Masud Reza's Blog on the Internet

February 2008

PCCW Pins Youtube Outage Responsiblity on PTCL’s Internet Exchange (PIE)

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/technology/7262071.stm

A few weeks ago, a few of our subnets were found ‘lurking’ in the PCCW Network even though we were not advertising them to PTCL ITI. 58.65.158.0/24 and 124.109.50.0/24 were in the PCCW routers routing table. When the users complained of severely degraded performance, we investigated and found that PCCW routers were somehow ‘remembering’ these subnets!

A PCCW engineer then ‘refreshed’ the BGP4 routing table and that solved the problem.

In this backdrop, it is difficult for me to believe PCCW after the above skirmish with them a few weeks ago. Firstly, addresses that do not belong to a service provider are filtered by the routers. So if PIE advertised the Youtube.com subnet, it should have been filtered by PCCW in the first place. Some service provider use BGP communities to tag certain subnets so that they be blocked. This is usually used as a denial-of-service protection mechanism. So, even if this was used, this could not have blackholed the entire youtube traffic.

I’m checking with PTCL and will post the ‘actual cause’ once we arrive at a logical conclusion!.

Update
Ok. Here is how it happened. The PTCL guru advertised a /24 prefix for the Youtube.com address space. From Google, a /22 was advertised. So the longest match rule forced the traffic to go to PCCW which in turn went to PTCL which was then dropped because of the null route.

Lesson for PTCL: Be careful where things relate to the Global Routing Table

Lesson for PCCW: Don’t trust the downstream. Routes must be filtered.

Lesson for the rest of us: Don’t trust anyone 🙂

Pakistan Telecommunications Authority (PTA) Blocks YouTube and Blogger!

Service Providers all over the Pakistan have started blocking www.youtube.com, one of the most prominent websites on the Internet.

Most ISPs in Pakistan do not have the infrastructure for blocking URLs in place so the IP Address of Youtube.com has been blocked.

The move is said to be due to Blasphemous material on Youtube.com. (!)

And as I just checked Blogger.com appears to be blocked as well as traces to blogger.com are being dropped at PTCL ITI and TWA1 gateways.

As they say in Punjabi …ہور ُچوپو 🙂

On PTCL ITI Backbone:

Tracing route to blogger.l.google.com [72.14.219.191]over a maximum of 30 hops:

1 2 1 ms 1 ms 1 ms 58-65-162-9.nayatel.pk [58.65.162.9] 3 2 ms 7 ms 3 ms 58-65-175-194.nayatel.pk [58.65.175.194] 4 2 ms 1 ms 2 ms 58-65-175-217.nayatel.pk [58.65.175.217] 5 1 ms 1 ms 1 ms rwp44.pie.net.pk [202.125.155.109] 6 1 ms 1 ms 1 ms rwp44.pie.net.pk [202.125.148.163] 7 pos2-2.khi77gsrc1.pie.net.pk [202.125.159.45] reports: Destination host un
reachable.

Trace complete.

On TWA1 Backbone:

Tracing route to blogger.l.google.com [72.14.219.191]over a maximum of 30 hops:

1 2 ms 3 ms 1 ms 10.10.20.1
2 1 ms 1 ms 1 ms 58-65-162-9.nayatel.pk [58.65.162.9] 3 1 ms 1 ms 1 ms 58-65-175-194.nayatel.pk [58.65.175.194] 4 2 ms 1 ms 1 ms 58-65-175-217.nayatel.pk [58.65.175.217] 5 1 ms 1 ms 1 ms 58-65-175-237.nayatel.pk [58.65.175.237] 6 2 ms 1 ms 2 ms 117.20.23.129
7 8 ms 8 ms 8 ms 221.132.112.225
8 * * * Request timed out.
9 * * * Request timed out.

Test Urdu Post

نہ اب وہ سحرِ تمنّا نہ ذوقِ غم طلبی
یہ کیا ہے اے نگہِ عشق تری بوالعجبی

نہ کیفِ وعدہ نہ وہ انتظار کی لذّت
سُکوت ریز ہے ہر تارِ بربطِ قلبی

نہ لطفِ شرحِ تغافل نہ کیفِ ربطِ نہاں
نہ بزمِ دل میں ہے وہ اضطرابِ بےسببی

کہاں گئی نگہ¬ ناز کی فسوں کاری
نہ وہ فریبِ سیرابی نہ جوشِ تشنہ لبی

Coca Cola: Spinning a Stomach near you!

“Dad, what are these people doing?” asked my daughter as she watched Coca Cola’s new ad for their third-world Pakistani market. “Nothing Honey, I think they just lost their minds”, I answered.

Perhaps someone watching this ad might point to the message that this gives to kids. One of my friends told me that since this ad had aired, kids in school delight in having Coca Cola bottles and getting their clothes spoiled as they try to master the art of spinning the bottle without spilling a drop!

The کھا لے پی لے جی لے reminded me of Babar’s بابر بہ عیش کوش کہ عالم دوبارہ نیست. If Babar had Coke instead of his conventional wine, he would have lived longer albeit with a heartburn or some type of gastro-intesntinal complications which would’ve led to a more miserable death.

After ditching Coca Cola sometime a go, life with fresh fruit juices has been good so far alongwith the good old H20.

Better visit the links below before you drink a soda. It might as well make you live a bit longer and with better health 🙂

Organic Consumers Association

Why I stopped drinking Coke and why you should too!

Coca Cola: Mood Altering, addictive, totally legal

SMW4 Connectivity Restored

SMW4 Circuits (at least of TWA1) have been restored as of 1300 hours GMT although the official notification for the restoration has not been received from Singtel.

Update
PTCL and TWA1 circuit on SMW4 have been restored as of 1300 hours GMT Feb 8, 2008.

FLAG and SMW4 Cable Repair in Progress

According to the latest FLAG and SMW4 updates, repair work is in progress.

SMW4 should (hopefully) be restored today. Latest Updates from SMW4 and FLAG are reproduced below.


FLAG Update is as follows

From: Service Desk FLAG Telecom
Sent: Thursday, February 07, 2008 3:14 PM
Cc: Service Desk FLAG Telecom
Subject: Case 116815 | FEA Segment D cable cut | Update 12

Ladies/Gentlemen,

The Cable ship CS Certamen has commenced the repair on the FEA cable, it is expected that the initial splice will be made today (7th Feb). It is currently planned that the repair will be completed by Sunday 10th Feb.

The FLAG GNOC has completed the Pre-Planned Restoration.

FLAG has limited ad-hoc restoration capacity available.

Requests for Ad-Hoc Restoration should be made via your FLAG Telecom Account Manager.

FLAG and SMW4 Cable Repair in Progress

According to the latest FLAG and SMW4 updates, repair work is in progress. The ship CS Certamen is undertaking the FLAG repair whereas ship Raymond Croze is performing SMW4 repair.

SMW4 should (hopefully) be restored today. Latest Updates from SMW4 and FLAG are reproduced below.

From: Service Desk FLAG Telecom
Sent: Thursday, February 07, 2008 3:14 PM
Cc: Service Desk FLAG Telecom
Subject: Case 116815 | FEA Segment D cable cut | Update 12

Ladies/Gentlemen,

The Cable ship CS Certamen has commenced the repair on the FEA cable, it is expected that the initial splice will be made today (7th Feb). It is currently planned that the repair will be completed by Sunday 10th Feb.

The FLAG GNOC has completed the Pre-Planned Restoration.

FLAG has limited ad-hoc restoration capacity available.

Requests for Ad-Hoc Restoration should be made via your FLAG Telecom Account Manager.

SMW4 Update

Subject: Fw: SMW4 BNOC Update (7 Feb 08): Cable Fault In SMW-4 Seg4.1 Between Alex & Marseille on 30 Jan 08

Dear All,

As reported by FT RLO the cableship experienced a problem with the first moulding. As such, they had a delay with the initial splice.Expected final splice to be completed on 8 Feb 08 in the morning.More updates to come, once they are made available.

Thank you and best regards,
SMW4 BNOC
SingTel

Pakistani Tier-2 Providers Get Additional Bandwidth

PTCL and TWA-1 both have arranged for additional capacity on SMW4 segment 1 from SingTel.

PTCL has successfully brought an STM-4 and three STM-1s in operation whereas TWA1 has been able to acquire four STM-1 circuits from SingTel.

So for PTCL users, things should be near to normal now and for TWA1 things should improve dramatically.

FLAG and SMW4 Repair to take at least a week

As (bad)luck would have it, FLAG, a submarine cable, is down because of a Fiber Optic Cable cut 8.3km off Alexandria in Egypt.

To add to the misery, the SMW4 submarine cable system is also down because of a Fiber Optic cable cut between Palermo and Marseille. How these two systems went down hours apart is another mystery. Perhaps you can share your thoughts on that. Conspiracy?? or just another of Mother Nature’s coincidences?

FLAG and SMW4 Repair will now be performed by separate ships. Originally, it was planned that FLAG and SMW4 repair would be undertaken by the same entity.

PTCL’s additional capacity on SMW3 has NOT been arranged yet. I was expecting it to be operational by yesterday evening. I’ll update once that has been done.

Update TWA1 has now (finally) an STM-1 from Singtel on SMW3. However, this is unlikely to improve upon the quality of Internet available on TWA1 since the sold bandwidth is above 2Gbps.

Update After failing to procure STM-4 and multiple STM-1 from Telecom Italia, PTCL is now arranging the same from Singtel. Browsing and Emails etc are working fine on PTCL. However, overall, the service is degraded. If this STM4 and three STM-1s become operational, this would add almost 1 Gbps to the available bandwidth for a total of 4.6Gbps. Internet for PTCL customers would then become ‘normal’. 🙂

Call Centers in Pakistan are suffering the most since PTCL has an unofficial policy of not opening voice ports (SIP ports, for example) even for Legitimate call centers. PTCL forces customers to get bandwidth directly from them if they want to open the Voice Ports. Still working on that.

The latest Update from FLAG which I just received is as follows:

From: Service Desk FLAG Telecom [mailto:servicedesk@flagtelecom.com]
Sent: Friday, February 01, 2008 12:12 AM
Cc: Service Desk FLAG Telecom
Subject: CASE116815 | Subsea cable cut on FEA SS-2 | Update – 6

Ladies / Gentleman

FLAG will be using Cableship CS Certamen to undertake this repair now. The repair will now be separate to that of SMW-4. It is still expected that the ship will arrive at the Alexandria repair ground on Tuesday 5th Feb. Preparations are currently underway to load the cable required on to the ship at Catania, Italy.

The FLAG GNOC is completing the remaining Pre-Planned Restoration. It is now expected that this will not be completed until tomorrow (1st February) due to cross connects having to be manually configured in the DACS equipment.

Requests for Ad-Hoc Restoration should be made via your FLAG Telecom Account Manager.