Internet communications failure in Asia

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  1. #1
    Member cnmark's Avatar
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    Off topic Internet communications failure in Asia

    An info for all WUS members and lurkers dealing with Asia based dealers (Hong Kong, Japan, Taiwan or Singapore):

    Email communication will be slow, very slow, as the Taiwan earthquake yesterday evening (Dec. 27, 20:34 local time) has damaged the data cable from the US to Taiwan and Hong Kong.

    Personal experience with this:
    For me servers in the US or Europe can hardly be reached. Only servers in Hong Kong, Macau, Mainland China and Japan can be reached, connection to Singapore based servers is slow.
    It took me 15 hours to reach WUS, 10 hours to retrieve my email from mailservers in the US and Europe, and with every mail I (try to) send I need numerous attempts due to transmission timeouts.
    The internet feels like using a 2,800 bit/sec modem and somebody is cutting the telephone line every 5 minutes.

    Let's see how long this lasts, I hope for the best.

    Below two excerpts from the Hong Kong based newspaper "South China Morning Post", Online Edition:

    >From South China Morning Post, updated at 2006/12/27 11.46am Hong Kong Time:

    Taiwan's telephone communications with neighbouring Asian countries were cut off on Wednesday, hours after a powerful earthquake struck the southern part of the island, killing two and triggering a regional tsunami alert.
    Chunghwa Telecom said an undersea cable off the southern coast had been damaged, interrupting communications with Malaysia, Singapore, Thailand and Hong Kong.
    Communications with the mainland were also cut off as calls to the mainland from Taiwan are routed through Hong Kong.
    The quake, which hit late on Tuesday just offshore from the Pingtung County township of Hengchun, came on the second anniversary of the devastating tsunami that took more than 200,000 lives in southern Asia.
    >From South China Morning Post, updated at 2006/12/27 2.13pm Hong Kong Time:

    The powerful earthquake that struck off southwestern Taiwan on Tuesday night, damaging undersea data cables, disrupted internet links between Hong Kong and much of the world on Wednesday.

    Hong Kong's leading internet service provider PCCW said about 50 per cent of its connections to Taiwan, South Korea, Japan and North America were affected. Internet links between East Asia and Europe often run through North America. "The quake has some impact on our internet services. Internet connections to these places would be slower than usual," a PCCW spokesman told scmp.com. He said internet users in the region could experience congestion over the next few days. "Our crews are working to restore the cables," the spokesman said, adding the company's fixed-line services were unaffected. The disruption was widespread, hitting services in Japan, Taiwan, South Korea, Singapore and Hong Kong, with knock-on effects elsewhere, telecoms operators in the region said.
    The PCCW spokesman said data capacity had been reduced to 50 per cent and there had been an upsurge in attempts to gain access to the internet as people were trying to get information about the quake. He cautioned that some internet users in the region could experience congestion over the next several days.

    Leading telecom operators in Japan said damaged cables had jammed up phone lines and slowed down the internet there. NTT Communications, the internet and long-distance call business of Japan's largest telecom firm Nippon Telegraph and Telephone Corp., said some 1,400 toll-free phone lines as well as 84 international lines used internally by companies were affected. "Customers have found difficulty in making international calls and transmitting data," said Satoru Ito, a spokesman for KDDI, another of Japan's major telecommunication companies. He said the company was still probing the extent of the problem but that communications between Japan and other Asian countries were running at a slower pace through a backup system.
    The Tokyo Stock Exchange, the world's largest exchange outside New York, was functioning without problems, a spokesman said. Meanwhile, the Hong Kong stock exchange said it too was also working without problems although several dealers said they had had difficulties accessing international news providers for information. Most of them said they received complaints from customers who used the internet for prices but the disruption had not affected trading. "Some of our customers who use the internet complained that they cannot look at stock prices online. That's our main problem," said Jackson Wong, investment manager at Tanrich Securities. "That has increased our workload because we have customers who keep calling and asking us the prices that we can get from the trading floor but in general our service has not been disrupted much." Other stock markets in the region appeared to be operating without major problems, with several setting all time highs as a recent bull run continued.
    A major 7.1 magnitude earthquake rocked Taiwan on Tuesday, leaving two people dead and at least 42 injured. The main telecoms provider there, Chunghwa Telecom, reported similar problems to its services. "Problems with underwater cables have affected Taiwan, Japan, South Korea and China. The internet capacity in Taiwan is about 40 per cent now so the service is jammed," Chunghwa Telecom said.
    Telecommunications services in southern Taiwan were temporarily disrupted late on Tuesday after the quake but resumed later at night.
    It was unclear when the Internet service would be back to normal, the company added.

  2. #2
    stuffler,mike
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    Re: Internet communications failure in Asia

    Thanks for letting us know. Appreciated.

  3. #3
    Member cnmark's Avatar
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    Follow-up: Back online...

    After 2 days of near total blackout - only local webservers were accessible for private users and small businesses - back online. Hurrah!

    6 out of the 7 cables connecting Hong Kong with the rest of the world are broken, but access to international websites and my mail accounts is possible again, after 2 days of near total blackout for private users. Slow at times, but possible.

    Access was promised today morning in the local newspaper - Hong Kong's "South China Morning Post" - to happen within 24 hours. And somebody made it happen. Either due to low general traffic today afternoon, or due to re-routing measures of the cable companies, but it works.
    Good for private users and small businesses, everybody was down to "stone-age" communication: Delivery of documents and other information by courier (DHL smiles)!

    Actual repair time is estimated to take anything between 7 days and 3 weeks from today on. Over the week still slow and congested web traffic is expected.

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    Re: Internet communications failure in Asia

    I hope no forumite from Asia was placing a last-second bid on a grail watch on ebay just as the outage occurred.

  6. #5
    Member cnmark's Avatar
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    Re: Internet communications failure in Asia

    Quote Originally Posted by DW-5600E View Post
    I hope no forumite from Asia was placing a last-second bid on a grail watch on ebay just as the outage occurred.
    Busted...

    Even if somebody bids tonight he might have problems tomorrow, because:
    Setback in repair work of internet cables

    Hong Kong, South China Morning Post, January 1st 2007

    Work on internet cables damaged by last week's earthquake off Taiwan has been delayed after one of two ships sent to the site had to return to port for repairs.

    The Office of the Telecommunications Authority (Ofta) said yesterday most of the repairs to the damaged undersea cables were now expected to be completed by the end of the month. The first phase of the repairs would not be completed until about January 16. On Friday it said it expected the repairs to be finished around January 9.

    The ship had suffered a major fault on the high seas and had to return to the port of Kaohsiung for repairs, which were expected to take at least a week, Ofta said. Yesterday's announcement sparked concerns over disruptions to commercial activities as most offices in Hong Kong will resume normal operations tomorrow after the New Year holiday. The authority said: "Two repair ships arrived at the scene. However, one of the ships experienced a major fault on Saturday afternoon and is now under urgent repair in Taiwan." An authority spokeswoman said the ship had problems with one of the thrusters - used for accurate manoeuvring and maintaining the ship's position - in bad weather.

    At least five international repair ships have been commissioned to work on the cables but the site is in a remote location and conditions are hazardous. Some of the cables are buried in bundles under the seabed and will be hard to unravel. Charles Mok Nai-kwong, president of the Internet Society Hongkong Chapter, warned that internet traffic could be severely congested from tomorrow, when more people returned to work after the holidays.

    Six of the seven submarine cables were damaged during the Boxing Day earthquake off Taiwan, prompting chaos in cyberspace. Services appeared to be getting better after companies diverted their internet traffic via other routes. However, internet usage has been low, partly because of the holiday break. Ofta yesterday requested internet users to minimise non-essential downloading of large files from overseas websites and other non-essential activities that demanded a large bandwidth over international connections.

    Internet connectivity did not show major signs of serious disruption yesterday, although access to some popular sites like yahoo and hotmail was slow and instant messaging services were unstable.

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