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Third Quarter Internet Disruptions

Internet disruptions are still a frustrating reality in many regions across the globe. The most common types of disruptions generally fall into three categories: accidental (backhoes or ship anchors severing buried fiber), natural (hurricanes, earthquakes, etc.) or political (government-driven shutdowns in response to protests). Akamai is in a unique position to monitor each country or region's traffic levels for the consumption of content from Akamai customers. The following events are highlights of global disruptions that affected traffic levels in the third quarter of 2014.


Connectivity in Syria continued to be problematic. On multiple occasions, Akamai recorded significant traffic disruptions.

Beginning July 13, Syria experienced a disruption from 10:15 AM UTC to 11:15 AM UTC. The disruption caused all networks throughout the country to become unreachable, dropping Akamai's traffic delivery to zero.

On July 20, Syria experienced another disruption that also lasted roughly an hour. The disruption resulted in a major drop in traffic, without reaching zero. A Tweet from BGPmon, a network monitoring firm, indicated the disruption was the result of the Syrian Telecommunication Establishment "disappearing" from the Internet. In other words, regional networks that relied on the STE were no longer accessible from outside Syria.

On July 28, a third disruption was experienced between 3:48 AM UTC and 4:48 AM UTC. Much like the disruption on July 13, this disruption was a near-total outage.

On September 24, the last major Syrian connectivity disruption of the quarter occurred from 8:45 AM UTC to 10:15 AM UTC. BGPmon noted the disruption impacted 55 percent of the country's networks, resulting in a significant drop in traffic.

figure_43Source: Akamai's State of the Internet: Q3 2014 Report


On September 11 Gambia experienced Internet disruptions from roughly 7:45 AM UTC through 2:00 PM UTC. The initial disruption dropped Akamai's traffic to the country to zero. Throughout the rest of the disruption, traffic levels recovered somewhat, albeit not to normal levels.

Dyn Research, an Internet monitoring firm, reported the disruption was due to Gamtel's loss of access to the Africa Coast to Europe submarine cable. As a result, it was forced to revert to a Senegalese satellite service as a backup. A similar issue was noted on September 15th, but its impacts were minimal.

figure_44Source: Akamai's State of the Internet: Q3 2014 Report


On July 20, Iraq had a disruption that lasted from 8:45 AM UTC to 10:00 AM UTC (around the same time as the disruption in Syria). According to a Tweet posted by BGPmon, the outage primarily impacted Earthlink, a network service provider in the country.

A subsequent disruption was observed on September 11 between 3:30 PM UTC and 4:30 PM UTC. Dyn Research reportedthat most of IQ Networks, a major telecommunications provider in the country, were down.

figure_45Source: Akamai's State of the Internet: Q3 2014 Report

Liberia and Sierra Leone

On September 2, Akamai's traffic to Liberia and Sierra Leone simultaneously dropped to nearly zero just before 9:00 AM UTC, and lasting until roughly 10:30 AM UTC. To date, no formal explanation has been published for the disruption.

One plausible cause is a disruption to the Africa Coast to Europe cable. Because both countries are connected to the same cable, if it were damaged or severed, it could have resulted in the same, simultaneous outage in both countries. However, traffic levels in neighboring countries that are also connected to the same Africa Coast to Europe cables remained normal during September 2. Furthermore, no physical damage to the cable was found, nor could it have been repaired within an hour and a half.

figure_46Source: Akamai's State of the Internet: Q3 2014 Report


Venezuelan experienced an Internet disruption on September 25. Internet connectivity was briefly disrupted following a power outage that hit several states. Akamai's figures were corroborated with reports that stated Internet connections were lost between 1:30 PM and 2:30 PM local time. According to Akamai data, Internet traffic levels began to recover around 2:30 PM.

figure_47Source: Akamai's State of the Internet: Q3 2014 Report

For more information on the third quarter's connectivity disruptions, head over to Akamai's State of the Internet: Q3 2014 Report to download the full report.