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South Asia Case Study - 2008

By Shahryar Khan and Les Cottrell

PingER Coverage

The sites from which there is PingER monitoring are shown in red below, sites which are monitored by all monitoring hosts (these are referred to as beacon sites and also include monitor sites) are shown in blue, and other monitored remote sites are shown in green. From SLAC PingER monitors about 460 sites, CERN used to monitor about 132 sites, however after re-installing in December 2006) they now only monitor beacon sites (56). ICTP Trieste monitors 105 sites but only has data going back to September 2006. To the right of the PingER map we also show a map which defines how we are assigning countries to regions.

The left hand map shows the countries we consider as part of S. Asia. The maps to the right of it show the monitoring amd remote hosts (host monitored) in S. Asia. In India we have four PingER monitoring sites: CDAC sites in Pune and Mumbai, VSNL in Mumbai and ERnet in Bangalore. In Pakistan we have five working monitoring sites: two at NIIT/NUST Rawalpindi (one on the Pakistan Educational and Research Network (PERN), the other on a Micronet DSL link), one at the National Center for Physics (NCP) at the Quaid-e-Azam university (QAU) Islamabad, one at COMSATS university Islamabad and one at PERN itself. In addition we have 3 remote (monitored) sites in Afghanistan, 3 in Bangladesh, 2 in Bhutan, 9 in India, 2 in the Maldives, 3 in Nepal, 16 in Pakistan and 6 in Sri lanka. The maps below show the location of the sites.

Red= Monitoring site    Green= Remote site


South Asia as compared to the rest of the world regions

Before we start to compare S. Asia to the rest of the world it is useful to look at a World Map of Internet Users.  This shows that for most the developed world (US and Canada, W. Europe, Japan, Taiwan, S. Korea) typically 40% or more of the people have Internet connectivity while for S. Asia it is less than 5%, i.e. typically a factor of 10 less.

From SLAC: 1. Packet Loss, 2. Min RTT to World Regions, 3. Unreachability, 4. Jitter

The left hand figure shows the packet loss to various regions of the world as seen from N. America. Since losses are fairly distance independent no attempt has been made to normalize the data. It is seen that the world divides up into two major super-regions: N. America, Europe, E. Asia and Oceania with losses below 0.1%, and Latin America, C. Asia, Russia, S.E. Asia, S. Asia and Africa with losses > 0.1% and as high as as a few per-cent. All countries are improving exponentially, but Africa is falling further behind most regions.

The left middle figure shows the drop in the Minimum RTT from 2002-2006. The large step for S. Asia in 2003 was due to the change over from satellite to fibre.  as the result of gradual shift from Satellite to fiber. Central Asia (also Afghanistan) has hardly moved in its minimum RTT since it continues to use geostationary satellites.

The right middle graph shows the unreachability of world regions seen from the US. A host is deemed unreachable if all pings of  a set fail to respond. It shows the fragility of the links and is mainly distance independent (the reasons for fragility are usually in the last mile, the end site or host). Again the developed regions  US and Canada, E. Asia, and Oceania have the lowest unreachability (< 0.3%) whil the other regions have unreachability from 0.7% to 2%, and again Africa is not improving, with S. Asia having the second worst unreachability.

The right hand graph shows the jitter or variability of world regions seen from the US. The jitter is defined as the Inter Quartile Range (IQR) of the Inter Packet Delay Variability (IPDV i = RTT i - RTT i-1) . The Jitter is relatively distance independent, it measures congestion, and has little impact on the Web and email. It decides the length of VoIP codec buffers and impacts streaming. We see the usual division into dveloped verus developing regions.

MOS for various regions

The telecommunications industry uses the Mean Opinion Score (MOS) as a voice quality metric. The values of the MOS are: 1= bad; 2=poor; 3=fair; 4=good; 5=excellent. A typical range for Voice over IP is 3.5 to 4.2 (see In reality, even a perfect connection is impacted by the compression algorithms of the codec, so the highest score most codecs can achieve is in the 4.2 to 4.4 range.

There are three factors that significantly impact call quality: latency, packet loss, and jitter. We calculate the jitter using the Inter Packet Delay Variability (IPDV) , see the

Most tool-based solutions calculate what is called an "R" value and then apply a formula to convert that to an MOS score. Then the R to MOS calculation is relatively standard. The R value score is from 0 to 100, where a higher number is better. To convert latency, loss, and jitter to MOS we follow Nessoft's method. The graphs below shows the Exponentially Weighted Moving Average (using EWMI i = alpha * EWMI i-1 + (1 - alpha) * Obs i where alpha = 0.7 and EWMI 1 = Obs 1) for the MOS as seen from the W. Coast of America (SLAC) and Switzerland (CERN). N.B. MOS values of one are reported for heavy loss (loss > 40 %).

CERN monitors fewer remote hosts than SLAC (56 versus over 400) so the data is not as complete in the CERN case. Comparing the two graphs, it can be seen that, as expected, the MOS is better for the shorter distances (i.e. CERN to Europe is better than SLAC to Europe, SLAC to N. America is better than CERN to N. America.).  It is also seen in both graphs that the Balkans, Russia and Latin America improved dramatically in 2000-2002. Much of Latin America and Russia moved from satellite to land lines in this period. It can be seen from the above plot that VoIP ought to be successful between SLAC and the US, Europe, E. Asia, Russia and the Mid East (all above MOS = 3.5). S. E. Asia is marginal, S. Asia people will have to be very tolerant of one another, and C. Asia and Africa are pretty much out of the question in general. In general the CERN graphs looks similar to the SLAC graph to the various regions, except  that S. E. Asia is worse for CERN than SLAC as is S. Asia
 The third graph shows the Mean Opinion Score (MOS)  from Europe two various regions. We have five monitoring sites in Europe (one at CERN, one at ICTP, one in Germany,  and two at UK. The improvement in Latin America and Russia in 2002 is the result of shift from satellite to fiber.  The drop for Russia in Sep, 2006 is because we installed a new version of PingER and it started monitoring 9 hosts in Russia whereas previously it was monitoring 20 hosts. For Central Asia the number of sites went up from 3 to 15 in Sep 2006, so the latter results are a better indication of the overall performance of Central Asia. For Sub Sahara Africa the coverage improved in Sep, 2006 (increased from 8 to 39 sites). So for sub Sahara Africa the results after Sep 2006 presents a better picture. South Asia as seen from Europe is performing better than as seen from US because MOS is derived from average RTT which is distance dependent.
  The right most graph shows the Mean Opinion Score (MOS) seen from US to South Asian countries. In general South Asian can counties can be divided into two group with India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka and Maldives performing comparatively  good (Voice Conference possible but voice quality not that good)  whereas Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Nepal and Bhutan are dreadful and Voice conference from US t o these countries is not possible.  We have good coverage in India and  Pakistan  so the results are a good indication of the overall performance. The spike in MOS for Pakistan in July 2005 is the result of fiber outage to Pakistan. The number of sites for Sri Lanka increased from 2 to 6 in Jan 2007 so the results after Jan 2007 is a better indication of the overall performance for Sri Lanka. Before Jan 2007 we were monitoring two hosts in Sri Lanka  ( University Of Peradeniya performing very bad . Average RTT > 500 ms and LK Domain Registry performing very good Average RTT < 350 ms). Afghanistan is stuck with satellite connectivity and the land locked countries Nepal and Bhutan have limited fiber connectivity, so they mostly lie at the bottom.

TCP throughput from CERN & SLAC to World Regions 

The graphs above show the derived TCP throughput using the Mathis formula. The macroscopic behavior of the TCP congestion avoidance algorithmby Mathis, Semke, Mahdavi & Ott in Computer Communication Review, 27(3), July 1997, provides a short and useful formula for the upper bound on the transfer rate:

Rate <= (MSS/RTT)*(1 / sqrt(p))

Rate: is the TCP transfer rate or throughputd
MSS: is the maximum segment size (fixed for each Internet path, typically 1460 bytes)
RTT: is the round trip time (as measured by TCP)
p: is the packet loss rate.
In the left hand tow graphs the data points (average throughput per month) are fitted to exponential functions and for simplicity the trend lines only are shown.  These lines enable us to see that Rusia and Latin America are 6 years behind Europe, the Mid-East and SE Asia are 7 years behind, and S. Asia, C. Asia and Africa are 10 years or more behind. What is even more concerning is that Africa In particular), South and Central Asia are not catching up.

The right hand most figure shows the yearly average derived TCP throughput normalized by the minimum RTT for the region (to reduce the proximity effects). It is seen that the throughputs are not simply exponential straigh lines, but typically change in steps as major changes are made in the routing and circuits.

South Asian Countries

Routing as Seen from Indian and Pakistan to South Asian Countries

We have PingER monitoring  stations in India and Pakistan. Reverse traceroute servers are deployed at PingER monitoring stations which helps us understand how India and Pakistan are connected with different countries of South Asia. India's VSNL provides Internet Service to Nepal and Bhutan, but the strange thing that we noted is that the traffic from India first goes to United Kingdom and then returns to India (passes through two hops in India Mumbai and Dehli) and then goes to Nepal. And in the case of Bhutan it first goes from India to Hong Kong, then returns to India and then eventually goes to Bhutan.
Afghanistan is served by a satellite provider from DESY, Hamburg, Germany (part of the Silk Road project), so the traffic goes to Germany via satellite and then is beamed back to Afghanistan via satellite. 

Between sites in Pakistan or between sites in India traffic goes relatively directy without leaving the country.

Traffic from Pakistan: to India goes via the US or Canada; to Bangladesh goes via the US and the UK. Although Bangladesh now has access to SEMEW4 some of the sites in Bangladesh are still on satellite and the satellite service is provided by a number of European Countries.

Traffic from India: to Pakistan goes via Europe; to Bangladesh g0es via the UK. 

Due to all the indirect routing the average RTT from India and Pakistan to other South Asian countries is below the acceptable mark.

Min RTT and Packet Loss of South Asian Countries

The minimum RTTs (seen in the left hand map below from CERN/Geneva Switzerland) are acceptable for India and Pakistan. For Afghanistan they are large (dreadful or over 500ms) since the connections are via geostationary satellite(s). The routing (see above) for Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Nepal and Bhutan is non-optimal so the RTTs are poor or very poor. 

The right hand map shows the packet losses. These are more distance independent than RTTs. Once again it is seen that India, Pakistan, Sri lanka and the Maldives have acceptable losses (< 2.5%).  while Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, and Nepal have poor to very poor losses

Throughput Time Series for S. Asia from SLAC

Below are seen time series of the daily averaged derived TCP throughputs (in kbits/s) to S. Asia from SLAC. It can be seen that there are large fluctuations. These fluctuations are a characteristic of congested lines (typically the last mile). At weekends when people are not at work, there is less congestion and better throughput. It is also seen that the countries divide into two. India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka and the Maldives have better throughput 400-1200 kbits/s compared to Nepal, Bangladesh, Bhutan and Afghanistan with between 75 and 400 kbits/s.


International Bandwidth for S. Asia


Left hand figure from UNDP middle & right hand figure from Asia Internet Usage and Population Stats. Note that we believe that figures are 2005/2006 at the latest (there is evidence that many ofthe figures are for 2001-2002 or earlier), while Asia Internet Usage and Population Stats are 2007. This is very important since the growth in Internet users from 2000-2007 was 700% for India and 8,862% for Pakistan. There is also information at but the date for the Internet users per capita appears to be 2004, and the users/capita looks wrong by a factor of 1000.

South Asian Internet User Statistics  

 Note: The y-scale is Logarithmic. India  has ~3000 times the population of the Maldives

It can be seen that India has the largest population, but the growth in Internet users from 2000-2007 is maximum for Pakistan (8861%). India has the maximum Internet users about 40 million, which is only (3.65 %) of the population. Pakistan has about 12 million Internet users with a population penetration of 7.23 % 

Average and Min RTT from SLAC to South Asian Countries 

Shown here for February 2007, are the average and minimum RTTs per site (the dots), and the aggregate values of average and minimum RTTs for each S. Asian country as seen from SLAC. The dots show the dispersion in the values for a country as well as the number of sites for each country. It is seen that Afghanistan is the worst off (largest values) country in RTT  as might  be expected since it is using geostationary satellite links. This is followed by Bhutan, Bangladesh and Nepal. The best country is India closely followed by the Maldives, Pakistan and Sri Lanka.

Comparisons with "Development" Indices

The size of the Internet infrastructure is a good indication of a country's progress to an information based economy. However measuring the number of users is not easy in developing countries because many people share accounts, use corporate and academic networks, or visit the rapidly growing number of cyber cafés, telecentres and business services. Furthermore, the number of users does not take into account the extent of use, from those who just write a couple of emails a week, to people who spend many hours a day on the net browsing, transacting, streaming, or downloading. New measures of Internet activity are needed to take these factors into account. Most of the Internet traffic in a developing country is international (75-90%). We measure international Internet performance which is an interesting (good?) indicator. To see how well this correlates with "development" indices we scatter plot the Mathis derived throughput from PingER against various development indices. If it correlates well then we may be able to make much quicker snap-shots of a country's/regions performance without subjective biases.

There are many "development" indices today:

  • UNDP Human Development Index (2006, 177 countries)
  • UNDP Technology Achievement Index (2001, 72 countries)
  • ITU Digital Access Index (2003) and the Digital Opportunity Index (2006), both 180 countries
  • World Economic Forum's Network Readiness Index (2004, 2005, 2006-2007: 122 countries)
  • Harvard University Network Readiness Index (2002, 75 countries)

Typically these indices use some combination of GDP/capita, knowledge (e.g. tertiary education enrolloment), life expectancy, network (hosts/capita, access, policy, usage, affordability, users/capita); technology (patents, royalties, exports, phones/capita)

In the scatter plots below of the derived throughputs vs. the "development" index, the US, Canada and Mexico are typically excluded since the distance from the measuring point (the US) RTT is small so the derived throughput from the Mathis formula will be artificially high. Hosts in well connected countries such as Finland, Sweden, Japan also have their losses poorly measureed since only 14,400 packets are sent to a host in a month, so measuring losses of < .01% is inaccurate.

Comparison of TCP Throughput with UNDP Human Development Index

The UNDP Human Development Index (HDI) is composed of 3 factors defining the development of a country. They are:

  • A Long and healthy life, as measured by expectancy at birth.
  • Knowledge, as measured by the adult literacy rate (with 2/3 weight) and the combined primary, secondary and tertiary gross enrolment ratios (with 1/3 weight).
  • A decent standard of living, as measured by GDP per capita.
    On the scatter plot the S. Asian countries are indicated by orange diamonds.

The figure above shows a scatter plot of the HDI versus the PingER Derived Throughput for July 2006. Each point is colored according to the country's region. A logarithmic fit is also shown. Logarithmic is probably appropriate since Internet performance is increasing exponentially in time and the differences between the countries can be related to number of years they are behind the developing countries, while human development is more linear. Since the PingER Derived TCP Throughput is linearly proportional to RTT, countries close to the U.S. (i.e. the U.S., Canada and Central America) may be expected to have elevated throughputs compared to their HDI. We thus do not plot or use these countries in the correlation fit between HDI and throughput. It is seen that there is a strong correlation (R2 > 0.6) between the HDI and throughput. As expected countries in Africa generally occupy the lower values in x and y, and European countries together with Australia, New Zealand, Korea and Japan occupy the higher values of x and y.

Comparison of TCP Throughput with Technology Access Index

In 2001 the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) introduced the Technology Achievement Index(TAI) with 72 countries to reflect a country's capacity to participate in the technological innovations of the network age. The TAI aims to capture how well a country is creating and diffusing technology and building a human skill base. It includes the following dimensions: Creation of technology (e.g. patents, royalty receipts); diffusion of recent innovations (Internet hosts/capita, high & medium tech exports as share of all exports); Diffusion of old innovations (log phones/capita, log of electric consumption/capita); Human skills (mean years of schooling, gross enrollment in tertiary level in science, math & engineering). the Figure below shows December 2003's derived throughput measured from the U.S. vs. the TAI. The correlation is seen to be positive and medium to good.

  Comparison of TCP Throughput with Digital Access Index

"In 2003, the ITU's Market, Economics and Finance Unit launched the Digital Access Index (DAI), a new index, which measures the overall ability of individuals in a country to access and use new ICTs. The DAI is built around four fundamental vectors that impact a country's ability to access ICTs: infrastructure, affordability, knowledge and quality and actual usage of ICTs. The DAI has been calculated for ~180 economies where European countries were among the highest ranked. The DAI allows countries to see how they compare to peers and their relative strengths and weaknesses. The DAI also provides a transparent and globally measurable way of tracking progress towards improving access to ICTs." from In 2005 the ITU launched the Digital Opportunity Index(DOI) The DoI evaluates the opportunity, infrastructure and utilization of Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs) for 180 economies worldwide. The Index monitors the mobile communications that promise to bridge the digital divide in many parts of the world, as well as more recent technologies such as broadband and mobile Internet access.The right hand map above shows the DOI coverage and values worldwide.

Most of the European countries lie above 1500 Kb/s throughput and greater than 0.6 DAI. With the exceptions being Malta, Belarus and Ukraine. Balkans is catching up with Europe with the exception being Albania which is way down.

Most of the East Asian countries lie in the same region of the scatter plot with the exception of China. Middle East and Russia are right in the middle. Two Middle Eastern countries Israel and Cyprus lie in the top cluster with Europe. The other exception in the Middle East is Iran which is way down.

South East Asia can be divided into three catagories with Singapore in the top , Malaysia and Brunai in the middle and Vitenam and Indonesia at the bottom. South Asia forms two clusters one is Pakistan, India and Sri Lanka which are reasonably good and the others Nepal, Bhutan etc which lies in the same catagory as Africa.

Africa and Central Asia mostly lies at the bottom.

Comparison of TCP Throughput with the Network Readiness Index (NRI) 2006-2007 

The Network Readiness Index (NRI) comes from the "The Global Information Technology Report 2006-2007" of the World Economic Forum. NRI measures the degree of preparation of a nation or community to participate in and benefit from ICT developments. The NRI is composed of three component indexes which assess:
- environment for ICT offered by a country or community
- readiness of the community's key stakeholders (individuals, business and governments)
- usage of ICT among these stakeholders.

A map of the NRI  for the 122 countries of the 2006-2007 NRI are shown in the map below.

It is seen that the developed countries US, Canada, N. Europe, Japan, Korea, Australia, Taiwan have a high NRI (> 5.13, dark green) NRI, followed by S. & E. Europe, New Zealand, Chile, Malaysia, Tunisia, Qatar (NRI > 4.13, light green).  The worst off countries (< 3.13, grey) of the countries reported on (countries not reported are in white) are mainly land-locked countries.

There is a strong correlation (R2>0.6) between the TCP throughput and NRI. Africa is mostly at the bottom with NRI less than 3.3 and TCP throughput mostly less than 1000 Kb/sec. Europe and East Asia are mostly at the top. In South Asia (large orange squares) though India has the largest NRI it is between Pakistan and Sri Lanka in its TCP throughput

 Status of Countries and Plans


PingER has three three sites in Afghanistan that are monititored and they were quite hard to get. For example the Kabul University host is a firewall that does not have stable power and so is usually turned off at night. Also these sites have minimum RTTs greater than 700 ms which indicates that they are all on satellite. The Kabul host is connected via the Silk Roadsatellite that passes through DESY, Germany. The other two are connected via Telia a European ISP. On March 10, 2003, Afghanistan went live on the Web which was previous banned under the Taliban rule. The Internet infrastructure in Afghanistan is immature and the pricing for internet is quite high.

See "AFRENA (Afghanistan Research and Educational Network Orgnaizations". by Mohammad Tariq Meeran


SEMEW4 has greatly affected the internet connectivity of Bangladesh Before this Bangladesh  relied  on VSAT for Internet connectivity.
Most of the sites now have moved to fiber but some of them are still on satellite. We used our HostSearcher tool which searches for sites on Google. Out of 20 sites that we located in Bangladesh 3 had min RTT > 500 ms indicating that they are on satellite. Bangladesh has now got 2 STM-1 links with MCI and Singtel.

 There are three sites at Bangladesh which PingER monitors. BRAC University is on satellite. Dhaka University of Engineering and Technology and the other university are connected through fiber but they use satellite as there backup link.

 At present there is not an Academic or Research network in Bangladesh. In the beginning of 1996, they first thought to set up an academic and research network in Bangladesh named BERNET (Bangladesh Education  and Research Network). The network started in mid 1998 with limited connectivity. You can find the topological map of BERNET at But in 2003 they gave it up. The reasons are:
1. It is not easy to get country wide data connectivity available in our country.
2. Only BTTB (Bangladesh Telephone & Telegraph Board) provides DDN service for data network, but does not cover the whole country and this is not cost effective for the academic and research institutions.
3. There are not resource or content developed by the academic or research institutions of Bangladesh that can be used by others.
4. Most of the decision makers of every sectors of Bangladesh solely think of Internet bandwidth and are not aware of Intranet. So wheneverone try to talk about the academic network, the decisions are restricted to Internet Bandwidth.

When they were connected with BERNET they used only Internet Bandwidth of BERNET and talked about its Internet Bandwidth but we could not go beyond Internet.So everybody gave up and tried to setup up their own VSAT or  Leased Internet connectivity.Therefore, other than Internet, there isn't Network infrastructure for Academic and research activities. That is most of the institutions find each other via Internet.


In March 2005, NSRC donated a couple of routers, a switch, and some wireless Access Points for the first incarnation of the RUB network. Steve Huter has been working some with the main engineer doing the network design, deploy, etc. for the university network. In close collaboration with his good friend, Gaurab Upadhaya, who is part of this planning group, NSRC collaborated with SANOG ( to organize and teach in a couple of the first tech workshops held in Bhutan for local networkers, including some participation from the education sector.
Hervey Allen, one of NSRC network engineers, went to Bhutan twice. Once with NSRC colleague Brian Candler to organize and teach a pre-SANOG workshop on Unix and IP services, and then again later for the SANOG workshop in Bhutan. The situation there is relatively simple. There had been a number of colleges spread throughout the country and a few years ago they were assimilated into the new Royal University of Bhutan (RUB). The university is building a RUBWAN, a fiber network linking all the constituent colleges. There is also a fiber link to India from Bhutan, so they  are relatively quite advanced. The hub of the network will be in a new Vice Chancellor's building in Thimphu, the capital, which is the planning stage. 

RUB is the only university in Bhutan, and Jichen Thinley at Druknet has been helping them. Jichen and Guraib work together for many things, amongst other being SANOG, as steve Huter pointed out earlier. Again, Guraib would have to ask if there's been any major change from the last time i was there.

As for fiber, Bhutan Telecom is also in the same state as Nepal Telecom - they can only connect to BSNL on the indian side and cannot utilize the fiber that was laid by the Indian electric utility deep inside Bhtuan.

Also see:"Kingdom of Bhutan", by Sonam Penjor Royal University of Bhutan


In the Fall of 2006 there were demonstrations of advanced networking at 622Mbps at CHEP06 in Mumbai, organized by the C-DAC, TIFR,  and on the US side by IEEAF, ICFA/SCIC members, UWash/PNWGP, the WIDE Project at Keio University in Japan and others. This was followed by a workshop organized by  the Ministry of Communications and Information Technology (MCIT), ERNET, C-DAC, TIFR, and the National Knowledge Commission. Following this and advice provided by ICFA/SCIC members, Internet2, the IEEAF,  the Knowledge Commission of India issued a recommendation to create a Knowledge Network.

India has rapidly moved forward towards advanced network infrastructure (i.e. a backbone like Abilene and possibly CENIC-like organization which our Indian colleagues refer to as SPV: special purpose vehicle). The Indian Prime Minister has accepted the National Knowledge Commission recommendations and efforts are on to create a CENIC like organization to provide the shared gigabit optical fiber backbone to all RENs including ERNET, Garuda, science and technology research network and medical research and education network among others. The recommendation letter from the Knowledge Commission may be found at and the report on the National Knowledge Network by Dr. D.P.S. Seth at Below are shown the current deployment of the Garuda and ERNET networks in India.


We found two hosts in Maldives, (the traceroute results showed that the second last hop was through Itlay). The site has been added to the PingER Guthrie database. Later on we came to know by Guarab that at the start of 2007 the Maldives were connected through the SMW4 fibre as a result of collaboration between Dhiraagu and Telecom Italia Sparkle. There is an interesting report on Maldives Internet Connectivity at
Here is a press release from Telecom Italia Sparkle


See  Information and Communication Technology in Nepal updated in 2007. An earlier presentation about the internet connectivity in Nepal can be found  here. Recently Nepal Telecom struck a deal with Indian VSNL so now the land locked Nepal will have access via optical fibre. It is in test (April 2007). The complete project will (expected project execution date, end 2007) run 900km East-West along the Anriko highway with 16 nodes between Kathmandu and Tatopani. There are plans for 115km link to China which will provide a second international access link. But still most of the sites are on VSAT. Here is the complete story. Some initial projects are being planned for the New Fiber  (the first one  probably be on IPv6) - but it's   being monopolized by the incumbent telcos on both sides (Nepal telecom and BSNL). The application for fiber connection between  Bharati BT India and Nepal telecom as well as between private  operators is stuck somewhere in the bureaucracy. We think the policy will be known sometime middle of this year. There is also a Nepal Wireless Project using 802.11b to introduce villagers to IT.

Out of the nodes that PingER monitors in Nepal one is connected through Indian VSNL ( with a average RTT of 330 ms but it again shifted to a satellite connectivity provided by Germany.This host shifted from satellite to Indian VSNL on 20th Janruary, 2007. The other one is connected directly to New York through a Satellite link ( with an average RTT of  550 ms. Our HostSearcher tool found 25 sites in Nepal with min RTT > 500 ms, so these results indicate that still most of the country is dependent on satellite link.


PERN - Pakistan Education and Research Network is funded by the Pakistan Higher Education Committee (HEC) and  is a nationwide educational intranet connecting premiere educational and research institutions of the country. The network provider for PERN is NTC. In 2002 PERN had 2Mbps backbone links between major cities. The current (Jan 2007) network design was put in place in 2005 and consists of three nodal points at Islamabad, Lahore and Karachi interconnected by 50Mbps. Each PoP has international access. Educational institutions are connected by a minimum of 2Mbits/s.  PERN is also trying to provide  access platform for the interconnection of universities/educational institutions with the Virtual University


All land based Internet connectivity is via the Pakistan Internet Exchange (PIE) in Karachi where the fibres come ashore. PIE in turn is managed by Pakistan Telecommunication Compant Limited (PTCL). PTCL has excess capacity on its long haul international fibers.

Pakistan's sole under sea optical fibre link in 2005, called Southeast Asia, Middle East and Western Europe-3 (SEAMEWE-3), stopped working for about 12 days due to a fault from 27th June to the 8th of July 2005. This disruption halted the global connectivity of almost 10 million internet users in the country. The details  can be found here.

Recently Pakistan has connected to SEMEWE4 which provides Pakistan with a redundant link in case the outage occurs again. Here is the complete story Here is a case study of Internet connectivity of NUST Institute of Information Technology (NIIT) that was done in 2004  Internet performance for NIIT, Pakistan Jan - Feb 2004  

Future Plans 

PERN2 (see presentation) is planned to build Gigabit fibre network with a minimum of 1 Gbps for end nodes and a core of 10 Gbps. It is anticipated that about 90% of PERN2 nodes will have fibre connectivity. It will have 8 National level PoPs connected by leased dark fibre. Three metro ring 10 Gbps networks will be established in Islamabad/Rawalpindi, Karachi and Lahore. Seven local area PoPs will be established in these networks. It will serve > 300,000 students, faculty members and researchers.  Initially 85 universities and institutes will be connected. In phase I Islamabad/Rawalpindi universities will be connected at 1 Gbps. The tender as been won by Almoayed Group in January 2007 for the deployment of 10Gbps Metro Ring in Islamabad for interconnecting 18 university campuses. Expected commencement of phase I is September 2007. In phase II it will be extended to Lahore and Karachi. For the remaining five PoP cities the proposed topology is not a ring but spur only since there are very few universities initially targeted in the scope of the PERN II project. Service for phase II is expected to commence at the end of March 2008. Phase III will connect distant nodes. They will lease dark fibre and will also commence end March 2008.

Mobilink has almost completed its backbone and has a submarine fibre link to its sister company TWA which will be the next national media provider after PTCL. This will be the a third undersea fibre cable project for Pakistan (SEAMEW3 and 4 are the first two and are operated by PTCL). In February 2007 Telekom Malaysia announced that the company is set to complete its US$100 million countrywide fiber-optic-backbone project in Pakistan - the largest fiber-optic network in the country - by October 2007. The backbone will link more than 75 major towns and cities in Pakistan. The project is with Multinet, a Pakistan ISP that is now a subsidiary of Telekom Malaysia. A fourth company, Wateen is laying out a fiber backbone at a cost of $100M. It appears that all of this investment will provide more options for Pakistani network access.

In what is believed to be the largest WiMAX network of its kind, Motorola has been selected as primary supplier to Pakistan's Wateen Telecom, part of Warid Telecom "It also demonstrates how an emerging country can leapfrog directly to innovative next-generation technology, and smoothly deploy a cutting edge communications infrastructure".

NIIT Case Study 

In August 2006 NIIT announced it that has 'made an entrance into high-performance computing by setting up the first grid enabled super computing facility in Pakistani academia. As part of an ongoing collaborative research with CERN-Europe and SLAC-USA, the NIIT cluster will also act as a node for the computational and data Grid, spanning the globe to analyze data from particle physics experiments, solving highly complex matrices, simulate physical phenomena in electromagnetics, to model devices in quantum electronics and to analyze massive data sets in bioinformatics and seismology. NIIT's high performance center will be a cluster of four SUN Microsystems V890 64-bit compute servers (8 microprocessors in each server), 4 high-end 64-bit SUN UltraSPARC dual processor workstations, 21 mid-range Sun UltraSPARC 64-bit single processor workstations, 05 AMD 64-bit Opteron Workstations, 3 high-performance SunFire V240 dual processor file servers and 1.5 Terabyte storage, all connected over a gigabit speed Myrinet network. With total of more than 64 processors available for computation and more than 256 gigabyte of RAM, the cluster will constitute a hybrid shared-memory and distributed-memory parallel computer. The cluster will therefore enable researchers to model and simulate computationally expensive experiments not only locally but will also facilitate them to run their jobs on internationally available grid enabled clusters across the world.'

On 28th Feb,2007 NIIT was not accessible from SLAC probably due to some router mis-configuration at Nayatel. It became accessible from SLAC on 1st March, 2007 but the total number of hops has increased to 27 with 4 loop backs. Here is the traceroute from SLAC to NIIT

Code Block
traceroute to ( 1-30 hops, 38 byte packets (; 0.451 ms (ttl=255) (; 0.318 ms (ttl=254) (; 0.405 ms (ttl=252\!)
4192.68.191.146 (; 0.440 ms (ttl=250\!) (; 0.409 ms (ttl=250\!) (; 0.826 ms (ttl=249\!) (; 0.793 ms (ttl=248\!) (; 0.925 ms (ttl=246\!) (; 52.1 ms (ttl=245\!) (; 102 ms (ttl=244\!)
11203.208.168.133 (; 94.4 ms (ttl=243\!) (; 321 ms (ttl=243\!)
13203.208.182.157 (; 306 ms (ttl=242\!)
14203.208.149.218 (; 319 ms (ttl=241\!)
15203.208.149.105 (; 385 ms (ttl=239\!)
16203.208.149.109 (; 327 ms (ttl=238\!)
17203.208.147.238 (; 287 ms (ttl=236\!)
18203.208.147.238 (; 306 ms (ttl=236\!) (; 319 ms (ttl=236\!) (; 328 ms (ttl=233\!) (; 313 ms (ttl=232\!) (; 317 ms (ttl=232\!) (; 334 ms (ttl=231\!) (; 325 ms (ttl=233\!) (; 330 ms (ttl=232\!) (; 322 ms (ttl=231\!) (; 371 ms (ttl=39\!) (; 369 ms (ttl=38\!)
Qaid-e-Azam University (QAU)

The National Centre for Physics (NC) located on the QAU campus is building a new cluster to be initially used mainly by the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) project at CERN. The current cluster, although small.  includes all the princiapsl for a large cluster and will expand when NCP moves to its new quarters later this (2007), or early next year.

PingER data shows that the link to Qaid-e-Azam university is heavily congested. The wave of congestion starts about 9:00 am in the morning and continues to about 6:00 pm in the evening. The graph shows the Avg RTT from NIIT to Qaid-e-Azam University from 19th Feb - 25th Feb, 2007. Sunday is less congested as compared to the rest of the weekdays which is understandable as it is holiday and less students use internet. One cannot explain why 22nd Feb was less congested as compared to other weekdays.

 Qaid-e-Azam University is connected  through PERN and its ISP is NTC. The traceroute results (  28th Feb 11:00 am from NIIT) showed that the link from PIE (Pakistan Internet Exchange) to PERN was heavily congested. The traceroute shows that it took about 400 ms from PIE to PERN which should normally take <10 ms as the two routers are in the same city.

Code Block (  0.587 ms  0.554 ms  0.512 ms
 2 (  73.298 ms  47.573 ms  47.993 ms
 3 (  48.001 ms  47.732 ms  47.867 ms
 4 (  50.030 ms  47.644 ms  48.548 ms
 5 (  61.361 ms (  49.751 ms (  49.473 ms
 6 (  50.626 ms  58.595 ms  49.983 ms
 7 (  52.027 ms  49.698 ms  49.898 ms
 8 (  452.197 ms  471.535 ms  458.162 ms
 9 (  468.185 ms *  471.782 ms
10 (  472.025 ms  479.785 ms  480.237 ms
11  * (  475.816 ms  497.043 ms

  Also the congestion is sometimes due to last mile problem. The traceroute result from NIIT shows this

Code Block (  0.747 ms  0.532 ms  0.646 ms
 2 (  62.328 ms  47.572 ms  48.128 ms
 3 (  49.870 ms  47.520 ms  50.068 ms
 4 (  47.940 ms  49.597 ms (  48.453 ms
 5 (  61.059 ms  49.549 ms  47.998 ms
 6 (  48.025 ms  49.751 ms  49.873 ms
 7 (  49.990 ms  49.507 ms  49.996 ms
 8 (  52.041 ms  57.621 ms  51.945 ms
 9 (  56.065 ms  57.671 ms  60.454 ms
10 (  65.472 ms (  61.589 ms (  69.556 ms
11 (  119.716 ms  93.597 ms  124.098 ms

.99.50.201 (  0.571 ms  0.528 ms  0.460 ms
 2 (  81.119 ms  47.687 ms  47.923 ms
 3 (  47.982 ms  47.643 ms  50.018 ms
 4 (  49.979 ms (
47.608 ms (  49.669 ms
 5 (  51.653 ms  49.582 ms  48.004 ms
 6 (  50.199 ms  49.399 ms  50.041 ms
 7 (  234.037 ms  243.761 ms  215.954 ms
 8 (  58.053 ms  59.519 ms  50.077 ms
 9 (  53.925 ms  57.614 ms  51.968 ms
10 (  64.026 ms  73.685 ms (  300.008 ms
11 (  71.615 ms  247.703 ms  500.154 ms

The last hop is taking 200ms indicating congestion at the link.

Sri Lanka 

The Lanka Education And Research Network (LEARN), started in 1990, is the NREN (National Research and Education Network) of Sri Lanka. LEARN is a member of APAN and interconnects 24 sites in Sri Lanka with link speeds ranging from 128kbps to multiple 2Mbps links. The establishment of 2Mbps links to 8 sites with the financial support of Sida/SAREC has been a major milestone in this path. LEARN is currently in the process of upgrading the link bandwidths to 16 of its sites to 10Mbps over optical fiber. Several links have already been upgraded, and the remaining links will be upgraded by June 2007. This upgrade was made possible with the World Bank funded IRQUE Project providing funds for 10 of the 16 links.

HostSearcher found 13 unique www hosts out of  182 discovered by Google in the domain. All of these had RTT's < 400ms.

More information can be found at and