Quake Reminds Asia They Need More Tubes

from the capacity-strapped dept

With the serious disruption in fiber connectivity caused by the quakes in Asia this week, there’s again the collective realization that yes, technology — and in particular Internet connectivity — can be fragile. Outages from the magnitude 6.7 quake off Taiwan’s coast briefly rattled financial markets and communications in multiple countries. Though impacted markets saw positive trading for the day, the resulting mess renewed interest in the vulnerability of a global economy, leading to renewed calls for investment in Asia Pac fiber. While the U.S. remains the world’s biggest traffic hub, managing 1.4 Tbps worth of bandwidth, Asia Pac connectivity was already ramping up. Many existing routes are now capacity strapped, lack redundancy, and not everyone can cram their traffic over the 320 GB/s Atlantic pipes connecting New York and London. Demand is driving a number of new links; a recent deal between India’s Reliance Infocomm and China Telecom finally letting the two countries exchange data without using the U.S. as a hub. Verizon Business and a number of Asian companies also recently announced a new 11,000 mile, $500 million trans-pacific cable (1.28 terabits/second at first, 5 terabits later) that will stretch from Oregon to China, making stops in Tanshui, Taiwan, and Keoje, South Korea. As Senator Ted Stevens might say, Asia simply needs more tubes — something companies were already working on before the earth began to shake.

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Comments on “Quake Reminds Asia They Need More Tubes”

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ipanema (user link) says:

People are still feeling its effect. Slow to nil connection in some countries. It would take weeks before it will be restored. I felt the effect the whole afternoon. In the country I’m in right now, the Hongkong via China link was severed days before the earthquake. I think it’s working now. I’m fortunate that we have 3 international uplink providers. It is said that by 2008 we’re getting a new cable system. Perhaps that’s the one in you’re talking about.

Rich Kulawiec says:

Spam levels observed here down significantly

This has been noted by others as well (see Brett Glass’s note on Dave Farber’s Interesting-People list) and it’s probably an artifact of the
mix of spam/non-spam mail we tend to get. (I’m measuring from
sites in North America. The mix would be different if I were measuring
from Brazil or Japan or Morocco.)

Probably the single best thing that the folks on “the other side” of this
outage could do to maximize the usable bandwidth would be to severely
rate-limit anything connecting to port 25 that fingerprints as Windows.
For an example of how to do this with OpenBSD, see:


I suggest this because locally it’s proved to be enormously useful; over
99% of such connections seen in the last year have been zombies trying to deliver spam, so there’s really no reason to let them hog bandwidth.
(And the rest? They aren’t denied service, they just get slower service.)

Of course, the problem with this — the BIG problem — is that most of
the networking gear in question probably doesn’t have this ability.
I suppose as a fallback that more basic traffic shaping (e.g. prioritize
port 80 over port 25) might at least help provide a more responsive
network experience.

And in a throwback to a much earlier age of networking,
I suppose it’s not out of the question for a large site to tar up their
mail queue, scribble it on removable media, and FedEx those to a site
outside the affected region which un-tars them into an outbound queue.

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