 1 below, the blue lines represent the number of IPv4 prefixes announced in four countries: Saudia Arabia, Sudan, Kenya and Egypt. Kenya and Egypt show an especially significant drop in the number of IPv4 prefixes announced after 8:00 UTC.

RIPEstat - Cable Cut 27 March 2013Figure 1: Number of IPv4 prefixes in four countries possibly affected by recent cable disruption

There is always the possibility that the number of routed prefixes in a country could show a change in the number of prefixes because of operational issues. However, when several countries show a drop at the same time, it's a strong indication that something bigger may be taking place, affecting core network infrastructure.

When in 2008, two submarine cables in the Mediterranean Sea were damaged near Alexandria, Egypt (see our news story about it), we saw a dramatic drop in connectivity for some countries in the region, most notable Egypt and Sudan, as shown in Figure 2.

Cable Cut 2008Figure 2: Number of IPv4 prefixes in countries affected by cable cut in 2008

We will look into this further and hope to publish more analyses in the coming days based on the data available.

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