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TEAMS Cable Down Again

Only 35 days after a repair ship fixed the TEAMS (The East African Marine System) submarine cable, this cable was cut again this morning, wiping out a large chunk of international Internet connectivity in East Africa. At 9:04 UTC on 26 April 2012, we observed significant outage spikes in Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania and Rwanda. Nearly half of all routed networks in Kenya and Uganda are unavailable at the time of this writing.


This is the second outage in the last three months on a cable connecting Mombasa, Kenya and Fujairah, United Arab Emirates. The previous outage, which took place on February 25th, took about a month to repair. When we view the impacts of this morning’s outage in our latency and path data (i.e., traceroutes), we see paths that traverse UAE-based Etisalat (an owner and primary user of the TEAMS cable) unsurprisingly drop away. As a result, traffic shifted to the SEACOM cable, resulting in increased latencies as congestion on this system increased. As an example, the following graphic illustrates the Internet paths into Kenyan provider Safaricom (AS37701) over a few hours this morning.

A current screenshot from our Internet Health Portal displays East African countries in red due to these substantial outages. There are also a number of unrelated outages in Africa, such as the ongoing connectivity issues in Benin due to problems at their cable landing station.

By clicking on a country, IHP users can review details about the hundreds of networks impacted by this event:

As was the case in the previous incident, we see the SEACOM cable taking up the load on Internet traffic coming out of East Africa. A more extensive analysis of the impacts of such submarine cable breaks is the subject of my talk at MENOG next week in Dubai. Hope to see you there!

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Doug Madory
Whois: Doug Madory

Doug Madory is a Director of Internet Analysis at Oracle Dyn where he works on Internet infrastructure analysis projects. Doug has a special interest in mapping the logical Internet to the physical lines that connect it together, with a focus on submarine cables.