01/23/13 - Computerworld - Cuba's Internet speeds up as undersea cable is activated
IDG News Service - Cuba's Internet speeds increased on Tuesday, and the
country appears to be routing more traffic through a previously dormant
undersea fiber-optic cable, according to Internet monitoring company
Renesys noticed last week that Internet traffic was being routed into
Cuba by Spanish telecommunications company TelefA3nica through ALBA-1, an
undersea cable that links Cuba to Venezuela. The project was completed
around 2011, but Cuba had appeared since that time to be relying on three
Internet connections via satellite are prone to high latency, a type of
delay caused by the time it takes a data packet to complete the trip to
the satellite and back, which can be as much as 70,000 kilometers. For
Cuba, that lag time was about a half-second, but it began to shrink last
week to about 400 milliseconds, indicating that the cable was being used.
On Tuesday, Renesys noticed that the lag time became shorter again,
between 180ms and 220ms, wrote Doug Madory, senior research engineer.
"At 180-220ms, these paths suggest a pure terrestrial solution, based on
subsea and overland cables -- the traditional Internet that nearly
everyone else on earth enjoys," Madory wrote.
Madory wrote that it is likely Cuban network operators changed their
routing policies to make ALBA-1 the default path for outbound traffic from
some networks. It appears that satellite is also still in use, he wrote.
"Almost immediately, we started getting reports from Havana that delays
for Internet traffic were dropping perceptibly, as the new routing policy
kicked in," he wrote.
Cuba's state telecommunications company, Empresa de Telecomunicaciones de
Cuba S.A. (ETECSA), hasn't announced their use of the cable.
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