How many types of Internet connectivity failures are there?

Here are some of the types of cuts that I have seen.

FedWire Outage

This is when there is a fiber cut that affects the federal authorities that travel in black helicopters. A backhoe fiber cut resulted in a cluster of white Suburbans with tinted windows and US Gov’t plates arriving on the scene within 15 minutes! The suits with holsters came out with their earbuds, presumably not listening to country western music. It was quite a scene. I never heard of armed network engineers with that kind of response time !

Bayou Outage

Back in the early NSFNET days there was an MCI outage that was ultimately chased down to a couple of drunk duck hunters down in the swamps shooting at them thare wires in the sky.

Anchor Outage

As boring as it gets, shallow underwater fiber get snared by an anchor and snapped by the stress.

Sabotage Outage

We heard a lot about these in Africa, where competitors actively sabotage and break each others deployments.

Scrap Hunter Fiber Outage

Again reported at a peering conference in Africa, some peasants have become accustomed to mining the ground for wires containing copper that they melt and make jewelry from to sell on the streets.

The fiber gets dug up as well, but the fiber is useless to these hunters. The outage still remains and crews go and repair the breakages. They also put signs up indicating that there is no copper buried, but unfortunately many of these diggers are illiterate.

To combat this the crews wrap the fiber in kevlar, the same stuff used for bullet proof vests. That way, the diggers can at least recognize it as different and not worth anything to them.

The scrap hunters learned to cut the kevlar, tie one end of the kevlar fiber to the hitch of a pickup truck, and drive down the road in the opposite direction to rip the fiber out of the ground. It turns out that the kevlar sheathing can be weaved into bullet proof vests and sold for a lot more money on the streets.

There are no doubt many more, but these are the ones that I found entertaining.


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