Internet in Egypt offline

Posted by Andree Toonk - January 28, 2011 - BGP instability, BGPmon.net - 56 Comments

Click for latest updates:  Last updated at January 31, 21:00 UTC

Different media are reporting that Internet and other forms of electronic communications are being disrupted in Egypt.  Presumably after a government order in response to the protests. Looking at BGP data we can confirm that according to our analysis 88% of the ‘Egyptian Internet’ has fallen of the Internet. In this post I’ll  share some observations I made with regards to the reachability of Egyptian networks and providers.

What’s different in this case as compared to other ‘similar’ cases is that all of the major ISP’s seem to be almost completely offline. Whereas in other cases, social media sites such as facebook and twitter were typically blocked.  In this case the government seems to be taking a shotgun approach by ordering ISP’s to stop routing all networks.

Networks affected

Egyptian Routes

Egyptian Routes

When looking at the data it’s clear that many Egyptian networks have fallen off the Internet. Let’s start by looking at a quick summary. Yesterday there were 2903 Egyptian networks, originated from 52  ISP’s. Transit was provided via 45 unique isp’s.
Today at 2am UTC, the numbers look quite different, there were only 327 Egyptian networks left on the Internet. These were originated 26 by ISP’s.
So 88% of the Egyptian networks is unreachable!

Num of prefixes Num of origin Asn
27-Jan 2903 52
28-Jan 327 26
Disappeared 2576 26

Below you’ll find a table with the top 10 providers in Egypt. It shows how many Egyptian networks were announced earlier this week and how many are reachable today.

As you can see in the table below, right now most autonomous systems (ISP’s) are no longer announcing any, or at the very least, significantly less prefixes.

Prefixes today Prefixes earlier this week origin AS Provider name
20 775 8452 TE-AS TE-AS
0 774 24863 LINKdotNET-AS
113 676 36992 ETISALAT-MISR
0 217 24835 RAYA Telecom – Egypt
0 102 5536 Internet-Egypt
85 83 20928 Noor Data Networks
0 41 36935 Vodafone-EG
23 36 15475 Nile Online
14 28 8524 eg-auc
0 25 6127 IDSC

Interestingly the only provider that doesn’t seem to be impacted by this is AS20928  (Noor Data Networks).

Below is the list of providers that are still announcing networks (based on routeviews data):

Network Name Number of routes
AS36992 Etisalat-Misr 104
AS20928 Noor Data Networks 83
AS24835 RAYA Telecom – Egypt 38
AS15475 Nile Online 23
AS8524 AUCEGYPT 14
AS2561 Egyptian Universities Network (EUN) 14
AS8452 TE-AS TE-AS 12

When did this start?

By looking at some Egyptian websites and looking at when they became unreachable we are able to determine when the problem started.

At this point egypt.gov.eg is offline. This network, 81.21.104.0/24 was withdrawn at January 27th at  22:28 UTC . Another example is www.ahram.org.eg an Egyptian news paper. This network 196.219.246.0/24, became unreachable at the exact same time, January 27th at  22:28 UTC.

Update (Jan 28 18:36 PM UTC)
At this point only 239 Egyptian networks are reachable, this means that 91% of the Egyptian routes are unreachable. Noor networks remains the only provider that seems to be unaffected by this.

Vodafone has confirmed on their website, that they have been instructed to shutdown services in parts of the country
http://www.vodafone.com/content/index/press.html


All mobile operators in Egypt have been instructed to suspend services in selected areas. Under Egyptian legislation the authorities have the right to issue such an order and we are obliged to comply with it. The Egyptian authorities will be clarifying the situation in due course .

Update (January 29, 17:48 UTC)
It’s been reported that Mobile phone services have been restored. I found this confirmation on the Vodafone website

Vodafone restored voice services to our customers in Egypt this morning, as soon as we were able.
We would like to make it clear that the authorities in Egypt have the technical capability to close our network, and if they had done so it would have taken much longer to restore services to our customers.
It has been clear to us that there were no legal or practical options open to Vodafone, or any of the mobile operators in Egypt, but to comply with the demands of the authorities.
Moreover, our other priority is the safety of our employees and any actions we take in Egypt will be judged in light of their continuing wellbeing.

There has been no change in the Internet services situation. As of now Egypt has been cut-off the Internet for 36 hours.  In Egypt the work weeks starts tomorrow, so let’s see if the government will bring the services back online perhaps tonight.

Update January 29, 21:00 UTC

I’ve published a list of the Egyptian routes/prefixes that are still being routed. This list of  243 networks can be found here: http://bgpmon.net/egypt-routes-jan29-2011.txt.
This data is extracted from routeviews data (rib.20110129.1800). Note that routed does not necessarily mean that it’s reachable. Format of the list is:
|AS number| Prefix| Prefix description|.
A few examples of routes that are still announced:

  • AT-Financial Holding routes
  • Bibliothique of Alexandria  (http://www.bibalex.org/)
  • Central Bank of Egypt Routes
  • Egyptian National Scientific & Technical Information Network routes

Update January 31, 23:30 UTC

As of today thirteen more Autonomous systems (ISP’s) have disappeared. This includes the up to now unaffected Noor Data networks. The networks for Noor data network seemed to have disappeared at 2011-01-31 20:54 UTC.
As these ISP’s disappeared so did more routes. Using a routeviews dump of 22:00 January 31st,  we now only see 12 origin Autonomous systems and a 134 routes. This means that now only 5% of the Egyptian routes remain reachable.
A list of all remaining routes can be found here:  http://www.bgpmon.net/egypt-routes-jan31-2011.txt

number of advertised egyptian routes

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