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March 23, 2012 Comments (1) Views: 3182 Engineering, Internet, Latency, Quicklook

Return of SMW3

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The new EPEG terrestrial cable through Russia and Iran cannot come fast enough for Oman. Last month, three major submarine cables were severed by a ship’s anchor in the shallow waters of the Red Sea, including SEA-ME-WE 3 (SMW3). epeg.jpg

From our data, we can pinpoint the time of the cut at 07:19 UTC on February 17, 2012. Following the incident, we saw International providers dependent on SMW3 start to disappear from some Middle Eastern markets, including Turk Telekom (AS 9121) and= Cogent (AS 174) from Oman. On March 18, SMW3 was reactivated and these providers into this market came back to life.


With respect to reaching Oman, the impact of the outage on Internet latencies (e.g., how slow the Internet felt to end users) depended on the physical paths and providers involved. For example, latencies to OmanTel via Amsterdam and the AMSIX facility or via Istanbul soared, as shown below.

latencies_SMW3CutImpactonOman_Amsterdam_NL_s.png latencies_SMW3CutImpactonOman_Istanbul_TR_s.png

From many other locations, we saw a seamless fail over to alternative providers and no real change in latencies, as shown in the following graphs where Cogent (AS 174) disappears.

latencies_SMW3CutImpactonOman_Cairo_EG_s.png latencies_SMW3CutImpactonOman_Sao_Paolo_BR_s.png

Regardless of the impact, we can assume that the recent rash of cable breaks will only put wind in the sails of those working to activate terrestrial connectivity (RCN, JADI, and EPEG) to the Middle East as an alternative to submarine cables.

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One Response to Return of SMW3

  1. Sunil Tagare says:

    Alternative routes to Egypt are urgently needed. The problem with EPEG is nobody knows how long C&W will be able to support this route given the sanctions against Iran. A fourth route is currently being developed from Kuwait to Turkey and beyond transiting Iraq. Iraq needs to start selling dark fiber in order for this route to become financially viable.

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