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Internet access to the west African countries was disrupted due to damage to the South Atlantic 3/West Africa Submarine Cable. The news was reported by BBC, Aljazeera and other agencies. The worst affected countries are being reported to be Niger, Nigeria, Togo and Benin. 70% of Nigeria's Internet bandwidth is reported to be cut where as Togo and Niger are completely offline. On the otherhand Benin has been reported to be back online by rerouting its traffic via its neighbouring countries.

We studied the performance measurements as gathered by the PingER projectand noticed that the affects of the outage could be observed from 24th of July and onwards. However most of the monitored sites were back online by 3rd of August.

The landing points of SAT3 cable can be seen below:


Please note that our monitoring site at SLAC was down for maintenance between 28th of July to 1st of August, 2009.

Average Round Trip Time and Packet Loss

From the Average RTT (ms) and Packet Loss (%) measurements shown below we notice that all the observed sites show affects following 24th of July. Some sites show complete outage, such as Togo and Benin, where as others show sharp degradation in performance. Togo and Benin seem to have recovered by 27th of July. They did experience another outage sometime between 2nd and 4th of August. They do seem to have returned to normalcy since 4th of August, 2009.



As per the observations gathered by PingER, the monitored nodes in Nigeria and Niger did not experience complete outage. They did however experience degradation of service. The losses increased from less than 5% to more than 30% and less than 5% to more than 15% for Niger and Nigeria respectively. The RTTs also increased from approximately 350 ms to more than 850 ms. We think that this increase implies rerouting of traffic via satellite -- any RTT measurement greater than 450 ms can safely be assumed to be via a satellite link. Since August 2 the monitoring node in Nigeria seems to have returned to normalcy where as the node in Niger is experiencing complete outage.