Someone knew I was coming… Singapore’s Internet broke!

First Meal in Singapore: Lontong breakfast @ Sixth Ave

One 18hr non-stop flight later, I was back on solid (and very wet) ground. My mum picked me up from Changi Airport and wisked me away for a quick but tasty Lontong breakfast at Sixth Ave. Along the way she updated me on the ongoings of our friends and neighbors, which was great since I’m so in touch with online social networks, that I’ve nearly forgotten about my offline connections.

Speaking of connections, I reached home only to find that the wireless network I had setup already crapped out. My parents’ household has a really old cable modem, a wired Netgear router and my recently installed Belkin 54g wifi router. Since everything was already in place when I brought in the wifi router, I turn it into a wireless access point instead. Now it’s simply not working, so I thought to myself about simplifying the whole setup by just using the wifi router to replace the wired one. Along the way, everything failed… from AIM to Skype, to checking emails and web pages… nothing worked. I spent the next few zombified hours trying to figure out what was wrong… from forwarding network ports to physically checking ethernet cables, but to no avail. It was only when I started scanning the wifi channels in my neighborhood that I happen to glance at an RSS feed which explained it all. It was then that I realized how I wasn’t the only one facing this problem. The entire country’s internet connectivity has gone down, thanks to a powerful earthquake in Taiwan.

As seen on Tomorrow.sg and Bloomberg: “The Taiwan earthquake has affected several submarine cable systems in Asia, causing cable cuts near Taiwan late last night,” Singapore Telecom spokesman Chia Boon Chong said by telephone today. “Some customers might experience a slowdown in data or Internet access. Traffic diversion and restoration works are currently in progress”.

According to Reuters, the main quake was measured by Taiwan’s Central Weather Bureau at magnitude 6.7 and at magnitude 7.1 by the U.S. Geological Survey. The quake struck off Taiwan’s southern coast at 1226 GMT on Tuesday. So far, two people were killed. Voice circuits had been reduced to 40 per cent of capacity to the United States, 11 per cent to Japan, 10 per cent to mainland China and just 2 per cent to most parts of Southeast Asia.

This experience isn’t like going on a 56kbps analogue modem…
think more like tranferring data over two plastic cups and a string.

10 thoughts on “Someone knew I was coming… Singapore’s Internet broke!

  1. Welcome back!

    As for the downtime, it was quite interesting how the ISP phonelines were jammed up. I was very lucky my clients have been understanding today — they were probably affected too. *phew!*

  2. Frances: You work for some sort of writing agency right? Care to share how your business was affected? I know that the regional banks had a really hard time.

  3. We couldn’t access international websites at work yesterday morning and afternoon. But local (or locally-hosted) websites were fine. Things seem better now …

  4. Generally work was slower because of the intermittent disruptions. It was fine for us in the morning till about 10am when we realised that the connection seemed to be getting wonky (first sign was of IM getting disrupted). Then certain websites couldn’t be accessed.

    I called our ISP only to be greeted by a “Due to overwhelming…” message so I figured that something was up. We relied on mainly the fax machine. But the connection was much better after lunch when at least emails could get through. I think because of the breakdown, our clients were affected as well. So it ended up being less hectic for us. Some of our jobs were delayed by a few hours as a result, and half a day was the max.

  5. welcome back Kevin! 🙂

    Our office was affected too because our darn servers are routed to HK. But it was up and running 1 day later.

  6. Things are better now, but it’s pretty hilarious how Starhub was supposed to launch their new 100Mbps Internet Cable service yesterday when this regional disaster happened.

  7. Our Shanghai office is without internet access, but Blackberry went live yesterday morning in Shanghai. But that is not going to work for group editing of a 23 page legal document. Ugh!!! What is going on elsewhere in China?

  8. ChinaLawBlog: Sorry to hear… The news report showed China completely isolated from the rest of the world in terms of Internet connectivity. For such a phenomena, it’ll be interesting to see what Chinese citizens are doing with their offline time 😛

    Palahniuk: I’m still so jealous from your Dayang trip… fun in the sun! It must have felt like the end of the world when all your communications went down. I cannot stand being disconnected for too long. My soul is online. 😛

    GrEg: I guess the advertising people did their job, and now it’s the public relations people to clean up the mess 😀

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