At 12:30 p.m. Pacific Time (Beijing Time, May 14, 3:30 p.m.) on May 13, China Telecom experienced a major failure that lasted for nearly five hours, followed by several hours. At the same time, at a time when Sino-US trade policy issues are tense, it is not only speculative about geopolitical motives. However, this thinking ignores the fact that many people do not know the objective reality of China and the Internet. This interruption is an excellent opportunity to explore the current status of Internet connectivity in China.
I. What did we find?
Yesterday, as early as in the afternoon, our Global Observatory detected that China Telecom's import and export of international Internet traffic were losing a lot of packets. Packet dropouts lasted intermittently for many hours, mainly because the network infrastructure of the mainland of China was greatly affected, and also affected Singaporean and American nodes of China Telecom, including Los Angeles.
During the whole long interruption process, the traffic forwarded to the affected fault nodes was all discarded, that is to say, some users in China and abroad, using browsers or applications to visit a large number of foreign websites have been interrupted. Attempts by Chinese users to visit websites set up abroad will be affected, as will attempts by foreign users to visit domestic websites in China.
Although not specifically targeted at the Western world's Web sites and services, many American Web services, such as Apple, Amazon, Microsoft, Slack, Workday, SAP and other Web services, have also been affected throughout the failure window period. The following figure shows some websites and services affected by network failure waves.
Figure 1: Cloud services affected by China Telecom network failures
At the peak of the failure process, more than 100 services were detected to be interfered by the backbone network failures of China Telecom. We also detected network interruption information based on geographic information. Two distributed maps at different times are shown below.
Figure 2: Geographic information change map of China Telecom interruption fault point during network interruption
The most intensive network disruptions occurred within three hours starting at 12:30 Pacific time, but more network services continued to be affected in the next few hours. Figure 3 below shows the interruption-affected timeline for a particular service. Starting at 12:30 Pacific time, Amazon cloud computing services began to lose their packages, which lasted for nearly five hours. The following image visualizes the process from 17:30-17:45 Pacific Time to Amazon Cloud Computing Services that continue to be lost by China Telecom routers.
Figure 3: During the 12:30-17:45 Pacific Time period, China Telecom users'access to Amazon cloud computing services was affected.
Another was interrupted by the service in the United States.
Figure 4: Cloudflare managed DNS services were affected, resulting in the failure of domain name resolution in WeWork
2. Deeply interconnected China
The interrupt is now recovered, but in thousands of eyes (ThousandEyes)
Here are two ideas that may not be universally accepted:
First, most people put
The standard operating procedures of China's Internet Providers (ISPs) allow access to most Western cloud-based business services. Visiting websites in China that are in China's interest is conducive to the effective operation of domestic and foreign companies. Generally speaking, you can visit many websites and services located in the United States in China.
Second, most people may not be aware of the global presence of Chinese Internet providers. However, as shown in Figure 2 above, China's telecommunications control and management infrastructure has expanded beyond China's geographical boundaries. China Telecom Network Providers also maintain global Internet connectivity and maintain contact with network providers in many parts of the world.
Looking back on the BGP route leak over the past year, readers who have heard about Google's services may remember China Telecom's guest show in this scene. China Telecom keeps in touch with the ISP (MainOne) responsible for the leakage of factory routes in Nigeria. China Telecom failed to filter advertising routes to Google (but spread them to other peers), causing some users to attempt to access Google's service interruption.
3. The Internet is full of uncertainty everywhere.
Wherever the Internet is, in countries with loose controls or in countries with strict controls, it is basically unpredictable. This is because the Internet is built as a collection of voluntarily interconnected but separately managed networks, as well as the automation nature of its basic technologies (such as BGP routing) and the complete lack of centralized management.
If one part of the Internet fails, especially in relevant countries (such as China), the rest of the Internet will be affected by ripple effects. In this failure, more than one hundred commercial and domestic companies were affected by the business, there is no doubt that it will lead to a decline in production and revenue reduction.
When you find out how unpredictable the Internet is, you will find that today's business is surprisingly dependent on the Internet. The Internet is completely uncontrollable. So here comes the question
4. On this speculation
Since Thousand Eyes is essentially a real-time, ever-changing map of the Internet, we can trace the global impact of Internet failures and failures, whether in China, Russia or elsewhere, but we cannot and will not predict the geopolitical and other possible motivations behind similar network events, if any.
However, it is worth noting that China's Internet providers can implement very precise fine-grained control of incoming and outgoing network traffic. From a technical point of view, it is not obvious that China intends to demonstrate its ability to ban American application services. After all, the affected websites and services are not differentiated, and both domestic and overseas websites are affected.
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