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Bi-directional Global Backbone Lets VSNL Restore Middle East Service

February 01, 2008

Communications technology has certainly come a long way, with advances regularly enhancing available facilities for business and personal correspondence. Indeed, it is safe to say a majority of companies and consumers rely heavily on the Internet, email, VoIP, and other IP-based communications mechanisms to support their business and individual needs — which is a wonderful achievement, given the convenience, flexibility, and range of services available.

 
However, as anyone with colleagues, friends, or family in the Middle East can attest, it also can wreak havoc should something go wrong, and countless businesses and consumers have doubtless felt the impact of the severed SEA-ME-WE 4 and other submarine cables off the Alexandria, Egypt coast two days ago. The result has been a widespread Internet and telecom outage across much of the region, with only sporadic service having been restored in some areas. Even those ISPs that have not been completely cut off are facing severely hampered availability and connection speeds.
 
The damaged undersea cables provide Internet connectivity between the Middle East and westward, to Europe and North America, as well as between the Indian subcontinent and Southeast Asia. Immediately, businesses, governments, and other entities that rely on their Internet connections as a lifeline set to work finding alternate means of connectivity. 
 
The service disruption caused by this event clearly highlights the need for carriers to have built-in redundancy in their networks — which is what VSNL has, with its Internet backbone that circles the globe, thereby providing both eastward and westward connectivity from all regions.
 
By leveraging its bi-directional backbone, which VSNL has all along said differentiates it from other carriers, has been able to restore service within 24 hours to a majority of its Middle Eastern customers via the SEA-ME-WE 3, SEA-ME-WE 4 eastbound, and TIC cables following the incident. VSNL was able to do the same for its customers in India by diverting traffic to the alternate cables.
 
While many carriers are still experiencing complete outages, VSNL expansive undersea presence has enabled it to restore connectivity by virtue of its ownership in various cable assets. 
 
“VSNL is proud of the team effort that united the company’s network and operations teams across three continents to execute an ambitious recovery plan in 24 hours,” said Radwan Mousalli, managing director, MENA, VSNL.  “Our cable layout and design allowed us to survive a double cable failure as well as develop enough capacity eastward across the Pacific for the Internet to reach North America and Europe.”
 
If the possibility of losing connectivity wasn’t enough to convince them, many enterprises will surely now look to switch to carriers with capacity on several different systems in order to guarantee service during future mishaps.
 
VSNL, having proven the reliability of its network assets, is in a position to benefit from this week’s unfortunate events. Its global network spans four continents, and includes major ownership in more than 200,000 miles of terrestrial and undersea cabling, providing connectivity within the Middle East and India, as well as serving the transatlantic, transpacific, and intra-European needs of its customers. Its service area includes more than 240 countries.
 
Erik Linask is Associate Editor of INTERNET TELEPHONY, IMS Magazine, and Unified Communications. Prior to joining TMC, he was Managing Editor at Global Custodian, an international securities services publication. To see more of his articles, please visit Erik Linask’s columnist page.
 
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