2016/01/21 - Unscheduled Internet Outage (International)


At around 4:30PM this afternoon Rhodes' network lost access to all intentionally hosted Internet sites (including sites that end in .za that are hosted outside the country). You will likely experience this outage as an ERR_DNS_FAIL or ERR_CONNECT_FAIL error when trying to access websites, or your browser may report that the connection has timed out or the site is unreachable.

The problem was reported shortly after it occurred, and we've since had feedback that the cause is failures on both the WACS and SEACOM submarine fibre systems. These travel up the West and East coasts of Africa respectively, and the simultaneous failure of both is unprecedented.

These failures will affect almost all Internet providers in South Africa to differing degrees. There are other cable systems still operational, but they will have become severely constrained as a result of this double failure. TENET, Rhodes' main provider, does not make use of any other cable systems and so we're effectively without a connection to the rest of the world.

Rhodes has limited international connectivity via a secondary provider who has capacity on another cable, but the capacity of our connection is only sufficient to keep core services (like email and the University's web presence) functional. It is not available for general use.

There is currently no ETA for repair on either cable,
We've since heard that both failures appear to be terrestrial - the WACS failure is confirmed to be in the UK and the SEACOM failure is reported to be in Egypt. Sub-sea failures would have been much more worrying as they can take days, even weeks, to fix, whereas terrestrial failures are generally addressed within hours.
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