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Libyan Internet Instability


There hasn’t been much to say about the Internet in Libya this summer, as their patterns of connectivity have been fairly stable. It was interesting, therefore, to observe that much of the country’s Internet routing has started to show evidence of sporadic failures this week, which have gone unreported in the media.

The following plot shows the number of Libyan networks (blocks of Libyan IP addresses) that appear in the global routing table. There are typically 16 of these, all routed by Libyan Telecom and Technology (LTT) via Telecom Italia. This week they have suffered some impairment, in groups of 6 or 10, in episodes that typically last no more than a few hours.

There didn’t seem to be any pattern to these outages, which took place at all times of the day and night. It seems to suggest power outages, rather than permanent facilities damage, or deliberate action by the government (for suppressing communications, say).

Is it possible that LTT is suffering power outages, and having trouble finding fuel for their generators due to NATO’s unofficial fuel blockade of Tripoli?

One reason why the world at large may not have noticed much in the way of Internet impairment: the affected networks don’t seem to be the same ones used to access the majority of Internet content from inside Libya. Looking at Google’s plots of inbound traffic from Libya, these substantial network outages seem to have had very little impact on the daily traffic curves:


In other words, the handful of Libyan networks that aren’t affected by these outages seem to be the same ones that are consistently generating the Google traffic. If you’re lucky enough to be an LTT customer in one of these Internet neighborhoods (presumably in Tripoli), your connectivity stays up. Everyone else, well, you’re on your own. Time for Internet in a suitcase?.

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Whois: Jim Cowie

Jim Cowie was the Chief Scientist at Dyn. Previously, Jim was the founder and CTO of Renesys, the Internet Intelligence Authority, which Dyn acquired in 2014.