A break in a key submarine fiber optic cable linking Georgia to Russia caused problems as far away as Oman, web analytics firm Renesys claims.
The outage on the Georgia-Russia Optical Fibre Submarine Cable System happened in December, however Rensys says it is only now that it can fully report on the impact of the problem, which was reportedly caused by a subsea volcanic eruption.
While the brunt of the outage was taken by local operators Delta and Armantel – which both quickly rerouted via alternative providers -, operators in Iran and Oman were also hit, Doug Madory, a senior research engineer at Renesys, says.
“Iran also uses Russian transit to access the Internet, some of which was dependent on that cable,” Madory notes in a blog, explaining that Iranian incumbent TIC “uses two ASNs for its international gateways,” one of which is served by Russian telco Rostelecom and was lost during the break.
“What is more interesting is that the loss of Rostelecom…appears to have immediately triggered the activation of a dormant backup transit link from Omantel.” Madory states, adding it is the first time Renesys has “seen Omantel providing Internet service in Iran.”
The reason the effects of the cable break were felt so far afield is because the “Black Sea and the Caucasus are the internet crossroads where Russian, Turkish, Gulf State and central Asian traffic mingle on their way to the data centers of Western Europe and the Americas,” Madory explains.
On the plus side, the outage has increased the importance of the Europe-Persia Express Gateway (EPEG) as a land-based alternative to a number of subsea cables in the area, which may have spurred completion of that link Madory says.