back to article Russian internet traffic detours through China's Frankfurt outpost

Russian domestic internet traffic has in the past year sailed through Shanghai due to routing errors by China Telecom, network boffin Doug Madory says. The apparent networking gaffe appeared to stem from a BGP peering deal between the telco and top Russian mobile provider Vimpelcom to save money on transit operators. Dyn …

  1. Crazy Operations Guy Silver badge

    Not that uncommon

    I've seen many a packet end up going on a round-the-world journey simple because one link broke and its back-up link happens to have a cost that brings just higher than going around the world. Happens a lot with peers that have global networks and low link costs between segments.

    Although I've seen some pretty stupid routes where the link-cost on a satellite with a latency of 500-600 ms is assigned a link-cost lower than that of a fiber line across three ISPs but only has latency of 300 ms.

    Routing on the internet can get really stupid sometimes since its just a bunch of networks stitched together in a poorly woven fabric of fiber and copper.

    1. Nate Amsden

      Re: Not that uncommon

      this is my own personal favorite traceroute - from just over 10 years ago, ISPs claimed a fiber broke in the eastern US which caused routes to fail over and opened a hole in which russian ISP(s) were able to advertise for our IP space(no idea if intentional or not), resulting in some ISPs routing to russia before getting to us resulting in excess of 95% packet loss. Sometimes the routes would bounce back to normal.

      Took AT&T (our ISP) and friends a good 8-9 hours to get it fixed(I assume by installing route filters or something). Due to the packet loss we had to shut our website down for several hours.

      As soon as the packets hit Russian routers the packet loss went from around 0 to more than 40% and higher from there.

      http://elreg.nateamsden.com/funkyroute.txt

      That is a traceroute that in theory only should go about 30 miles from source to destination(my apartment to my company's colo), instead - 32 hops, 200ms+ and 98% packet loss.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Not that uncommon

      Not limited to IP either, I remember many years ago finding a DECnet link between the 2nd and 4th floors of a building in Ipswich that was routing via Belfast.

  2. oldtaku
    Facepalm

    'errors'

    Yeah, 'errors'. No honor among cyberthieves.

  3. Steve Davies 3 Silver badge

    No errors here - move along

    The routing is good (well from an NSA POV).

    The routes traverse both China and the US so they are fair game to the spooks of both countries.

    Does El Reg really think this is not happening on a daily basis?

  4. Slx

    There could be two politically motivated causes that I can think of.

    1. Russian ISPs might be trialling alternative routing should trade sanctions ratchet up to a level that it impacts their international connectivity.

    It would make sense to test other routing options with live traffic.

    Or

    2. perhaps they're about to cooperate on the implementation of a "Great Firewall of Russia"?

    Seems like the Russian state is moving towards increased censorship.

    That being said plenty of other states seem to have those leanings towards censorship too. Russia certainly isn't in a small club. Even some western states like Australia dabble in network level content filtering.

    1. steamrunner

      I'm probably going to to with "well intentioned human f*ck up" here, rather than government conspiracy (although, of course, governments are of course amazingly dumb when it comes to tech and the Internet). Why? Because any self-respecting gov easily has the ability to hack better/deeper/quieter than messing with BGP routes which the whole world can easily see. Want to quietly divert traffic without being noticed? Just hack MPLS or other layer 2 routes between locations and divert traffic that way quietly. You could bounce traffic to anywhere in the world (and maybe back again) and no-one would notice as it wouldn't appear at the IP layer. Or hack underwater fibre cables. Oh, wait...

  5. Slx

    I think though it could easily be an infrastructure test of some sort.

    There's nothing conspiratorial about being prepared for possible sanctions that might mean routing through China instead of Europe.

  6. WatAWorld

    Certain Russian traffic has to be routed through the US "allied" (puppet) countries,

    Certain Russian traffic has to be routed through the US "allied" (puppet) countries, otherwise how would the NSA examine it?

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    That's what happens when...

    you buy chinese routers. They are so helpful they even program in the routing tables.

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