Disturbances on submarine fiber optic cables in Africa as well as the location of content hosts' cache servers can explain slowdowns in internet connections.

Like many other Mauritian Internet users, you are surely currently experiencing slowdowns in your internet connection. According to our information, incidents on four submarine fiber optic cables off the coast of Africa explain these disruptions. These cables are the South Africa Far East (SAFE), the Europe India Gateway (EIG), the SEACOM and the Eastern Africa Submarine System (EASSy).

“Outgoing internet traffic from Mauritius goes one way to Malaysia, and the other to Africa. Interconnections with other cables from Africa allow connection to Europe. There are two routes, one via the Suez Canal, the other via the Atlantic Ocean. There are several cables on these two routes. The EIG cannot be repaired due to maritime piracy in the Red Sea. Closer to us, the SAFE cable has been repaired, but its equipment is aging, particularly that linked to the power supply. This could explain the slowdowns,” explains a telecommunications expert. For its part, the Seacom cable was partially repaired, according to Loganaden Velvindron, computer scientist and member of the collective.

Questioned by Défi Plus, a source within the Emtel company affirms that its network is not affected, because the company uses very little SAFE cable. Emtel relies more on the Melting Pot Indianoceanic Submarine System (METISS) cable which was put into operation in March 2021. In addition, our source specifies that Emtel uses several cables on the two routes connecting Africa to Europe to ensure redundancy.

For its part, Mauritius Telecom indicates that slowdowns can be explained at the level of the cache servers. “The speed of access (latency) to content also depends on the different content providers (Google, Facebook etc.) and the location where they host their Cache Servers (CDN). This could be in East Africa, South Africa or Singapore, among others. Content providers decide at their own level where their servers are hosted and can therefore change location at their discretion. In May, following the EASSy and SEACOM cable cuts off East Africa, certain services such as Google and Facebook were impacted because their servers were located in this region. Their traffic has been redirected with an impact on connection speeds in many African countries, including Mauritius. These impacts are beyond the control of Mauritius Telecom. Note that the EASSY cable is already operational and that the SEACOM cable is being repaired,” explains Mauritius Telecom.

The operator specifies that there is no slowdown on its internet network and that in the event of problems linked to the submarine cables, redundancy and continuity of service are ensured thanks to the redundancy on the three cables under -marine Lower Indian Ocean Network (LION), SAFE and T3.

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