back to article UK ISPs crippled by undersea cable snap

A major internet routing outage struck UK telcos over the bank holiday weekend - knackering access to the World of Warcraft website*, the BBC, Amazon, Facebook and other sites for more than 24 hours. It's understood that a submarine cable carrying web traffic snapped between Blighty and the Netherlands, causing headaches for …

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Ahhh...

That explains it... I noticed some weirdness yesterday, but given it was on a friend's Talk-Talk connection I didn't realise it was anything unusual!

So where's the Sun headline...?

Undersea internet cable severed, Europe cut off.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Ahhh...

lol me too, I had wireshark out and everything wonder wtf BT were doing with my connection now - I kept getting disconnected from Gtalk/IRC every few minutes and was suffering dropped packets like a mofo.

I do question why access to the BBC was affected, where are their servers?

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Ahhh...

No worries. Everything will be back once the Yanks have finished installing their tap.

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Boffin

This is why we need to go wireless for global SP.

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Trollface

I agree

Every time a plane flies over the dish we lose connection, horrible pings to servers around the world make them annoying to use.

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Anonymous Coward

You know of a 400Gbps+ wireless technology?

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Facepalm
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Anonymous Coward

I'z can doo reedingz, me!

400GBps?

"... Rohm says the chip could in future achieve 30 Gbps speeds..."

Aaand I can duz hard sumz too!

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Joke

Re: I'z can doo reedingz, me!

Nah, the last 398.5 Gbps will be the easy part!

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Boffin

Re: I'z can doo reedingz, me!

And here.

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Holmes

Re: I'z can doo reedingz, me!

It requires LOS, cannot work over a curved surface (which the earth is) and also no obstructions or interferers.

Throughput(Guided (Fibre) Optics) > Throughput(Unguided Optics)

at any moment in time.

Doing optics without the fibre and calling it wireless isn't really a substitute, which is what I think you are trying to say?

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Boffin

@ravenviz

So, what about the backhaul from all those access points, and the links between the backhaul nodes, etcetera? Wireless too? How do you propose crossing a major stretch of water, such as the Atlantic?

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Boffin

Re: @ravenviz

Satellites.

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WTF?

@ravenviz: Ever used a satellite link?

They're the only thing available to mobile stations like ships or "internet to a field/beach in the middle of nowhere". (Or oddly Hyde Park a few years ago, before 3G took off)

Approximately 500ms ping is normal. In some cases I've had to adjust timeouts to get a connection to stay up - under poor signal quality roundtrip time goes up quite a bit due to retries.

I rather doubt you'd be happy over that one.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: I rather doubt you'd be happy over that one.

dont need low latency to trolololol you

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Low to medium orbit satellites...

Those could potentially solve the latency issue. You'd need lots of them and track them. Tracking them probably wouldn't be to hard for regional internet exchanges.

However that still doesn't get you anywhere near the bandwidth of a single fibre.

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Anonymous Coward

"Hello, I don't have a clue how the Internet works or any understanding of transmission technologies, bandwidth or spectrum. Strangely though, I feel empowered and emboldened to offer my suggestions for improvement in front of a group of people who are probably networking experts."

Does that about sum it up?

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neither had responded at time of publication

> El Reg has asked O2 and Interoute to comment on this story, but neither had responded at time of publication. We'll update the piece if O2 or Interoute do furnish us with statements.

They're not receiving emails at the moment.

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Anonymous Coward

well that would explain the oddness, I don't really remember it being a big problem for me and I'm on be. Spent all sunday playing planetside 2.

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Okay, tell me that it's not just me.

The point of running huge data centres with failover hardware, and the point of IP routing is basically so that, should something happen, the dead bits die and everyone is automatically shifted onto the non-dead bits.

Assuming that the capacity of your average ISP isn't being constantly tested 24/7 on all of its lines (which kinda makes the word "redundancy" not applicable), why should any ISP have to take any physical action for this kind of thing to be noticed, monitored, and then failed-over to other routes? I can understand warnings, and notifications, of it happening but why does it require manual intervention? Why are there half-a-dozen routing protocols professing automatic best-route selection if nobody uses them? Why can I set up a simple fail-over over several routes in about two lines of "ip" commands and yet big ISP's, datacenters and network providers can't do the equivalent on their expensive Cisco equipment?

I completely understand "capacity problems because we're running on one-line-less than normal" but "takes 30 hours for someone to work out what to do and find another hole to plug the cable into?".

Do we really have an Internet where manual intervention is required to provide the routing that's required when something fails?

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Yes, that puzzled me too. Perhaps routing changes have to be approved by corporate bean-counters?

Or maybe "the authorities" need some warning so they can set up wiretaps on new routes, but I would expect that to be automatic too.

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Unhappy

@Lee dowling

Unfortunately whilst people are only willing to pay peanuts for their broadband, this will happen more and more as less and less investment is made.

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Re: @Lee dowling

Presumably capacity is optimised to run on whatever is the cheapest solution per Gb at that moment.

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Anonymous Coward

@Lee Dowling

Re: Do we really have an Internet where manual intervention is required to provide the routing that's required when something fails?

The outage affected/affects non-protected pathways - i.e. there was no redundancy, probably to save on costs.

I'm guessing that all of the affected parties that required manual re-routing did so because using alternative routes costs them more.

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>Do we really have an Internet where manual intervention is required to provide the routing that's required when >something fails?

No - you can have an internet where the router has the company credit card and will go and buy capacity on whatever link it needs, automatically at whatever the cost.

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Anonymous Coward

It can happen. If someone else's kit down the chain on your alternate route thinks the best path to your destination is back the way you just came, those packets evaporate. As an individual ISP you don't own all the routers on the way to where you're going, other people's routing decisions determine how effective your back-up is.

You could build your own private backup, totally under your control, but £15 a month broadband doesn't pay for that.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: @Lee dowling

Hmm - capacity on this scale isn't "Pay As You Go". It's contracted for 12 months or longer and failover protection will be bought or not based on a simple sum based on the cost of the protection versus the cost of lost business if the primary route fails for the maximum time allowed in the SLA.

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Anonymous Coward

WoW down for maintenance

I suspect it really is maitenance, as it started working after a couple of hours, and there is a massive patch due.

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World of Warcraft

Do people still play that?

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Anonymous Coward

Re: World of Warcraft

only to wait out the clock till death

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Re: World of Warcraft

> Do people still play that?

/wave

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Mind made up then

Been with Be for a few years and they have always been pretty good but my one longtime niggle with them has been DNS. Sometimes I think they entire infrastructure is running through a speedtouch modem.

Sky can fibre me for the same cost. Guess its time to migrate.

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FAIL

Re: Mind made up then

Likewise. I've been procrastinating about moving from BE to 40MB SKY as BE have been so good in the past. But the have lost their way so regrettably it's time to help line Murdochs pockets. The only saving grace I had was I have a VPN option on my Usenet account. I've never used it before but it worked a treat and my WoW latency was at least 10ms lower than BE's standard.

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Unhappy

Re: Mind made up then

Yeah me too - ever since they were bought out they've been a bit arse, and it's been years and still no fibre solution. I'm off elsewhere when my contracts up...

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Re: moving from BE to 40MB SKY

Okay then, but personally I'd rather eat my own vomit. Apologies to brekkie / tea-time readers...

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Trollface

"knackering access to......Facebook...........for more than 24 hours"

"'It is an ill wind indeed that blows no good at all."

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Anonymous Coward

No Noncebook/Twatter? What did the Jeremy Kyle "guests" do for 24 hours?

Maybe had a real conversation with a real friend?

Scabs.

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Anonymous Coward

not all facebook users support jeremy kyle

some of them still support jerry springer

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Thumb Up

No Noncebook/Twatter? What did the Jeremy Kyle "guests" do for 24 hours?

They tweeted the BBC about Essex lions.

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WTF?

I thought

the internet was designed to be immune from a section of cable being taken out

so that your packet gets around a broken fibre or a nuclear weapon burst.

Or is it that cheap ISPs route everything via a single point of failure......

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Facepalm

Re: I thought

Sigh. And if the other links are running at 80+% of capacity? Traffic will be rerouted, but then the other links are saturated.

Idiots analagy. Assume you work in London and drive to Hemel Hempsted or Milton Keynes, and both the M1 and M11 are closed. Yes, you can divert. But it's not going to be fun…

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Big Brother

Yet another advert for offshore data centres

There are some advantages to having your data centre "local",

Amazing these minor technical risks are never mentioned by the magic bean salesmen of the offshoring consultancy firms.

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Coat

urm ....... cable theft ?

<this part of the post was removed unlawfully by thieves>

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Re: urm ....... cable theft ?

I take it yours is the waterproof one with the diving helmet?

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Anonymous Coward

VPN - It's not just for privacy/piracy.

I'm on Be and noticed Sunday lunchtime that some sites would timeout, luckily I have VPN access to various countries so I had to do my own re-routing, thanks Telefonica...

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FAIL

Re: VPN - It's not just for privacy/piracy.

Err, you can have all the VPN's you want, but when your ISP's connectivity goes titsup you're no better off than the next guy.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: VPN - It's not just for privacy/piracy.

In this case my ISP's connectivity was half-fucked, the routes to the VPN(s) and then on to certain destinations were absolutely fine, yet the direct route to the certain destinations was not always fine.

The only downside of my VPN access is that it bypasses the very helpful ADSL firewall so I have to beef up network security on the PC to stop the casusal 'hackers' (loosely put, probably bots) from trying to connect to certain ports random IPs.

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No truth in the rumour that the Essex lion had bitten through it, then?

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Only if it was a sealion.

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Facepalm

"...suggested that a submarine may have hit a line in the Atlantic"

Yeah right. Submarines, those things that are known for their habit of regularly bashing into things on the bottom of the sea, 'cos it isn't at all risky for them to do so.

Unlike, say, trawl nets or anchors.........

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