Algerian fixed line incumbent operator, Algérie Télécom, revealed that the Marseilles-Annaba section of the SEA-ME-WE-4 submarine cable system experienced a ‘technical problem’ in the Marseille landing station, causing the complete failure of the OranLink network.
Figure 1 - SEA-ME-WE-4 Cable Map
Source: SEA-ME-WE-4 Consortium
Algérie Télécom re-routed its traffic along SEA-ME-WE-4 through Palermo, Sicily, Italy to keep data flowing. "Algérie Télécom wishes to reassure its customers that the traffic of international bandwidth is now secured via the link Annaba-Palermo, which could be strengthened if necessary to ensure regular Internet traffic," the statement said.
The Algerian section of the cable was said to be back in service shortly after, following the repair of defective equipment at the Marseille station.
Adapted from : http://www.ennaharonline.com
ANALYSIS: This outage was initially characterized as "an internet blackout" in Algeria, whereas the impact was actually far less dramatic. It appears that SEA-ME-WE-4's terminal equipment in the Marseille landing station failed which cut off OranLink from Algeria.
According to OranLink's web site, "OranLink is a subsidiary of IslaLink, a neutral and independent submarine telecommunications operator" which operates "ORVAL, a submarine cable that will link the cities of Oran (Algeria) with Valencia (Spain) and that is expected to enter into operation in 2016. Besides, OranLink operates on behalf of Algérie Télécom a Tier-2 Internet Point of Presence (POP) with three sites in Marseilles (France). Through this POP, Algérie Télécom’s Network is connected to several tier-1 networks and is linked to Amsterdam (AMS-IX), London (LINX), Paris and Frankfurt. From its POP in Marseilles, OranLink also offers operators and ISPs leased circuits (SDH) to Algeria. The three sites of OranLink in Marseilles are Interxion MRS1 : 40 Avenue Roger Salengro; Jaguar Network Datacenter : 70 Chemin du Passet; and Verizon SMW4 Cable Landing Station : 5 Avenue de la Bauxite." Clearly, the latter location is a single point of failure in the OranLink network.
An outage on SEA-ME-WE-4 in October 2015 was handled by re-routing traffic via Palma, Spain along a capacity-constrained route. It looks like Algérie Télécom has since made arrangements to get restoration capacity on the SEA-ME-WE-4 segment between Annaba, Algeria and Palermo, Sicily, Italy. At that time, the Algerian government announced its intention to strengthen connectivity options to Europe with two new cables to be supplied by Nokia's ASN using IT International Telecom as the marine contractor.
Julian Rawle, Author
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