Outside plant protection, fiber cuts, interwebz down oh noes!

Charles Wyble charles at thewybles.com
Thu Apr 9 19:00:33 CDT 2009

I didn't say it was sabatoage...

  It would appear
 > that this was a deliberate act

I tried to be very careful to say that it appears to have been 
sabatoage, but that it's not confirmed. Also this isn't the middle of 
the ocean, but cable underground. That usually doesn't get cut unless 
it's by a back hoe. And speaking of unions.... construction crews charge 
lots of money to work in the middle of the night, so it's usually 
avoided. :)

Rod Beck wrote:
> Hold on. Who says this sabotage?
> These incidents happen all the time without sabotage being involved. A 
> ship sank off the coast of Pakistan and took out both international 
> cables serving the country ...
> We had the undersea earthquake that seven seven cables in the Taiwan 
> straits.
> The truth is that physical diversity is an ideal, not a reality.
> I have seen lots of accidents that took multiple operators and seriously 
> disrupted in a given locality.
> The only difference here is that in the Heart of Geek Territory. Hence 
> the Natives are restless ...
> Roderick S. Beck
> Director of European Sales
> Hibernia Atlantic
> -----Original Message-----
> From: Charles Wyble [mailto:charles at thewybles.com]
> Sent: Thu 4/9/2009 11:04 PM
> To: nanog at nanog.org
> Subject: Outside plant protection, fiber cuts, interwebz down oh noes!
> Seriously though I want to start some discussion around outside plant
> protection. This isn't the middle of the ocean or desert after all.
> There were multiple fiber cuts in a major metropolitan area, resulting
> in the loss of critical infrastructure necessary to many peoples daily
> lives (though twitter stayed up so it's all good). :) It would appear
> that this was a deliberate act by one or more individuals, who seemed to
> have a very good idea of where to strike which resulted in a low cost,
> low effort attack that yielded significant results.
> So allow me to think out loud for a minute....
> 1) Why wasn't the fiber protected by some sort of hardened/locked
> conduit? Is this possible? Does it add extensive cost or hamper normal
> operation?
> 2) Why didn't an alarm go off that someone had entered the area? It was
> after business hours, presumably not in response to a trouble ticket,
> and as such a highly suspicious action. Does it make sense for these
> access portals to have some sort of alarm? I mean there is fiber running
> through and as such it could carry the signaling. Would this be a
> massive cost addition during construction?
> 3) From what I understand it's not trivial to raise a manhole cover.
> Most likely can't be done by one person. Can they be locked? Or were the
> carriers simply relying on obscurity/barrier to entry?

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