Kentik - Network Observability
Kentik Network Analysis Center

SMW-5 maintenance leads to higher latencies between Europe and Asia

October 25, 2023
Kentik cloud measurements detected a latency increase due to SMW-5 maintenance.

At 00:00 UTC on October 23, Sea-Me-We-5, the major submarine cable connecting Asia to Europe, was taken down to repair a shunt fault.

A shunt fault occurs when sea water breaches the cable’s insulation causing a short circuit in the cable’s electrical feed. Normally a cable can continue operating despite suffering a shunt fault, but must be repaired as soon as possible.

The loss of the major route between Asia and Europe was picked up on the latency measurements between our agents in cloud regions. Many routes experienced latency increases around 40ms.

Previously on this blog post, we reported on incidents (see Egypt in June 2022 and Africa in August 2023) when submarine cable outages impacted cloud connectivity. Well, this cable incident was no different, proving once again that even the big hyperscalers must rely on the same submarine cable infrastructure as everybody else.

Repairs are expected to be completed with the cable returning to service by October 31.

Doug Madory

Doug Madory is the director of internet analysis for Kentik where he works on internet infrastructure analysis. The Washington Post dubbed him “The Man who can see the Internet” for his reputation in identifying significant developments in the global layout of the internet. Doug is regularly quoted by major news outlets about developments ranging from national blackouts to BGP hijacks to the activation of submarine cables. Prior to Kentik, he was the lead analyst for Oracle’s internet intelligence team (formerly Dyn Research and Renesys).

Twitter: @DougMadory

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