Cable cut blamed for global four-hour internet disruption

Google Cloud, OVHcloud say everything's getting back to normal, which is a shame

Google Cloud and other internet service providers are recovering from network issues attributed to a network cable cut that began in the Middle East and Asia just before 0700 PDT (1400 UTC).

The cable, Asia-Africa-Europe-1 (AAE-1), is a 25,000km submarine cable operated by a telecom consortium. It connects South East Asia to Europe by way of Egypt.

According to Doug Madory, director of internet analysis at network monitoring biz Kentik, problems with AAE-1 affected internet connectivity in various countries in East Africa, Middle East and South Asia, including Pakistan, Somalia, Djibouti, and Saudi Arabia.

"This has a broad impact but it appears to be getting restored," Madory told The Register. "There aren’t a lot of details on the outage other than something happened on land in Egypt."

"Whatever break took place was terrestrial in Egypt," he added, which he said was good news. "If the break were in the water, it would be a matter of days before it could be repaired."

Madory added that another cable, SEA-ME-WE 5, also appears to have been affected briefly. He said he found that interesting because that suggests the two cables appear to share a common dependency, which they're not supposed to.

The network problems, which lasted about four hours, extended beyond the Middle East and Asia.

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Merseyside Police in England said via Twitter that its contact center's Facebook account was unable to receive direct messages "due to a Google Cloud Services outage" and advised those wishing to report non-urgent crime to do so via the police website or Twitter instead.

We also saw reports of LinkedIn suffering a wobble, and Amazon Web Services and Microsoft Azure experiencing some downtime. If some online service today had intermittent problems today, the cable issue may have been the cause.

Google Cloud's status page has identified an "incident affecting Hybrid Connectivity, Virtual Private Cloud (VPC), Google Cloud Networking, Cloud NAT," and reports "packet loss observed from internet in Middle East to Google."

The affected locations were all over the map – Asia, Australia, Europe, North America, and South America.

A Google spokesperson said the issue has been dealt with. "This issue was resolved for all affected users as of this morning shortly after 9am Pacific," the Google spokesperson said in an email to The Register.

The Google Cloud Status Page posted an update at 0851 PDT. It reads, "We believe the issue with Cloud NAT, Google Cloud Networking, Hybrid Connectivity, Virtual Private Cloud (VPC) is partially resolved. Packet loss should be mitigated, but some traffic continues to have elevated latency."

OVHcloud posted a report of network backbone degradation that began on June 6 at 1224 UTC and ended at 1500 UTC.

"Backbone links between Marseille and Singapore has [sic] now been fixed," the report says. "Latency is back to optimal." The report attributes the cause of the outage to "Partner fiber cuts." ®

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